More WRT54G Frimware Flavors

March 30, 2005

Technology, Wireless

I’ve been using the WRT54G since v1.0 of the hardware and software. In that time, I’ve used several different flavors of firmware. Right now, I am using Avenger’s HyperWRT frimware for production implementations (currently v2.1b1). Avemger’s code is a minimalist improvement upon the Linksys code. It adds basic antenna diversity and power management features that are conspicuously lacking from the Linksys firmware. So I use this firmware because it has the minimum set of features I need.

But one of the great advantages of this device is the fact that Linksys (Cisco) actually released their firmware source code under the terms of the GPL. Therefore, folks have been hacking away at the firmware for a couple of years. In that time, several versions have emerged:

  • OpenWRT (GPL; based upon Linksys code; features a writable jifs2 file system – thus promoting add-on packages)
  • Wifibox (GPL; based upon Linksys code)
  • HyperWRT (GPL; based upon Linksys code; *my current choice* because it adds the antenna/powerboost features I need)
  • eWRT (GPL; based upon Linksys code; features a writable jifs2 file system, and a captive portal)
  • Sveasoft Alchemy (GPL)
  • DD-WRT (GPL; based upon Alchemy; features a writable jifs2 file system, captive portal and RADIUS authentication)
  • Sveasoft Talisman (Despite persistent rumors, the code has not been released. Therefore, we must wait to learn what the final licensing terms will be)

So which is best? That depends upon what you need. But I am now starting to work with DD-WRT. It is based upon Sveasoft Alchemy (which is GPL code) and adds a few nice touches. With wds, jifs2, a portal page server and a RADIUS infrastructure, this code base is looking very promising. Of course, this is so much more code than the Linksys base code. And since I have an original WRT54G, I am getting pretty cramped on space in nvram. Maybe it’s time to upgrade!




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