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Linksys WRT54G v8: crap, or greatest crap?

FremFrem Registered User regular
LONG VERSION:
So, my family wanted better wifi security than the basic WEP on our old Linksys BEFW11S4 v3, and bought a Linksys WRT54G router based on all the great reviews we saw of it. Unfortunately, Linksys appears to have substituted a completely different router in place of the great one everyone loved and forgotten to rename it. We've got version 8.0.

So, it's started crashing randomly several times a day. When it crashes, both wired and wireless connections will appear connected for a period of time, but no internet access or LAN access (printing to the shared printer, etc.) will be possible. It is also not possible to access the router's control panel at http://192.168.1.1 as the request will time out. Oh, and all the little green lights stay on, "as if it was actually working", to quote a 1 star review on NewEgg.

I have upgraded the firmware to the latest available on Linksys's website, 8.0.0.5, but this does not seem to have helped.

We have had this router for about six months, and it was behaving itself until I came home from college and started accessing the wifi network on my Linux laptop. I'm not sure if this is what is causing the crashes, but it was not crashing while I was away. Unplugging and replugging in the router resets it and fixes the problem temporarily.

We are using Bellsouth FastAccess DSL in the South-East US area. We've called their tech support line and they claim that they aren't having any downtime or trouble with the lines.

These are bizarre crashes, btw. Once, NetworkManager crashed at the exact same time the router died. Both computers running different Linux distros, making it even stranger. (Though that only happened once)

The router also likes to die on the hour; definitely a firmware thing.

So. Any suggestions? Should I look into putting a different firmware on the thing? Is there a built in warranty?

TLDR VERSION:
Linksys WRT54G v8 router locks up at least once a day; it's definitely a firmware thing. Should I dump DD-WRT on it or what?

Frem on

Posts

  • Qs23Qs23 Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Well which version of 8 do you have v8.1, v8.2 or v8.3? and the only version of DD-WRT that you're going to be able to get onto the router is the micro edition. Seems Linksys caught on after v5 that people were using them for DD-WRT and so they basically gimped their own router to stop the hacking.

    Qs23 on
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  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Call Linksys/Cisco. I've got a v.8 that I had to get after my previous WRT54G bit the dust after having DD-WRT installed. Since the DD-WRT was a "micro" build, it was buggy and would regularly lose wireless and reset the modem. And when it did that, I *HAD* to log into the thing via a cable and ask it to reset -- I couldn't just unplug & plug it back in, as the wireless never came back up.

    I've been perfectly happy with the vanilla WRT54G I've been using since then (about 5 months now). No problems at all. So call Cisco and bitch at them that you got a defective router.

    EggyToast on
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  • victor_c26victor_c26 Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Qs23 wrote: »
    Well which version of 8 do you have v8.1, v8.2 or v8.3? and the only version of DD-WRT that you're going to be able to get onto the router is the micro edition. Seems Linksys caught on after v5 that people were using them for DD-WRT and so they basically gimped their own router to stop the hacking.

    They actually released a special version for the Linux firmware hacking community. It's called the WRT54GL.

    Guess what the L stands for. Still not as generous as the 1v-3v revisions, but the standard 5v+ revisions pale in comparison to the L model.

    Here it is at Newegg: WRT54GL

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  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Funny how Buffalo's reaction to everyone just putting DD-WRT on their mid-high-end home routers was to just ship them from the factory with DD-WRT installed to begin with.

    Daedalus on
  • ProtoProto Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Qs23 wrote: »
    Well which version of 8 do you have v8.1, v8.2 or v8.3? and the only version of DD-WRT that you're going to be able to get onto the router is the micro edition. Seems Linksys caught on after v5 that people were using them for DD-WRT and so they basically gimped their own router to stop the hacking.

    You give them too much credit. The decline in onboard memory is purely a monetary thing.


    I had all kinds of problems with my version 6 router (similar issues as yours). Then I installed micro DD-WRT and haven't had a problem since. The install is kinda tricky, but there are a few nice guides out there that'll walk you through it. Even though it's the "micro" edition it still gives you a lot of nice features, much more then the standard linksys firmware anyway. Highly recommended.

    I think Eggy's problems may have been with the router itself and not the firmware. Mine is rock solid. If the power ever goes out it comes up just fine.

    Proto on
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  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    It may have been, but I read on the DD-WRT forums that it was a common problem with the RC I was using. And then when I went to upgrade the firmware, it froze up, bricking the thing. Even plugged in via a wired cable & everything. Could've been a combination of RC oddness w/ hardware problems, but I'll never know.

    At that point I realized I didn't need the extra features and would just use the vanilla router. It's been fine, so I haven't really thought about it.

    EggyToast on
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  • maximumzeromaximumzero I...wait, what? New Orleans, LARegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Go buy an Airport.

    You'll thank me later.

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  • KungFuKungFu Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I have been using a WRT54G v8.00.5 for just over a year now.

    Absolutely no issues, ever.

    KungFu on
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  • wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I have the old school WRT54G before they decided to start gimping them and charging $15 more to get the L version(which is essentially the same as the old version).

    I love the thing, and can't see myself upgrading it until it breaks.

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  • FremFrem Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    So, the nice guy at IM tech support (Seriously? How are you supposed to use that thing if your router is broken?) told me that it's a documented problem and the workaround was to switch the network over to use static IP addresses instead of DHCP. Which is of course just wonderful for wifi connections (at least it is if you have to use Windows; Wicd in Linux is a bit more flexible about it).

    So yeah. The router has locked up again once since then, but then again I forgot to "powercycle" it, so there still may be hope.

    Also, I messed around some more and discovered a few more interesting bits of info.

    - Web browsing and everything else will be borked when the router dies, but a previously connected Xchat IRC session will still be live; I can continue talking to people with no lag or anything.
    - Other computers on the network can be contacted if I use an IP address.
    - Next time it goes down, I'ma try to get to google using an IP address. Dunno if it'll work or not, but it seems somewhat feasible if there's some sort of strange problem with the DNS.

    But yes. If this thing fails again, I'm probably going to have to start looking into new routers. I've heard that Dlink in good?

    Frem on
  • ProtoProto Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    just put micro DD-WRT on it.

    Proto on
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  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Proto wrote: »
    just put micro DD-WRT on it.
    Now with Lymon.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Proto wrote: »
    just put micro DD-WRT on it.
    Now with Lymon.

    I don't know about the V8, but on my V7 that actually caused more problems than it was worth. Even the micro version isn't always entirely stable. Really you just need to sell it and get a better router, even if it's just the GL.

    mcdermott on
  • TrentusTrentus Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Proto wrote: »
    just put micro DD-WRT on it.
    Now with Lymon.

    I don't know about the V8, but on my V7 that actually caused more problems than it was worth. Even the micro version isn't always entirely stable. Really you just need to sell it and get a better router, even if it's just the GL.

    Is that the 7.0, or the 7.2 revision? They used the atheros chipset for 7.0, but switched back to broadcom for 7.2, and as far as I'm aware, there isn't any third party firmware that supports the atheros revision. DD-wrt doesn't support the V7 revision at the least.

    I was so annoyed to find that I got stuck with the 7.0 revision when I unboxed my WRT54G. I might be getting a WRT300N second hand from a mate though, so there is still hope.

    Trentus on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Trentus wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Proto wrote: »
    just put micro DD-WRT on it.
    Now with Lymon.

    I don't know about the V8, but on my V7 that actually caused more problems than it was worth. Even the micro version isn't always entirely stable. Really you just need to sell it and get a better router, even if it's just the GL.

    Is that the 7.0, or the 7.2 revision? They used the atheros chipset for 7.0, but switched back to broadcom for 7.2, and as far as I'm aware, there isn't any third party firmware that supports the atheros revision. DD-wrt doesn't support the V7 revision at the least.

    I was so annoyed to find that I got stuck with the 7.0 revision when I unboxed my WRT54G. I might be getting a WRT300N second hand from a mate though, so there is still hope.

    My bad. It's a V5. I just was less than impressed with DD-WRT micro...it seemed like an attempt to strip down and stuff the firmware onto hardware that really couldn't handle it (memory-wise), and seems to have been less than 100% successful. My router would die constantly and require a reboot.

    EDIT: And this was after trying to disable a lot of non-essential processes and tweak the settings for lower memory usage.

    mcdermott on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Also, to answer the question posed in the title, I'm going with utter crap. All of the newer WRT54G revisions are shit. Plus, I simply cannot forgive them for not allowing (with default firmware) static DHCP...which makes port forwarding a bitch if you don't use every device every couple days or so (because they'll just get assigned any old address). I see no reason not to include this. It's actually the only reason I tried to shoehorn DD-WRT onto it.

    EDIT: And while I realize I could assign IP addresses manually on the devices, I'm pretty sure that then I also have to assign all the other shit (DNS, gateway, etc.) manually as well. Which is a huge pain in the dick. Unless there's something I just don't know about, which is entirely possible.

    mcdermott on
  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    mcdermott wrote: »
    My bad. It's a V5. I just was less than impressed with DD-WRT micro...it seemed like an attempt to strip down and stuff the firmware onto hardware that really couldn't handle it (memory-wise), and seems to have been less than 100% successful. My router would die constantly and require a reboot.

    EDIT: And this was after trying to disable a lot of non-essential processes and tweak the settings for lower memory usage.

    /eyebrow

    I've been using V5/V6 units (VxWorks-based) just fine for years with DD-micro. Perhaps ur doin it rong somehow during the installation process and not fully wiping out the existing firmware?

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  • ProtoProto Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    mcdermott wrote: »
    My bad. It's a V5. I just was less than impressed with DD-WRT micro...it seemed like an attempt to strip down and stuff the firmware onto hardware that really couldn't handle it (memory-wise), and seems to have been less than 100% successful. My router would die constantly and require a reboot.

    EDIT: And this was after trying to disable a lot of non-essential processes and tweak the settings for lower memory usage.

    /eyebrow

    I've been using V5/V6 units (VxWorks-based) just fine for years with DD-micro. Perhaps ur doin it rong somehow during the installation process and not fully wiping out the existing firmware?

    Yeah, that puzzles me too.

    There is one essential tweak that you need to do if you are running torrents though:
    change your maximum ports and TCP/UDP timeout settings.

    http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Router_Slowdown
    (see solution 1)

    Before I did this my router would crash when using torrents.

    Proto on
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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Proto wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    My bad. It's a V5. I just was less than impressed with DD-WRT micro...it seemed like an attempt to strip down and stuff the firmware onto hardware that really couldn't handle it (memory-wise), and seems to have been less than 100% successful. My router would die constantly and require a reboot.

    EDIT: And this was after trying to disable a lot of non-essential processes and tweak the settings for lower memory usage.

    /eyebrow

    I've been using V5/V6 units (VxWorks-based) just fine for years with DD-micro. Perhaps ur doin it rong somehow during the installation process and not fully wiping out the existing firmware?

    Yeah, that puzzles me too.

    There is one essential tweak that you need to do if you are running torrents though:
    change your maximum ports and TCP/UDP timeout settings.

    http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Router_Slowdown
    (see solution 1)

    Before I did this my router would crash when using torrents.

    Hmmm....I don't recall if I tried that specific setting change. I may have to give it another shot. Odd that I didn't run across that page before...I spent a while poking around the DD-WRT wiki looking for ideas.

    I may have to give it another shot.

    Thanks!

    mcdermott on
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