bergman on 2 Mar 2009 15:02:42 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] Wish list for PLUG talks --> OpenWRT

In the message dated: Mon, 02 Mar 2009 17:29:50 EST,
The pithy ruminations from Gordon Dexter on 
<Re: [PLUG] Wish list for PLUG talks --> OpenWRT> were:

=> JP Vossen wrote:
=> > I have a "WRT54G" and a "WRT54G v.3" (w/ Cisco label) I need to set up. 

I've got an old-old-old WRT54G, version 1.0.

Unfortunately, Linksys (Cisco) like to play "hide the version", doing major 
hardware changes without changing the name/model, and obsuring details that
would let a hacker^H^H^H^H^H^H end user know what's really inside the box.

I strongly recommend checking the WRT54G Wikipedia page, as it's got good info on 
deciphering the real version number and determining whether you can run 
alternative firmware:

=> >   Is OpenWRT what everyone recommends?  I plan to put the device on its 
=> > own FW segment, with its own subnet, so I don't think I care about 
=> > anything but the wireless AP part.  But I don't know anything about the 
=> > device or any of the possible firmwares.
=> >
=> > Thoughts or recommendations?  (Remember, I'm occupationally paranoid.)
=> >   
=> The firmware I've heard everybody recommend is DD-WRT.  It has a very 

For some value of "everyone", I suppose that might be true. Not in my 
universe, however.

I run OpenWRT (Kamikaze), because I wanted the writeable filesystem on the 
router, and because there were recipies for the configuration that I wanted.

Currently, I'm providing dual SSID:

	SSID				Characteristics	
	====================				=========================================
	Free Public Internet				no security, limited to 10 DHCP addresses
					bandwidth capped via QoS, firewalled from my
					home (wired & wireless network), SSID is 

	Private 				SSID is not broadcast, WPA-2 used (with MAC
					filtering as well), no bandwidth cap, persistent
					(long-duration) DHCP leases, access to internal
					networked devices (printer/scanner, backup server,
					other wireless devices on Private network)

The only problems that I've found are:

	enabling the GUI interface on the router is processor-intensive, 
	causing a high load. I leave it off almost all the time.

	Often, when client devices drop their VPN connection, the WLAN side of 
	the router, dropping all wireless clients. This only seems to happen 
	with Fedora 10 (pptp) clients, not with older versions of Fedora on the
	same hardware or other Linux distros on different hardware.

=> powerful web interface, and comes with all the features to be expected 
=> of a third party firmware.  HOWEVER!  While it's based on the Linux 
=> kernel, and it's still using FOSS for a lot of the features, DD-WRT has 
=> taken a worrying turn towards being proprietary.  As far as I can tell 
=> they can sort of do this because they rewrote the web interface for v23 
=> or v24, and they don't offer that under a free license, but it's still 
=> pretty legally sketchy IMHO, as well as morally questionable.

Yeah, that also turned me off.

=> I suppose I could live with that for now.  It works pretty well and has 
=> the best out-of-the-box feature set of all third party firmwares I've 
=> seen.  However I also noticed it has an x86 version and a few other 
=> feature-enhanced versions that /require you to purchase an activation 
=> code!/  Not just "please pay us to be able to download this and cover 
=> our costs" but "you must pay for this to use it, for every single router 
=> you install it on".


=> At that point I started using Tomato and haven't looked back.  I've come 
=> to realize that I don't really need 99% of the features DD-WRT has, and 
=> I like the bandwidth-shaping and -monitoring features of Tomato, and 
=> it's user-friendliness.
=> I have avoided OpenWRT so far because Tomato works for me and I don't 
=> need the extra complexity that OpenWRT has.  One of the main reasons is 
=> that OpenWRT doesn't come with a Web GUI out of the box; it comes as a 
=> separate package and has to be installed, as do most extra features on 
=> OpenWRT.  It's not for everybody, but it sounds to me like you--and many 
=> people on this list--would want to go for OpenWRT.  I would like to hear 
=> a talk on it as well.

I'd be interested in hearing that talk too.

Mark "set up the router and then promptly forgot as many details as possible" Bergman
=> --Gordon
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