Frustrating Weekend of Linksys Router Hacking

Recently my wife and I remodeled our upstairs to make it a master suite (pictures once we get all of our furniture situated). In the course of moving up stairs, we finally were able to install a TV back in our bedroom. Our other room downstairs didn’t have a cable television feed., My wife wants to be able to watch the shows we record on our ReplayTV on our TV upstairs. For all of you who are married, you know you have to deliver once the wife gets an idea in her head.

So I went about setting up another DVR in a normal fashion. I purchased another ReplayTV to serve the bedroom, and I also went out and bought two Linksys WRT54G wireless routers. I have heard that it’s easy to upgrade the firmware on the WRT54G, so I figured I would be up and running in no time.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. The problem lies with the fact that all of the latest Linksys routers you can buy at your everyday Best Buy or CompUSA are now Version 4. It seems that very few of the third-party firmware developers support Version 4. The only 2 firmware projects that support what I needed (WDS) are HyperWRT and OpenWRT.

HyperWRT is the most similar to the stock Linksys firmware out of these two. It actually has a web based admin page which makes it very easy to configure. I had to search around for some user based scripts to save in the firmware in order to enable WDS. Unfortunately none of those seemed to operate correctly.

The other firmware, OpenWRT, is an entirely Linux command line utiity. I’ve only just dabbled with Terminal in OS X, so my Linux chops are sorely undeveloped. I have to say getting a baptism by fire in command line Linux use is not a way to spend a weekend, unless of course you like torturing yourself. I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning on both Saturday and Sunday poring over OpenWRT documentation trying my damnedest to get the routers to talk to each other.

After fiddling with both routers most of the day on Sunday, I decided that I was just going to reset everything to the default settings and return the routers. I’m going to do what I should of done in the first place when I started the crazy plan, which is buy a Buffalo Airstation WBR2-54GS. It supports WDS right out the box. Sometimes I just have to know when to throw in the towel.

“You win some. You lose some. But you live, you live to fight another day.” – Mr. Jones, Friday

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