in Technology, Telephony

Nokia N800 Internet Tablet and WPA2-PSK

A few weeks ago, my friend Brian lent me his Nokia N800 Internet Tablet, because he has gone and purchased an Apple iPhone and no longer needs it. I was hoping to try and use it as a SIP client on my VoIP network, so that I could wander about the house and still make calls. (Unfortunately, the N800 isn’t actually a phone, which makes it somewhat limited in functionality.) For the life of me, though, I can’t get the damn thing to talk WPA2!

It seems others have had this problem. Brian helped me find this blog entry that seemed to indicate a UI bug: one can’t enter a hex WPA key in the dialog, only an ASCII passphrase. Since I never actually generated the hex key from a passphrase, I apparently needed to manually hack the %gconf.xml as per the blog entry. This I did, first by installing osso-xterm and openssh on the tablet using the Maemo repositories, and then attaining root access. For ease of editing, I coped the relevant %gconf.xml to the memory card and then mounting it from my PC. (The N800 is smart enough to arbitrate access to the memory card automatically; if you plug in an active USB connection, it dismounts /media/mmc2 on the device.)

After all that work, I still have no working wireless – I still get the “Network does not support…” error message. A recent forum post would seem to suggest some kind of bug in DD-WRT — I’m using v23 SP2, but hesitant to upgrade to v24 RC4 yet given that some people have reported bricking their WRT54Gs, and I don’t have a spare. So, maybe the N800 hacking will have to wait until DD-WRT v24 comes out.