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Yes, the Linksys WRT54G V5 Really Is a Lousy Router

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June 8, 2006 3:29:02 PM

User forums around the web have been abuzz with complaints about the non-Linux version of one of Linksys' most popular products. Tim Higgins tested it and the WRT54GL Linux-based version and found at least one reason why the V5 has so many unhappy buyers.
June 8, 2006 3:40:28 PM

Posting for a reader:
Quote:
Excelent article on the problems with the Linksys WRT54G v5. One thing I (and I expect many other readers) would really like to see, would be for you to do the same tests on an earlier WRT54G (pre v5) or the WRT54GL with one or more of the 3rd party firmwares. Most of them claim to fix the mutliple connection problem, but it would be very interesting to see how some of the different ones compare.
June 8, 2006 3:42:56 PM

I agree that it would be a good idea. It's on the to-do list, but no promises on when!
Related resources
June 8, 2006 4:33:42 PM

hey tim,

i'd like to set my wrtg45g up as a range extender for an existing wireless network. from what i've been able to tell, the linksys os does not allow this. do you know offhand which of the linux replacement oses would allow this?

thanks,

wylie
June 8, 2006 5:35:36 PM

I am on of those unfortunate buyers of the WRT54G V5. Right out of the box it was DoA. The admin page was corrupt and unusable. Do they not have QoA?

The story ends with me refunding the router and walking away.
June 8, 2006 6:23:10 PM

when did this V5 come out?
i hade a WRT54G(after dlink let me down) about 1 year ago....and it was hell....could it have been that?

Mine was always locking up when i would stream PVR data to my notebook(cant call this heavy thing a laptop in here :) )

I just got an SMC(as my old smc was good) and was all set....you should try the SMC2804WBRP-G for review....it seems good...as long as u get the latest firmware and do some tweaking to the firewall settings...
June 8, 2006 6:50:06 PM

Quote:
I am on of those unfortunate buyers of the WRT54G V5. Right out of the box it was DoA. The admin page was corrupt and unusable. Do they not have QoA?

The story ends with me refunding the router and walking away.


One of the things you learn in this business is that Quality Assurance doesn't assure quality most of the time. Many companies who produce large quantities of a product could spend quite a lot of time testing every single product.

To reduce costs (and price to you the user), they only sample a number of a batch, and based on statistics, either ship all of them, or send more to testing based on those numbers. The justification for this is the cost of replacing DOA items is far smaller than to test every single item.

Not to defend Linksys on this, but the reduced cost is partly passed on to you in a lower product price. Its only natural that the more you make and sell, the more defectives you'll end up with.

Either way, I'm going with a Netgear 240 soon.
June 8, 2006 6:56:21 PM

Tim, great article I wish we had more of these to update the chart.

You have only tested a few Netgear Products. I would like to see some of the small bussiness class routers like the FVS338 and FVS538 and maybe the FVS328. Mainly because of all the failure rates with the low in residental routers. Yet my old poor SMC7008ABR just keeps plugging away. Its 5yr old till I finnally upgrade to a FVS338, this last week.

It would also nice to see how AP pair against Wireless routers. Knowing most of the AP come with better antennas.
June 8, 2006 7:05:09 PM

Quote:
when did this V5 come out?

Around November, 2005
June 8, 2006 8:15:13 PM

Posting from a reader
Quote:
I enjoyed your examination into the WRT54G V5 router and the GL as well. Did you find the same problems with throughput and concurrent sessions with some of the open-source firmwares? Most notably DD-WRT or OpenWRT? If not that would be a great follow-up to this one.

Alternate firmware for the WRT54G/GL has changed a lot since the last time I saw an article about it anywhere. DD-WRT is particularly feature-rich but also very polished. They also have a version that can be flashed to the V5, albeit with a JTAG adapter. The JTAG adapter is only required the first time though.
June 8, 2006 11:00:46 PM

Quote:

i'd like to set my wrtg45g up as a range extender for an existing wireless network. from what i've been able to tell, the linksys os does not allow this. do you know offhand which of the linux replacement oses would allow this?


I would recommend DD-WRT. I have been using it on one of my WRTs for a while and it is excellent. I would recommend it for any function that these routers can do. Currently mine is setup as a wifi to lan bridge for my Xbox and Xbox 360.

For what you are seeking to do you would have to set the router to be in WDS (wireless distribution system) mode. It will receive the signal and relay it. Because it has to switch back and forth between sending and receiving your actual speed or throughput will be cut in half, but usually that isn't a problem for most internet connection speeds. They have documention for how to set this up on the DD-WRT website.

pesky
June 8, 2006 11:03:11 PM

Quote:

i'd like to set my wrtg45g up as a range extender for an existing wireless network. from what i've been able to tell, the linksys os does not allow this. do you know offhand which of the linux replacement oses would allow this?


I would recommend DD-WRT. I have been using it on one of my WRTs for a while and it is excellent. I would recommend it for any function that these routers can do. Currently mine is setup as a wifi to lan bridge for my Xbox and Xbox 360.

For what you are seeking to do you would have to set the router to be in WDS (wireless distribution system) mode. It will receive the signal and relay it. Because it has to switch back and forth between sending and receiving your actual speed or throughput will be cut in half, but usually that isn't a problem for most internet connection speeds. They have documention for how to set this up on the DD-WRT website.

pesky

that sounds great, thanks for the info.

wylie
June 9, 2006 12:30:21 AM

My WRT54G v5 router was locking up consistently, sometimes every day. When the device was turned off for a few minutes, it would run fine again for a few hours. Torrents or heavy use (4+ computers) would bring the wifi portion of the router to unusually low levels, with an inevitable lockup soon to follow. I believed the device was overheating. I found a guide for modifying an overheating NetGear router:
http://forum1.netgear.com/support/viewtopic.php?p=19600
The instructions are easily adapted.

After outfitting my v5 with an 80mm case fan and drilling a few extra ventilation holes in the casing, the router no longer locks up. The only oddity is the extra noise of a case fan running.
June 9, 2006 5:07:47 AM

Thanks for putting a discussion on this article.

I bought a WRT54G V5 a few months back. I have a V2 or V3 before that and it was great. Out of the box the router constantly locked up and the admin page was corrupting constantly. I had to reboot the router several times just to get it to the firmware update page. That seemed to fix the corruption, but I still have to cycle the power once a week if I use the wireless capabilites. I recently turned it off and went wired.

If you do need wireless with the WRT54G, I highly recommend disabling wireless security and using the MAC filter instead. P2P DIED with security enabled. I tend to think the processor wasn't fast enough to encrypt/decrypt packets over so many connections (or some hardware bottleneck associated with security). At any rate, MAC filtering doesn't have the overhead of encryption and still keeps the neighbors from hijacking on your internet service.

If anyone has recommendations for the router, please let me know. I have a few JTAG adapters laying around, but no serial ports :? I gotta bring my Lantronix home for a few days I guess.

I love cisco products, and always have. This product was a grave dissapointment. I expect glitches, but this is garbage.
June 9, 2006 5:10:30 AM

One more thing: great article. Top notch. A+++++
June 9, 2006 9:06:02 AM

First and foremost i want to say that this was an excellent article.

everyone's comments are truly enlightening and finally solves the mystery on why my router (Just checked and it is a WRT54G v5) has been having huge problems. My only problem know is that im am currently stuck with this router and i unfortunately need the wireless capabilities. If possible (not certain if this is the right place to ask) does anyone know the best to get by with this hunk of junk until i can buy a replacement? You are welcome to email me if it would be more appropriate. Thank you all.
June 9, 2006 2:41:03 PM

posting for a reader:
Quote:
Just to let you know that the ver. 4 of the product I have is a shitty device as well. The radio in it seems fine and has a stronger signal than dLink etc. but all the features like scheduling of the access restrictions, static ips, and the clock in the device are all there but wildly intermittant or just don't work reliably.

I just bought a DLInk 624 and it failed in the first 48 hours.

Is there actually a good home router out there?
June 9, 2006 3:06:51 PM

As a note, I have a Belkin router. The F5D7130 failed after a year of heavy use. With a life time warranty; Belkin offered a F5D7230-4.

This thing dies on P2P networking and crawls in other applications. But in the end I can check my email and browse tom’s hardware.

Perfect routers seem hard to find, hold on to the good one you have. Almost like a good spouse, don’t let them go!
June 9, 2006 4:56:05 PM

I too have the WRT54G v5.

For the most part it has been a good router. BUT I do suffer from chronic dissconnects on the wireless, sometimes it will go for a week without any, and other times I will have to reset the router 2-3 times in a day to get the connection back up.

I upgraded the firmware last night to 1.0.0.9 and I'm crossing my fingers that it does something to correct this problem.

Can I use any of these other 3rd party firmwares that are mentioned or are the only good for v4 and lower or the WRT54L?

What other routers allow you to try 3rd party firmwares?

Great (And very relevanent to me) article.
June 9, 2006 5:08:42 PM

Quote:
Can I use any of these other 3rd party firmwares that are mentioned or are the only good for v4 and lower or the WRT54L?

No. The V5's switch to VxWorks and the lower RAM and flash memory prevent it.

Quote:
What other routers allow you to try 3rd party firmwares?

Follow the links on the first page of the article to the websites for the distros. They will tell you if other hardware can be used. OpenWRT for one can run on many hardware platforms
http://wiki.openwrt.org/TableOfHardware
June 9, 2006 5:52:47 PM

Quote:
Thanks for putting a discussion on this article.
If anyone has recommendations for the router, please let me know. I have a few JTAG adapters laying around, but no serial ports :? I gotta bring my Lantronix home for a few days I guess.

Check out DD-WRT, they have a version that will run on V5 if you have a JTAG adapter. Here is the link. DD-WRT is by far the best firmware available for WRTs that I have tried, and I have tried almost all of them.

You can get a USB to Serial adapter for like this for $9 at Newegg.
June 9, 2006 7:21:05 PM

Great article, now I know why I never buy linksys products :D 

My pfSense firewall handles up to 10,000 connections, I usually have a couple thousand running at any one time with 3 computers doing p2p over my 8meg and 3 meg cable connections.

Like to see any of the "router-in-a-box" systems do that :wink:
June 10, 2006 12:07:30 AM

Great article, I narrowly avoided getting a v5 a while back before I knew they'd been crippled, I've got a 54G v2 and 54GL v1, but they're only acting as access points.

Another vote for DD-WRT here, and as others have pointed out they have a micro version that will run on the v5.
http://wrt-wiki.bsr-clan.de/index.php?title=Flash_Your_...

As other have suggested it would be nice to see if a different firmware improves the situation with a non v5 WRT54G, I'm particularly interested to know if it's a memory issue, what if any difference is there in performance between the cut down mini / micro versions of DD-WRT vs the full / stock versions?

Also it would be a useful reference to have a Smoothwall with plenty of RAM and processing power on the chart so we can get an idea of just how resource starved these devices are. My current setup is a nice low power VIA Samuel 2 with 256 MB of RAM, no fans running off a CF card, I don't think I've ever seen a load average above 0.07 and that was while I was downloading at ~ 180KBps and uploading at ~ 54KBps taking part in the extremely active Knoppix 5.0.1 torrent (+ ssh and other stuff going on).

PS: As a general rule it's a bad idea to run an OS off a CF card due to their limited write cycles, I've modified my Smoothwall following these instructions
http://community.smoothwall.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1...
to run all the frequently accessed files from a ramdisk, I've extended this system to enable me to continue to run squid web cache and retain the throughput graphs (amongst other things) and I'm in the process of polishing the instructions before posting them to that thread.
June 10, 2006 6:32:49 AM

I too would like to see these router write ups be compared to the pc based routers, like clarkconnect or smoothwall.


Any chance of that?
June 10, 2006 8:36:52 PM

reader feedback:
Quote:
First of all thank you for that article. (the linksys one)

You have saved alot of people time and effort.

For me it was all too late with a different model from Belkin which could
not handle my 8mb connection whilst downloading with BitComet....but thats a long story...one that you most likely would know the end of before I even begin...

The reason why I am emailing you is to ask you to expant the current router charts to include the number of maximum connections for every router possible...many people are being decieved and their money being spent because no manufacturer specifies how many connection their router can handle.

Today I am the proud owner of a Draytek Vigor 2800Gi...as their sales team did not hesitate to tell me it supports up to 15,000 connections...so far, even with 50 active torrents, its rock solid.

Hopefully in the future, people will not have to waste money on a bad router only to spend £200 for a proper one.
June 10, 2006 8:41:21 PM

Sorry for not reading more carefully and seeing that there is a version of DD-WRT for the V5. For those of you who are using it, did you have problems with factory firmware that DD-WRT fixed?

I hope to run the other experiments that are being requested (testing alternate firmware and also some general router distros). Just can't promise when.
June 10, 2006 10:04:04 PM

thigins i would have to take some credit for this.

i have alot of friends, and we all used to be PRO linksys.

NOMORE

We are not the average users.

we are all network admins from different companies and we all work together.

my complaint it that this router and ALL the other routers linksys has out right now have the same firmware and the same problems.

PLEASE READ BELOW!!!!!!

besides the fact that you actually rans some test on this particular router i found something even more disturbing.

my e-mail to toms hardware was probably lost in the masses so here we go!

YOU CANNOT RUN SERVERS BEHIND THIS ROUTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i tried it and dns gets hosed.

ok BEFORE cisco accuired linksys everything was fine and dandy.

i use the linksys model BEFSX41 version 1 routers for my network.

and i still do.

my redhat server runs perfectly behind these routers.

are you familiar with dnsreport.com????

when i put my server behind the wrt54g or any other router out there linksys makes right now(yes i actually purchased and returned every router they make as of current) DNS gets hosed.

al of a sudden my WWW record gets screwed up and e-mail stops working.

simply put... with out DNS you cannot run WWW, DNS, FTP, ect. ect.

and even if you browse to it by ip sometimes it still wont work.

all the e-mails linksys has sent me regarding this router are pissing me off.

try this try that

i told them i updated the firmware and what do they tell me in the e-mail...............

try updating to the latest firmware.

are they @#$%#$ stupid!!!!

this is just an example of what they do over there.

there are orders are "DO WHAT EVER IT TAKES TO BUY US TIME"

i told the lady it was a firmware issue and the techs need to fix it about 7 times now.

i even threatend to tell her that this will end up in a forum and now here we are.

thanks to everyone who had a complaint about this router and complained about it wheather it be a small issue or a big one like mine.

how would you feel if you went to a coustomers office to replace there windows 2000 file server with a full blown redhat server running everything only to loose money because of a faulty router.

i had to down my server install my router at there office and find an EBAY replacement!!!

is toms hardware capable or is anyone on staff able to back up my problems with this router.

ADMINS!!! you have my e-mail address and i could communicate via e-mail from my treo 650.

by the way all those who run there own mail server and get a relaying denied,, add spcsdns.net to youre spam rules for sprint service phones and you can e-mail all day long.

i actually discovered this fix and the techs at sprint almost fell out of there chairs.

its off subject but i am a technical guy and like to tinker.


SO what router should i use from now on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i am looking for a DSL modem/router/wireless that i can run servers behind with no problems.

my goal which is hinderd is to creat a super low power server using a mini-itx board.

and a router described above to be able to have lots of uptime via ups if power were to be cut.

now if i could only find a replacement router that does all of that. maybe even an official cisco product that does all of the above with v-lan.


by the way putting my server in the DMZ does not work either
June 10, 2006 11:00:37 PM

Whoa man you sound angry. if your geek enough for it (that's not an insult round here) why not roll your own using something like

http://www.pcengines.ch/index.htm
http://www.soekris.com/products.htm
http://www.ampro.com/index.html
http://www.kurobox.com/
http://gumstix.com/index.html

The Soekris guys bundle their net4801 3 port Motherboard with 1, 2 or 4 port network cards in a small beige box that takes a CF card and runs BSD or Linux, I so want one (or more).
June 10, 2006 11:06:48 PM

I use a Dell gx240 (only good use for a dell) with 4 nics and pfSense. I've used smoothwall, ipcop, clark connect, and monowall, and some others I can't think of right now, this is my favorite; handles dual wans very well. It's based on monowall but built more for x86 systems rather than hardware solutions like soekris and pcengines.
June 10, 2006 11:15:23 PM

thanks for replying.

i'm only upset at linksys.

i'm trying to downsize (smaller) my server and router.

i wand a mini- itx motherboard( i already have the low profile ram)
running 2 2.5 inch hdds for redundancy. in a coustom pancake box.
along with a small do it all router that i can go out and purchase.

sit it on top of my desk.

smaller is cooler to me.

i used to think you had to have a big bad server and i built one.

linux is so powerfull you don't ned that anymore.

for a router i am looking for something i could plug my phoneline into(dsl) and route and to wireless for me all in one box. vlan would be great also but is not required.

although cisco 2600 routers can be purchased on ebay for like 150 bucks!!!
June 10, 2006 11:52:28 PM

That's a P4 right? It'll be doing wonders for your electricity bill. One of the reasons those products are in my bookmarks is that, with the exception of the KuroBox, they're all x86 and should run (probably with some tweaking) any of the various router OSes. I've not tried pfSense but if it works for you thats good, I know you can mod Smoothwall for multiple (independent) or bonded WANs, but if something else works 'out of the box' that's hard to argue with.

I only use Smoothwall out of habit, Express 2.0, the current production version, is beginning to look a bit feature cramped (no QOS, no WiFi etc...) but with mods to do practically anything it doesn't mater so much. Having said that it's a bit of a pain having so many mods installed when they release an update, I'm looking forward to version 3 (currently in alpha) and having a lot of the features I currently implement through mods brought into the core feature set.
June 10, 2006 11:52:44 PM

No problem, I too think small and low power consumption is cool (the later in a rather more literal sense) if you want an 'all in one box' solution you can still roll your own and use a low profile PCI ADSL card like

http://www.traverse.com.au/productview.do?product_id=21
http://www.sangoma.com/main/products/cards/adsl

Google knows of more, a possibly better solution is to stick your ADSL network terminating equipment, (PPoE 'modem' or whatever) in a box on the wall where you phone line comes into the building and get the signal off the crappy phone wire and onto some nice Cat5, this has the advantage that when you get upgraded to ADSL2 or fibre ultraband or even elasticband you just replace the box on the wall, also you can install a micro filter at that point and then you don't need them in the rest of the house.
June 12, 2006 1:28:41 PM

This router has been ROCK SOLID for me. I don't have tons of computers hooked up, but I do have 3 hard wired computers and 1 Wireless Laptop that connects to it. The wireless is using WPA Personal / TKIP Security. I don't broadcast the SID, and I don't use DCHP for my LAN.

This has been fantastic for me, and the laptop gets great connectivity everywhere in the house and outside on our deck and in front of the house.

I have two other friends using this Router version, they both are using 128bit WEP Security, no DHCP for their LAN, and they both are getting great connectivity and stability from it.
June 12, 2006 3:24:57 PM

Well,

The Linksys WRT54G is not an industrial product... it's simply for the home user.

I've had every version of the WRT54G from v1 to v4. I've not played around with the v5, as I don't have a need to.

Over the past two years I've been using the Sveasoft firmware update for the WRT54G/GS units I have, and it's been pretty reliable compared to the OEM firmware from Linksys. I suspect most people using other products are in the same boat.

Originally, I used a multihomed LINUX box as my firewall. However, since that required a dedicated system, it eventually needed to be scraped when it became a little to old to find replacement parts for. The LINUX version of the WRT54G/GS units is a good and solid replacement for basic user requirements. Some one with higher demands and utilization should probably consider an industrial solution / firewall.

Linksys technical support, however, is HORRIBLE. So if you run into problems that are atypical, you're going to have difficulties getting them to respond to your needs... which is another reason to consider and industrial product when better technical support.
June 13, 2006 4:07:24 AM

Quote:
Well,

The Linksys WRT54G is not an industrial product... it's simply for the home user.

I've had every version of the WRT54G from v1 to v4. I've not played around with the v5, as I don't have a need to.

Over the past two years I've been using the Sveasoft firmware update for the WRT54G/GS units I have, and it's been pretty reliable compared to the OEM firmware from Linksys. I suspect most people using other products are in the same boat.

Originally, I used a multihomed LINUX box as my firewall. However, since that required a dedicated system, it eventually needed to be scraped when it became a little to old to find replacement parts for. The LINUX version of the WRT54G/GS units is a good and solid replacement for basic user requirements. Some one with higher demands and utilization should probably consider an industrial solution / firewall.

Linksys technical support, however, is HORRIBLE. So if you run into problems that are atypical, you're going to have difficulties getting them to respond to your needs... which is another reason to consider and industrial product when better technical support.


of course it's not an industrial product but......................................

i run befsx41 routers and they are rock solid and work perfect. NOT to be mistaken for the befs"R"41 router which sucks cause it has the same crappy firmware as the wrt54g router. i do admit it's a good router, but it will not forward ports to my server. all the old routers worked and now none of the new routers work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! how stupid is that!

so linksys changes the firmware and claimes to support port forwarding but it doesn't work???? why dont they just stick with the old firmware????????

like i said i purchased and returned every current model thay make and they all suck.

many of them give java errors and dont load the built in webpages correctly or at all.

the poor fool who doesnt know any better will buy it and just run the setup disk and say it works. they don't know any better cause they are doing simple simon stuff.

so my point is that the old linksys(pre cisco)works wonderfully!
the new stuff is ALL crap.

i don't think we should only talk about the wrt54g i think we need to include all models here cause they all have the same problems or WORSE!!!!!!!!!!

and everybody here knows it.

cicso can kiss my you know what!!!!!! trying to down grade these routers to get real cisco product sales up.

WHAT A GIMMICK!

anyone looking for a reliable router for servers use the old befsx41 version 1 that has 4 rows of LED's on it. get it off ebay for like 30 bucks! that's my suggestion.


also anyone know of a linksys router model that is like over 3 years old that supports wirless and has the OLD gui

any model numbers!!!


thanks!!!!
June 13, 2006 6:15:59 PM

Quote:
Well,

The Linksys WRT54G is not an industrial product... it's simply for the home user.

I've had every version of the WRT54G from v1 to v4. I've not played around with the v5, as I don't have a need to.

Over the past two years I've been using the Sveasoft firmware update for the WRT54G/GS units I have, and it's been pretty reliable compared to the OEM firmware from Linksys. I suspect most people using other products are in the same boat.

Originally, I used a multihomed LINUX box as my firewall. However, since that required a dedicated system, it eventually needed to be scraped when it became a little to old to find replacement parts for. The LINUX version of the WRT54G/GS units is a good and solid replacement for basic user requirements. Some one with higher demands and utilization should probably consider an industrial solution / firewall.

Linksys technical support, however, is HORRIBLE. So if you run into problems that are atypical, you're going to have difficulties getting them to respond to your needs... which is another reason to consider and industrial product when better technical support.


of course it's not an industrial product but......................................

i run befsx41 routers and they are rock solid and work perfect. NOT to be mistaken for the befs"R"41 router which sucks cause it has the same crappy firmware as the wrt54g router. i do admit it's a good router, but it will not forward ports to my server. all the old routers worked and now none of the new routers work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! how stupid is that!

so linksys changes the firmware and claimes to support port forwarding but it doesn't work???? why dont they just stick with the old firmware????????

like i said i purchased and returned every current model thay make and they all suck.

many of them give java errors and dont load the built in webpages correctly or at all.

the poor fool who doesnt know any better will buy it and just run the setup disk and say it works. they don't know any better cause they are doing simple simon stuff.

so my point is that the old linksys(pre cisco)works wonderfully!
the new stuff is ALL crap.

i don't think we should only talk about the wrt54g i think we need to include all models here cause they all have the same problems or WORSE!!!!!!!!!!

and everybody here knows it.

cicso can kiss my you know what!!!!!! trying to down grade these routers to get real cisco product sales up.

WHAT A GIMMICK!

anyone looking for a reliable router for servers use the old befsx41 version 1 that has 4 rows of LED's on it. get it off ebay for like 30 bucks! that's my suggestion.


also anyone know of a linksys router model that is like over 3 years old that supports wirless and has the OLD gui

any model numbers!!!


thanks!!!!

Hopefully you don't mean me when you talk about the setup disk. Like I said I have setup 3 of these now, changed DHCP to hard coded ip addresses for the LAN, setup security, and more on these. Never have had a problem.
June 14, 2006 12:29:35 AM

Hearing about this saddens me. I've done in-home wireless installs for about fifty people since 2000. Everything from cheap Dlink models to refurbished Netgear models to the latest Draft-N Belkin's and Netgears. The WRT54G v2's that I have in my home and installed for several customers was definately the best router I'd used out of all of them. It really is a shame they ruined the product in the name of lowering costs.
June 15, 2006 3:11:17 AM

Our company sells a lot of Routers. Setting up Wireless Networks is probably one of our biggest home client jobs (besides removing spyware).

We have had to go back and swap out any and all Version 5 - WRT54G's, what a nightmare!!! Not sure about the multiple connection issues but pretty much every client was losing their internet connection and they weren't even going Wireless!? I had to troubleshoot one of these damn things for 3 days trying to figure out what was causing it to lose it's connection randomly several times a day and finally gave up, replaced it with a DLink DI-624 and then they were fine and haven't heard back from them. We've since done that with every client that we sold one to. This seems especially true for Motorola Canopy Equipment users, on Broadband Wireless Internet connections. This V5 seems to really hate being on Canopy networks, although it still hates Cable and ADSL as well.

Products like this give our business a black eye since client's look at it as if it's our fault. I'm truly not happy with Linksys and their support now is less than stellar. They used to be good. Now...not so much.
June 15, 2006 12:55:32 PM

From a reader:
Quote:
It´s only a lousy router if you´re into P2P and games, which I am not.

I only neet it as a router to my 1 MBit ADSL gateway, and it works just fine for me.

Additionally, I appreciate the V5´s non-hackability feature for security reasons.

Additionaly 2, it´s not just a router, it´s also a firewall, DMZ, 4 port 10/100-Base-T LAN unit.

All in all, as far as I´m concerned (and likely a zillion others in my situation too) at 40 bucks the WRT54G is just excellent value for the money!

So I don´t think it´s fair to say the WRT54G is a "lousy router" just because it ´wasn´t designed for the few who need 64 or 128 concurrent sessions...
June 15, 2006 1:03:05 PM

Reader says:
Quote:
After reading you article on the WRT54G I set out to obtain one of my own, Preferabily a V4 or less model. However when I purchased my new Router in the store and checked out the version it was a V6. Imagine my suprise, Well I immediately returned it until I cna obtain more information.

The V6 and V7 are both based on VxWorks and appear to have the same problems. In addition, according to this broadband reports thread, the V7 removes the JTAG and Serial port headers, preventing the flashing of even the micro version of DD-WRT.
June 16, 2006 4:05:26 AM

Quote:
From a reader:
It´s only a lousy router if you´re into P2P and games, which I am not.

I only neet it as a router to my 1 MBit ADSL gateway, and it works just fine for me.

Additionally, I appreciate the V5´s non-hackability feature for security reasons.

Additionaly 2, it´s not just a router, it´s also a firewall, DMZ, 4 port 10/100-Base-T LAN unit.

All in all, as far as I´m concerned (and likely a zillion others in my situation too) at 40 bucks the WRT54G is just excellent value for the money!

So I don´t think it´s fair to say the WRT54G is a "lousy router" just because it ´wasn´t designed for the few who need 64 or 128 concurrent sessions...


you're missing the point!!!

it is a lousy router because the older routers worked perfectly and the new ones just flat out SUCK!

so how is 40 bucks a good deal???

the R&D on the older routers are already done!! wouldnt it be cheaper to stick with the old stuff and make it better rather thatn start from scratch waste time and money and get it wrong!

I don't care what anybody says all these new routers suck and you wont find out how bad they suck untill a feature you really need and are going to rely upon dissapoints you because it just does not work!
June 16, 2006 9:56:35 AM

I have a WRT54G v1 router when using P2P the client's routing table constantly incremented with routes masking 255.255.255.255 and targeted some IP at the P2P connection. Is it normal?

Any hint welcome!

Regards,
Janos
June 18, 2006 4:44:41 AM

Couple of points I'd like to make / clear up as this is a useful thread that will probably turn up in many a search in the future.

1. the BEFSR41 doesn't use the same firmware as the WRT54G, in-fact, according to Linksys, it doesn't even use GPL'd code.

2. it's possible to work out how many concurrent connections a device can support using the maths from here
http://www.wallfire.org/misc/netfilter_conntrack_perf.t...
although that is geared towards 32bit PC architecture and I think the WRT54G uses a 32bit MIPS chip, also I would hope the kernel in any router has been optimised for that purpose so it should support more than the 1024 concurrent connections suggested by that maths, however it does prove it's just about memory.

After a fresh reboot my WRT54GL running DD-WRT v23 SP1 standard has 4328KB of memory free (according to top) and it's not doing anything (it's only an access point so no PPPoE, DHCP, QOS or anything, I'm telneting in over the LAN not wireless, there are no clients connected) so that's the size of the memory pool the netfilter table has to stay within, ignoring for a moment any memory required for wireless connections, WPA2 / TKIP, MAC filtering and so on.

After switching to the reduced feature set "mini" version I've got 9336KB of free memory and I'd have even more with the "micro" version, however I don't know if DD-WRT can use the extra space for it's netfilter table, and without a network testing tool designed for testing throughput and connections I can't find out, if anyone spots a free tool (preferably linux, but I've got a couple of 'dows boxes around for games so either will do) to do this let me know and I'll test it.

Other stuff...
June 21, 2006 7:06:19 PM

Quote:
Couple of points I'd like to make / clear up as this is a useful thread that will probably turn up in many a search in the future.

1. the BEFSR41 doesn't use the same firmware as the WRT54G, in-fact, according to Linksys, it doesn't even use GPL'd code.

Other stuff...


well it's all hearsay but I would like to point out that they all have the SAME GUI!!!!

If it looks the same and smells the same it probably is the same.

getting technical all these routers do different things but they all have the core program.
June 21, 2006 7:14:53 PM

Quote:
Couple of points I'd like to make / clear up as this is a useful thread that will probably turn up in many a search in the future.

1. the BEFSR41 doesn't use the same firmware as the WRT54G, in-fact, according to Linksys, it doesn't even use GPL'd code.

Other stuff...


well it's all hearsay but I would like to point out that they all have the SAME GUI!!!!

If it looks the same and smells the same it probably is the same.

getting technical all these routers do different things but they all have the core program.

Looks can be deceiving. The only reason the WRT54G was ever based off of Linux was because Broadcom decided to use it initially. The BEFSX line has been around far longer than any consumer level Linux-based router. Also there are differences, some not so subtle, between all the different GUIs on the routers.

The WRT54G v5 actually has features the Linux-based ones lack. The one I have wanted for a while was the ability to assign a "static" IP to a computer through DHCP and its MAC address. Netgear (I've made that mistake once before) has had it for a while, and now the v5 has it.

I have used a ton of WRT54G/GS routers including the new v5. Honestly the v5 is fine for most uses. Many, many, many, people don't use P2P which is what seems to choke it. I don't have, nor will I ever have, any v5 or later routers in my house, but that is because my usage isn't inline with it. It is incredible to me what some people expect out of a box you can buy for $45 retail. Buy a WRT54GL if you want the extra performance and hackability.
June 21, 2006 7:16:37 PM

Quote:
well it's all hearsay but I would like to point out that they all have the SAME GUI!!!!

If it looks the same and smells the same it probably is the same.

getting technical all these routers do different things but they all have the core program.

While it is true that the GUI may be essentially the same for different model routers from the same manufacturer, the underlying code can be very different.
June 21, 2006 8:06:56 PM

any links to this linksys router "ebay"

The servers i run at home are linux servers. fedora core 5. came from red hat 8

it would be no suprise to me if i could mod one of these routers to work just the wqay i want it to!
June 21, 2006 9:08:55 PM

I've never herd of any successful attempts to run custom code on the BEFSRxx family of routers and I've been looking. (assuming that's the router you talking about, it's ambiguous in your post)
June 23, 2006 2:38:59 AM

Quote:
so linksys changes the firmware and claimes to support port forwarding but it doesn't work???? why dont they just stick with the old firmware????????

like i said i purchased and returned every current model thay make and they all suck.

many of them give java errors and dont load the built in webpages correctly or at all.

the poor fool who doesnt know any better will buy it and just run the setup disk and say it works. they don't know any better cause they are doing simple simon stuff.

so my point is that the old linksys(pre cisco)works wonderfully!
the new stuff is ALL crap.

i don't think we should only talk about the wrt54g i think we need to include all models here cause they all have the same problems or WORSE!!!!!!!!!!

and everybody here knows it.

cicso can kiss my you know what!!!!!! trying to down grade these routers to get real cisco product sales up.

WHAT A GIMMICK!

anyone looking for a reliable router for servers use the old befsx41 version 1 that has 4 rows of LED's on it. get it off ebay for like 30 bucks! that's my suggestion.

also anyone know of a linksys router model that is like over 3 years old that supports wirless and has the OLD gui

any model numbers!!!

The BEFSX41 is nice, has VPN support. It's not wireless though.

I think as the underlying hardware changes to add features and reduce production costs, the firmware has to change.

I have a WRT54G v2. I've successfully forwarded ports with multiple versions of firmware from Linksys, Sveasoft, tofu, thibor, openwrt and dd-wrt on this router. I don't recall any significant java errors although the 3rd party ones get them from time to time with rapid development releases. I can't comment on setup disks and if they work as I've never used a setup disk for any router. I just go in through the router GUI or telnet in to configure it. I have a friend who has the BEFSX41 (edit: actually it might have been the BEFXR41 but either way it worked for him but he wanted to move to a wireless router) and got a WRT54G v2.0 to replace it and has been happy with it. He didn't run the linksys firmware for long, switching almost immediately to Sveasoft Satori back in 2004. It's worked for him so he is still on that version after all these years on the "if it's not broke don't fix it" theory. I've been through more versions of firmware than I can count since then. I know he can port forward since I instant message with him on a regular basis and he has to RDP from work to his home PC to access the IM software (as it's blocked by a firewall where he works, but yes he is able to RDP home using a port other than 443).

If you're purchased every current model and returned them all, then you've been very busy as Linksys has lots of products.

If you don't care about wireless, check out the RV082. It also supports VPN and a very picky friend of mine has one and likes it although it did take a firmware upgrade to fix some issues that he had.
!