Linksys WRT54G v8: Ifos Fail, Wireless Bridge Win!

November 18, 2009 | 1 Minute Read

Pushing on with OpenWRT as a framework on which to build an Ifos server/master control program, I popped down to the local Goodwill to scrounge a cheap router. I new they had a pile of them, having donated a few myself.

I guess a lot of people had the same idea, though, because pickings were slim—nothing but some ancient Cisco 678 ADSL modems. My old Netgear equipment had evidently found a home.

In the final stages of my fruitless search, I moved aside a Realistic wireless intercom system, lifted an old dictaphone control pedal, and there sat a new-in-box Linksys WRT54G. If you didn’t know, that’s just about the perfect platform for OpenWRT. Oh, and it was $4.99.

Linksys WRT54G

Linksys WRT54G

As the title of this post implies, however, it was not to be. Unfortunately for me, I had found a v8, which OpenWRT’s wiki specifically lists as “unsupportable.” (Turns out it doesn’t have enough memory.) The man is always trying to push you down. Some would see that $5 as sunk cost and move on, but I figured, “Heck, it’s gotta be good for something.”

Long story short, OpenWRT may require at least 4MB, but dd-wrt will run in only 2MB. A quick flash and a bit of configuration yielded an awesome wireless client bridge for Angie’s detached studio. Now she can connect at full speed, instead of degrading to 1Mb in competition with all our neighbors’ networks.

My only real issue was easily fixed: dd-wrt seems to be very picky when it comes to the browser you use to configure it. It failed repeatedly with Safari on my Mac, but worked fine when I switched to IE on a PC (many posts refer to this problem, suggesting the IE work-around). For a brief-but-informative tutorial on configuring the bridge, see DD-WRT Intro to repeater Bridge. His accent alone makes me happy.