WRTSL54GS storage feature not ready for prime time?

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Wireless Routers' started by tilman, Feb 26, 2006.

  1. tilman

    tilman Network Guru Member

    I really like the new WRTSL54GS: The wireless coverage and signal strength is much better compared to the WRT54G v1.0 that it replaces in my house, the form factor is perfect, the storage feature is faster than the NSLU2, and you can plug the external drive into a Windows computer for recovery. But I found that the storage feature isn't quite ready for prime time (see below). I will keep it for now anyway, hoping that firmware updates eventually take care of the problems I'm encountering.

    Here are the storage problems I have with Firmware version is v2.00.1, Nov. 7, 2005. I'm in contact with Linksys support. I will post updates when I learn more. Please share your own experiences, too.

    - The internal clock isn't running. It shows Current Time : Not Available in the status page. I suspect it can't find a time server or something.
    - All files copied to the storage unit get modification and creation times like 12/31/1979 04:00 PM. This might be related to the time problem.
    - Files and directories with names that contain no lower case characters get created in all lower case. I.e. "SBC" becomes "sbc", but "Sbc" correctly becomes "Sbc".
    - The unit drops off the network for a while when copying files larger than 1 GB, and the files do not get copied.
    - Files already on the unit sometimes revert to a size of 0 after copying additional files. I have seen this only when I had more than about 120 GB stored on the drive.
  2. vincentfox

    vincentfox Network Guru Member


    At least on one of your bugs, I saw something similar with using OpenWRT firmware. Namely that if the drive was FAT format, writing large file onto it would error out. I wonder if this is some generic FAT kernel-bug in the 2.4.x series kernels. Or perhaps it's a Samba issue.

    Using ext3 formatted drive, the problem vanished and performance was better too.
  3. netddos

    netddos Network Guru Member

    if you do try out openwrt..please tell me how you flashed yours..i can't seem to flash mine with openwrt at all..

    and yea that file choking issue is a bug
  4. meq123

    meq123 Network Guru Member

    I'm having the exact same problems with current time. I spent a long time on the online support chat area - talked to three different people who didn't have a clue. From each one I got the suggestion to "upgrade the firmware". They were stumped when I told them the firmware on my router (v2.00.1) was later than that on the website (v2.00.0). Plus I don't think they understood the problem anyway (what, they don't HAVE watches?).

    If you get/have any better info from phone support, please let us know.
  5. vincentfox

    vincentfox Network Guru Member

    I don't know why I cannot locate it right now, but I was in a thread earlier where similar complaints came up using Tofu on the SL. So it's not just Linksys. Although the Tofu firmware is directly built from Linksys source. Perhaps the mysterious "Barry" mentioned so often in the source code is the only one who really knows what is farked up in Linksys firmware.

    At least with OpenWRT I logged a ticket into Trac, and hope someone is working on it for next release. I rather suspect this is a kernel-level issue since OpenWRT doesn't share much with Linksys other than kernel. I hope they get this worked out by the time RC5 is released.

    I am going to try this weekend to find some time to do some experimenting and testing on this issue from OpenWRT side. At least, perhaps I can hook up two FAT32 drives and try to do copies from one to the other of large files, that sort of thing.
  6. meq123

    meq123 Network Guru Member

    So tilman, I just updated my firmware to tofu13c (for the SL) and apart from the extra features, it fixed the time problem. I now have real time!

    Haven't checked the disk issues (other than time) but from what tofu states (he didn't mod any storage access code), I'd assume the same problems are still there.
  7. tilman

    tilman Network Guru Member

    Yes, I saw the post about the time issue being fixed by the alternate firmware. That confirms that it is some sort of firmware or time server problem. Linksys support suggested I'll exchange it for another unit at the store!

    I tested the box some more, and found that even if you store only small files, the storage system eventually hangs. At that point, I couldn't even bring up the Storage tab in the UI. I had to reset the box.

    It definitely needs some better firmware before it's ready for prime time.
  8. plugh

    plugh Network Guru Member

    new owner

    Recently acquired one of these units.

    Immediately ran into the clock problem; after a pointless call to Linksys support, saw the tofu13c announcement and flashed it - voila - time! (I can't believe Linksys shipped with that bug! Kind of hard to do time based access controls without any time!)

    Appreciate the heads-up above about the storage related issues. For now, I'm writing my drives via PC USB (not sl54) and using them read-only via the sl54gs (serving media files).

    In that context, two items...

    I had some all upcase directory names on the drive (loaded from PC) they are DISPLAYed as lowercase. Perhaps the casing problem is on the display side rather than the creation side.

    2) Idle disk spin down - Do the drives spin down after inactivity for anyone else? Mine don't. I don't like this. I want them to spin down when not in use. Did some general research on this topic. Appears to be an iffy issue - the capabilities of the USB-IDE bridge chip/board used in the enclosure, the disk driver usb stack, and the file system mount all have to play together. And then you need a utility to actually control the feature - "hdparm" seem to be the beast.

    So my question - can one of you embedded-Linux HyperWRT guru's help? Would it be possible to build a version of the hdparm utility that could in some fashion be loaded into the box, so I/we could test whether various enclosures respond accordingly?

    Thanks in advance!
  9. vincentfox

    vincentfox Network Guru Member

    You'd have a better time with a question that advanced in the HyperWRT forums. I'd find it easier in OpenWRT but I'm a CLI kind of guy. Good luck!
  10. plugh

    plugh Network Guru Member

    cross posted to hyperwrt forum

    Further research turned up this interesting page on USB disk spin down under NSLU2-Linux.


    Not sure what it all means, but perhaps the HyperWRT gurus / developers can look at that info and comment on how to adapt what the NSLU2 folk have learned to the SL54??

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