Posted on 06.03.07 to Hardware by Oliver

Fresh Fruits

A Linksys WRT54GS is the backbone of my network at home. A college once pointed me to this fine product because it has an OSS firmware. Shortly after its first release in 2003 some Linux hackers found out that the firmware was based on Linux. To avoid any legal arguments with the GPL horde, they open sources the firmware which led to a couple of branches that include bug fixes and feature enhancements, some of them only available in much more expensive router products. And it’s always good to know that such an important piece of hardware is backed up by an OSS community so it won’t go away anytime soon.

Until recently it served me well running on the original firmware but I was curious what else had become available in the meantime. First I tried DD-WRT, bricked it (because I didn’t read the installation instructions carefully enough), reinstalled it and finally found out, that their latest version seems to have some obscure problem with (german?) DSL which lead to regular disconnects on my side. Although its features were compelling (VPN/VoIP Server, WDS, RADIUS, IPv6 or mesh networks) I had to give up on this.

My router is running on Tomato now. I really do like it when something just works and Tomato is small, fast, looks great (AJAX & SVG) and does its job. Browsing the web “feels” faster for me now then the original firmware and it has some advanced and very welcome features (static DHCP, better security, statistics, etc.). But I will keep an eye on DD-WRT because I really would like to have a VPN tunnel into my local network and get access to my files from where ever I want.

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