Topic: Netgear WGE101 Bridge - worth trying a mod?


I made the mistake to get myself a Netgear WGE101 Wireless Bridge. This was at a time when my AP was still open. Now that I'd like to use it again my AP uses WPA. Unfortunately the WGE101 doesn't support it. Netgear discontinued selling it and they also won't update the firmware to support WPA :-( Trying to sell the device is probably more a give-away than a good deal. So I thought of maybe modding it and installing OpenWrt to get what I want.

I opened the device and found a couple of interesting things. However I have no idea how promising this is...

CPU: Broadcom BCM4702KPB
RAM: IS42S32200B-6T
Flash: 29LV160ABTC-90

So from what I found from the datasheets of these chips its got to be something like this:
Broadcom 4702 @ 166 MHz, 8MB RAM, 2MB Flash
It has an unused 20-pin connector which is connected to the CPU. I guess this could be the serial-port.

So here the question to the mod-experts:
Is it worth giving this a try? Like trying to build a serial-interface and see if I can build a working bridge running OpenWrt (with WPA)? If pictures of the board help, please ask and I'll post them somewhere.

Thanks a bunch,

Re: Netgear WGE101 Bridge - worth trying a mod?

I've got the same bridge, an I'm interested to know if you studied the issue... I don't know much of OpenWrt but I'm interested. So I'll start getting up to speed.

Re: Netgear WGE101 Bridge - worth trying a mod?

good to know I'm not totally alone. I was hoping to get some advice here before I start destroying it. I put this "project" on hold so far...At least now we can make sure we only destroy one unit at a time and not make the same mistakes twice. So it'd be great if whomever starts doing something with or without success to post it here ;-)

Re: Netgear WGE101 Bridge - worth trying a mod?

OpenWrt will probably run on it, but with rather limited resources.

You'll want to find the serial console for the device. While I suspect openwrt will probably run on the device without modifications, you'll want some way of avoiding bricking device after device trying to blindly guess what failed and how to correct it. The serial port will let you see the existing firmware, interact with the booloader to load new firmware (without relying on getting the firmware booted to the point the webpage comes up) and see the openwrt startup messages (because "it didn't boot" doesn't tell me anything I need to fix it)

If you find you can't load a firmware via serial then you'll have to also find the jtag port, which will let you read and write the flash chip (almost) directly. This is also useful for making an exact copy of the flash before you load openwrt, giving you a backup you can revert to.

Re: Netgear WGE101 Bridge - worth trying a mod?

Ok, I was curious enough to start giving it a try without the serial console:

1st I tried to upload the new firmware via TFTP. From the uploading side everything looked fine and the device restarted...but with the old firmware. I tried multiple times with original Netgear-images and OpenWrt, but without success. I guess the TFTP-update might be disabled by default in the NVRAM.

Question: Is there any sort of possibility to tell if the device really accepts TFTP-uploads from the uploading side?

Then I felt like giving it a try via the webinterface. This worked fine, but of course I bricked the unit :-( Now the only thing it answers are ARP-requests (checked via tcpdump). A TFTP-upload of the original image "looks" like it's working but it doesn't update anything.

So I have to build an interface to debrick...

Re: Netgear WGE101 Bridge - worth trying a mod?

I realize this is an old thread, but I'm curious to know if anyone has tried a more recent build of OpenWRT or has had any success with the WGE101 and third-party firmware.