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Asus locking down routers to comply with new FCC rules

Discussion in 'ASUS Wireless' started by mromero, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. mromero

    mromero Regular Contributor

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    We appear to have come full circle around from the days when Linksys had crippled firmware that inspired developers to crack the code and turn the $50. router into a $500. router.

    What we need now are developers to do the same thing and fix the borked up Asus firmware. The FCC operates in one country so why this nonsense of crippling the firmware for everyone? Thing is these routers are now $250. each and going up.
     
    Grisu likes this.
  2. Kal-EL

    Kal-EL Very Senior Member

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    I live in the USA and i can tell you the FCC is worthless it really surprises me they even care about home routers. And its not right Asus would make rules for other countries bases on what the FCC says here in the states. Something is not right. :rolleyes:
     
    Grisu likes this.
  3. 000111

    000111 Senior Member

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    @Kel-L

    I would venture you can expect more shenanigans from the FCC, and its new lobbyist leader.

    Hold onto your old routers, boys. I think the ride is going to get rough.
     
  4. Kal-EL

    Kal-EL Very Senior Member

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    Yes if the FCC has made rules for the USA market then Asus should follow those rules but in different regions and countries they should market a router that follows there rules. Why should anybody in a different country be limited to rules of the USA makes no sense at all.
     
    Grisu likes this.
  5. jayboyyyy

    jayboyyyy Regular Contributor

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    if you buy it, they will sell it. I'd sell you a router for $200 that didn't even broadcast wifi if you would buy it. merica

    half joking but complaining on these forums doesn't do any good. complain to asus, don't buy their router in the future, move to US, or come up with a fix on your own. only options you have at this point.
     
  6. Kal-EL

    Kal-EL Very Senior Member

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    Not complaining just making a statement. And i dont need to move i am already in the US.
     
  7. Trebuin

    Trebuin Senior Member

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    This is me being in the gov't and being a bit bureaucratic:

    For asus to cover itself, start a country select screen for initial setup. To show that they're fully trying, after the router has a connection to the internet, do an ip location check to determine the country. That covers everything that ASUS can be held responsible for. Granted, this can be worked around, but not easily. Should the gov't want to enforce further on ASUS, that would be like the gov't going in and creating a website blacklist or even a whitelist for service providers to follow.

    If ASUS is doing their job, the gov't will go out and fine those who are violating the regulations individually. Face it...that is more income for the gov't than going after ASUS.
     
  8. RMerlin

    RMerlin Super Moderator

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    Unfortunately, the FCC already requested that manufacturers take steps to ensure that end-user cannot change this themselves, and they even ask manufacturers to document the exact procedures they are using to ensure that this is the case. So leaving it up to the end-user wouldn't comply with the FCC's requirements. The FCC leaves no real wiggling room there.

    Take a look at the FCC forms, especially that second PDF:

    https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/kdb/forms/FTSSearchResultPage.cfm?id=39498&switch=P

    They aren't just "suggesting", they are "requiring" things out of manufacturers here. And the FCC wording is scaring me enough to fear that we might someday be facing manufacturers being forced to completely lock down the firmwares, preventing any third party firmwares from being flashed into devices.

    That's why I am being *VERY* careful there, despite what some of you might think. I'm not going to help killing third-party firmware projects.

    And locking down third party firmwares isn't that far-fetched. Most embedded device manufacturers are already doing so, through the use of encryption and signing keys. The WDTV for instance (since that's one case I'm quite familiar with) requires that the Linux kernel be signed with a private key, making it impossible for any third party to flash a modified Linux kernel.

    So if the FCC decides that router manufacturers aren't doing enough, and starts requiring device lockdowns against third party firmwares, it will be game over for all of us. You won't just be missing a few extra mw or a few extra channels, you will be missing *everything* that can be obtained through Asuswrt-merlin, OpenWRT, Tomato, DD-WRT...
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
  9. Trebuin

    Trebuin Senior Member

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    You're right. They may very well require a lockdown designed very similar to what the iPhone and other devices do now.
     
  10. W500

    W500 Occasional Visitor

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    "Starting June 2, 2016, permissive changes will not be permitted for devices approved under the old rules, unless they meet the requirements of the new rules. "

    So why starting NOW?
     
  11. mromero

    mromero Regular Contributor

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    This is outrageous.

    We need Brainslayer or the original Tomato developers, or better yet a Russian developer with balls to take over this project if Merlin is too compromised to make a worthwhile firmware not subservient to any one country. I really suspect the NSA has a hand in this Asus firmware modification.

    Asus is now as borked as Linksys was in its heyday. Time to boycott Asus, its "improved" firmware and any related derivatives!
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
    Grisu likes this.
  12. Adamm

    Adamm Part of the Furniture

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    Your missing the bigger picture, this has nothing to-do with Merlin, Asus are forcing these changes via closed source wireless drivers and currently getting the details straight from the bootloader. Bad mouthing the most helpful developer here just makes you look stupid.
     
    andresmorago likes this.
  13. 4Leaf

    4Leaf Senior Member

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    If stock firmware didn't suck so bad, we consumers would not prefer third party firmware to begin with!

    Granted, Asus does have the best stock firmware in my opinion. Merlin's improved asuswrt is even better. It's gonna be a sad time to the consumer if all router firmware turns into nothing but fcc regulations and smart wifi bull shit!

    Quite depressing...
     
  14. 4Leaf

    4Leaf Senior Member

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    I hope all that was one big joke... if not...

    I can assure you, the NSA has way more important things to be doing than helping Asus make firmware for their routers
     
  15. SilverRubicon

    SilverRubicon New Around Here

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    Why does the project need to be taken over? Grab the source, fork it, and do it yourself or have someone else do it. You don't need permission from Asus or Merlin.

    It is what it is.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
  16. Bagman

    Bagman Regular Contributor

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    Hmm, that gives me nothing at all. I looked though all the strings and got:

    So EU routers are not using the correct codes/channels in their respective countries under this new forced setting.

    Maybe there is some way to change this setting in the CFE to get Asus to set the correct channels?
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
  17. Adamm

    Adamm Part of the Furniture

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    Might be different for the N66U, try

    Code:
    strings /dev/mtd0 | grep US
    or even

    Code:
    strings /dev/mtd0 | grep ccode
    It will be something similar, more the likely though your router will be set to US.
     
  18. RMerlin

    RMerlin Super Moderator

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    My guess is, because Asus wants devices validated by the FCC now (such as the new RT-AC87) to still be marketable when the June 2016 date comes. Otherwise, Asus would have to modify the firmware ahead of that date, and pay to have their devices re-certified by the FCC. Might as well do it right now, so any device released from this day on will already be certified.
     
  19. aircoreboy

    aircoreboy Regular Contributor

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    Since the FCC has no jurisdiction outside the USA, surely Asus then only need FCC certification for units intended for sale in the USA, meaning the rest of us can have a full-blown firmware, since it's only the USA that requires crippled firmware.
     
  20. Bagman

    Bagman Regular Contributor

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    The problem is that Asus are lazy, or else they would have one product for USA, and another for the rest of the world that can set country codes correctly. As it is, they don't even bother to have correct codes for Europe, and just lump a dozen countries under the "EU" banner, even though they all have different wi-fi channel rules.

    This was fine while a user could correctly set the code, but Asus locking down to US or EU regions has just dropped them off the buying list for anyone who needs a properly configured performance router. I certainly won't be buying any more of their routers whilst you can't correctly set the country code.