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Networking Operating Systems Software

Beef Up Your Wireless Router 189

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the and-make-it-wear-a-pretty-dress dept.
Doctor High writes "Josh Kuo's article Beef Up Your Wireless Router talks about the OpenWRT embedded Linux distro for the the Linksys WRT series wireless routers (and more). The article lays out some of the amazing things you can do with your Linux-enabled wireless router such as using it as a VoIP gateway, a wireless hotspot, or even an encrypted layer 2 tunnel endpoint for remote troubleshooting."
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Beef Up Your Wireless Router

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 18, 2007 @11:36AM (#18394693)
    ... but my Linksys router has enough trouble keeping up with the normal jobs it is supposed to be doing. When I saw the title, I was hoping that it was about over-clocking or adding memory.
    • by celardore (844933) * on Sunday March 18, 2007 @11:49AM (#18394767)
      DD-WRT offers overclocking facilities, as well as boosting number of IP connections and wireless transmit power. I really recommend it to anyone with a compatiable Linksys.
      • A question before I go out and buy one tomorrow.

        My current router has regular problems after a few hours of chatting it up with fellow bittorrent users, it shuts down.

        The only review I have found that seems to even touch on this subject was absolutely worthless, testing 100 connections from one PC to another for 1 minute. Which is absolutely not the conditions of P2P, for his test he didn't even run a p2p application! let alone run it for a couple days.
        http://news.smallnetbuilder.com/content/view/258 [smallnetbuilder.com]
        • by aywwts4 (610966)
          Also, I have been reading their wiki, but I have yet to find something that tells me if its possible to get the second insecure router to be on a different virtual network, or if i can throttle the speeds of that network. I still want to use file sharing, on my secure network, I would like to share bandwidth with the neighbors, just not also share all my files.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by RedBear (207369)
          This page [dd-wrt.com] talks about that specific problem, at least with Linksys routers, and describes a simple solution using the DD-WRT firmware. Just changing a couple of network settings should fix it.

          If you're getting a Linksys router you'll want the WRT54gL because that's the model that still runs Linux and has enough RAM and flash to use the full feature set of the alternative firmwares. As for running multiple security setups, I don't think even open firmwares can do that on a single router, so you'd need two. T
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Andy Dodd (701)
            I would personally reccommend the Buffalo WHR-G54S instead. (Not the HP version, that still has some issues with DD-WRT and OpenWRT, or at least DD...)

            It's cheaper, easier to obtain (the "L" variants of the Linksys routers are mailorder-only, while Circuit City sells the Buffalos), and as well supported as the Linksys routers by DD-WRT. I'm running DD on mine and love it.

            It's also a bit easier to recover a Buffalo WHR-G54S from an accidental "bricking". The emergency TFTP bootloader is nearly impossible
            • It's also a bit easier to recover a Buffalo WHR-G54S from an accidental "bricking". The emergency TFTP bootloader is nearly impossible to damage.

              Very useful info, thank you. I'll think I'll pick one up next time I need a router. Got a linksys monoculture springing up around me anyway...
          • by Pope (17780)

            Oh, and make sure you've turned on the connection encryption features of your BitTorrent client, that can help get around ISP bandwidth throttling, if that's a problem with your ISP.

            Except for Rogers cable, they've been able to totally choke upstream bandwidth on BitTorrent on non-default ports and even with encryption on. DSLreports has more info.

        • I had the same issue with my DLink POS WAP... it would lock up and crater about every other day. I rescued a 333Mhz Celeron with 64MB of ram and a 4GB HDD... installed three $10 nics and run Smoothwall as my router/firewall. I've upgraded it over the last year or so with more ram and hdd - just because I had no other use for the parts.

          I put the wireless access point in the "Orange" network for wireless access and tweaked a few port fowards to protect my home network much better, but still give me wireless a
      • I read a blog recently that questions the integrity of one of dd-wrt's developers. Apparently, the guy who calls himself brainslayer and who seems to have done most of the integration work (IINM), is now selling the work of others as his own. ... and other accusations. Read for yourself :

        http://xwrt.blogspot.com/2007/02/dd-wrt-continues- to-exploit-free-open.html [blogspot.com]

        I'm not sure if there's anything wrong with it myself, but you might want to consider your options, if such things are important to you.

        I'm using d
        • You might want to do a little research on this before you get yourself in the middle of the war. Most of the accusations you cite are coming from a disillusioned developer from the DD-WRT project, who is now dedicated to X-WRT (which is the source of the blog you point to). Basically, the "infractions" committed by Brainslayer amount to the following:
          • Supposedly using code from other authors' work and changing to startup strings so that they don't get credit -- so far, this seems to amount to only one part
          • by dwater (72834)
            Actually, I said exactly the same thing, "Do some research yourself and come to your own decision". ...and as I pointed out, I've read it and I came to my own conclusion (well, sort of). Others can do the same; we're all grown ups after all.
      • by CRC'99 (96526) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @09:01PM (#18397999) Homepage

        DD-WRT offers overclocking facilities, as well as boosting number of IP connections and wireless transmit power. I really recommend it to anyone with a compatiable Linksys.


        no, no, no, no, no. Once again, if you didn't get it.... NO!

        There are a number of funky things that DD-WRT will do - however overclocking it risks the unit being dead forever - unless you want to get into the lovely JTAG recovery for having an overclock fail.

        There's also the small fact that when you increase the power output using DD-WRT you start spewing out spurious emissions all over the place. This basically means that you spew crap all over the 2.4Ghz band. Oh, and it'll also make the FCC license on these things void and open you up for charges. As well as screwing over the wifi band for everyone else.

        You'd have to be a douche to recommend the average person do this unless they can measure how much damage they are doing to everyone else.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Doctor_Jest (688315) *
          That's why you stay within the tool's recommended settings (the tool should say so, iirc in the help screen of the web interface). I boosted my output (with bigger antennas) a few milliwatts and got connectivity in my backyard... it's well below the "threshold" set by the FCC and it helps with connectivity around the house and yard. (Go 80 feet to the fence, and you're out of range...)

          But you're right... people pumping up their output power has the potential to piss off some people, and piss enough of them
        • by digitalchinky (650880) <dtchky@gmail.com> on Monday March 19, 2007 @03:38AM (#18399351)
          Overclocking screwups don't brick the router so bad that you need JTAG - shorting the antenna ground to pin 16 of the flash chip while plugging in the power puts it in tftp mode again. No soldering iron required.

          You might want to try plugging your linksys in to a spec-an rather than repeating the word of the masses. They are not as noisy as you might think. In many ways you'd be better off investing in a more sophisticated antenna system rather than tweaking the power outputs.

          I have a couple of 8 element yagi's that work fine over a few kilometres at 28 milliwatts.
    • by JimBowen (885772) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @01:47PM (#18395461)
      Yeah, that's the problem with off-the-shelf routers..
      It is possible though just to use an old PC as the router, and a lot more flexible. Although if you don't fancy setting up an iptables router manually with Linux, then you might try running DD-WRT on the PC itself. A friend of mine has a tutorial for that over here. [graynetwork.org]
      • Thats what I do. Just replace old computer with Terrabyte AMD AM2 X2 server. ;)

        Squid transparent caching and ad blocking, Apache, MySql, the lot.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by samkass (174571)
        It is possible though just to use an old PC as the router, and a lot more flexible.

        As long as you don't mind consuming vastly more electricity than you need to, it is a little more flexible.
      • by Niten (201835)

        The other problem with running DD-WRT on an off-the-shelf router, aside from the comparative lack of flexibility, is the distinct possibility of bricking the thing with a bad firmware update, even if you're careful. My Linksys WRT-54G died when the power browned out during a DD-WRT upgrade. I couldn't even fix it by soldering on a JTAG header and trying to load the software manually.

        This kind of thing is fun to try if you have an old Linksys lying around, but if you really want to set up your own Übe

        • by Andy Dodd (701)
          The Buffalo routers that are supported by DD-WRT have what essentially amounts to an "emergency" TFTP bootloader. In fact, this bootloader is the only way to initially flash DD-WRT onto them.

          From what I've read on the forums, the "emergency" TFTP loader is nearly impossible to break. I know I bricked my WHR-G54S once or twice when getting it set up, I just went and performed the initial flash procedure again.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Kevin DeGraaf (220791)
          The other problem with running DD-WRT on an off-the-shelf router, aside from the comparative lack of flexibility, is the distinct possibility of bricking the thing with a bad firmware update, even if you're careful. My Linksys WRT-54G died when the power browned out during a DD-WRT upgrade.

          My definition of "careful" flashing would include crossover-cabling the router directly to a PC, and putting them both on a UPS... :-)

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by blhack (921171)
      The reason your linksys router has so much trouble keeping up with what is going on is mostly due to its software. openwrt and dd-wrt etc etc fix this problem. Granted, the rules of logic still apply. You aren't going to get some magic software and turn your linksys into a full fledged cisco router or something like that, but you are going to make the thing a lot better. One of the great things about running openwrt on the thing is that it becomes a big huge swiss army knife. The thing has been a godse
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Wire it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mr. Flibble (12943)
      And you *CAN* upgrade the memory. If you have a compatable linksys (check wikipedia, or google dd-wrt, which IMO is the best distro for a WRT54G). You can connect a flash card to some models to give up to 2 GB of added memory, or just use the SMB mount feature from DD-WRT and offload things to a remote machine for terabytes of storage.

      Again, this will not work with all models, but DD-WRT is very impressive, in fact some of the new versions are purported to run on higher end Linksys hardware such as the Link
    • by drix (4602)
      What on earth are you doing with it? I use OpenWRT in front of about 9 clients doing QoS and firewalling and the load is at 0.00. This includes if I fire up BitTorrent on multiple PCs.
    • ... but my Linksys router has enough trouble keeping up with the normal jobs it is supposed to be doing.

      I had problems with my Linksys WRT54GL router also, with 7-8 "DSL outages" per month-- I thought that my DSL provider was to blame. Howevever, since I installed dd-wrt v23 SP2 [wikipedia.org]; I have had only 2-3 outages in the last three month; and two of those were caused by me tweaking the router and missing a step.

      Apparently those "DSL Outages" were actually caused by problems with the Linksys Firmware. I have the sa
  • by LBArrettAnderson (655246) * on Sunday March 18, 2007 @11:37AM (#18394699)
    Yeah he mentioned a lot of cool stuff that can be done with Linux installed on the router, but my wireless router already does a good portion of that stuff - DHCP, it can be a wireless hotspot if it wants to be (not with any special features; for those I'd just need to use a computer)... and a number of other things that he mentioned are already part of 99% of the wireless routers that I've seen.

    Aside from the things he mentioned that are already part of wireless routers, the rest of it seems cool.
    • by MyDixieWrecked (548719) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @11:52AM (#18394797) Homepage Journal
      I just installed dd-wrt [dd-wrt.com] on my Linksys wrt54gl router.

      What's really nice is that it gives you a lot more control over routing, albeit with much more added complexity to the interface.

      The new software enables snmp monitoring, ssh access, and VLAN control.

      my question is, what's the difference between openwrt and dd-wrt?
      • by Penguin Programmer (241752) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @01:18PM (#18395281) Homepage

        my question is, what's the difference between openwrt and dd-wrt?


        It's like the difference between Linux and Ubuntu (well, sort of). OpenWRT is mostly a nice kernel - very basic package that doesn't have a pretty interface and all that stuff that people want. They do provide a minimal distribution, but (at least last I checked) it's not very polished. DD-WRT is the OpenWRT kernel with a nice web interface, some good defaults, etc. added on.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 18, 2007 @01:52PM (#18395481)
          no...dd-wrt is not openwrt + webinterface.
          dd-wrt is the old firmware - modified
          openwrt - firmware written from scratch

          x-wrt.org is a really nice webinterface to openwrt, btw
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          Ahhh, I wasn't aware that they were even part of the same project.

          The DD-WRT website is very scant on details and only seems to provide a decent explanation of what it is if you already know everything that it does.

          I really wish it had a complete list of features on there. After installing it, I tried to figure out (for several hours) how to do snmp monitoring so I could add it to my cacti [cacti.net] graphs only to realize that it had that capability in there already. A simple google search would have shown the same t
        • It's more like the difference between NetBSD and Linux. While most programs that run on one can be made to run on the other, and the idea behind how they work is a lot the same because both came from the same base, the internals are fundamentally different.

          DD-Wrt is *not* OpenWRT with a nice UI. That doesn't do either of them credit. *Both* come with a nice web interface.

          The difference today is that OpenWRT is managed by a large group with different goals and ideas. DD-Wrt is done by one guy, and his goal is to make it as useful as possible for what he thinks users want to use it for.
          They also started different ways - which also leads to the differences in goals. OpenWRT was really the first project of its kind and has always had generally the goal that it does now - whatever people who want to work on it want it to do. DD-Wrt is based on the now-GPL violating commercial WRT distro called Alchemy - mostly because they wanted the project to continue despite the fact that it's owner wanted to start closing the source.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Vellmont (569020)

        my question is, what's the difference between openwrt and dd-wrt?

        OpenWRT is the only WRT distribution I've found that doesn't try to provide a single static firmware, but rather takes the approach of desktop/server linux distribution and provides package management. I'm not terribly familiar with DD-WRT, but I don't believe it takes the package management approach.

        Personally I believe the package management approach is a better way to go. Don't like the version of -package- OpenWRT has provided? Go find
  • by uomolinux (838417) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @11:37AM (#18394701) Homepage Journal
    I did it with a Linksys router I jus bought for that purpose, it work flawlessly, the interesting part of it is the huge config possibilities offered over the trad. factory default microprogram installed on it. That is not so new hack but it will make your admin life easier
    • by Southpaw018 (793465) * on Sunday March 18, 2007 @11:52AM (#18394793) Journal
      The main advantage of DD-WRT [dd-wrt.com] over OpenWRT is that it's more of an out-of-the-box solution. In fact, the default firmware would be recognizable to people familiar with moderate to advanced networking, web GUI and all. DD-WRT also retains some, but nowhere near all, of the amazingly powerful options offered by OpenWRT. Neither firmware is really appropriate for Joe User, but DD-WRT is appropriate for a far broader user base.
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I found Tomato Firmware [polarcloud.com] to have a better web interface than DD-WRT.

        Tomato makes full use of AJAX and the features are ideal for the "average joe" -- it is much easier to use than the default firmware on my Buffalo WHR-G54S, while offering more features.

        The combo of "more features" plus "easier to use" is pretty rare in software but Tomato succeeds.
      • I can recommend the X-Wrt [x-wrt.org] add-on suite for OpenWrt [openwrt.org]. It replaces the OpenWrt webif (web interface) with webif^2, which is much-improved. It adds a lot more control, many more options, real-time performance graphs, and all sorts of neat things. Installation was a single command, or you can do it via a web page.
  • Another example of how free software is better than proprietary software.
  • An image of a cat-5 cable for a story about a wireless device?
  • DD-WRT (Score:3, Informative)

    by adamstew (909658) * on Sunday March 18, 2007 @11:50AM (#18394781)
    You might also check out dd-wrt [dd-wrt.com]. Offers a lot of the same features. I'm not saying it's better, but it's an alternative...and works with many linksys, buffalo, asus, belkin, etc. And their wiki is a wealth of information on configuration and use of the dd-wrt firmware.
    • by bruns (75399)
      Since it is based on OpenWRT, it can use many of the same extra packages to add extra features.
    • I`ve not gone thru the list yet of kit that works - but when i looked at this before it was for wireless routers that you use with cable connections.

      I`m moving house soon to a non-cabled street and so i`m gonna need a new ADSL wireless router...
      Anyone know of any that you can flash?

  • My wireless router completely failed to download the webpage.

    I suppose it could stand to be beefed up a little.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 18, 2007 @12:04PM (#18394857)
    Linksys routers (v4.0 and earlier) were great before they started reducing RAM and ROM size (w/o reducing the price of course).

    Today you get only Linksys routers with about 8MB RAM and 2MB ROM.

    You can't do anything with them. They're completely worthless.

    With a 2MB ROM you're forced to use the micro size image of OpenWRT which doesn't even include pppoe(!).
    (But DD-WRT which is by far better than OpenWRT (IMO) does have pppoe in their micro size image.)

    I returned all Linksys routers I had and switched to the Asus WL-500g which has plenty of RAM and ROM and USB.

    Linksys completely failed it. The Linux version of their router is no replacement and I really hope they will be sold or crapped by Cisco soon because they deserve it (for being stupid).
    • by khraz (979373) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @12:19PM (#18394947)
      Today you get only Linksys routers with about 8MB RAM and 2MB ROM. You can't do anything with them. They're completely worthless. With a 2MB ROM you're forced to use the micro size image of OpenWRT which doesn't even include pppoe(!). Except that Linksys is selling the WRT54GL series routers, with 16 MB RAM and 4 MB ROM - which fits all firmwares. After all, the GL is basically a WRT54G 3.0 and it's been released SPECIFICALLY for modders and hackers. AFAIR, it is also cheaper than the regular G-series. Here's a convenient list right here [wikipedia.org].
    • Not only that, but their quality has drastically decreased in the past five years or so. I don't know if it's because Cisco purchased them or what, but the amount of stories I hear about people having to unplug/replug their routers once a week so it regains connection is absurd. Back in 2000 or so I never had a problem with them.
    • by Sfing_ter (99478)
      You state it clearly but miss the point, Cisco owns them, when you open the boxen of the new items you get a ton of literature popping out about "Upgrading" to "real routers by Cisco", when you upgrade firmware (on your older routers) now, you get a Linksys/Cisco logo on your interface, mayhaps they should rename the company Pancho...
    • "8MB RAM and 2MB ROM ought to be enough for anybody."

      *ducks*
    • by peekitty (613568)
      A great bargain alternative is the Dell Truemobile 2300, it runs DD-WRT perfectly, and can usually be found for less than $20 on ebay thanks to a critical vulnerability [securityfocus.com] in the stock firmware that Dell chose not to address.
    • by soliptic (665417)
      I agree, as far as I can tell Linksys are garbage.

      Bought one of their routers the about 10 days ago. Plugged it in - picked up my house's wireless, "you are authenticated with the access point but the internet cannot be found". Er.... You what? Switch it off, switch on again, and occasionally the internet would be "found", occasionally it wouldn't be. It seemed like a problem with DHCP, because when it didn't work /ipconfig was giving me nothing for gateway/etc - when I filled in those values manually
  • WRT54G v5, v6 (Score:3, Informative)

    by ulzeraj (1009869) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @12:26PM (#18394977) Homepage
    Yeah, I got one of that WRT54G from linksys, but it happens to be a v5 router preloaded with vxWorks proprietary operational system. Linksys' WRT54G and WRT54GS v5, v5.1 and v6 versions got less flash (2 mb flash memory and 8 mb of ram instead of 4 mb flash and 16 mb ram from other versions), It's possible to load a very minimal OpenWRT firmware into it, but it wont give you all advantages that you got with more storage.

    The best model for using OpwnWRT are the "L" series (WRT54GL) that according to Linksys, are built specially for the Linux modding comunity.

    Don't buy v5 or v6 if you want to use OpenWRT.Consult this page before acquiring a router: http://wiki.openwrt.org/TableOfHardware?action=sho w&redirect=toh [openwrt.org]
  • This isn't like the time they told me to solder the ends of a light cord to my modem to make my internet faster is it ?
  • by straponego (521991) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @12:30PM (#18395005)
    I haven't gotten around to flashing my old Fon router with it yet, but a friend gave me a demo of his Linksys/Tomato setup... and it is very, very nice indeed. Almost any data you could think of wanting, any control you might want to exercise, presented in a clean, fast AJAX UI: http://www.polarcloud.com/tomato [polarcloud.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 18, 2007 @12:35PM (#18395027)
    DD-WRT is the most feature rich of the WRT firmwares, and the v24 promises of multiple, virtual APs with different encryptions will make me upgrade, but I like Thibor's Hyperwrt better if you don't need all the bells and whistles.

    Thibor's HyperWRT is closer to the stock firmware than DD-WRT. It offers telnet and configured startup scripts. It offers static IP assignment, QoS, WDS, and client bridge mode. It switches between client and AP mode with much shorter reboots then DD-WRT and has a smaller footprint.

    So I recommend Thibor's for most users, and DD-WRT for those running hotspots or VOIP.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    A few weeks ago, installed Tomato firmware [polarcloud.com] 1.04 for my Buffalo WHR-G54S wireless router. (But I see now they have 1.05 available.)

    So far, I've been blown away by the fantastic web interface and the rock-solid performance. It just freakin works without having to reboot the router every few weeks.

    The web interface is simply amazing compared to what I've seen in other firmware. The QOS settings are a breeze to setup, too.

    If you don't like Tomato, checkout other firmware projects like:

    DD-WRT
    FreeWRT
    HyperWRT (
  • by delirium of disorder (701392) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @12:36PM (#18395037) Homepage Journal
    I always wanted to run a custom Linux firmware on a Linksys WRT54G, but when I went to several stores, all I saw on the box was the model number, not the version number. Some versions are compatible, others have different hardware and are not, but all the boxes look the same. This is rather strange considering most versions (presumably the free software compatible ones) already run Linux by default! Why don't companies proudly advertise the fact that they run Linux and that it is hackable? Those are useful features! The same goes for zipit [zipitwireless.com] wireless messengers. All run Linux, but the manufacture released a new version that cryptographically locks out the ability to load the device with a custom firmware, so you need to modify the hardware if you want to use these neat and inexpensive little computers as pocket web browsers, ssh clients, ogg players, or other cool things like that. By default they are only useful as an IM device. Why do companies go out of their way to stop their users from improving their own hardware and in the long run, doing free development work for the company? Why don't corporations want essentially unpaid dedicated employees?

    I also would love to have a media player that runs Rockbox [rockbox.org], but various hardware is in different stages of rockbox support. It seams like there would be a significant market for products that advertise the fact that they work with free software firmwares right on the box. It's a shame that many industries view "proprietary" as a feature, as something developed uniquely and innovatively by one company. Anything proprietary should instead be suspect of being buggy because there is no way for the public to verify it's security, it probably has poor support for open standards, and it's probably feature limited and uncustomizable.
    • by Deadstick (535032)
      You can tell the version by the model number...the information is on linksysinfo.org. But it's not too important, because any WRT54g you find in a brick-and-mortar store today is almost certainly version 5 or higher. These units use VMWorks which makes them cheaper to make because it uses less RAM and flash memory. Not that the price has come down, of course.

      However version 4 is not really gone: it's now called the WRT54GL, still runs Linux, will accept the third-party firmwares, and sells mostly via online
    • by Mr. Flibble (12943) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @03:13PM (#18396035) Homepage
      Another poster has mentioned this, but you want the WRT54GL. I just helped a Co-worker buy one from NCIX.com and I flashed it with DD-WRT v.23 SP2.

      http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=17408&v pn=WRT54GL&manufacture=Linksys [ncix.com]

      Yes, it costs more than the Vx-Works models, but then it does *SO* much more. Plus, the V1.1 model can be flashed directly with the latest version of DD-WRT, without having to take the intermediate step of flashing with DD-WRT Mini first.

      I am so impressed with mine, that I am considering buying two more. In all seriousness. (I can run Apache, Bittorrent etc on these things - and they consume far less power than a PC in doing so.)
    • by Andy Dodd (701)
      Buffalo WHR-G54S. Readily available in brick-and-mortar stores, supported by nearly every distribution that supports WRT54G variants, and cheaper than the mailorder-only GL.

      I got mine at Circuit City for $49. Rock solid and works great with DD-WRT.
  • Working article link (Score:4, Informative)

    by Matt Perry (793115) <perry.matt54NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Sunday March 18, 2007 @12:37PM (#18395043)
    Here's a working link to the article: http://weblog.infoworld.com/geeks/archives/2007/02 /beef_up_your_wi.html [infoworld.com]
  • I just bought a Linksys WRT54GL on Friday (it hasn't been delivered yet, though). Part of the decision was that this line of routers enjoys such wide use, seems to be very well supported on the Internet both with the regular and alternative firmwares. I plan on using either DD-WRT or Tomato (OpenWRT seems a little more complicated with less features, but the difference is probably not big). Apart from what the article says (obvious and few things), does anyone have any advice for me, things I need to look o
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Paco103 (758133)
      I just got one a few weeks ago and replaced my WRT54G v6 with it. The same day I flashed to DD-WRT micro (they say you're supposed to start with that before upgrading the version you really want), and panicked because the web interface never game back. I did a reset on the router, and it's been running ever since. I was really impressed the other day when I upgraded to the VPN version of DD-WRT, and during the reboot I never even noticed an internet connection loss. Even MSN and AOL messengers stayed co
    • DD-WRT is great, I've been using it for a few years on an old Linksys WRT54G v1.1. I recently bought a new WRT54GL because I wanted to build a wireless bridge. I decided to make the new router my main router because it has a 200mhz processor versus my old 1.1 model which has a 125mhz processor. Both models have the same version of DD-WRT installed. I noticed a huge difference with the new WRT54GL, accessing the web interface is much faster and more responsive. My old router is now a wireless client/bridge
  • by heroine (1220) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @12:39PM (#18395061) Homepage
    OpenWRT wasn't very practical. It only worked on really old hardware that wasn't in stores anymore. Even then, you needed exactly the right serial number revision. The serial numbers that worked were made in small quantities and virtually impossible to find. Flashed a Linksys access point and bricked it. There was no JTAG or bootloader on the router to recover it.

    What's really needed is wireless router for desktop computers instead of attempts to reverse engineer Linksys routers just for the sake of being embedded.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rossifer (581396)

      OpenWRT wasn't very practical. It only worked on really old hardware that wasn't in stores anymore.

      I've only flashed two Linksys routers with DD-WRT, but my experience couldn't be more different from yours... One is three years old, but the other is a six month old WRT54GL, and both still work like a charm.

      Even then, you needed exactly the right serial number revision. The serial numbers that worked were made in small quantities and virtually impossible to find.

      On this point, you're simply misinformed. Al

  • by ZlatanZ++ (978060)
    Does it run linux? hehehe
  • The article doesn't mention QoS, for me this was the main reason I got the wrt54g and openwrt. You can put traffic control [lartc.org] on there and shape/limit the traffic going through. Together with the marking of packets from iptables this is a very powerful function only usually available on much more expensive kit.

    I used it so I could play FPS without latency problems when other users were on the LAN. It would also really help out for VoIP.

    I guess Linksys won't advertise this fact, which is a shame as it could mak
  • Well, because it isn't free I will probably get modded down for this, but I have messed around with stuff like OpenWRT on a Linksys and although it was kind of neat, what I would do is ditch the Linksys and run Mikrotik's RouterOS on a RouterBoard or similar hardware. I'm not saying it is perfect, but the RouterOS platform, which based on Linux, along with a custom-built CLI, is the most advanced of any software I have ever looked at for a wireless AP.

    Transporter_ii
  • I'm always wondering why Linksys, or their OEMs, or anybody, don't sell a 'naked' router, or 'micro PC' that runs linux, and by default doesn't do much more. Developing and maintaining the firmware must cost them money, and they don't earn any money by including nagware (like Dell does), so these naked, no-firmware micro PCs should actually be cheaper than the real ones. But all i can find online which comes close to "a Linksys router without an OS, so go ahead and hack the hell out of it" would be stuff li
    • by westlake (615356)
      I'm always wondering why Linksys, or their OEMs, or anybody, don't sell a 'naked' router, or 'micro PC' that runs linux, and by default doesn't do much more.

      The answer is simple and the answer is always the same. The direct seller and big box retailer doesn't need and doesn't want the hobbyist. You build and ship for the profitable - predictable - mass-market sale.

  • There are routers that do not allow flashing a custom firmware: However, most devices do have bugs in the webinterface that allows the owner to execute arbitrary shell code to circumvent this protection. Often, there a different approaches: The routers given away by FON (La Fonera) did have some web interface vulnerabilities, however FON fixed this in the latest firmware (0.7.1-2). They did not pay attention to their chillispot system: There is an attack vector that involves spoofing the FON radius server,
  • This paper
    http://eprint.iacr.org/2006/086.pdf [iacr.org]
    includes a section on openwrt and basically claims that you shouldn't trust it to provide good random numbers (and hence good network crypto security) because it doesn't have any of the standard sources of entropy (keyboard, mouse, harddrive) that linux servers have. Of course, it will likely be no worse than the standard firmware but that isn't really the point here.
  • For all those who have a WRT, seriously, try this firmware instead. I switched ot it months ago and have not looked back:

    http://www.polarcloud.com/tomato [polarcloud.com]

    AJAX based, real time traffic charts, more options, much more robust QOS configuration, ability to run your own scripts, auto mounting of external network volumes, and the options go on and on.

    I have nothing bad to say about this firmware, at all.

  • I use DD-Wrt, and am very impressed with how solid, stable, flexible, and easy-to-use it is.

    Some examples of its versatility:

    When I first moved into my new house, I had no internet, so I shared my neighbors; in this case, I configured it as a repeated for the same wireless network. It invisibly acted as another node/booster for this network for my house, working beautifully and seamleslsy.

    When I finally did get internet, the telco's router had built-in wireless, so I didn't need my Linksys/DD-Wrt box for t

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