Wireless Connectivity Woes

January 2, 2007

I’ve had the same Linksys WRT54G v3.1 wireless router running for a couple of years without too much hitch. Sure, I’ll have occasional “unable to connect to network” issues which required either a “repair” of the wireless adapter or a reboot.  However lately, all seems to have gone awry.

First, I find out my ISP changed the way my home authenticates to the system. Previously, I handled authentication at the router level via PPoE since I have DSL but after many days of trying to debug the issue and finally calling tech support, I had to log into the modem ( ), enter in my modem MAC address, and authenticate with my username/pass combination. Ultimately, this resulted in my changing the router to just use DHCP instead of PPoE authentication.

However, even after the change, I was still unable to effectively maintain a wireless connection for any extended period of time. At most, the wireless client would connect for a minute or two until a request was made.  The connection would then be dropped.  After much debate and making a last resort to purchasing a new router, I decided to load my Linksys WRT54G router with the DD-WRT third party firmware using the Wi-Fi Planet Tutorial. Note the following key points:

  • Connect PC to router via Ethernet Cable. Do not attempt to flash the firmware via a wireless connection.
  • Be patient and methodical. Any deviation could result in your router being a pretty paperweight

The update was pretty painless for me, however I did get a bit worried as it seemed a lot of my operations on the router after the flash just timed out! I reset the router and this time used Internet Explorer to handle router operations and all was fine.

After flashing with the very nice DD-WRT firmware, I applied the changes noted on RoachFiend’s tutorial.  Note, this guide is not for the light-hearted unless you’re somewhat familiar with logging into systems via SSH and other networking type customizations.

I must admit, I feel bad I didn’t flash my router to a third party firmware like DD-WRT before. IT HAS SO MANY CUSTOMIZATIONS AND OPTIONS IT MAKES ME SICK!! The interface is very nicely done and the options are cleanly laid out. I can view the number of IP connections, number of DHCP clients, number of wireless clients and the signal strength, tweak almost anything (even the power of the antenna!). This rocks and I will definitely be doing this in the future to any router I have!

If you’re gonna do this, why not also take the time to switch over and use the OpenDNS system. I did this a while back after reading OpenDNS Makes Your Internet Über. I have to admit, things feel snappier and it’s nice to know I have another layer of protection over phishing sites.


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