Yes, the Linksys WRT54G V5 Really Is a Lousy Router

Status
Not open for further replies.

thiggins

Distinguished
Jan 26, 2006
473
0
18,780
User forums around the web have been abuzz with complaints about the non-Linux version of one of Linksys' most popular products. Tim Higgins tested it and the WRT54GL Linux-based version and found at least one reason why the V5 has so many unhappy buyers.
 

thiggins

Distinguished
Jan 26, 2006
473
0
18,780
Posting for a reader:
Excelent article on the problems with the Linksys WRT54G v5. One thing I (and I expect many other readers) would really like to see, would be for you to do the same tests on an earlier WRT54G (pre v5) or the WRT54GL with one or more of the 3rd party firmwares. Most of them claim to fix the mutliple connection problem, but it would be very interesting to see how some of the different ones compare.
 

wyliegraham

Distinguished
Jun 8, 2006
2
0
18,510
hey tim,

i'd like to set my wrtg45g up as a range extender for an existing wireless network. from what i've been able to tell, the linksys os does not allow this. do you know offhand which of the linux replacement oses would allow this?

thanks,

wylie
 

JohnWeldt

Distinguished
Mar 6, 2005
94
0
18,630
I am on of those unfortunate buyers of the WRT54G V5. Right out of the box it was DoA. The admin page was corrupt and unusable. Do they not have QoA?

The story ends with me refunding the router and walking away.
 
when did this V5 come out?
i hade a WRT54G(after dlink let me down) about 1 year ago....and it was hell....could it have been that?

Mine was always locking up when i would stream PVR data to my notebook(cant call this heavy thing a laptop in here :))

I just got an SMC(as my old smc was good) and was all set....you should try the SMC2804WBRP-G for review....it seems good...as long as u get the latest firmware and do some tweaking to the firewall settings...
 

thraxarious

Distinguished
May 9, 2006
13
0
18,510
I am on of those unfortunate buyers of the WRT54G V5. Right out of the box it was DoA. The admin page was corrupt and unusable. Do they not have QoA?

The story ends with me refunding the router and walking away.

One of the things you learn in this business is that Quality Assurance doesn't assure quality most of the time. Many companies who produce large quantities of a product could spend quite a lot of time testing every single product.

To reduce costs (and price to you the user), they only sample a number of a batch, and based on statistics, either ship all of them, or send more to testing based on those numbers. The justification for this is the cost of replacing DOA items is far smaller than to test every single item.

Not to defend Linksys on this, but the reduced cost is partly passed on to you in a lower product price. Its only natural that the more you make and sell, the more defectives you'll end up with.

Either way, I'm going with a Netgear 240 soon.
 

blue68f100

Distinguished
Dec 25, 2005
1,803
0
19,780
Tim, great article I wish we had more of these to update the chart.

You have only tested a few Netgear Products. I would like to see some of the small bussiness class routers like the FVS338 and FVS538 and maybe the FVS328. Mainly because of all the failure rates with the low in residental routers. Yet my old poor SMC7008ABR just keeps plugging away. Its 5yr old till I finnally upgrade to a FVS338, this last week.

It would also nice to see how AP pair against Wireless routers. Knowing most of the AP come with better antennas.
 

thiggins

Distinguished
Jan 26, 2006
473
0
18,780
Posting from a reader
I enjoyed your examination into the WRT54G V5 router and the GL as well. Did you find the same problems with throughput and concurrent sessions with some of the open-source firmwares? Most notably DD-WRT or OpenWRT? If not that would be a great follow-up to this one.

Alternate firmware for the WRT54G/GL has changed a lot since the last time I saw an article about it anywhere. DD-WRT is particularly feature-rich but also very polished. They also have a version that can be flashed to the V5, albeit with a JTAG adapter. The JTAG adapter is only required the first time though.
 

peskypescado

Distinguished
Jun 9, 2006
8
0
18,510
i'd like to set my wrtg45g up as a range extender for an existing wireless network. from what i've been able to tell, the linksys os does not allow this. do you know offhand which of the linux replacement oses would allow this?

I would recommend DD-WRT. I have been using it on one of my WRTs for a while and it is excellent. I would recommend it for any function that these routers can do. Currently mine is setup as a wifi to lan bridge for my Xbox and Xbox 360.

For what you are seeking to do you would have to set the router to be in WDS (wireless distribution system) mode. It will receive the signal and relay it. Because it has to switch back and forth between sending and receiving your actual speed or throughput will be cut in half, but usually that isn't a problem for most internet connection speeds. They have documention for how to set this up on the DD-WRT website.

pesky
 

wyliegraham

Distinguished
Jun 8, 2006
2
0
18,510
i'd like to set my wrtg45g up as a range extender for an existing wireless network. from what i've been able to tell, the linksys os does not allow this. do you know offhand which of the linux replacement oses would allow this?

I would recommend DD-WRT. I have been using it on one of my WRTs for a while and it is excellent. I would recommend it for any function that these routers can do. Currently mine is setup as a wifi to lan bridge for my Xbox and Xbox 360.

For what you are seeking to do you would have to set the router to be in WDS (wireless distribution system) mode. It will receive the signal and relay it. Because it has to switch back and forth between sending and receiving your actual speed or throughput will be cut in half, but usually that isn't a problem for most internet connection speeds. They have documention for how to set this up on the DD-WRT website.

pesky

that sounds great, thanks for the info.

wylie
 

trustarwarrior

Distinguished
Jun 9, 2006
1
0
18,510
My WRT54G v5 router was locking up consistently, sometimes every day. When the device was turned off for a few minutes, it would run fine again for a few hours. Torrents or heavy use (4+ computers) would bring the wifi portion of the router to unusually low levels, with an inevitable lockup soon to follow. I believed the device was overheating. I found a guide for modifying an overheating NetGear router:
http://forum1.netgear.com/support/viewtopic.php?p=19600
The instructions are easily adapted.

After outfitting my v5 with an 80mm case fan and drilling a few extra ventilation holes in the casing, the router no longer locks up. The only oddity is the extra noise of a case fan running.
 

Whizzard9992

Distinguished
Jan 18, 2006
1,076
0
19,280
Thanks for putting a discussion on this article.

I bought a WRT54G V5 a few months back. I have a V2 or V3 before that and it was great. Out of the box the router constantly locked up and the admin page was corrupting constantly. I had to reboot the router several times just to get it to the firmware update page. That seemed to fix the corruption, but I still have to cycle the power once a week if I use the wireless capabilites. I recently turned it off and went wired.

If you do need wireless with the WRT54G, I highly recommend disabling wireless security and using the MAC filter instead. P2P DIED with security enabled. I tend to think the processor wasn't fast enough to encrypt/decrypt packets over so many connections (or some hardware bottleneck associated with security). At any rate, MAC filtering doesn't have the overhead of encryption and still keeps the neighbors from hijacking on your internet service.

If anyone has recommendations for the router, please let me know. I have a few JTAG adapters laying around, but no serial ports :? I gotta bring my Lantronix home for a few days I guess.

I love cisco products, and always have. This product was a grave dissapointment. I expect glitches, but this is garbage.
 

spagunk

Distinguished
Jun 9, 2006
28
0
18,530
First and foremost i want to say that this was an excellent article.

everyone's comments are truly enlightening and finally solves the mystery on why my router (Just checked and it is a WRT54G v5) has been having huge problems. My only problem know is that im am currently stuck with this router and i unfortunately need the wireless capabilities. If possible (not certain if this is the right place to ask) does anyone know the best to get by with this hunk of junk until i can buy a replacement? You are welcome to email me if it would be more appropriate. Thank you all.
 

thiggins

Distinguished
Jan 26, 2006
473
0
18,780
posting for a reader:
Just to let you know that the ver. 4 of the product I have is a shitty device as well. The radio in it seems fine and has a stronger signal than dLink etc. but all the features like scheduling of the access restrictions, static ips, and the clock in the device are all there but wildly intermittant or just don't work reliably.

I just bought a DLInk 624 and it failed in the first 48 hours.

Is there actually a good home router out there?
 

JohnWeldt

Distinguished
Mar 6, 2005
94
0
18,630
As a note, I have a Belkin router. The F5D7130 failed after a year of heavy use. With a life time warranty; Belkin offered a F5D7230-4.

This thing dies on P2P networking and crawls in other applications. But in the end I can check my email and browse tom’s hardware.

Perfect routers seem hard to find, hold on to the good one you have. Almost like a good spouse, don’t let them go!
 

muaysteve

Distinguished
Jun 9, 2006
7
0
18,510
I too have the WRT54G v5.

For the most part it has been a good router. BUT I do suffer from chronic dissconnects on the wireless, sometimes it will go for a week without any, and other times I will have to reset the router 2-3 times in a day to get the connection back up.

I upgraded the firmware last night to 1.0.0.9 and I'm crossing my fingers that it does something to correct this problem.

Can I use any of these other 3rd party firmwares that are mentioned or are the only good for v4 and lower or the WRT54L?

What other routers allow you to try 3rd party firmwares?

Great (And very relevanent to me) article.
 

thiggins

Distinguished
Jan 26, 2006
473
0
18,780
Can I use any of these other 3rd party firmwares that are mentioned or are the only good for v4 and lower or the WRT54L?
No. The V5's switch to VxWorks and the lower RAM and flash memory prevent it.

What other routers allow you to try 3rd party firmwares?
Follow the links on the first page of the article to the websites for the distros. They will tell you if other hardware can be used. OpenWRT for one can run on many hardware platforms
http://wiki.openwrt.org/TableOfHardware
 

peskypescado

Distinguished
Jun 9, 2006
8
0
18,510
Thanks for putting a discussion on this article.
If anyone has recommendations for the router, please let me know. I have a few JTAG adapters laying around, but no serial ports :? I gotta bring my Lantronix home for a few days I guess.
Check out DD-WRT, they have a version that will run on V5 if you have a JTAG adapter. Here is the link. DD-WRT is by far the best firmware available for WRTs that I have tried, and I have tried almost all of them.

You can get a USB to Serial adapter for like this for $9 at Newegg.
 

michaelahess

Distinguished
Jan 30, 2006
1,711
0
19,780
Great article, now I know why I never buy linksys products :D

My pfSense firewall handles up to 10,000 connections, I usually have a couple thousand running at any one time with 3 computers doing p2p over my 8meg and 3 meg cable connections.

Like to see any of the "router-in-a-box" systems do that :wink:
 

stunted

Distinguished
Jun 10, 2006
10
0
18,510
Great article, I narrowly avoided getting a v5 a while back before I knew they'd been crippled, I've got a 54G v2 and 54GL v1, but they're only acting as access points.

Another vote for DD-WRT here, and as others have pointed out they have a micro version that will run on the v5.
http://wrt-wiki.bsr-clan.de/index.php?title=Flash_Your_Version_5_WRT54G

As other have suggested it would be nice to see if a different firmware improves the situation with a non v5 WRT54G, I'm particularly interested to know if it's a memory issue, what if any difference is there in performance between the cut down mini / micro versions of DD-WRT vs the full / stock versions?

Also it would be a useful reference to have a Smoothwall with plenty of RAM and processing power on the chart so we can get an idea of just how resource starved these devices are. My current setup is a nice low power VIA Samuel 2 with 256 MB of RAM, no fans running off a CF card, I don't think I've ever seen a load average above 0.07 and that was while I was downloading at ~ 180KBps and uploading at ~ 54KBps taking part in the extremely active Knoppix 5.0.1 torrent (+ ssh and other stuff going on).

PS: As a general rule it's a bad idea to run an OS off a CF card due to their limited write cycles, I've modified my Smoothwall following these instructions
http://community.smoothwall.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16604
to run all the frequently accessed files from a ramdisk, I've extended this system to enable me to continue to run squid web cache and retain the throughput graphs (amongst other things) and I'm in the process of polishing the instructions before posting them to that thread.
 

ivwshane

Distinguished
Mar 17, 2001
11
0
18,510
I too would like to see these router write ups be compared to the pc based routers, like clarkconnect or smoothwall.


Any chance of that?
 

thiggins

Distinguished
Jan 26, 2006
473
0
18,780
reader feedback:
First of all thank you for that article. (the linksys one)

You have saved alot of people time and effort.

For me it was all too late with a different model from Belkin which could
not handle my 8mb connection whilst downloading with BitComet....but thats a long story...one that you most likely would know the end of before I even begin...

The reason why I am emailing you is to ask you to expant the current router charts to include the number of maximum connections for every router possible...many people are being decieved and their money being spent because no manufacturer specifies how many connection their router can handle.

Today I am the proud owner of a Draytek Vigor 2800Gi...as their sales team did not hesitate to tell me it supports up to 15,000 connections...so far, even with 50 active torrents, its rock solid.

Hopefully in the future, people will not have to waste money on a bad router only to spend £200 for a proper one.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.