About a year ago I replaced the stock firmware in my Linksys WRT54G v.3 wireless residential router with a Sveasoft version. At the time my WRT54G did not support wireless bridging. I wanted to bridge between two access points to eliminate a cable that was previously run across the floor in front of my kitchen. This also added three more wired ports to the entertainment center, which is where my X-Box and another PC were located at one time.

On the other end of the bridge is a Belking F5D7230-4 v2000. This unit was my primary (and only) router prior to the addition of the bridge setup. Back when I had decided to setup a bridge my original intention was to purchase another F5D7230. I was concerned that the Belkin router would only bridge with another Belkin router. Unfortunately, I was unable to find the same model at Wal-Mart. Before I purchased the Linksys WRT54G I actually purchased another F5D7230 but after walking out to the car and opening up the box I learned that even though it was the same series it was not the same router. It only had one antenna, was of smaller dimensions, and did not support bridging. I returned it to Wal-Mart and went ahead and spent an additional $20 for the Linksys router.

The Sveasoft firmware worked though it was somewhat buggy. I had to enter wireless settings in a specific sequence or the unit would go into an endless cyle of powering up and down. It was frustrating but I was able to get it to work.

A couple of months ago I started looking at alternatives to the Sveasoft firmware for my WRT54G. I still wasn’t happy with the configuration problems and I also suspected that it was causing network bandwidth problems (I don’t know if it did affect the network performance, but I’ve noticed better performance since I removed the Sveasoft firmware). I had stumbled upon DD-WRT but I didn’t want to spend time trying to add it to my WRT54G.

Of course, since I’m on vacation and “getting things done” I decided to finally swap firmware on the Linksys router. The actual replacement was fairly simple. I used the “generic” version by uploading the firmware file via the Sveasoft Web administration interface.

For the past 24 hours I’ve been working with some problems with the new firmware, most of which are related to setting up WDS and still getting wireless clients to connect. Currently, the wireless bridge is working and I am able to connect a wireless client (laptop). However, I seem to be experiencing drops and still having problems connecting to the wireless network. I’m hoping this is something I’ll be able to resolve, but I’m tempted to keep the firmware regardless.

The DD-WRT firmware appears to have more options than the Sveasoft firmware. I haven’t encountered any issues that I know are bugs (yet). Overall it’s a more elegant solution. There are also alleged violations in the way Sveasoft distributes the firmware. Namely, Sveasoft charges for the software but does not provide the source code, which is a violation of the GPL license the original software is derived from. I don’t know the specifics but I find this matter unsettling and one more reason to not use Sveasoft firmware. There have also been several posts that question the manner in which Sveasoft handles subscriptions, which are required to download the firmware in the first place (cost is about $20/year).

My primary reason for switching to DD-WRT this week was in the hope that it would improve the quality of my iChat video conferencing. I’m not certain it has, but it’s nice to work with a firmware that doesn’t have to reboot the router for every configuration change. Today, I was able to temporarily place my Mac in a DMZ in the middle of a chat and it did not interrupt the conversation.

Plus, the interface just looks damn slick.

DD-WRT

Category:
Free, Hardware, Software

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