[kwlug-disc] Benefits of using alternate firmware on Linksys WRT54G

unsolicited unsolicited at swiz.ca
Wed Dec 9 15:11:51 EST 2009

Adam Glauser wrote, On 12/09/2009 11:13 AM:
> Lori Paniak wrote:
>> Are you talking about wireless performance?  If so, I doubt you will see
>> much, if any improvement with alternative firmware.  The most stable
>> wireless packages in alternative firmware for Linksys devices are based
>> on the Broadcom binary blob - same as the proprietary firmware.
> Good to know.  I'm talking about routing performance in general.  I 
> suspect the main problem is with a strange network configuration on the 
> ISP's end which is losing packets.  However, connection problems seem to 
> increase with number of users (both wired and wireless), so I am 
> suspicious that our router might be playing a part in our problems.

I do not run it but I have long been interested enough to pay 
attention when I see stuff on it go by. (Like this thread.) The last 
time I considered firing it up I choose to hold off pending 802.11n. I 
also debate between running 1 or 2 of them - internet gateway and 
possibly separate out either a dmz or an internal wireless gateway or 
repeater. If the copper ports were GB, then it would also be 
attractive as a GB switch until a particular segment needed more than 
4 ports - at which point I would replace it with a smart switch. While 
keeping this in the back pocket.

There are two reasons that really attract me: (1) feature set, e.g. 
static dhcp, named; (2) diagnostic / monitoring capability as a 
consequence of the first. (I would not expect to be putting so much 
traffic through it, in my own use, to tax the hardware. However, I 
have used similar hardware that does get overtaxed - it has always 
been my impression that the hardware gets overwhelmed, which would be 
a factor regardless of the firmware.)

For what you describe it sounds worthwhile - at least as a diagnostic 
tool. And it seems like the learning curve you will cross will be a 
worthwhile thing to have in your back pocket tool bag.

The ability to acquire traffic stats and diagnostic monitoring, direct 
off the link from the provider, seems to be a pretty unique 
capability, particularly at this price point. To get the same control 
/ diagnostic flexibility from a non-WRT type package looks to cost 
some seriously non-trivial %.

But, like I said, I have yet to do it. However, for this diagnostic, 
home monitoring purpose, I've seen enough material go buy to think 
this solution 'real.' Beyond that, I'd sure like to have this 
diagnostic tool solidly in my back pocket. And having a spare 'switch' 
and/or wireless repeater kicking around can be no bad thing.

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