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Beef Up Your Wireless Router

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the and-make-it-wear-a-pretty-dress dept.

Networking 189

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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ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18394661)

If you don't know what Cmd-Shift-1 and Cmd-Shift-2 are for, GTFO.
If you think Firefox is a decent Mac application, GTFO.
If you're still looking for the "maximize" button, GTFO.
If you don't know Clarus from Carl Sagan, GTFO.

Bandwagon jumpers are not welcome among real Mac users [] . Keep your filthy PC fingers to yourself.


ringbarer (545020) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394689)

"Creative" women pretend to be special, when in truth they are merely presenting their vaginas for penetration, and contribute nothing of worth.

Re:ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18395041)

If any of those things were sane points, you might not sound like a complete idiot. Not to mention you're completely off-topic. Speaking of bandwagon-jumpers, aren't Mac-users nothing but a collection of fad-chasers? OH IPOD SHUFFLE MINI LOL I R TEH SEX 4 TAHT

Re:ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18395073)

Real Mac users don't use Macs for the image. Real Mac users didn't just buy their Macs last week at Hot Topic. We've been here on the Mac platform since 1984 and believe me, we hate the recent influx of switcheurs almost as much as we don't give a damn about PC users.

Re:ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (5, Insightful)

Xeger (20906) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395303)

Wait ... so, you've been on the Mac platform since the days when it consisted of drastically overpriced hardware, a proprietary, marginally stable cooperative-multitasking OS and a very expensive developer's toolkit? I'm guessing you weren't a geek at the time -- if you were, you'd've thrown up your hands in disgust, as I did, and moved to platform that at least offered a command line interface.

Congratulations on not being a geek, I guess ... do you want a cookie or a prize?


Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18395345)

How nauseatingly narrowminded of you to assume that a geek can't have vision and good taste.

You, sir, are no geek but rather a dweeb. Congratulations on so being. I'd offer you a cookie, but you're fat and greasy enough already.


alisson (1040324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395743)

I believe he means to imply "We're smart enough to realise that more mac users means more mac viruses, and more mac newbies asking for advice."

Seriously everyone, stick with windows. I'm sure the brain hemorrhaging is good for the economy >:)

Where's the beef (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18394663)

Too bad he didn't beef up his server and/or pipe... no comments (FP!), and it's already burnt to a crisp!

Maybe it is just me... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Maybe it is just me... (4, Informative)

celardore (844933) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Maybe it is just me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18395955)

Yeah, I use ddwrt (and openwrt before) on a wrt54gL in client mode to connect to my co-op's wireless network. In the non-extreme environment of my apartment, it overheats very easily. Not just downloading isos, but surfing flickr pushed it to the point where it'd just hang constantly. The solution is to point a fan at it until I get around to installing heatsinks. Or, use the useful underclocking features of said distros.

Heck, every wireless router for consumers I've bought lately (a d-link, a linksys, and a netgear) has had overheating problems despite being installed in different locations that don't experience extreme temperatures. Underclocking rocks, modern routers suck, and ipcop on a cheap pc w/ wireless cards and a few NICs is unbeatable for routing.

Bittorent (IP Connections) (1)

aywwts4 (610966) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396033)

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. /55/1/4/ [] The article has such worthless gems as "Peer-to-Peer may be the domain of bootleggers, slackers and cheapskates today, but it probably will play an important part in the legal distribution of video in the not too distant future." "The jury is still out as to whether the problem is in the router itself, or due to ISP bandwidth throttling." Then concludes with the statement, all of the routers can handle your tiny pipes, and anyways, your just going to get sued if your router works too well.

Would the additional IP connections cure this problem? This is reason number one why I am buying a new router, I am sick of having to cycle the power on mine every couple of days. is this router/linux combo up to the task of lots of bittorent for days at a time?

Also, on an unrelated note, Does anyone know if its possible to run two security modes, One that is setup for insecure WEP and only allow my Nintendo DS and Wii on the network, and the other running a more secure network authentication.

Or would it be possible to run a Open access point, with throttled speeds, for my neighbors in my apartment building, and a closed access point with authentication that runs at full speed?

Or would the dual security modes be something I should setup with the two routers I will soon have?

Re:Bittorent (IP Connections) (1)

aywwts4 (610966) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396205)

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:Maybe it is just me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18396199)

Afte 4 linksys and 3 d-link routers I went with belken.

So far so good and the amazing thing is that the GUI doesn't look like it was designed by an 8 year old.

Not that anyone cares, but both linksys and dlink are a joke, which is sad considering the name branding they've done over the years.

dumb switches work (how can you fuck that up?) but their routers are kludgey piles of plastic.

My dlink just gave up the ghost 3 days ago, just "faded out"....literally, i was watching the LED's and just watched them fade to almost off like the termininators eye at the end (but green not red).

Anyway, just my thought.


Re:Maybe it is just me... (4, Interesting)

JimBowen (885772) | more than 7 years ago | (#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. []

Re:Maybe it is just me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18395905)

I suggest SmoothWall [] if you want and easy to use and setup PC firewall. The forums section of the site has many mods to the base package. I've been using it for at least 2 years on a Pentium 200 with 128MB ram with no problems at all. I switched to SmoothWall because I got tired of the different quirks and problems and lack of flexibility that seem to plague every commercial personal home router I have ever tried.

Re:Maybe it is just me... (2, Informative)

blhack (921171) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395635)

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 godsend for me at work, any time i need a spare wireless AP, or other networking swiss army knife...the WRT is there and waiting. The thing has actually impressed my boss so much that he let me buy a few soekris boards to run embedded linux.

Beef Up Your Wireless Router (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18395769)

Wire it.

Re:Maybe it is just me... (2, Informative)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395999)

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 Linksys RV082.

Re:Maybe it is just me... (1)

drix (4602) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396043)

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.

Re:Maybe it is just me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18396229)

actually, my linksys has performed better since i upgraded to dd-wrt (i haven't even overclocked it)

My Routers already does a lot of that stuff (3, Informative)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:My Routers already does a lot of that stuff (4, Informative)

MyDixieWrecked (548719) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394797)

I just installed dd-wrt [] 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?

Re:My Routers already does a lot of that stuff (4, Informative)

Penguin Programmer (241752) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395281)

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.

Try webif^2 for OpenWRT (1)

treuf (99331) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395455)

For those comparing DD-WRT to OpenWRT regarding ease of use - you should check out the webif^2 package for OpenWRT which brings ease of use to the nice OpenWRT backend.

Everything is controlled from a nicely organized GUI, from basic network setup to OpenVPN and chillispot .

Check it out : []

Re:My Routers already does a lot of that stuff (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18395481)

no...dd-wrt is not openwrt + webinterface.
dd-wrt is the old firmware - modified
openwrt - firmware written from scratch is a really nice webinterface to openwrt, btw

OpenWRT is Slackware, DD-WRT is Ubuntu (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18395319)

Having used both, OpenWRT is great for acting as a server for various things, while DD-WRT is great for using it primarily as an advanced router.

Re:My Routers already does a lot of that stuff (2, Interesting)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395589)

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 a different one. Want some new feature they aren't providing? Go create one yourself. The UI may not be as polished, but I think the power you gain with package mangement is worth the added pain of having to configure the advanced stuff via command-line and editing files. (The less advanced stuff is all configurable via web interface).

dd-wrt work just fine (3, Informative)

uomolinux (838417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394701)

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

Re:dd-wrt work just fine (5, Informative)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394793)

The main advantage of DD-WRT [] 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:dd-wrt work just fine (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18395085)

I found Tomato Firmware [] 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.

Re:dd-wrt work just fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18395809)

the main advantage of ddwrt is that it work on linksys v5 and above

Kharma whoring - here's the text. (0, Redundant)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394711)

Sure you have one. Everyone nowadays has at least one wireless router at home, be it Linksys, NetGear, D-Link, or Buffalo. With new wireless products being released nearly every month, I am willing to bet that some of you even have a couple of the older wireless routers collecting dust in your closet. Well, it's time to take them out and put them to good use.

Check out the OpenWRT project. OpenWRT is a Linux distribution for embedded devices, and it brings a lot of exciting possibilities to your humble wireless router. Although still in its release candidate stage (currently at RC6), OpenWRT is very usable and feature-rich right out of the box. Be warned, you could void your manufacturer warranty by installing OpenWRT on your wireless routers.

So what can you do with an embedded Linux device running on limited RAM and very small storage? As it turns out, quite a lot actually. You can install asterisk, and have your personal, customizable PBX (private branch exchange). If you already have a SIP phone or some kind of VoIP phone interface (such as the Cisco ATA 186 adapter), you can have your very own VoIP system at home, all running out of your low power-consumption embedded hardware.

Put your router/firewall on steroids by installing packages like nmap (network security scanner), snort (intrusion detection), and tcpdump (packet sniffer). Together with iptables (which comes with the Linux kernel), you can turn your OpenWRT box into a powerful security tool. Install openvpn, and you have a very affordable VPN device. And if it strikes your fancy, you can install quagga and turn your dusty little Linksys into an OSPF and BGP-capable router.

Want to provide your own wireless hotspot? No problem. Install chillispot, and you are ready to go. You can even install FreeRADIUS on the OpenWRT for the authentication back-end, and WPA (wifi protected access) for the added security.

You can turn it into an all purpose office server by installing DHCP, cups (print server), lighthttpd (web server), NTP (time server) and OpenSSH or dropbear (secure remote administration). If your router has a USB port, you can also turn it into a file server by hooking it up with a USB hard drive and installing NFS.

And don't forget that this is a wireless router. It has a wireless card, so take advantage of it! Install kismet on it, and you have a wireless sniffer. This can prove to be invaluable if you ever need to analyze the airwaves at a remote location, but don't want to leave your expensive laptop on-site. Drop in place a $50 OpenWRT box loaded with kismet instead.

Here is one way to use your old wireless router: In the past, I had setup a few cheap Linksys WRT54g boxes with OpenWRT and vtun, and dropped one at each of our remote locations. This gave me the ability to have layer 2 tunnels to each of the remote sites. I kept one in my house, and if I ever needed to troubleshoot a remote network problem, I just setup the tunnel between the two OpenWRT boxes, connected my laptop or testing equipment to the OpenWRT sitting on my desk, and it was like being on the remote physical network! This saved me a number of times, being able to perform packet capturing on the remote network, observing the network traffic in real-time, requesting and obtaining DHCP addresses... essentially, I could experience exactly what the remote user was experiencing, all from the comfort of my own home.
This is just the beginning of what embedded Linux can do for you. To find out more what embedded Linux can do fo r your enterprise, check out Secure Linux Appliances in Your Enterprise. So dig up your old wireless router, check it against the hardware compatibility list, and see if your router is OpenWRT compatible, and open yourself up to a wrt of possibilities!

Josh Kuo
Co-Owner of q!Bang Solutions

Re:Kharma whoring - here's the text. (1, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395491)

Kharma whoring - here's the text.

Also known as the "Instant +5, just add water" technique.

Worked pretty well too, I see.

/.'d (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18394713)


Re:/.'d (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18394913)

Perhaps his beefed up router is also hosting the article...

Woohoo! (1)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394725)

Another example of how free software is better than proprietary software.

Isn't it ironic? (2, Funny)

jonathan3003 (797920) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394751)

An image of a cat-5 cable for a story about a wireless device?

Re:Isn't it ironic? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18394835)

An image of a cat-5 cable for a story about a wireless device?

Oh my god! Good catch. Very unnatural to have a cable connector representing networking category of news. I really can't make the association to wireless networking. Thank you for karmawhoring this non-issue.

Re:Isn't it ironic? (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395059)

Thank you for karmawhoring this non-issue.
Actually, funny mods don't give any karma, and they expose you to "overrated" mods (which do take karma away).

Re:Isn't it ironic? (5, Funny)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394879)

Maybe because that's the ultimate way to fix all wireless problems?

Re:Isn't it ironic? (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395017)

It was either that, or thousands of "mission icon" bug reports.

Re:Isn't it ironic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18395313)

Quite ironic, wireless routers never need to be plugged in to a wired network to provide full end-to-end functionality

Re:Isn't it ironic? (1)

GoRK (10018) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395351)

Make no mistake, the device is wired and although there are a couple of modes (WDS, etc.) in which it can function without using its ethernet interface, for the most part it will simply be used as a wireless terminus and thus attach to the wired network. Would you rather a picture of AIR?

Re:Isn't it ironic? (1)

kv9 (697238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395807)

Would you rather a picture of AIR?

eh? []

Re:Isn't it ironic? (1)

advs89 (921250) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395893)

I'm curious... what makes you so sure it's cat-5???

DD-WRT (3, Informative)

adamstew (909658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394781)

You might also check out dd-wrt [] . 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.

Re:DD-WRT (1)

bruns (75399) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394809)

Since it is based on OpenWRT, it can use many of the same extra packages to add extra features.

I guess I need to do this... (1)

LoveShack (190582) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394805)

My wireless router completely failed to download the webpage.

I suppose it could stand to be beefed up a little.

Stay the hell away from Linksys!!! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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).

Re:Stay the hell away from Linksys!!! (5, Informative)

khraz (979373) | more than 7 years ago | (#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 [] .

Re:Stay the hell away from Linksys!!! (1)

xehonk (930376) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395239)

And OpenWRT runs on quite a few other routers other than Linksys [] . I'm running OpenWRT on my WL-500g Premium (8mb flash, 32mb ram) for example and I love it.

Re:Stay the hell away from Linksys!!! (4, Insightful)

m0i (192134) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395267)

After buying a Linksys 54Gv6 and realizing its shortcomings (small flash/memory), I found the Buffalo WHR-G54S. Same memory as the 54GL, but with the 125mbps chipset. All this for a good price (38USD [] !).

Re:Stay the hell away from Linksys!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18394989)

no pppoe? that's what i call defective by design. or is that only for microsoft and not the linux crap out there?

Re:Stay the hell away from Linksys!!! (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396053)

No, it's only for things that are designed to break. You can't call something "defective by design" simply because it lacks a feature you would like, regardless of who made it.

Re:Stay the hell away from Linksys!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18396165)

My Linksys WRT54GXv2 says it has QoS built in. This isn't the low priced model, rather I spent over $130 USD on it. ct_C2&childpagename=US%2FLayout&cid=1115416825933& pagename=Linksys%2FCommon%2FVisitorWrapper [] and has a QoS configuration page. After working with support for months to get QoS working, then sending the unit back, I bought a cheap Buffalo as recommended by DD-WRT FAQ - ch_router_should_I_buy.3F [] . Ok, the day the $30 USD router arrived, I loaded DD-WRT, setup QoS for VoIP and started calling friends. I'm on /., so it was a short list. At the same time, I ran multiple bandwidth speed tests while chatting. At the end of the conversation, I told them that I'd been using VoIP **and** running a speed test.

There are too many features in DD-WRT to list here. QoS that works, OpenVPN are the main reasons I have it.

Highly recommended to stay away from Linksys. For folks that aren't going to replace their firmware, Linksys is fine, but for those who want to get more than stock out of the hw, don't touch it.

Re:Stay the hell away from Linksys!!! (1)

cbelle13013 (812401) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395001)

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.

Re:Stay the hell away from Linksys!!! (1)

Plaid Phantom (818438) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395329)

I've heard that Cisco is basically using Linksys as a testing ground for products before releasing them under the Cisco name.

Not entirely sure if that's true or not, but that might be it.

Re:Stay the hell away from Linksys!!! (1)

Sfing_ter (99478) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395047)

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...

Wait for it... (1)

BarlowBrad (940854) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395175)

"8MB RAM and 2MB ROM ought to be enough for anybody."


Re:Stay the hell away from Linksys!!! (2)

peekitty (613568) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395223)

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 [] in the stock firmware that Dell chose not to address.

Re:Stay the hell away from Linksys!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18395227)

People should really just use a pc for a router.

Heres a guide that lets you use dd-wrt on a pc if anyone is interested. []

Re:Stay the hell away from Linksys!!! (3, Funny)

SScorpio (595836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395465)

Ya because running a fully computer that generates noise and draws a lot of power is so superior to running a small embedded device that runs silently and won't make a hit on your power bill.

Spammers Needed! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18394901)

Due to privacy violations and court corruption in my country spammers are needed to take down a site: [] Please, help!

WRT54G v5, v6 (3, Informative)

ulzeraj (1009869) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394977)

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: w&redirect=toh []

Re:WRT54G v5, v6 (1)

walter_f (889353) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395981)

Most of the routers in the Table of Hardware bearing the "supported" tag are equipped with some version of the Broadcom 47xx chip. This may be handy for a first cross check.

Second, besides Linksys models there are more routers from other manufacturers that are supported as well.

Especially with Asus and Buffalo routers, one does not have to deal with different sub-sub-revisions of a router, as is the case with Linksys (and Netgear).


Light cord (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394991)

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 ?

Also check out Tomato (4, Interesting)

straponego (521991) | more than 7 years ago | (#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: []

Thibor's HyperWRT and DD-WRT are better options (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Tomato Firmware has AJAX Web Interface and more (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18395029)

A few weeks ago, installed Tomato firmware [] 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:

HyperWRT (official)
HyperWRT Thibor

Finding working hardware for embedded Linux (3, Interesting)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395037)

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 [] 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 [] , 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.

Really not that hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18395197)

Either order online from a retailer like Newegg that caries the Linux model of the Linksys router, or buy a non-Linksys that works with these firmwares like the Buffalo 802.11g models (most N stuff uses different hardware). You can find the Buffalo units at stores like Best Buy, and some of them are actually favored over the original Linksys units.

Re:Finding working hardware for embedded Linux (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395201)

You can tell the version by the model number...the information is on 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 dealers at a higher price.


Re:Finding working hardware for embedded Linux (3, Informative)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396035)

Another poster has mentioned this, but you want the WRT54GL. I just helped a Co-worker buy one from and I flashed it with DD-WRT v.23 SP2. pn=WRT54GL&manufacture=Linksys []

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.)

What a coincidence (1)

capnez (873351) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395055)

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 out for or just really cool applications?

Re:What a coincidence (3, Informative)

Paco103 (758133) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395217)

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 connected.

I haven't used a lot of the features, but I do like the control I have. I boosted my power to 35mW from 28, and that seems to have made my room mates upstairs connections a bit more stable. I can't see how a significant boost would help without external high gain antennas, because the wi-fi client cards are still limited to a very low power output. I can also view neighboring access points with it to find free channels, which is much easier than having to boot up my laptop to check. It's easy to view how the hardware is utilized, and it seems the wireless connection to my media box has less dropped frames and freezes when streaming a full DVD quality 8Mbps MPEG2 file than it did with the stock firmware.

I haven't regretted it at all.

Re:What a coincidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18395883)

Recommend canceling your order and getting a Buffalo instead. It is less expensive and fully supported. In fact, it is recommended by the dd-wrt FAQ as the best WRT clone to purchase.
Buffalo WHR-G54S is the cheap version - which I have.
There's a more feature-capable version also listed in the FAQ ch_router_should_I_buy.3F []

This firmware solved my QoS problems with my VoIP provider. Ever since installing and configuring the VoIP, it has changed my calls from choppy to perfect. BTW, I have an expensive Linksys that also had QoS, but it never worked after working with linksys support for 4+ months. They finally said, send it back - 3 year warranty. The replacement didn't do QoS any better. BrokenByDesign.

Re:What a coincidence (1)

capnez (873351) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396191)

Unfortunately, Buffalo routers are not sold where I live (Austria). I remember that this was a recommended modell and tried to find one, but to no avail.

Personal experience with "OpenWRT" (2, Insightful)

heroine (1220) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395061)

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:Personal experience with "OpenWRT" (1)

Nivex (20616) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395343)

Might I suggest m0n0wall [] . Runs on embedded platforms such as the Soekris or WARP as well as standard PCs. One interesting feature is their CD build. The "firmware" is read-only on the CD and only the settings are stored on a floppy disk. Rumor has it storage on a USB key is coming soon.

Re:Personal experience with "OpenWRT" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18395423)

Monowall is great, but I ended up using pfSense as I prefer the BSD firewall engine. But I agee, a stand alone box is going to run laps around a modded Linksys.

Re:Personal experience with "OpenWRT" (2, Insightful)

rossifer (581396) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395675)

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. Almost all Version 2-4 Linksys WRT54G and all WRT54GL routers work with DD-WRT just fine. And even then, DD-WRT can be run on an enormous number of broadcom-based broadband routers. Linksys just happened to be the first to sell them really cheap.

Flashed a Linksys access point and bricked it. There was no JTAG or bootloader on the router to recover it.
This is a real risk, though if you follow the flashing procedures exactly the risk is pretty low (in fact, you're the first non DD-WRT developer I've heard of who has bricked one). Luckily, the best router [] for DD-WRT is only $45 shipped, so even if things do go wrong, you're not out a whole lot of money.

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.
Have you compared the power consumption of a small desktop running linux vs a broadband router? 150W vs. 10W is what my "kill-a-watt" says. 140W running 24/7 costs me about $15/month (southern California), so the Buffalo router pays for itself in reduced power bills in three months. Another perspective: over the course of a year I would save almost $180 in power bills. I don't know about you, but I can do a lot with $180 and I'd rather keep that money instead of handing it over to the power company.


DD-WRT blows OpenWRT away! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18395259)

DD-WRT blows OpenWRT away! OpenWRT eats ass. It has a LOOOOOOOOOONG way to go before it even comes CLOSE to dd-wrt.
Just the facts.

Yeah, but... (2, Funny)

ZlatanZ++ (978060) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395269)

Does it run linux? hehehe

Re:Yeah, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18395663)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of these....

Re:Yeah, but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18396183)

why do you want to know? are you some kind of dick sucking fag or something? only fags run linux. if you want to get fucked up the ass that's your choice but don't say we didn't warn you.

Also good (1)

Cyraan (840132) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395361)

I think it had an article a year or so back, but those who have an old P2 or something collecting dust in their closet may want to consider m0n0wall [] , a FreeBSD based LiveCD that can turn your old PC into a commercial-grade router complete with firewall, traffic shaping, PPTP/IPSec, wake on LAN, and more. You don't need any experience with BSD to set it up, as pretty much everything can be done from the WebGUI it uses, no HDD is needed, you only use the LiveCD, and a floppy disk to store configuration data in xml, and using thumb drives instead of a floppy is planned for the next release (finally a use for that old 32 meg one in my junk drawer).

I'm extremely happy with it, I can game while my server is seeding a torrent, and my pings never suffer.

HTTP Proxy? (1)

HiVizDiver (640486) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395385)

I'm currently running HoTTProxy on my main PC behind my Linksys WRT54GS (which currently has the latest HyperWRT firmware), so that I can get "free" Internet access for my Verizon phones. It works just fine, but I'd love to offload that task to the router, because it seems like a logical thing for it to be doing, rather than the PC. I haven't successfully found any way of doing that. I've checked both the HyperWRT and DD-WRT forums. I see lots of references to Squid transparent proxy, but it doesn't sound like that's the solution to my problem. I also see TONS of stuff about VOIP, which I wish I had known before I sold my soul to Vonage, but that isn't what I'm looking for either.

Anyone have any knowledge if this is possible or not? I did see one post that said something about HTTP proxy servers being fairly memory intensive (at least for a router with a measly 16 MB RAM), and that it isn't worth doing it on a router, but I find it hard to believe that with all the crazy things they're doing with these Linux-based firmwares, that someone hasn't figured out how to do exactly that, for specifically that purpose.

Re:HTTP Proxy? (1)

mottie (807927) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395593)

Should be quite easy based on the HoTTProxy website:

Since HoTTProxy is pure Perl, it can run on any computer that has a Perl interpreter. This article tells how to run HoTTProxy in its native Perl script form.

OpenWRT has a microperl package, and I believe there are full blown Perl packages as well.

Re:HTTP Proxy? (1)

HiVizDiver (640486) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396087)

Brilliant, I hadn't even considered that - I was looking for something already built in to some firmware somewhere. Thanks for the tip.

Tomato (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18395405)

I've used

-OpenWRT versions with GUI and tools (there are flavors that are geared towards DD-WRT type users)
-DD-WRT (Several versions)
-Linksys Native Firmware

All of these i've used in production environments and at home. The winner?

Tomato. Yup. It works be the best. It has the best QoS, and just performs better then anything else i've tried. Its one of the few UPnP based units that WORKS all the time with iChat and its needs. IT won't drop NAT relationship tables like DD-WRT loses a PPPoE link and hence screw up my VoIP/IAX connections for my phone systems. Its WDS wireless will stay up for months at a time or longer unlike DD-WRT's which breaks my AirTunes once in awhile.

The only negative is that Tomato does not yet include a VPN server/client of some short, but its the only shortfall. Its stable, works and has a powerful AJAX interface. You can apply changes to nearly anything without losing your PPPoE etc. Alot including DD-WRT just blindly reboot the entire unit if you so much as fart a configuration change.

For me, you say whatever, I say Tomato. It uses what linksys made work, and work well, and the rest is nothing but improvements. DD-WRT is not entirely open source anymore, with Pay Rich-Feature QoS only and a closed source GUI.

OpenWRT with its extensions ( or Tomato and id say tomato wins hands down out of box experience.
Check out Tomato's GUI demos on the website (flash videos)

Get a Buffalo Unit thats compatible or use the LInksys WRT54GL and enjoy. [] []

QoS (1)

pacman on prozac (448607) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395439)

The article doesn't mention QoS, for me this was the main reason I got the wrt54g and openwrt. You can put traffic control [] 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 make this a huge seller, partly because their supplied firmware doesn't support it and partly because they want to push people towards Cisco kit for this kind of functionality. Plus the average user probably isn't able to flash openwrt/dd-wrt onto the box and then write their own firewall/tc rulesets. Maybe someone should write a nice web frontend to TC and start reselling wrts with it installed....

Mikrotik RouterOS (1)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395451)

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.


Market niche for "Bare Bones Routers"? (1)

schweini (607711) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395707)

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 like the Gumstix [] or Soekris [] devices, which all seem way more expensive than e.g. a basic, re-flashable Linksys router.

Does anybody know of someone selling a Linksys-router-class micro-PC, that easily exposes stuff like the internal serial port, has at least one USB port, and a Wifi-module plugged in? Imagine what a standard hackable platform like that could end up doing, if it were even cheaper than the "branded" devices, and and a guarantee that alternative firmwares like like OpenWRT ran on it!

I especially don't understand why Linksys for example has header-pins for a fullblown serial port on their boards, but don't include an external DB9 connector, at least on their 'hackable' -L model.

Re:Market niche for "Bare Bones Routers"? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395881)

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.

Getting beyond the stock firmware (1)

wertarbyte (811674) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395785)

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, in the tradition of the earlier hacks Grammofon [] and Fondue [] , this new hack (which works on all FON firmware versions) is called Kolofonium [] . It enables SSH access to the devices and by that allows further customization.

Doublespeak... (0, Offtopic)

hedora (864583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395895)

Considering retail outlets should exaggerate the iPod's market share, not underestimate it!

iPods are much easier to pick up at a local retailer than the other brands, since the new models are in stock and priced about the same as online. I think you can even get them at Walmart!

On the other hand, if you buy one of the "other brands," at a store you pay significantly more than you would online, and you end up with an out of date model. Physical stores can't compete with online retailers for niche items, so data based on retail sales will be biased toward the big sellers (or toward companies that buy up shelf space...)

An extreme example of this is Cowon's iAudio. Feature for feature, they kick the pants off comparably priced iPod's. As far as I can tell, they're *only* available online, and get 0% of the retail market share in the "anti-iPod" studies considered by the article.

dmod do3n (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18396187)

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