Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Good Small Business Router

Since I really like the Gargoyle firmware and used it on my WRT54GL I wondered if there was a better quality hardware to use with this firmware to get a better performance and even good enough for small business use.

The answer is yes there is plenty of hardware choice when it comes to this (and many other) open source firmware that matches if not surpasses the quality of competing brands such as snapgear and sonicwall firewalls.

Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH can be widely found (amazon shipped fast) and fairly cheap for the hardware you get. Note you even get a community firmware with the router already ( but I preferred the gargoyle firmware for many reasons (easy interface + great features) so I wanted to upgrade it but it turns out you will need to do a few tricks to get it on this one!

There's a choice of two possible ways to upgrade, using tftp (the method I used) and some other command line method. I normally like the command line but these were new commands to me so I tried the TFTP method and after about 30minutes to an hour I got it! Here's my definitive guide to get it:

1. it is recommended that you connect to the router through a switch (or a router with dhcp turned off - turning it into a switch) this is necessary step for me since my NIC will be turned off until the right upgrade moment has passed.

2. once connected through a switch I played with the arp command on my windows xp PC and figured out that the easiest is to simply do arp -a and copy the mac of your router (for this example purposes I will use 00-23-69-25-aa-aa)

3. now you prepare the arp command in this cmd window while opening another cmd window for tftp. arp -s 00-23-69-25-aa-aa is your command that you keep queued up we will need this later.

4. download and locate the right file which is named something like gargoyle_[version#]-ar71xx-wzr-hp-g300nh-squashfs-tftp.bin - get it from Gargoyle download site by choosing Atheros AR71XX from "Select Architecture" menu.

5. in the new cmd window prepare the tftp command which will be something like this: tftp -i PUT gargoyle_[version#]-ar71xx-wzr-hp-g300nh-squashfs-tftp.bin
(keep in mind you will either need to move to the directory of download in command prompt or place the file under the default location that you are in.)

6. Finally, unplug the router, plug it back in and execute the arp -s command queued up in step 3, try the tftp command, and again if it was timed out, it worked for me after once failed as you see in the image below but keep in mind there were a lot of playing until this stage so check arp -a if it shows the router as static. Also note I was unable to ping the router even though it uploaded the image so that appears unreliable but once uploaded leave it be for at least 5 minutes to do it's work. Done!


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