This is sort of a continuation of my previous post about getting around a college firewall but with the intent of getting the Nintendo Wii online. The Wii expects a regular HTTP proxy, so the SOCKS based one that I used for my YouTube fix won’t work. I chose the easiest solution based on the equipment I had available: I set up an old desktop computer I built out of spare parts as a dedicated server on the local network. The system only has a 900Mhz K7, but that is overkill for the task at hand.
I drew out a visualization of the network before I started. Sorry, no fancy Visio diagrams this time!
Excalibur is my Macbook Pro. HolyGrail is my Ubuntu based server running both HTTP and SOCKS services. This allows me to have a tunnel on my macbook pro and iPhone anywhere on the campus network without having to reconnect every time I put my macbook to sleep. On the other end of the SSH tunnel is my (dv) from Media Temple.
A Note Before You Start
I’ll warn you beforehand that I ran into a problem (bug), that I haven’t been able to resolve yet. I still can’t play any multi player games! Everything from system updates to the internet channel work fine but multi player will still not work. From my research it appears to be a bug in Nintendo’s proxy implementation when you’re in game mode. Looking through Apache logs I discovered that the incoming requests are being garbled so Apache returns errors. I’m positive that it is not a network problem because the garbled connection headers are the same as those sent when connecting to say the weather channel which works perfectly fine. The problem also is not game specific. I tested 3 different games with the same results.
I did not setup wireshark to dig further since I’m moving out of the dorm in less than 2 weeks. But even though games don’t work you can still get firmware updates, news, buy and download games etc. so you may still be interested in setting this up
I installed the latest stable version of Ubuntu on my new server and the instructions I’ll write will be geared towards that platform. However, the process should be relatively the same no matter what you run because Apache runs on virtually everything now days. I initially tested on Mac OS X Leopard since Apache is preinstalled.
The first thing to do on your new Ubuntu installation is to install Apache. This is very easy on Debian-based systems. All you have to do is open a Terminal window and type:
apt-get install apache2
Now that apache is up and running enable the proxy module:
And now edit the configuration file /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/proxy.conf as needed. To test things out I allowed all requests. This could be a security problem so after you have everything working you might want to go back and only allow your Wii IP address. Here’s what my configuration file looked like for testing:
#turning ProxyRequests on and allowing proxying from all may allow
#spammers to use your proxy to send email.
# Only allow from Wii IP address
Allow from all
#Deny from all
#Allow from .example.com
# Enable/disable the handling of HTTP/1.1 "Via:" headers.
# ("Full" adds the server version; "Block" removes all outgoing Via: headers)
# Set to one of: Off | On | Full | Block
Save your changes and restart Apache
Connect Your Wii to The College’s Wireless Network
My original plans of using an ad-hoc network were foiled. I could not get the Wii to connect for the life of me so I was forced to go through the college’s wireless network. They require all new devices to register by entering a student ID number and password. This was a problem because I did not have the Internet Channel at the time.
To get around this I spoofed the Wii’s IP and MAC address on my MacBook Pro and registered it as if it was a new device. Presto! I can now connect the Wii to the local wireless network.
Spoofing your MAC address on Mac OS X and Linux is very easy: Open a terminal window and type ifconfig. Record your current MAC address so that you can set it back without restarting your computer (if you want). To change your MAC address just run sudo ifconfig en0 ether aa:bb:cc:dd:ee:ff Be sure to replace en0 with your current interface and aa:bb:cc:dd:ee:ff with the MAC address of your Wii Your Wii MAC address can be found under Wii Options -> Wii Settings -> Internet -> Console Information
Configure the Wii to Use Your Proxy Server
On your Wii, navigate to Wii Options -> Wii Settings -> Internet -> Connection Settings. Select your current network and change it’s settings. On the Proxy Server page choose Use and then click on Advanced Settings.
Set the address to the IP address of your local proxy server running on Apache and change the port if needed. Confirm and save your changes and a connection test will be made. If all went well the Wii should ask if you would like to perform a system update at this time!
If something went wrong the first place to go is the apache logs. They will contain any error messages. If you’re not getting any error or access logs then chances are the connection isn’t making it to your proxy server so step through everything one at a time looking for the problem.
- Is the Wii properly connected to the wireless network?
- Is your Wii and proxy server on the same network or accessible? One way to test is to use a laptop and simulate the Wii.
- Is there a firewall on your server that could be blocking the connection?
You see where this is going, so I’ll leave you to your fun!