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One of the great jokes during our rewiring project was that "There's a lot to be said for wireless networking". While we did feel strongly that we really did want a good solid wired network in the house we did finally decide that wireless had its place as well.

 

So oneday when there was a sale too good to pass up we picked up a Linksys WRT54G (for a whopping $25) from one of the local Future Shop's. We set it up with a hidden SSID and WPA2 encryption so as not to provide free internet for the entire neighbourhood. We actually tried using WEP for a short while when we were testing a WiFi VoIP phone and found that the Linksys would stop passing traffic after a few days. In WPA2 mode it worked fine though...

 

The WRT54G was (and still is) one of the most common access points out there. Being such it had lots of people hacking it and developing alternate firmware for it. We looked briefly at alternate firmware but since our version of the hardware (version 5) didn't easily support these alternate firmwares we decided against spending the many hours needed to update ours to use a 3rd party firmware.

 

The range on the WRT54G is quite acceptable for our purposes (3 story home with a basement - WAP in the basement). While at the top of the house sitting over top of the ductwork (metal + wireless = poor reception) the signal can be a little flaky. Otherwise though it seems to work well and deliver a reasonably strong and steady signal. The CISCO Aironet at our office does seem to work a bit better but at over $1000 you really can't complain about the Linksys. We also had a D-Link DWL-2100AP at work for a while and let's just say there is a reason we got the CISCO. The D-Link would roll over and play dead every once in a while. A good poke (and a power cycle) and it would come back to life for a few weeks. Eventually it ceased to come back and just lay there lights on but nobody home.

 

Recently with a few students making heavy use of our trusty old WRT54G we had some problems with it dying on us every week or two. Flashing the firmware to the latest version seems to have taken care of this issue though. All in all it has been great. Especially for $25.

WRT54G.JPG
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