Linux Blog

Linux For Everyone!

Filed under: General Linux — TheLinuxBlog.com at 12:12 am on Friday, January 30, 2009

Today, while I was in the shower I was thinking:

“What way do people closely interact with Linux everyday without even knowing it”


With the recent re-regurgitation of the old GNU vs. Cisco case it came to mind that many people use Linux on a daily basis by using their routers. While this is not the best example of Linux in its prime it is a good way to demonstrate the versatility of the Linux operating system. To some, the concept of an operating system running on anything other than the latest and greatest hardware is alien. To Linux users this is part of its beauty.

I personally have two Linux powered routers. The first is a cheapo Belkin that is not very well suited, the second is the better supported WRT54G.

There are many variants of the WRT’s My personal favorite is DD-WRT because this is what I’ve used for a while, and I’m most familiar with it. I have an office with quite a lot of equipment that is somewhat distant from my cable modem and access point. What I use the first router for is a static access point, next to the cable modem, the second router has been re-purposed to be a full time bridge. I encrypted the communications and set up some static IP’s. I have a hundred or so DHCP lease IP’s available for friends and virtual machines. Whats great about this setup is DD-WRT does a great job as a bridge and hardly ever drops. My cable connection has gone out far more times then the bridge, if it ever has at all. I am able to connect many machines to the Internet over wireless while keeping my office communications switched. I do not have any of the hassles of multiple wireless cards with touchy Windows and Linux drivers and random dropped connections. The wireless bridge is so reliable I am able to do VOIP over it, with QoS to ensure that my calls always have priority over streaming media and other network traffic. DD-WRT truly has been the best thing that I’ve ever done to my routers and is really a great replacement for the Linksys junkware.

With this in mind next time your dearest Windows zealot complains about the stability of their Small/Home Office router, perhaps taking a stab at the stability of Linux (if their router even runs it) how about you educate them on the versatility of Linux. If you like, you could walk them through the very easy steps of installing a WRT variant onto the router (if possible) and enable Linux’s full potential to shine through.

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.)