Linux Blog

Some notes on DD-WRT

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Hardware,Linux Software — TheLinuxBlog.com at 1:44 am on Saturday, June 21, 2008

For those of you that don’t know DD-WRT is a modified version of firmware somewhat like that of the Linksys NSLU2 except more geared towards wireless routers, it runs on over 80 models.

I needed to finally set my home office / desk up with my home wireless network. I currently have a Belkin running DD-WRT and was very happy with the versatility. I have temporarily used it as a wireless bridge in other applications, so I thought I’d add another DD-WRT box to my network and use it as a bridge as I had previously done.

As noted above DD-WRT does support a large variety of wireless routers, the problem is finding a supported model. I purchased another cheap Belkin as it was on the known working hardware and came to realize that it was not possible to get DD-WRT set up on it. It was an version that was specifically put on the not supported list which I had failed to check.

A lot of Netgear routers are supported, but be careful. I noticed that the Model numbers do work, but the newer Netgear versions of the same model are not supported. I oped to buy a WRT54G for a modest $49.99. It has slightly less ram, and flash memory meaning that it can not support the full version but it has more then enough features in the micro version that it can run.

The Linksys WRT54GL retails about $65-$90 and can be purchased from most computer stores that have a decent selection. It features some pretty good specs, like the WRT54GS except it has more RAM and more flash. Again, this depends on the version you get. If you purchase the WRT54GL you are guaranteed to get a working version of DD-WRT on it though. It took me a while to find my WRT54G, I shopped at Best Buy, Circuit City, Office Max, Staples and they all had the “latest and greatest” models that are not yet supported by DD-WRT and were incredibly over priced. At one point I was very desperate and almost purchased an overpriced WAP54G which is the same thing without the built in switch. I am very happy that I didn’t as I would have also had to wire up my 16 port switch to a power supply since it went bad.

If your considering purchasing a router to run DD-WRT just check the black list first and take a print out of the supported and not supported lists from DD-WRT.com (The employees of big box retail stores don’t like it when you take every model they have to a computer with Internet and compare the models / versions one by one only to take them all back.)

Linksys NSLU2 – A Great Linux Box

Filed under: Linux Hardware — TheLinuxBlog.com at 2:35 am on Friday, March 21, 2008

This is a piece of hardware that I have owned probably for about two years now. I thought that it had died therefore it sat in my box of unused computer crap probably for about a year and a half. The other weekend I took this little gem back out of this box and actually un-bricked it. It was a bit of a pain to get it working again from its unusable state. It would never boot up, never beeped. Just stopped with an orange light, I really thought it was toast. So I tried the redboot method (regular upgrade method would not work) and it actually went into redboot. After flashing its memory and reloading firmware I was able to get a some what working Linksys NSLU2.

Now thats over with, naturally after having Linksys’s NSLU2 back to its original state, I had to fix it again. That is install Linux on it. The Linksys NSLU2 already runs Linux so there are a few options on how you can get Linux on the Linksys NSLU2. I opted for the easier install this time which is Unslung. My theory with this was, it has a lot more packages then when I first saw Unslung and my Debian Installation was what bricked the poor little slug. So, now I have a great Linksys NSLU2 that is sitting serving up files and is available to run lightweight applications.

I highly recommend the Linksys NSLU2 to anyone wanting to play around with Linux. It is so easy to get started with and they can easily be picked up for under $100. You don’t need anything special to use the Linksys NSLU2. Windows, Linux, MacOSX and anything with a Telnet or SSH client will work. There are so many things that you can do with Linux on an NSLU2 the options are endless. What are you waiting for? Grab one today!