Dumb question about ND

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by Morac, Feb 6, 2010.

  1. Morac

    Morac Network Guru Member

    Okay this is probably a dumb question, but I'm going to ask it anyway. I know that ND stands for "New Driver", but what's so "new" about it? How is it better than the original driver?
  2. RonWessels

    RonWessels Network Guru Member

    Firstly, the Broadcom wireless driver is distributed in binary form, so nobody is completely sure of what's in there.

    The new driver is a later version of the driver (duh!). Empirically, it seems to have slightly better performance overall, and seems to handle various problematic clients better where the old driver would just crash. The down side is that, depending on how new the driver is, WDS mode is less reliably supported.
  3. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    As RonWessels stated, it's a binary but one has to assume the newer Broadcom chipsets need updated drivers. And one certainly hopes for better performance and client support.

    I can confirm that WDS support which was rock solid on WRT54Gv2 vintage hardware is now so problematic across different generations of chips/drivers that I've given up on it. It's the price you pay to add the newer hardware to your network. Fortunately Wireless Ethernet Bridge mode seems to replace WDS well enough for my needs so worth the price in my case.

    Note that Wireless Ethernet Bridge mode can backfill for the WDS only mode which I was using on my "client" routers but does not have the added access point capability of the WDS+AP mode. The primary access point will, of course, continue to support wireless clients but not the "client" routers which will only support wired clients. In my case this is what I want so works fine.
  4. jsmiddleton4

    jsmiddleton4 Network Guru Member

    Now I'm confused....

    For me with 3 routers the ND drivers and WDS has been quite solid.

    Don't remember exactly but doesn't one of the earlier Intel wireless chipsets play better with the non-ND driver no matter what?
  5. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    Yes, the history of why many of us moved to using ND drivers wherever possible was:

    The original driver had the problem that when certain wireless clients associated with the router, it would crash or reboot. Mostly these were the Intel 2100 B/G cards, but there were others including some later Intel cards.

    Moving to the ND driver version cured the rebooting and made our systems more reliable. But unfortunately often the Intel cards often could no longer associate at all :frown:

    It was then discovered that this could be cured by setting an NVRAM variable with "nvram set wl_reg_mode=off" and now most of the problems disappeared. For most of us, this has made a huge difference to our system's reliability. Several people also posted that file transfers etc. were also faster with the new driver.

    The situation has now become more complicated. Though Jon Zarate has remained with his original choice of the original and ND ( drivers, the other modders have, for various reasons, moved on to later driver issues. But they are still classed as "ND" in the firmware issues.

    So there are quite a few driver versions which have now become "bundled" under the ND descriptor.

    There was a lot of discussion about the drivers in this thread:
  6. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    My WDS was rock solid and idiot proof for years running WPA AES on 4 routers all corerev of 7 running non-ND Tomato.

    Then I introduced a WL500GPv2 with much newer hardware (corerev=13) and a new wireless driver into the mix. This is when I started to have WDS problems. More recently I introduced the Asus RT-N16 with corerev 17 and yet another even newer wireless driver. At this point, WDS was enough of a pain that I decided to jump ship to Wireless Ethernet Bridge mode instead.

    WDS always seems solid once the link is established but it has become progressively harder to get that link established initially. When I reboot the main router it would lose touch with 1 or more remote routers then either have to go power cycle it or reboot the rest until communication is restored. Wireless Ethernet Bridge mode doesn't behave this way and comes up first time every time.
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