Good News Concerning The Shellfire Box

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It has been a while since the last update concerning the Shellfire Box on Indiegogo, sorry for that! Many of you have written to us and asked for a status update and some technical details. That’s why we now wrote this longer article for you on our blog, since Indiegogo only allows a maximum of 2500 characters per update.

Progress Overview
The last weeks have been extremely exciting for us: We have finalized the development of our Firmware, sealed the deal with our manufacturer in China and done quite some design work (packaging, users manual, stickers)! During that time, our campaign on Indiegogo reached $70,000, you ordered more than 700 Shellfire Boxes, awesome!
So far, we are very pleased with the progress. Our prototypes are working exactly according to our wishes. We have already been processing our entire data transfer via Shellfire Boxes for a couple of days and are really thrilled about how well they are doing their job! In the following paragraphs, we would like to address a few aspects of the Shellfire Box in detail.
Here you can see the mainboard of a prototype in action:

IMG_20150625_183500

Firmware
Our Firmware is based on the open source operating system OpenWrt Chaos Calmer 15.05-rc2. OpenWrt already contains all functions required for a wifi router.
We published our source code, so that the programmers among you are able to check that we are not fooling you about anything. You can find the code on GitHub here and here.
By default, the Shellfire Box will download all required data (server list, user credentials) over a secure connection during its first launch. Then, a vpn connection is immediately established. Any device that you connect to the Shellfire Box using the ethernet port or via wifi is then automatically secured.
The vpn status is indicated by an LED on the device. If the LED is blinking, the connection is still being established. Once it is stably lit, it is successfully connected to the vpn server.
We use the very safe OpenVPN with a AES-CBC cipher to secure the connection, exactly like on our desktop and mobile clients.
The very nifty Shellfire Box user interface is integrated into the reliable OpenWrt LuCI interface. It is accessible through your web browser on the local network at http://sf.box/ and looks like this:

Screenshot from 2015-07-06 19:46:21
The interface also looks cool on small smartphone displays:

Screenshot_2015-07-06-19-51-41

By default, you can select the vpn server and the connection procotol using the interface.
An important novelty is the hidden TCP connection that also works in countries with strong internet censorship like China or Iran. We will also implement this function into our desktop and android client as soon as possible.
If you switch to advanced mode (like seen on the screenshots above), you get full access to all functions of the Shellfire Box so that you can for example change your wifi password or set up static ip addresses.
The Shellfire Box automatically checks for firmware updates daily and installs them in the background. Like that, we can always make sure that the firmware is bug free, up to date and secure.
We will soon post more updates where we will be showing the Box in action and where we will demonstrate a number of special security aspects! If you have any particular request or question concerning the Shellfire Box, let us know in the comments or via our contact form!

Performance
We can achieve download speeds between 13 and 15 Mbps if the connection to the vpn server is good. HD Video streaming in 1080p quality and a fluent browsing experience on multiple devices is thus no problem!

Manufacturing
Manufacturing is done by Winspeed Technology Ltd. in China and is due to begin in the coming days, the hardware is based on the Nexx WT3020H router. During manufacturing, our firmware is already being flashed to the device and our logo and personalized sticker are printed onto it. Some of you had concerns about the required certifications for importing the device. The Shellfire Box comes with CE and FCC certification and the corresponding logos!

Package Contents
The package contains the Shellfire Box, a 30cm (~12 inch) ethernet cable, a micro USB cable and a quick start guide. We decided not to include a power supply in order to go easy on the environment and because we cannot include the right power supply for all the countries that we are shipping to. A simple USB charger e.g. your smartphone charger, will do. As an alternative, you can power the box using a USB port of your laptop or pc. A number of modern internet routers even offer USB ports so that no external power supply is required – in this case, you only need to connect the Shellfire Box to your router using USB (for power) and ethernet (for data).

Shipping
We are still targeting a shipping date in August.

Conclusions
We would like to say thank you to all our supporters! If you want to preorder a Shellfire Box, you can still do so here. We are still getting a lot of emails with questions, tips and feedback concerning the campaign every day. With that, you have really helped us a lot at making the Shellfire Box as cool as possible and at designing it according to your wishes. Please keep going!

Cheers,
Flo & Max

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13 Comments:

  1. Hi,
    Great post and thanks for the update. Can I check please whether connectivity will only be possible by wifi through the Shellfire box? I have a couple of devices (including a PS3 and an Apple TV running XBMC) that I keep hard wired to my router/modem. In an ideal world I’d love to hard wire each device to the Shellfire box, and then the Shellfire box to the router/modem. Wifi is perfect for my phones and tablets etc.
    cheers
    Noel

    • Hi Noel,
      yes, the Shellfire Box has 1 free ethernet port for your devices in addition to wifi. If you want to attach more devices, you can use a cheap ethernet switch (for example the TP-LINK TL-SF1005D), this will give you 4 available ethernet ports. Switches with more ports are of course available, too.
      Cheers,
      Max

  2. Just want to clarify the shipping. I believe I have to order this.

    • Hi Gerald,
      what do you want to have clarified exactly? We are planing to ship in August. If you are not sure whether you paid the extra $10 for international shipping, please contact our support: https://www.shellfire.net/kontakt/. The international shipping fee only applies for people outside the EU and Switzerland.
      Cheers,
      Max

  3. Pingback: Shellfire Box updates confirm August 2015 release date | VPNCompare.co.uk

  4. Hi,
    this looks really promising. I’m a bit confused, I thought the box has no wifi but now you write it acts as wifi router?
    A great feature would be the ability to control if a devices should use the vpn or not. It is possible with a ddwrt router (but not very straight forward) so it could perhaps be implemented with your interface.

    Byte

    • Hi Byte,

      the box will create a Wifi network for you to use for your devices. The thing it cannot do is connect itself to the internet using Wifi, you will need a wired internet connection for that.

      Cheers,
      Max

  5. Hi! I’ve backed one of the “Less Early Bird”… How can I get another one… To delivery to a different location?

  6. If I plug a router that has wireless into the shellfire box and then connect a device to the router via wifi – will it still be encrypted via the shellfire box – or do I have to connect all devices to the shellfire box wifi. I ask because I have a couple of wifi routers connected in my network via a homeplug setup to extend the range around the house.

    • Hi kingsley,
      this should result in all your devices being protected as every connection that goes through the Shellfire Box will automatically be sent through the VPN. You can always check your connection status by visting https://www.shellfire.net/vpn/ if you’re not sure.
      Cheers,
      Max

  7. brilliant thanks – I’ve got it all hooked up now and it seems to be working very well. There is loads of stuff in the advanced mode – is there any documentation covering the advanced stuff? I can probably figure out most of it and I don’t have any specific needs at the moment – just wondered if there was some cool stuff I was missing out on in there.

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