Router Vendors, create DNS entries for your default addresses

If you have bought a home router or access point, you know it comes by default listening to some NAT based IP address, and the setup guide tells the user to type "http://192.168.1.1" or similar into their browser.

Instead, these companies should define a domain, like "setup.linksys.com" that points to a page that redirects to that IP address. In addition, the box, before it is set up, should have a mini DHCP server and DNS server that returns the right address for that domain for people who just plug a PC into the box. (I guess it could return that address for any domain you type in if the box is not configured,n ot just the official one.)

This would serve several purposes. The instructions to the unskilled user become less cryptic. Just plug your PC into the box, boot it and type this easy to remember name into the browser.

If the user is more sophisticated and changes the address of the router, a cookie could be set so the redirect goes to the valid address, but of course if the cookie is lost the user will have to remember, but that's always true. And the user who does not use DHCP from the router will also have to use the numeric address, so it must be printed as an alternative for such folks. But one value of the whole thing is that if it got standardized, it would make it easy to figure out the address for a box if you know the brand. The domain could and should be printed on it. Along with the default password (which should then be changed of course.)

fool's picture

we're halfway there...

just yesterday i installed my new "cheapest wireless NAT router they carried at my local big-box electronics store" which happened to be a netgear of some variety.

there was basically nothing in the box as far as documentation, except a CD and a sticker over the ethernet ports on the router saying "please insert the CD before installing this device!"

strange but true, i lack an optical drive at the moment and even so it wouldn't speak the likely dialects of microsoft/mac-ese, so i resigned myself to intelligent guessing and reverse engineering before i saw the small print: "advanced users go to http://www.routerlogin.net and enter the login/password printed on your device"

i haven't investigated the mechanism behind it, but visiting that site with aforementioned printed auth info in my decidedly non-mainstream browser/OS combo worked like a champ and minutes later i'd locked down my wifi and tweaked my preferred settings.

so maybe we're not that far off...

Indeed

Actually, at least in Europe, it is not uncommon for the instructions
to say "type [name of router] into your browser". I guess what happens
is that the router is the DHCP server of the computer connected to it
and this name resolves to some IP address.

Standard seems to be 192.168.1.1, though other 192 addresses are sometimes
used.

A feature of the Fritz!Box I like is that it has one rather unorthodox 192
address which cannot be changed, so that is always there as a back door.
There are one or two other 192 addresses pre-configured, but these can
be changed. The browser menu also has an "expert" button. You can do
stuff like change the IP address only if the "expert" functionality is
enabled, otherwise such things don't even show up in the menu.

Standards

Yes, 192.168.1.1 is the most common, but I have also seen 0.1, and 1.254, and sometimes 10.0.0.1 and similar addresses.

Plus, I often change these addresses, which I admit is uncommon, but this approach would let you plug in a laptop to the box and type in the domain and immediately see the address. (You can see it by doing this and then looking at the routing table or DNS server it advertises, but this is more work and beyond many users.)

Having a permanent backdoor address has its downsides, because you can have two boxes on the same network. These days these routers are also the cheapest way to get extra access points -- you leave the WAN port empty. But you still want to be able to get at the control address, in which case you want to change that control address, and disable the DHCP. No real easy answer there if you forget the address because you can no longer get it with DHCP. Broadcast ping has been one way I've managed to do it. I guess the backdoor address approach could work if you temporarily removed it from the network.

But I'm glad people are doing this, I just have not seen it in the boxes I have been using.

How about just using zeroconf?

They could announce their config URLs that way; they could also set up router.local to point to their pages.

Sure

But that would only work on the PCs that are set up to do that.

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