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Linux Hackers Reclaim the WRT54G 265

Posted by timothy
from the bwuah-ha-ha dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The world's most ubiquitous wireless access point is free to run Linux again, thanks to a brilliant hack by db90h, aka Jeremy Collake. No soldering is required, as Collake's 'VxWorks Killer' nixes the WRT54G's VxWorks bootloader and installs a normal Broadcom one, allowing Linux to be installed easily. One distribution small enough for the series five WRT54G's 2MB of Flash and 8MB of RAM is the free DD-WRT project's "micro" edition. It lacks some of the fancier Linux router packages, such as nocat and IPv6, but does support PPPoE, and could be more stable than the VxWorks firmware, which seems to have generated mixed reviews." Update: 06/26 22:52 GMT by T : Note that the project's name is DD-WRT, not (as it was mistakenly rendered) WR-DDT. Check out the DD-WRT project's site.
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Linux Hackers Reclaim the WRT54G

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  • by neonprimetime (528653) on Monday June 26, 2006 @05:34PM (#15608833) Homepage
    power failure during the two second installation process could permanently incapacitate or "brick" the device.

    Reminds me of a Windows 98 installation I once did.
    • STAY AWAY (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Linksys' wireless networking products suck.

      Reminds me of a Windows 98 installation I once did.

      Reminds me of when I upgraded my Version 1.1 WRT54G using the official firmware! Brick City.

      Bought a Version 5 WRT54G and the thing turned into a brick all on its own during a normal reboot, after not even owning it for a day.

      Bought a wireless print server. Wouldn't connect to my access point and didn't offer WPA as an option. Linksys removed WPA completely from the latest firmware and it apparently never worked in

      • Re:STAY AWAY (Score:5, Interesting)

        by petermgreen (876956) <plugwashNO@SPAMp10link.net> on Monday June 26, 2006 @08:04PM (#15609671) Homepage
        but if your going to replace the firmware anyway why would you care about the original sucking?

        the reason for the wrt54gs fame is it was/is cheap small low power and customisable. For example i know someone doing a major wireless scanning project using one as the head end (you wan't the antenna leads as short as possible and its a lot easier to set up a wrt54g on the roof in a box than a full PC as its small and can be powered withoug having to worry about the problems of safely doing mains outside.
    • Then Plug the unit and the PC into a UPS. That should reduce the likelyhood of such an event happening.

      And someone that's geeky enough to mess with the router must have a UPS around somewhere that they can temporarily re-task.
  • DD-WRT (Score:5, Informative)

    by the_maddman (801403) on Monday June 26, 2006 @05:34PM (#15608835)
    It's the dd-wrt [dd-wrt.com] project, not WR-DDT. Great package though, I run it on my v4 WRT54G.
    • Re:DD-WRT (Score:5, Informative)

      by FuturePastNow (836765) on Monday June 26, 2006 @05:47PM (#15608931)
      I'm running it on my v2, and it's been great. This is good news for people who don't want to spend an extra $20 on the WRT54GL.
      • Re:DD-WRT (Score:5, Informative)

        by yorugua (697900) on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:35PM (#15609247)
        ... not spend an extra $20 while knowing that a WRT54G v5 flashed with dd-wrt will also have less functionality than a WRT54G-v1-v4 or the new WRT54GL. If that functionality (call it SIP, QoS, OpenVPN, NoCatAuth, larger number of connections) which require the larger memory of the previous wrt54g or the newer wrt54gl is needed for you, you'll be out of luck with the wrt54g v5 and it smaller foot print of memory resources. I guess that if all you need is some extra power out the antenna or things like that, maybe you can do with a wrt54g, but dont be misleaded by the $20 difference: we are talking about whether you want to turn your $80 router into a $400 one or not... as usual, your choice.
    • Re:DD-WRT (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:25PM (#15609183)
      I've been using DD-WRT on my WRT54G(L) for the past 3 weeks, its excellent firmware, very streight-forward install, rock solid, and fast, I really liked this solution vs some of the other firmware available (openwrt for example)....anyway, for those who want a router with more power to it, check out the WRT54GL, its only about $10 more, and you can load the full DDWRT image on it (sp1) and it's great tons of fun features! :)
      • Re:DD-WRT (Score:5, Informative)

        by yorugua (697900) on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:45PM (#15609295)
        I guess you just have to see if the difference in features is worth the $10-20. About the ton of fun features you might count (from http://dd-wrt.gruftie.com/wiki/index.php/DD-WRT_Do cu_(EN) [gruftie.com] ):

        * 13 languages

        * 802.1x (EAP (Extensible Authentication Protocol) encapsulation over LANs)

        * Access Restrictions

        * Adhoc Mode

        * Afterburner

        * Client Isolation Mode

        * Client Mode (supports multiple connected clients)

        * Client Mode WPA

        * DHCP Forwarder (udhcp (http://udhcp.busybox.net/))

        * DHCP Server (udhcp (http://udhcp.busybox.net/) or Dnsmasq (http://thekelleys.org.uk/dnsmasq/doc.html))

        * DNS forwarder (Dnsmasq (http://thekelleys.org.uk/dnsmasq/doc.html))

        * DMZ

        * Dynamic DNS (DynDNS (http://www.DynDNS.org/), TZO (http://www.TZO.com/), ZoneEdit (http://www.ZoneEdit.com/))

        * Hotspot Portal (Sputnik Agent (http://www.sputnik.com) ,Chillispot (http://www.chillispot.org/))

        * IPv6 Support

        * JFFS2 (http://sourceware.org/jffs2/)

        * MMC/SD Card Support (hardware modification required)

        * NTP client in a client-server basis

        * Ntop Remote Statistic

        * OpenVPN Client & Server (only in -vpn build of the firmware)

        * Port Triggering

        * Port Forwarding (max. 30 entries)

        * PPTP VPN Server & Client

        * QoS Bandwidth Management (Optimize for Gaming and Services / Netmask / MAC / Ethernet Port Priority)

        * QoS L7 Packet Classifier l7-filter (http://l7-filter.sourceforge.net/))

        * RFlow/MACupd

        * Routing: Static entries and Gateway, BGP, OSPF & RIP2 via (BIRD (http://bird.network.cz/))

        * Samba FS Automount

        * Syslog to remote server

        * Rx/Tx Antenna (Select or Auto)

        * Show Status of Wireless Clients and WDS with System Uptime/Processor Utilization

        * Site Survey

        * SNMP

        * SSH server & client (dropbear (http://matt.ucc.asn.au/dropbear/dropbear.html))

        * Startup, Firewall, and Shutdown scripts (startup script (http://wrt-wiki.bsr-clan.de/index.php?title=Start up_Scripts))

        * Static DHCP Assignment

        * Style (Changeable GUI; v.23)

        * Supports New Devices (WRT54G V3, V3.1, V4, V5 and WRT54GS V2.1, V3, V4)

        * Telnet server & client

        * Transmit Power Adjustment (0-251mW, default is 28mW, 100mW is safe)

        * UPnP

        * VLAN

        * Wake On Lan client (WOL (http://ahh.sourceforge.net/wol/))

        * WDS Connection Watchdog

        * WDS Repeater Mode

        * Wireless MAC Addresses Cloning

        * Wireless MAC filter

        * WMM (Wi-Fi MultiMedia QoS)

        * WPA over WDS

        * WPA/TKIP with AES

        * WPA2

        * Xbox Kaid (Kai Engine (http://www.teamxlink.co.uk/))

        About the "fun that you might leave out" if you go for the WRT54V5, with the smaller linux image loaded: The DD-WRT micro build does not contain: chillispot, nocat, rflow, kaid, samba client, SNMP, IPv6, MMC/SD Card Support, SSH, PPTP/PPTP Client, UPnP. This file is under 2MB in size. While it is aimed at routers with less than 2MB of flash space (e.g., Linksys WRT54G version 5), any router should be able to run this version, including Linksys WRT54G versions before 5. Note that the Micro version is considered in beta, so it has a chance of instability. For flashing a version 5 of the WRT54G, look at Flash_Your_Version_5_WRT54G.

    • Re:DD-WRT (Score:2, Informative)

      by Emetophobe (878584)
      I am using DD-WRT on my WRT54G v1.1 and I love it. I used to have alot of problems with bittorrent and having to reset my modem all the time (with the official firmware from linksys). I got sick of linksys never posting an updated firmware with bugfixes, so I tried out the DD-WRT firmware and I haven't looked back since. There are so many more features, it's just an amazing package. Setting up QoS with dd-wrt couldn't be easier. It's feature packed, and it runs linux, what more could you ask for :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 26, 2006 @05:36PM (#15608848)
    please do not fight these efforts. Linux on the router (with I firewall I already know how to administer) is e the sole reason I bought your product.


    Other manufacturers (nvidia, are you reading this) - this applies for you too. If you support the software I use most (Linux) I will support your hardware.

    • by Poromenos1 (830658) on Monday June 26, 2006 @05:38PM (#15608868) Homepage
      They aren't fighting them. In fact, they have released WRT54GL with linux, specifically for this purpose. They just didn't want people bricking their routers and returning them under warranty.
      • by FreshMeat-BWG (541411) <<moc.em> <ta> <nywdoogneb>> on Monday June 26, 2006 @05:47PM (#15608934) Homepage
        The v5 I bought was returned to BestBuy for explicitly the reason that it didn't support Linux. However, if I bricked it by trying something unsupported like this, I would not have expected free warranty work to get it back into shape. If this was the plan, then at least in my case, it backfired somewhat.
        • I got a V5 and returned it within a few days, simply because it outright sucked. Slow connections to everything, unstable connections (IRC died several times randomly), running servers on it was simply out of the question due to insanely laggy incoming connections, and when I discovered I couldn't reflash it with a better firmware, there was no way I could live with it. Compared to my BEFW11S4 (may it rest in peace), Linksys has apparently gone waaaay downhill in my experience.

          I'm now running on a D-Link
      • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:17PM (#15609143)

        No, Linksys did it the way they did as a backhanded way to cash in on the Free Software crowd. You can tell because the GL is basically the same hardware as the V4, but they increased the price -- anyone buying a GL is paying more for the same functionality!

        If Linksys actually cared about the community they'd have just continued with one version, or at least continued to use Linux on the crippled "normal" V5.

        • by jleq (766550) <jleq96&gmail,com> on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:23PM (#15609171)
          I believe the Linux edition contains more memory.
          • by klingens (147173) on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:44PM (#15609285)
            Not quite: Linksys reduced the memory from 16MB to 8MB and flash from 4MB to 2MB when they changed from v4 to v5 version. They then introduced a new model, the GL one which didn't exist before which has basically the old hardware, memory, flash and all at a higher cost. So yes it's a cash in. Simple greed to exploit the brand they created by cutting their costs and the capabilities of the hardware and pocketing the profits.
            • by Kazriko (526976) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:13PM (#15609412)
              Have you thought that they were previously subsidising the lower cost of the WRT54Gv4 by the sheer volume of sales?
              Moving it to a specialty product with a narrower audience is going to blow their economies of scale out of the water. They shrunk their consumer product down to save money by dropping the memory, then reintroduced a specialty product to fill a niche demand. Specialty products always cost more than general audience products. Besides, some retailers have already discounted them to the point where they're under $60.

              In a way, it is greed. They want to be able to compete with all those cheaper routers with less memory using vxworks. If they don't, then their profits go away. Too bad it looks like their gambit won't succeed. Their vxworks product has been getting horrendous reviews.
            • by earnest murderer (888716) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:47PM (#15609583)
              Margins on volume have no effect either I'm sure...

              Simple greed to exploit the brand they created by cutting their costs and the capabilities of the hardware and pocketing the profits.

              That's business, anyone whom has ever sold you anything has done that. Don't like it, don't buy it. Linksys didn't come out with the v5 to piss Linux nerds off, they did it because they save a shit ton of money with the new design.

              Two roughly equivalent products, the v5 costs x to make the v4 costs x+y. The sensible thing if you must produce both (which they don't) is to bump the price of the v4 so the margins are the same. Which actually is a lot when you have to build, track, support, and promote a product.

              That the price difference is less than 10 bucks is pretty suprising.
          • Nope, the GL and G v4 both have 16mb of memory and 4mb flash.
        • I read on Linksys' site that their primary motive was (surprise) saving money. Vxworks requires half the RAM as Linux and with the volume of units they sell that translated into big savings. Of course, they did screw the Linux fans over, but I was able to buy a few of them off Dell's site for less that $70 shipped. That's still a sweet deal for what the units are capable of. For the record, the GL is the exact same hardware as the V4--no more, no less.
        • Economics of Scale. Since they will be selling fewer of the L versions, they need to increase the price.
        • It's $20. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bigtrike (904535)
          It's $20 extra and it has more ram. $20. Why should they bother giving everyone more expensive hardware when only 0.0001% of the consumers will even use the extra ram?
        • by Anonymous Coward
          I think it is pretty obvious that Linksys, as a business, cares about the bottom dollar. If you want people to care for the community, look for individuals, not businesses. But you are extrapolating intentions by looking at a very small subset of the facts.

          In order to prevent Joe Sixpack from bricking his router and returning it under warranty, Linksys needed to offer a VXWorks router. Go buy a WRT54G at a Best Buy or Circuit City and you will find they don't offer the WRT54GL. That is not an accident.

          Links
          • You are arguing that Linksys should have subsidized the extra cost of having the Linksys router (both in terms of production costs from more expensive hardware and lost sales due to the higher price) in order to prove they "care" about the community.

            You know, I wouldn't have necessarily had a problem with this if they had done it from the beginning; what annoys me is that they had a perfectly good product and then screwed it up.

        • Actually, at one of the shops where I bought some Linksys routers, the WRT54GL is cheaper than the WRT54G (64 euros vs. 67 euros)...
        • Linksys did it the way they did as a backhanded way to cash in on the Free Software crowd. You can tell because the GL is basically the same hardware as the V4, but they increased the price

          You need to learn about economies of scale. The v5 is cheaper hardware, thus it is better for the people who don't want to flash it - this is the vast majority of the customer base. They have continued to sell the v4 for the very tiny fraction of the customer base who want to flash them. They will be manufacturing the
    • by MrRuslan (767128) on Monday June 26, 2006 @05:41PM (#15608889)
      No reason for them to combat this or deliberetly prevent this in future versions. I mean as long as they sell the damn thing they should be happy. And the whole vxworks move was a VERY bad idea on their part. countless problems with routers based on that firmware.
  • by Zed2K (313037) on Monday June 26, 2006 @05:38PM (#15608866)
    I ran for the longest time various 3rd party firmwares, bouncing from one to the other when one would get updated when it had features that I was looking for. But they all seem to introduce their own set of nasty bugs/gotchas even though they claim to fix bugs in the linksys version. Finally I got fed up with it all and went back to the normal linksys firmware that just works without all the added bloat that these 3rd party ones slap on top. I got tired of futzing with the router more than I was just letting it do its job.
  • What's The Point? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 26, 2006 @05:43PM (#15608898)
    What's the real point. Sure, the VXWorks version of the WRT54G is a little bit cheaper but, it has less memory, which limits its capabilities. The old Linux capable WRT54G is still available in the form of the WRT54GL so, why would anyone choose this route?

    As I think about it, this development may actually hurt the WRT54G Linux crowd. If price is the motivating factor and everyone opts for the slightly cheaper VXWorks version, Cisco will likely discontinue the WRT54GL due to lack of sales leaving the LInux crowd with a less featureful option.
    • by Zuke8675309 (470025) <ty...zucker@@@gmail...com> on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:00PM (#15609033)
      As I think about it, this development may actually hurt the WRT54G Linux crowd. If price is the motivating factor and everyone opts for the slightly cheaper VXWorks version, Cisco will likely discontinue the WRT54GL due to lack of sales leaving the LInux crowd with a less featureful option.


      Bite your tongue! Some folks purchased a v5 not realizing the trouble and instability that vxworks brings. This is GREAT news.

      Woohoo!
      • by hawkstone (233083) on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:09PM (#15609084)
        Exactly! I'd mod you up if I had points, but I'll just "me too" instead. The Linux ones were rather good, and I felt confident buying a Linksys b/g router after my old 802.11b-only Linksys died after a happy useful life. Only after I'd suffered with the new one for a while did I realize what the problem was. No one will probably buy the vxworks piece of junk for the insignificant cost savings.

        That said, while the utter joke that is the V5 should never have made it out the door, they've finally fixed many of the worst problems with the thing. So my guess is that this is mostly really good news for those that have problems still not yet fixed or for those that wanted some of the OpenWRT features -- I would have jumped on this a year ago, but today I might skip it.
      • I purchased it not knowing the lack of hackability that the v5 brought, so I'm well pleased too.
      • I had MORE problems with my old WRT54G running a Open WRT54G Firmware then I did with either the Linksys shipped Linux or my new version 5's VxWorks based one. I don't get where you say that the VxWorks version is less stable. My v5 has only gone down for cable outages (sometimes required a router bounce....not the fault of the router but of the crappy cable modem) or power outages. When running DD-WRT I had nothing but problems.

      • Yup, we have one of the V5 models at work and it's DHCP server doesn't work properly, to name one (rather serious) problem. So, guess what I'm going to do with it tomorrow...
    • What's the real point. Sure, the VXWorks version of the WRT54G is a little bit cheaper but, it has less memory, which limits its capabilities. The old Linux capable WRT54G is still available in the form of the WRT54GL so, why would anyone choose this route?


      I have to second you on that one. Even WRT54GL is starting to get too small for my uses, and I'm planning on moving to a WRTSL54GS for more room.
      • Where can you get DD-WRT style firmware for that? And what additional capabilities over the 54GL can you do with the additional space?

        Regards,
        Ross
        • Re:What's The Point? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by morcego (260031) * on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:16PM (#15609955)
          DD-WRT ? Sorry. I use openwrt. Very modified, actually.

          About additional capabilities. Double RAM (32), double flash (16), and USB ports.

          These days, I use these MIPS based routers for lots of things. Including WiFi access point, but that is actually 10% of the use (at most). Firewalls, VPN servers, Asterisk servers, QoS bridges, security gateways, remote admin boxes (using USB-Serial adapters), backup servers etc etc.
          They are cheap, reliable and have VERY low power consumption.
          There are, of course, a few things I can't do with them (mail servers due to antispam and av, and a few other things that require too much memory). But the number of different things you can do with one of these babies is impressive.
          • Re:What's The Point? (Score:3, Interesting)

            by rossifer (581396)

            DD-WRT ? Sorry. I use openwrt. Very modified, actually.

            I asked about "DD-WRT style" firmware, so your answer is helpful and no apology is necessary. But I understand your confusion.

            These days, I use these MIPS based routers for lots of things.

            I have a 54GL and I use it for lots of things myself. My question was intended to help me answer: should I get one of these as well?

            Firewalls, VPN servers, Asterisk servers, QoS bridges, security gateways, remote admin boxes (using USB-Serial adapters), backup server

    • Re:What's The Point? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kazriko (526976)
      I think that they may be hurting the sales of the wrt54gl just by not having a 8mb/32mb version of said product. I searched high and low to find a WRT54GS when I first decided to migrate to a hardware firewall. (I was tired of having a large AT desktop case whose only purpose was to hurl packets around.) The 2mb of usable storage space in openwrt on the 4mb model was just too tiny and the 16mb of extra RAM was too tempting to do anything else.

      What some linux users will do, at least until they decide to push
  • Can this router be used as a client so that I can connect to the access point of my wireless internet service provider and distribute the connection over cat5 to my computers.
  • WRT54G well worth it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Smerity (714804) <smerity@smerity.com> on Monday June 26, 2006 @05:54PM (#15608986) Homepage

    This is fabulous news. I own an early WRT54G which I use as a bridged PPPoE connection, and also as a router (both wireless and wired), and with custom firmware it performs a blindingly good job. As of right now, it has an uptime of just over a month, and I believe that was because of a powerout.

    The original firmware was by no means pitiful, but it lacked a huge number of features that coders have 'rereleased', such as QoS, more advanced scripting abilities, better performance with BT and so on.

    When I heard that they had moved to VxWorks, with no backwards compatibility with the custom firmware, I thought it was a stupid move. The firmware has improved immensely from the countless iterations created by outside coders, why not let that process continue?

    • by batkiwi (137781) on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:14PM (#15609123)
      Others have said it, but the reason is that VXWorks has a smaller footprint. The VXWorks versions have half the ram and half the flash space of the other versions.

      Linksys/cisco embrace the whole "DIY" crowd and have produced a "WRT54GL" with the full amount of ram and flash so that linux hackers can do their thing. They made it difficult to flash the VXWorks one because too many idiots would try and flash a 4mb image on it and brick it, causing support headaches.
      • Others have said it, but the reason is that VXWorks has a smaller footprint.

        Ahem. This hack proves the footprint argument wrong by example. I doubt that the purported smaller footprint ever was the real reason, it just sounded convincing... until now.
        • Except that it's less functional than the VXworks image, you mean?

          Since they continued to release the GL, the ONLY reason apart from footprint for going to vxworks is so that they don't have to employ as many developers since they'd be getting a supported solution. Or do you have some other reason in mind?
    • I've been using DD-WRT v23 for several months now and I love it, it's very stable from what I've seen. And bittorrent doesn't kill my connection like the official firmware used to do. QoS is nice and easy to configure, etc.

      My router's only been up for 13 days, but thats due to a power failure.

      Firmware: DD-WRT v23 (12/25/05)
      Time: 00:27:13 up 13 days, 27 min, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00

  • by friedmud (512466) on Monday June 26, 2006 @05:58PM (#15609023)
    I had lightening somehow take out my cable modem (which I rent) last weekend... it also fried the WAN port on my V2.2 WRT54G that was completely stock.

    Needing a WAN port I went and bought another WRT54G (a new one at Best Buy that happens to be a V5)...

    I knew that the WRT54G was hackable though, so I figured I would try to make some use out of the one with the dead WAN port. I nabbed the DD-WRT firmware and loaded it up... and on the first try it worked beautifully (well... I mean the firmware worked... I still didn't have a purpose for it yet).

    I started looking at what the firmware could do and noticed the "client-bridge" wireless mode... meaning it could bridge two wired networks with a wireless link. I tried it out and sure enough it connected to my new V5 WRT54G without problem. Looking around my apartment I noticed a long ethernet cable running around the baseboards from where my cable modem and router sit (in my TV nook... where my ReplayTV is plugged into them) to where my server and desktop are.... and the thought came to me that I could use the "broken" WRT54G to bridge that gap instead (and make my wife happier... with less cords).

    I hooked it up... and it's been working beautifully for a week... a very nice solution.

    With how satisfied I was I thought it would be great to be able to hack my new one at some point in the future too... and when I found out that the V5 was difficult/impossible (at that time) to hack... and instead Linksys made a WRT54GL model that still ran linux and was hackable... I ordered one of those up (for about $10 more) and am planning on taking the V5 back to Best Buy as soon as the new one arrives from Amazon (later this week).

    This news doesn't really change my mind about this... the WRT54GL is inherently a more hackable system (more memory and such) and should remain a good workhorse into the future.

    The moral of all of these ramblings is that Linux is great! How did I come to that conclusion? Well... it's nothing except the open-sourceness of my old router's firmware that allowed me to still get utility out of it after part of it had failed. If it was some proprietary BS (like VxWorks) then it would have just been a plastic brick....

    Friedmud
  • by Qwavel (733416) on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:02PM (#15609047)
    Even with this hack, the WRT54G v5 doesn't have the resources. We should be telling users to buy one of the equivelent routers from another vendor, such as the Asus or the Buffalo.

    For starters, we need a new name to identify this platform (vs. calling it the WRT54G). The WRT54G/S is just one product utilizing the Broadcom platform.

    Also, what about similar platforms from other wireless vendors? Their is a similar Linux platform from Conexant (Prism), but that's hard to get now. How about a Linux Atheros platform? After all, isn't Broadcom supposed to be the least open source friendly of the wireless chipset companies?
    • You know that Linksys released the WRT54GL that is just like the old versions right? No reason to go with another vendor if Linksys has been working well for you (which it has for me).

      Friedmud
    • True.

      My main problem with this is that those WRT54G/GL/GS are all quite expensive around here (Toronto). Is this expense warranted by the hardware? I doubt it. I'd prefer to have some other options.
    • by TCM (130219)
      You could also do it all yourself. Get this [pcengines.ch], a MiniPCI card, an antenna and a Compact-Flash card and off you go. It's basically a standard PC with CF as IDE and a custom BIOS redirected to console.

      It's fanless and thus zero-noise and uses 7W. I love it.
      • LinkSys NSLU2 + Alcatel SpeedTouch 330 DSL modem + hard drive. About 5.5W power consumption for the NSLU2 and modem, plus 15W for the hard drive. Total of 20.5W (ish), and it does:
        • DHCP with DNS caching (dnsmasq)
        • Samba with NT domain serving
        • Mail download, filtering and dispatch (Postfix, UW-IMAP, iPOP3d, Fetchmail, Procmail, and my own homebrew spam filter)
        • Web serving (Cherokee [0x50.org])
        • Subversion version control
        • Print server (CUPS, Rawprintd and a modified version of Epsc70stat to monitor the ink levels on my E
  • by supertux (608589) * on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:04PM (#15609062) Homepage
    I've been running DD-WRT V23 Final since right after Christmas, and the only time it has gone down on me was due to a power outage in my area a few months ago. Otherwise, it has been rock solid stable. I always had to reboot my WRT54g every week when using the linksys firmware... especially when I was downloading torrents and stuff. If the router didn't slow to a crawl, the wireless link would totally quit working until I rebooted the unit. I'm even using QOS, PPTP, and a few of the other enhancements that linksys didn't provide with their bum firmware.

    All that is a thing of the past. In fact, here's what my router says now:

    ~ # date
    Mon Jun 26 15:00:10 UTC 2006
    ~ # uname -a
    Linux cerberus 2.4.32 #431 Sun Dec 25 16:58:55 UTC 2005 mips unknown
    ~ # uptime
    14:52:33 up 100 days, 1:58, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00
    -SuperTux
  • Forum (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rinisari (521266) on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:14PM (#15609122) Homepage Journal

    We over at the DD-WRT [dd-wrt.com] forum have been following this for a while [dd-wrt.com].

    As with any other fine F/OSS project, please donate [dd-wrt.com] if you find the project useful.

  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:15PM (#15609133)

    Linux Fanoy: "Don Jeremy, Cisco want's me to pay $20 extra for a Linux version of their router. What can I do?"

    Don Jeremy: "You could act like a man!" [slap]

    The next morning in John Chamber's bedroom...

    [John discovers bloody penguin head in bed.]
    John: AAAAAAAAAAAaaaaagghh!

  • by Zuul42 (929686) on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:16PM (#15609137)
    Cisco/Linksys lobotimized the WRT54G by halving the flash and ram from the previous version, not to mention locking down access by puting a locked up vxworks on it. It's also quite retarded by having only two real ethernet ports, one attached to a built in six port switch with vlans. Makes some kind of routing impossible, and is less secure as firewall routing rules don't apply to packets that never get seen by the kernel.
    The WRTSL54GS on the other hand has 32MB ram and 8MB flash, perfect for installing lots more software, and all the ports are true ports, making it fully routable/usable and more secure.

    Cisco/Linksys:

    When are you going to release a Linux Wireless Router that handles 802.11a/5.4GHz?

    Why doesn't Compusa and Best Buy carry the units that can be Linuxatized/made useful?

    How about a Linux router without wireless?

    I know that if this last product existed, tens of thousands of these could be sold, and that's just to the company I work for.
  • by jimbogun (869443) on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:20PM (#15609156)
    Difference between WRT54G and WAP54G = $20 and a little work. I wanted to set up MythTv for my home. My internet access is in the back room but I watch myth in the front room. Naturally I went with wireless since the wife didn't want the ugly cables. I went to my local electronics store and bought a 54G not thinking it couldn't be a client. I set it up and home and found out I bought the wrong product rather quickly. Knowing that hacks like this exist for anything with a chip I did a little research and found the SVEASoft firmware. Downloaded it from another site (it's open source, thank you Linksys). I upgraded my firmware and on reboot got a blinking red light. That's when I found out about the term brick. After my heart started beating again, I did another search and found a quick tutorial on how to un-brick your system and first step is to try the Linksys exe (worked like a charm, again thanks Linksys). I then found DD-WRT, installed and worked like a charm. I was a little confused that I had to set my clients name as the same as the wireless server to enable the bridge, but after getting that straight everything worked like a charm. Overall, the potential heart attack was not worth $20, but the satisfaction of buying something, finding out it doesn't work and turning to the open source community for the answer, Priceless.
    • That Sveasoft name sounds familiar so I went to look at the Wikipedia article for it. The article's almost empty, but if you look at the discussion page [wikipedia.org] it looks like something fishy's going on.
    • I have a 54Gv5 which I've been VERY unhappy with because of the almost weekly reboots. Jimbogun ALMOST convinced me to go ahead and try DD-WRT on it... But then I read it again, and the same paragraph convinced me NOT to mess with DD-WRT. But then I don't like the state of affairs now either... argh! Oh, the humanity!

      The experience jimbogun describes sounds all too typical. The problem is that my time, at least notionally, is worth around $25 an hour, either for my day job or my home business, and that's un
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:22PM (#15609165)
    does it run Windows?
  • I haven't followed it for a while, but I have a wrt54gs with custom firmware on it. Can the current GS still be flashed, or have they removed that except for the GL line? Considering the bump the GS has in processor and memory, it would be a shame to lose that platform. Just wondering because I haven't done it in a long time.
    • Re:Why not WRT54GS (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Sappharad (893163)
      The WRT54GS switched to VxWorks as well. Not sure if the hack mentioned in the post works for it too. However, the WRTSL54GS was released a few months ago. This version of the router has a USB port on it, which opens up a whole bunch of new uses when you replace the default firmware. (The Linksys firmware only allows the USB port to be used for networked storage. Third-Party firmware such as DD-WRT adds support for USB printers, and possibly other fun stuff.)
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:32PM (#15609231)
    So when can I turn my WRT54G into a PSP? Now that would be a hack!
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:36PM (#15609252)
    Amazed, am I, at Linksys's continuing to miss the opportunity to sell a fully featured WRT54G themselves. They could have a knockout product out of the box in that price range that would leave the competition scrambling, but persist in sticking to a basic, no frills configuration.
  • by MalusCaelestis (172079) on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:53PM (#15609332) Homepage
    I work for a small WISP and I've dealt with more than my fair share of WRT54G routers. We began with the WRT54Gv4 router and they were spectacular. They were solid, stable, and only had problems when they were struck by lightning (don't ask...). We distributed many dozens of these routers. To my knowledge, every one of them is still in use today.

    Then Linksys released their version 5 of the router. We deployed dozens more of these. We've had two main problems with them: the WAN port loses its ability to communicate with a static IP address (it thinks it's been assigned 0.0.0.0--very helpful); or the WLAN connection permanently ceases to work properly (it still puts out radiation at 2.4GHz but it's just noise). Out of the dozens of these v5 routers we've installed for customers, approximately 25% have been returned to Linksys.

    We no longer use Linksys routers for our customers. We sell D-Link WBR-1310 routers instead. It took me a while to get over my initial snobbish elitism (I'd used D-Link's products in the past and they were less than stellar) but now I'm a believer. The WBR-1310 is fantastic. We've put a couple dozen of these in the field and so far there hasn't been one issue among them. D-Link has really cleaned up their act. It also helps that these basic routers are dirt cheap. Even Office Depot sells them for $40-60 so you can imagine what wholesale prices are like...

    At home, I'd had different problems with my WRT54Gv5. Basically, any time I tried to use BitTorrent, the router would play hide-and-seek with my network. It didn't matter whether it was LAN or WLAN, the connection would cut out every two minutes. Only a power cycle would bring it back. I've since replaced it with the aforementioned D-Link WBR-1310 and I'm pleased as punch. BitTorrent works faster than ever and I've not yet had to power cycle the thing after two months of punishing use.

    So... Mixed reviews? Hardly. The WRT54Gv5 is the least reliable router I've ever used, and I've used a LOT in that price range. It's a bloody shame, too, because Linksys really had something going with the v4 of the same router. If they sold them again, we'd buy a hundred in an instant, with orders for hundreds more down the road. But somehow, I doubt Linksys will ever go back to the v4.

    Here's hoping that this new DD-WRT release will ease the pain of so many unfortunate buyers of the WRT54Gv5.
    • The WRT54Gv4 is still alive and available. It's just called the WRT54GL (apparently the L stands for Linux). Linksys wanted to cut RAM costs so they switched to the VXworks firmware, which fits in half the space. Since they knew there was such a large homebrew market out there they kept the bigger version available, for a slightly higher price.
  • Yet no WRT54GC? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by level_headed_midwest (888889) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:24PM (#15609462)
    I was hoping that they could get Linux on my little WRT54GC as the firmware on the 54GC is okay- miles better than the old D-Link 802.11b unit I had that bricked, but still could use some more stability and speed.
  • by BlueCoder (223005) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:26PM (#15609476)
    Why can't someone hack something useful like a cheap gigabit 16 port router? The wrt54g is certainly promising for hacking some private vpn wireless connections but other than that it only has 4 ports.

    I dream of a powerful 16/24 port gigabit swiich I could load linux on. I could then get IPv6, broadcast, anycast, multicast, and all the other new IPv6 protocols I'd love to play with and customize it to my hearts content. No more proprietary BS.

    I'd settle for an 8 port gigabit switch and a 16 10/100 for appliences.

    I need all those ports because eventually everything will be hooked into it, routers, phones, stereo, if it's possible I'm going to do it. It's disgusting how all the home user venders are ignoring a feature they could hype.

  • by AndroidCat (229562) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:29PM (#15609489) Homepage
    The last time I looked, the best info seemed to be the seattlewireless.net [seattlewireless.net] page. Are there any pages with more info? I haven't had the time or need (so far) to alter it, but eventually...
  • by rmallico (831443) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:39PM (#15609545) Homepage
    59.99 for the WRT-54G at Fry's on sale a few months ago and 20.00 that i donated to the funky haired guy who coded the firmware... the syslog and vpn endpoint components are great and the thing has been up for weeks now without a hiccup...
  • Yes, but... (Score:2, Funny)

    by novus ordo (843883)
    does it run HURD?
  • by iamnotaclown (169747) on Monday June 26, 2006 @11:41PM (#15610535)
    The CPU in the v1.x just isn't fast enough to run the dd-wrt firmware. It's hard to find any mention of this on the dd-wrt site, other than people complaining and getting replies to the effect of "buy a v4, it works great!".

    For those of us who don't want to drop cash just to install some turbo-charged firmware, check out HyperWRT Thibor [thibor.co.uk]. It's a branch of the original GPL source released by LinkSys that has had many features added to it by a long line of developers. It doesn't quite have all the bling that dd-wrt has, but it runs great on my v1.1 with no CPU overload.

    BTW, the symptoms of this problem are the wrt54g web interface not responding (or taking forever), DNS timeouts, and all internet access either slowing to a crawl or timing out completely. When the web interface finally responds, the system load average shows as *way* over 1.0.

    Kudos to the developers of both projects!

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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