Sunday, March 29, 2009

Good router

Just tried out the WRT54GL from Linksys and I must say that it's just great.

UPDATE [March 2011]: if you are looking for more flash, ram and wireless N try the very cost effective:
TP-Link TL-WR741ND or a little better 
TP-Link TL-WR1043ND or one of the best available
Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH with great specs, perfect for small business

For anyone who doesn't know, it is an open source firmware version from Linksys; which means you can change from the default routing admin interface (and features) - in which case this opens up for some amazing possibilities.

I choose the tomato firmware (just google for any others) and it just amazes me how much things get better when opening up the source code to regular people - communities form to improve software!

The major features I love are:
  • Bandwidth monitoring (as my local ISP has monthly limits),
  • QoS (Quality of Service) - which means downloading/uploading (things like bittorrents or moving large files) won't interrupt regular browsing on any computer connected,
  • SSH service is great for me because I don't have to run another Linux box or vmware just for it,
  • And finally it can also be used as a wireless bridge to connect off of existing wireless networks or to extend the range (but I havn't tried that yet so comment below if you have!).

It is really simple to upgrade:
1. Download the file Tomato_1_23.7z (or newest version) and unzip the folder
2. Log in to the Linksys firmware (Wired) at (blank username, admin for password)
3. Click the Administration tab, then Firmware Upgrade.
4. Upload the WRT54G_WRT54GL.bin file - DO NOT Sneaze! this must complete without power or network interruptions, so it's best to wait patiently.
5. Wait to be prompted then enter root for username and admin for password (you should change that after logon)

Now for my favorite features (so far):
  • Bandwidth monitoring is enabled by default
  • Enable the QoS: click the QoS button on the left > check the Enable checkbox and click save.
  • SSH is enabled ineternally and can also be enabled for external networks but isn't recommended for begginers.
  • To change the wireless functions go to Basic > Network > choose Wireless Ethernet Bridge from the drop down menu of wireless section and click Save then you can click on Wireless Survey and connect to available networks.
Notice how saving settings does not restart the router as with most default firmware!


1 comment:

theborisedu said...

Tried the wireless client and it works great! luckily my neighbors have an open unprotected router with Linksys name as well... so i connected and it works very well!