TiVo’s Wireless Adapter Arrives

Dave Zatz —  December 27, 2005 — 53 Comments

TiVo’s custom wireless G USB adapter has arrived. As previously reported the adapter is compatible with Series 2 models and off-loads some of the network processing, by utilizing a “full MAC chipset,” resulting in improved throughput over, say, my Netgear WG111. The sexy little adapter retails for $49.99 direct from TiVo or less via Amazon. I’ll post photos with a TiVoToGo and Multi-Room Viewing (MRV) performance comparison as soon as mine arrives.

More visual goodness after the jump…

Pre-production photo:

Another early photo:

Quick-start guide:

The guts:

(Thanks to ChuckyBox and DCIFRTHS for their stellar research!)

53 responses to TiVo’s Wireless Adapter Arrives

  1. Does this support WPA security?

  2. Dave, Are you saying this adapter is actually using the BCM4320, or that the Broadcom chip is an example of the kind of full mac chipset that TivoJerry was talking about?

  3. Tow2a, TiVo software doesn’t support WPA at this time… which sucks since WEP is insecure.

    Justin, based on the FCC documents TiVo filed I believe this is one of the Broadcom chips being used. Looks like there may be two…

  4. Both WEP and WPA create bandwidth overhead for wireless that wouldn’t be desireable for video transfer (etc.). Although MAC filtering isn’t the most secure, it’s a way to prevent the overhead, and provide a reasonable amount of security. If you believe there is a hacker trying to get into your wireless network, nothing is going to be enough.

  5. I hope you are kidding about MAC filtering. It provides no security. Any packet sniffer can ID an address and use it.

    WPA, if used with a good password is secure given current technology. You cannot compare WPA to MAC filtering – one is secure, the other is a bad joke!

    Its unforgivable to sell a WiFi adapter for $50 without modern security features.

  6. If you want security run a freaking wire idiots. HUG A TREE

  7. Isn’t this just a wireless bridge, of the same variety I and many others have been using for 2+ years?

  8. While I would have liked to have seen this about a year ago when they first rolled out Tivo2go, it’s a good sign. Looks like good funtionality, easy integration, and ok price. Much cheaper than the Xbox360′s close to $100 wireless adapter.

  9. Anonymous Coward December 28, 2005 at 1:39 pm

    Why is this concern about wireless security for a TiVo? What are you possibly needing to secure from extracting your video and other menial tasks on the Tivo?

  10. The wireless security concern isn’t about the Tivo traffic specifically. Rather, we’ve had to downgrade from WPA to WEP for all the wireless devices using that router, i.e., my laptop. People can sniff Tivo traffic all they want, but being able to access that traffic also means than can see other things.

  11. You want WPA on tivo get a wired card and a network brige like a linksys wga54g and wbp54g.

  12. the concern of security doesn’t have to do with people hacking your tivo. if you want your tivo wireless your entire network needs to be wep, not wpa which means your network is unsecure. every computer on that network is vulnerable and the network itself can be hijacked.

  13. Just run 2 different Wireless access points. One WEP for Tivo and one WPA for your computers. Steve Gibson is a god.

  14. There are several possibilities for securing a TiVo Wireless connection, however, none of them are simple enough for the general audience of the TiVo. This thing has the easiest setup of any consumer device and yet you have to buy 3-4 parts just to get WPA on it. TiVo should really focus some resources on that.

    No, running a wire isn’t an option for most people. Fine if you’re in a rinky-dink apartment or a dorm, but no good in a home.

  15. Quote:
    “#

    You want WPA on tivo get a wired card and a network brige like a linksys wga54g and wbp54g.

    Comment by Glich ? December 28, 2005 @ 2:48 pm

    Sorry friend, even with the latest firmware for the Linksys WGA54G, WPA is STILL unsupported only WEP :(

  16. ” If you believe there is a hacker trying to get into your wireless network, nothing is going to be enough.”

    man ipsec

  17. Use 2 WAPs. One on WEP for Tivo and one on WPA for your computers!

  18. For nearly two years, I have been doing just that: maintaining 2 WAPs, one with WEP and one with WPA. It is expensive in both time and materials.

  19. I agree use two WAP, I also heard rumors that WPA was cracked using as little as 4 packets, haven’t seen this one myself but it may be easier to crack then WEP.

  20. Will this work with Direct TV Tivo???

  21. @Jason, WPA can only be bruteforced using dictionaries. Use non dictionary word passwords longer than 20 characters and everything’ll be allright.

  22. Some wireless routers allow for multiple SSIDs and different security settings per SSID. Some of the Asus models do this, and it allows for a mixed WPA/WEP/open wireless network, depending upon your needs.

    While a person might still be able to log on to your network and use your Internet in this scenario, they won’t be able to sniff the WPA traffic.

  23. WPA vs WEP is actually a tricky subject. Neither is strictly easier to crack, but both can be trivial depending upon the circumstances.

    With WPA, you can capture 4 packets, then transfer that data to another computer to run something that amounts to a password cracker in order to brute-force the password. Therefore, if your password is weak, it will be cracked quickly, and off-site (meaning that the attack on your network doesn’t even have to be local–you just need to get those 4 packets and go). Assuming you use a strong password, though, you’re safe.

    WEP requires a constant stream of packets in order to passively decrypt (you can bump people off repeatedly to gather “key” packets, but this might be noticed). Therefore, you need to stay near the site longer. The computation process itself is easier due to a flaw in the protocol, so the strength of the WEP key has no bearing on the speed with which it can be cracked.

  24. will this work with DirecTV tivo units? If so it would be real cool.

  25. Is this device able to utilize a non-broadcasted ssid? How does a wep + hidden ssid security setup measure up?

  26. Why all the paranoia?? What are you storing on your TiVo that you’re so freaked out about security? Is your PC so vunerable?

  27. Like the previous statements warrenpeace, you must downgrade your security to WEP if you want to use this on your network. Then my other computers would be vunerable. The only option would be to get another router or other hardware. See Tivo Joe’s comment below:
    For nearly two years, I have been doing just that: maintaining 2 WAPs, one with WEP and one with WPA. It is expensive in both time and materials.

    Comment by TiVoJoe ? December 28, 2005 @ 4:00 pm

  28. Any idea on how big an improvement in throughput from this wireless adapter? Will it now take 30/20/10 minutes to transfer a 60 minute show instead of the ~60 minutes that it currently takes?

  29. paranoiaselfdestroya December 30, 2005 at 11:17 am

    Things to think about. Do any of your immediate neighbors look like they’d have a clue about hacking? Any occupied vehicles parked in front or down the street for hours? Why would any hacker worth his weight waste time looking at information on your system (are you that important)? If not…just chill – do the standard lockdowns to keep the amatuers out.

  30. Sorry the “standard” lockdown can be compromised by any script kiddie. I will not take those chances. And yes I am that important, my privacy and protection matter to me. You simply should read the facts that WEP can be easily compromised by any Wardriver quickly. Listen to “security now” podcast on grc.com website to further enlighten yourself. Sorry to hear your stance on security, all I see is a big target on you head.

  31. Not worried about the security of your wireless network? Ok, so some guy cracks your WEP key in about 20 minutes while sitting about 100 outside your house. Then, once he has your key, he gets on your network and uses your connection to send out over 500,000 spam emails. You’re now the one getting blamed. Enjoy!

  32. I just started researching wireless adapters for Tivo and I found this site. Can anyone recommend an adapter that will work with TIVO and supports WPA. Is WPA only available on 802.11g? Thx

  33. Mostly compatible TiVo adapters can’t be found here:
    http://customersupport.tivo.com/knowbase/root/public/tv2006.htm

    At this time, TiVo does not support WPA. They are aware of customer interest and are supposedly working on it — no time frame has been mentioned.

  34. paranoiselfdestroya January 1, 2006 at 12:19 pm

    the sad part is that you truly think you can protect your system from a “professional”…naive AND I imagine if you were truly that important, your system would’ve been compromised by now…

  35. I run multiple WAPs, but they’re connected via WDS encrypted using WPA2. The 2 WAPs are the Linksys WRT54G’s running the DD-WRT firmware. My TiVos are connected via wired adapters. That way, only one network, 2 WAPs and it provides me with 4 wired ports per room for other networked devices.

  36. You guys are missing the obvious. Why would anyone spend the time scouting your neighborhood to crack your WPA or WEP security when there are COUNTLESS unsecured wireless networks out there. It’s simple: Which house are you going to rob, the one with locked windows and doors, or the one with the door wide open….duh. Sure, someone could pick your lock, or break down your door, but I would bet it would be easier just to walk in. ANY security is better than none, and the difference between WEP and WPA is a joke to a pro…

  37. Anyone testing this unit, did they check what the upload speed to Tivo was? I would like this would be more important. Like Dave said most of us download overnight. But if I want to watch something on Tivo I could watch it realtime.

    Please ENTER ME also

  38. Be careful with this adapter. I fried mine with a jolt of static electricity. The metal case looks nice but its not practical

  39. OK, now is there a better wireless adapter to get or is the tivo brand one ok??? Can it be upgraded for any future security issues??

  40. the netgear wg111na worked after upgrading the tivo software version. WPA would be nice, and considering the tivo runs on linux i dont think it will be too far down the road but for now i think mac filtering and WEP is a good solution – also make sure you aren’t broadcasting the SSID – but what about using an ad-hoc network from a wired PC with a wi-fi adapter? anyone thought or have tried this?

  41. how can I use this with my dish network PVR 622?

  42. Anyone know if there are XP drivers for the Tivo wireless G usb adapter. It PNP’s in XP as a “Remote Download Wireless Adapter” but no drivers found. I would occasionally like to use it as a pc wireless usb nic. Thanks

  43. Is this entire thread a joke. Do you people have anything better to do with your time then pretend that you even have aclue about cracking WEP, WPA, or MAC filtering for that matter?! First of all none of you have any data on your home network worth protecting. Oh wait your huge porn collection may be at risk. Oh wait but your neighbor might steal your Internet bandwidth….Give me a break! Your neighbor has no idea how to even begin to crack WEP and doesn’t even know what a MAC is. Oh yeah the “Pro” hacker might be able to crack it but you might notice when he parks his van outside your house with an 802.11 antenna on the roof every time he wants to use the Internet. All of you need to get a life!

  44. picked up the TiVo Wireless G Adapter for $44.99 from amazon.com.

    ‘ no longer having to switch from my wpa encrypted network to wep (to accomodate TIVO). the download went flawless.

  45. TiVo’s wireless now supports WEP & WPA w/ TiVo version 8. Shopping around the internet, you can find it for the $40-50 range or go to TiVo.com and pay $65 with shipping.

  46. What would I have to buy in parts to get this to work? were ould I be able to buy on for out Tivo at home?

    Thanks

  47. Does this work with Direct TV Tivo receivers? (they are series 2)

    No one has answered the question yet…

  48. You security nuts are far to paranoid – do you really think that 99.999% of criminals are packet sniffing MACs, or have the somewhat sophisticated knowledge that is needed to break WEP security? Please – forests and trees, people, and get a grip.

  49. Paranoid or not, it only takes one idiot to cause a great deal of trouble.

    Just one jerk using your (semi)unprotected network can cause all kinds of legal problems that will cost you time and lots of money.

    A couple that come to mind are downloading kiddie porn and p2p video/audio downloads.

    What kind of trouble do you think would ensue from someone downloading kiddie porn using your broadband access? What do you think you would need to do to prove your innocence?

    My opinion: not worth it. Keep your wireless network secure.

  50. Security does matter. I’d love to donate some money to a good cause, but I’m spending it on new computers, hardware, and software after someone DID crack my network. My computers were with the FBI for weeks. My credit card number was captured and used, and hundreds of SPAM went out from my e-mail account. Then, all the operating systems were crashed and the hardware was damaged. Thank GOD it wasn’t the registered child molester that lives four houses up, or Lusus’s comment would have applied to us as well. Guess what? We had WPA encryption and an unbroadcasted SSID but the TIVO routers are promiscuous. Here is the flaw in the assumption that your neighbors are sweet little bumpkins who don’t know their ASS from an ARP; sophisticated hackers have to live somewhere!! Unless they have been in the federal pen, they probably make lots of money and live in a nice house in a quiet neighborhood. The next flawed assumption is that a hacker has to live next to you to crack into your wireless network. WSPs are in just about every large town now. Finally, is the assumption that if your network is secured, a hacker will simply move on to an open network so that they don’t have to…what, work as hard? You’ve never met a hacker then. They love the challenge. They wonder what’s behind your firewall that’s worth protecting. Go hug your tree for me.

  51. So, I just got a R10 Series 2 Direct TV Tivo. couple of questions, How do I get the software upgrade? i currently have 6.1. Also, how do I connect using a wireless network?

    Thanks

  52. WEP is nothing compared to WPA. I cracked 5 WEP networks in my neighborhood in less than 20 minutes, but it took me almost 4 days to crack one WPA and it wasn’t worth it. WPA cannot be cracked using bruteforce. You have to use huge dictionaries that, chances are, wont find the correct key. If you want your WEP network to be secure, I would recommend finding a router that will ban a mac address that replays packets at a high rate, which will prevent the hacker from capturing enough packets to find your key. With a router like that, it would take a hacker weeks to find your key.

  53. as a side note, one of the best adapters alfa network awus036h for the computer

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