linksys wrtg54g concerns

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by watts3000, Sep 6, 2005.

  1. watts3000

    watts3000 Network Guru Member

    I currently have a linksys wap54g I've had problems out of it in the past in the area of wanting it to work in a more advanced configuration such as eap tls. I'm thinking about going to the wrtg54g router and running it as an access point since I already have an existing router. I've heard stories of people running linux firmware on these models I'm curious to see if the linux firmware can add more enterprise features and also increase stability. If anyone here has had any experience with the wrtg54g and linux firmware could you please tell me what you gained from the firmware ugrade in the area of features sability and performance?
  2. littlewhoo

    littlewhoo Network Guru Member

    There are many third party firmwares out there, which are quite different regarding features, stability and performance. All of them have more features than the firmware provided by Linksys. Regarding stability and performance some are superior to the Linksys firmware, while others are not. As most of these firmwares are a work in progress, this can change from version to version.

    Personally I'm using Alchemy 1.0 on most of my WRT54Gs. It's not the most feature-rich third party firmware available and it has some minor bugs, but it's rock solid and it has still much more features than the Linksys firmware.


    *For me* the most useful additional features (in Alchemy) are the ablity to
    - (de/in)crease transmitting power
    - run own bash scripts and additonal linux software on the device
    - have shell access through SSH (great for secure remote adminsistration)
    - have full conctrol over all this nifty network-related stuff like iptables
    - run a VPN server on the router

    But of course there a many additional features, which I'm not using at all, but which could be useful for you.

    Some firmwares like DD-WRT or Talisman are providing a r/w partition in flash memory, which can persistently store additional data/files. I think this is a very useful feature, too.

    You'd better have a look in the subforums of all these different firmware releases (DD-WRT, Hyperwrt, Alchemy, Talisman, OpenWRT...), where you can find more detailed lists of all the features each firmware provides.


    I think the firmware flavours with final releases, which are no longer under development (Satori, Alchemy) or which are not so different from the original Linksys firmware (Hyperwrt) are a little bit more stable and reliable (or at least the bugs are known) than the firmware flavours, that are still under active development (Talisman, DD-WRT, OpenWRT). Because more features and frequent new releases usually means more new bugs.


    The WRT54G has a quite slow CPU, so more features usually means less performance. In additon to that, Linksys/Broadcom recently intorduced a new driver for the wireless chip in the WRT54G, which is inferior regarding performance to the old driver.

    So probably you'll get the best wireless performance with an old Linksys firmware or Satori. In most cases this is not an option, as these old fimwares don't provide many feautures and don't run on new WRT54G devices.
    Wireless performance of Alchemy is pretty bad. It's a little better with DD-WRT and Talisman. And the wirless perfomance of Hyperwrt and recen firmware releases is quite good. I don't know about OpenWRT.

    Routing performance of the WRT54G depends on which features you are using. If QOS is activated with lots of pattern matching and filtering going on, this definitely has an impact on the routing performance. But it's not that bad.

    You can clearly see the limits of the WRT54G when running a VPN server on the WRT54G. The CPU is just not built to handle PPTP or IPSEC encryption. This is a hardware limitation and therefore does not depend on the fimware being used.
    One connected VPN client is still ok. With two VPN clients things are getting noticeably slower. More than 2-3 VPN clients is definitely not a good idea.

    This also applies to other CPU intensive applications. While in theroy you can run any linux software on the WRT54G, you'll quickly hit the CPU and RAM limits of the device, when trying to run more advanced stuff (e.g. php).

    Before installing any third party firmware on a WRT54G or WRT54GS you should check, if it's really compatible with the hardware revision of the router. There are many hardware revision and firmware version. And some of them don't like each other at all. There is a compatibility list somewhere here in the forum.
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