The Slow Route to FastAccess

Six hours I'll never get back: Hooking up a LinkSys WRT54G broadband router to my Windows XP box.

The router, which I bought for around $50 after a rebate, is an amazing Linux device that's an 802.11g wireless access point, router, and four-port 10/100 Ethernet switch. You can reprogram it with SSH and a lot of other Linux software, turning it into a killer pint-sized wireless ISP. Robert X. Cringley calls it "disruptive technology":

... the WRT54G with Sveasoft firmware is all you need to become your cul de sac's wireless ISP. Going further, if a bunch of your friends in town had similarly configured WRT54Gs, they could seamlessly work together and put out of business your local telephone company.

All I wanted was the router, so that I can keep a wired home network functioning and add wireless access.

The WRT54G's installation wizard assumes an easy process: Run the wizard with your Internet connection working to detect configuration settings, connect the modem to the router over an Ethernet cable, plug the router into the computer, and we all live happily ever after.

Unfortunately, as I found out after trial and error (and error and error), the Westell modem provided by BellSouth FastAccess DSL is actually a router. Two routers don't get along with each other, causing connection problems, IP address conflicts, and something ominous called double NATing. I'm guessing that my NATs, whatever they are, should remain single.

Thanks to a forum post by Tom Scales on SpeedGuide.Net, I found the solution: Plug the Westell back in to the computer and configure it over a browser to Bridged Ethernet mode, which delegates all routing responsibilities to the WRT54G, then connect the Internet back into the router.

From any room in my house, I can now waste time on the Web at breakneck speed.


Well, you could have spent your money way better.

Check out ASUS WL-500g DELUXE and you even got Share-A-Disk, Share-a-Printer and access to a webcam from externally, so you could set up an externally accessible FTP Server with own user management and no need for powering up a PC for that...

I didn't understand a word of this. Well, actually I understood some of the words, like router and ISP. But mostly, it felt like reading french. Nevertheless I found it interesting. And that's pretty weird.

halleluia! I had same problem using lindsys router. By accident, and problems setting up DSL, I finally connected wo WWW through ISP provider's "moden" [now I know is really a router], then transferred connection through linksys router...just as you described. Interesting point--ISP's will not tell you this! Hope others read your info to help them save time.

My daughter bought a dsl modem/wireless AP/router with a single wired port from Qwest. Rather than disable the router function in it, I added a linksys hub/switch that cost $9.95 after rebate and this combo works just fine. Of course, this was all after trying a WRT54G and having all the problems described above.

Thanks for taking the time to write about your troubles, you've helped me solve mine. Cheers!

I have yet to figure out all the tricks to get my Linux system to connect via Bellsouth FastAccess. I am using the Westall device supplied by Bellsouth.
If someone could clue me in, I would be forever in your debt.

James Williams

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