December 2, 2005

The Not-So-Open” WRT54G

This past week I was in Radio Shack and saw they were running a great deal on the Linksys WRT54G wireless router (double rebates!). I’ve had a D-Link 624 for a long time and its worked without any issues. However, I’d read at length about the WRT54G and it’s open platform. Linksys built the WRT54G on a Linux platform and made the firmware available via open source. There is some debate wether that was intentional or not, but the GPL forced them to make it available. The result was awesome 3rd party firmware like Sveasoft and DD-WRT.

So, I picked up one of these cheap units at Radio Shack and today I sat down to play with it.

Then everything went south…

About 20 days ago Linksys (now owned by Cisco) started selling the WRT54G v5. All the previous versions of this ran Linux, but now they are using VxWorks. Unfortunately, this means no 3rd party firmware. This seems like such a bad idea, particularly since this router became the success it is because of 3rd party firmware. Luckily there is a new model, WRT54GL that is the v4 box with Linux.

Buyer beware if you are looking to get one of these.


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