Hacking the WRT54G

PBS technology columnist Robert X. Cringeley sings the praises of the Linksys WRT54G, a $70 802.11g wireless access point, router and four-port 10/100 Ethernet switch that runs Linux.

Cringely believes the real power of the device lies in how its can be reprogrammed with different capabilities:

If you have a WRT54G, here's what you can use it for after less than an hour's work. You get all the original Linksys functions plus SSH, Wonder Shaper, L7 regexp iptables filtering, frottle, parprouted, the latest Busybox utilities, several custom modifications to DHCP and dnsmasq, a PPTP server, static DHCP address mapping, OSPF routing, external logging, as well as support for client, ad hoc, AP, and WDS wireless modes.

Most of those buzzwords are lost on me, but the idea of a cheap Linux wireless and wired network hub sounds pretty good.

I recently tried to replace my wired home network on Windows XP with an 802.11b NetGear cable/DSL wireless router. It was a total disaster: the signal strength varied from passable to dismal to non-existent and several applications -- most notably Norton LiveUpdate and Quicken -- couldn't find the Internet connection.

Comments

Rogers: I just installed < ahref="http://www.mwave.com/mwave/viewspec.hmx?scriteria=1109719">this Netgrear unit at home. I use ot mostly with a Dell C610 Latitude and a Cisco 350 wireless card. Works perfectly with Windows, took a bit of doing to get Linux Fedora Core 1 set up with it, but I eventually prevailed. I also like the four wired ports for the regular computers. The range is excellent; I have't found a spot in the house (including outside on the patio) where the signal isn't nice and strong.

Plus the rebate. I bought mine at the Orange Park Best Buy.

I picked up a WRT54GS today, and I've been having a lot of fun with it.

Sounds pretty good, Joe -- especially since you've got it working in XP and Red Hat, the two operating systems I'm using.

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