2008 - Archives
Ohio Linux Fest '08 is right around the corner. As in previous years it is slated to be hosted in Columbus Ohio this year. Register! and come on out for a great time of geek-dom. There will be plenty to wet everyone's Linux pallete from the newbie to the advanced users. Come one come all, all Linux geeks are welcome at this event. Check out some pix from recent years at OLF
Linksys WRT54G ... Tomato Firmware installed. This is a continuation of my previous post about various firmwares for this exquisite router. I tried OpenWRT which was okay. But I was looking for something a little more tweakable and less bloated. Enter Tomato. What's great about tomato is that it gives some really good realtime reports about bandwidth usage and other statistical reports about your network traffic that are actually attractive. Another appealing aspect of Tomato is that it let's you adjust the range of the wireless part of the router. This is something that I needed because I was not getting good reception in one of the rooms of my house.
So far this is the best firmware I have tried for this router. I know there are others out there but I see no reason to try any others at this time. This one does everything I need and then some. And for all of you DynDns'ers out there, there is a section just for you. You can now setup the router to auto ping your dynamic dns IP accounts so they will not expire. Currently it allows for 2 IPs to be setup for this. If anyone else is interested in giving it a shot, go here:
I've also include some screenshots of Tomato in action so everyone can get an idea of some of the stuff this firmware is capable of doing. Check out these images of Tomato in action:
Even setup SSH keys!
SSH to the router!
Linksys WRT54G router ... need I say more? For you Linux fanatics out there you already know where this is going. That's right ... the Linksys WRT54G router series rules. Why? Because it was built ontop of Linux, which enabled several different open source projects to spring up and take full advantage of this technology. You can read all about the history of the Linksys WRT54G router and the projects surrounding it here:
Other than the coolness factor of all this, I had additional motives as well. I had been having trouble with outbound ssh clogging my router which of course required manual rebooting of the router on occasion. So I figured this may clear that issue up since it natively runs Linux, not to mention that I would also be able to remotely reboot the router if necessary using OpenWRT and my MacBook Pro Laptop.
Actually being able to ssh to my router was well worth the investment in itself!
So of course when I heard about this I immediately went to Ebay and bought my own WRT54Gv.4 router for around $50. (The router version number is very important! See article above.) Initially, I chose to go with the OpenWRT firmware as it seemed to have more documentation than DD-WRT. It was a snap to upgrade the Linksys firmware to OpenWRT. I simply downloaded the most stable firmware bin file and used my stock firmware's update feature to point to that file. Then I sat back and relaxed. It only took a couple minutes and then everything was good to go.
Needless to say I was pretty anxious to login to my new Linux router and begin tinkering around with it.
I can do what? SSH to my router now??? Sounds good to me!
Actually being able to ssh to my router was well worth the investment
Now I am able grock logs and setup cron processes right on the router's filesystem!
OpenWRT also comes with a web interface which is about average as far as user interfaces go. But functionality is really the key, which was pretty good. It includes alot of nice reporting tools regarding bandwidth usage. I really liked the DynDNS auto update feature. If you have DynDNS addresses this is a must have to prevent your domains from going stale. You can always use ddclient but I found this OpenWRT feature to be much more user friendly and of course didn't require a whole server to be up and running. Simply set your DynDNS domain name, DynDNS account username and password and the router does the work for you to automatically update DynDNS at scheduled intervals! Wish I had known about this years ago. On a related note, I ended up flashing my old wireless-b Linksys router to its latest firmware version and they had added this functionality as well. Just goes to show you .. update your firmware more than once every four years.
One significant drawback I have noticed with my new setup is my wireless coverage greatly decreased when I went from a wireless-b router to this new wireless-g router. I had read that this was a common occurance in this scenario and unrelated to OpenWRT firmware. In any event, to combat this I stumbled upon another firmware called Tomato which addresses this issue. It allows you to boost the signal of the router. Not only that but the interface looks much better and, from what I have read from user reviews, has better functionality compared to other firmwares.
Time for a switch. Tomato setup ... coming soon!