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WRT54GX4 and firmware 1.00.17

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Wireless Routers' started by patfla, May 10, 2006.

  1. patfla

    patfla Network Guru Member

    1.00.17 came out a couple of days ago. Haven't seen anyone post so I'll put up some of my own experience.

    My first hope was that it would fix the client disconnect problem. It has not.

    I have a WRT54GX4 talking to a WPC54GX in the card slot in my Thinkpad T43.

    Mind you, my disconnects are at 50 ft; through several walls; and in particular through a kitchen wall covered in cabinets and a refrigerator. And no, there's no particularly easy way to relocate the router.

    After I loaded 1.00.17 I went the rest of the evening without a disconnect which was encouraging. Disconnects returned the next morning.

    What may be significant (what's changed) is how I fix things (reconnect).

    With 1.00.15, I could (while still on my wireless laptop) go into Network Connections; right-click the appropriate Connection object; and do a Repair.

    This no longer works. When I try this, basic association with the router fails and it said something about a problem with my laptop's wireless adapter.

    What I do now (what works) is to pull out and then immediately plug back in the wireless adapter. I don't reboot; don't logout and back in; just pull out the adapter and put it back in. The network connection goes through its various synchronizations and I'm reconnected.

    This is probably telling me something and while I'm a software engineer with a decent understanding of wireless, I'm not so much of a guru to have some theory based on this new behavior.

    Now something interesting (in my mind). What I've found (first with 1.00.15 and now with 1.00.17) is that once I determine a new firmware doesn't solve the disconnect problem, I just put the WPC54GX4 (the laptop adapter) back into a bag for it that I have and return to using the built-in Intel 2915 a/b/g that came with the Thinkpad in the first place.

    So no SRX400. But no disconnects either. One thing to keep in mind is that the Intel card is a min-PCI inside the Thinkpad and is connected to the very nice antenna that IBM built into the sides of the LCD.

    You might say "well who would expect the SRX400 to consistently make it across 50 ft and through a kitchen wall covered in cabinets in the first place?". Well the Intel 2915 does. Without ever dropping a connection.

    It's slower of course. When the WRT54GX-WPC54GX4 works, I get around 22-26 Mbps (let's say 3 MBps). With the Intel 2915 talking standard 802.11g to the WRT54GX4 (with its 3 antennas) I get between 12 and 18 Mbps (so say 2 MBps).

    In the 'old' days, the Intel 2915 talked to my previous router, a WRT54G v3. That typically (all of this is in the config described: 50 ftk kitchen wall, etc) would get 3-5 Mbps.

    So, IMO, there is considerable benefit to just using the WRT54GX4 (probably should have returned the card but I bought it at Comp-USA with a 21 day return policy and all my initial experiments took more than 21 days ... oh well).

    I'm increasingly inclined to think that it's simply a hardware problem and that there isn't going to be a firmware upgrade that's going to fix things.

    I can move the router closer of course (either at the expense of the considerable effort of pulling CAT5 through a part of my ceiling or paying someone to do this).

    I've looked at powerline Ethernet - I don't believe this is a good option.

    What would be really slick would be to figure out a way to hook up the WPC54GX4 to the Thinkpad's internal antenna. Although a) this would be difficult or possibly impossible or b) SRX400 has an adaptive (I, briefly interpret that as 'real-time beam shaping') antennas. I would image what's in the LCD screen of my Thinkpad is standard dipole. Even if I could hook the PC54GX4 card up to the internal antenna, I'm not sure the card would like that as much as one would first think.

    I could write a lot more but shouldn't. So in not so brief this is some of my experience so far. I'm heartened by prelimiary reports that none (well, maybe one exception) of the Draft-N stuff measures up to SRX400. And although Airgo may have lost the first round, I think they're far from being out of the picture.

  2. bummpr

    bummpr Network Guru Member


    Thanks for the update. This router continues to be a disappointment for many of us. It holds great promise but the flakey performance in so many different situations does not give us much assurance that anything coming out of LinkSys lately is worth the cost.

    I love the extended range and speed but the dropping of the connection is a constant irritant.

    Based on this GX4 router (and my experience with the Ver 1 GX), I won't buy another Linksys product until it is fully proven in the market place.

    I knocked out my complete wireless network when I fired up a new X60 Duo laptop. I currently use a T41 and T43 but see periodic drops in the connection.

    I suspect that Linksys is just going to abandon these GX boxes as they roll out more and more pre-N gear to fleece more unsuspecting buyers.
  3. wicche

    wicche Network Guru Member

    Have you done a hard reset?
    You must hold down the reset button for 90 seconds without letting it go. After the first 30 sec. unplug the router still holding down the reset buttons. After 60 sec. plug in the router still holding down the reset button. After 90 sec. release the reset button and let the router do a selfcheck. After the selfcheck, unplug the router for about one minute. Then plug it back in and configure your router.
  4. MacWizard

    MacWizard Network Guru Member

    Thanks for sharing the hard reset info. Seems to have worked. I haven't had the network dissappear on me over two days now... with the 1.00.17 firmware.

  5. wicche

    wicche Network Guru Member

    One final thing. After you config. your router, unplug the power cord for one minute. Then, pllug it back in.
  6. DeadBilly108

    DeadBilly108 Network Guru Member

    I currently have one of these WRT54GX4 SRX400 routers has anyone came across any 3rd party firmware? I'm looking for a firmware with WDS because I have 2 routers a WRT54Gv1 running HyperWRT by Tofu 11 and the WRT54GX4 and I need a WDS network so I can have wired pcs to connect to other wired pcs on the other network.
  7. howardp6

    howardp6 Network Guru Member

    Currently there is no thrid party firmware for any of the SRX routers, With the WRT300N out there probabily will not be any.
  8. gphoton

    gphoton LI Guru Member

    WRTGX4 and the 1.0.17 Firmware experience

    I have had the same issues with my WRTGX4. I have done the hard reset 30sec power on/off/on thing. I believe the problem is a memory leak in the firmware code. Even with the latest X.17 firmware, it seems that if I transfer large amounts of data on the wireless connection, the router gradually seems to lose its mind. Addition reasons to support this assumption is that if you go to the router's web configuration and look at the status page, the amount of data in the bytes transfered on the wireless side is a NEGATIVE number, when the router is flakey. I purchased a cheap $9 digital wall timer at Walmart that shuts the router off at 5:30AM and turns it back on at 5:31AM. This resets the byte counters. An X10 switch may also be a good option to remotely cycle power. I can live with the daily interruption at off-hours. The radio section of this router is great, but the firmware is a disappointment. I may get a different non-wireless router as the main router and just use the GX4 as an access point, I expect the problem to still occur though. I don't really need to know how many erronious negative bytes my router transfers, so disabling the counting of them would be a welcome interim fix.

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