There is a lot on the Net about using DD-WRT with Linksys routers. I've got about 5 of these routers, running all the way form v1 to v5. If you've found this blog via Google, looking for information on this firmware, then your probably looking for some answers on is it right to use it or is it right to keep it. I've thought about using Tomato but what disturbed me was the lack of defence for DD-WRT
Now don't get me wrong-I'm not a DD-WRT fanboy, or any of the firmware variants. I nearly got kicked off the Sveasoft forums for questioning the great man-if you want to really feel the pain of non-delivery, crap GUI, broken promises then go over there-he excels in that.I waited 2 years for a hotspot solution-never got one and found DD-WRT. To charge $20 is an affront to commercial business sense but that's another story
Anyway, I digress-DD-WRT is a firmware that exploits the various versions of the Linksys router set (and a few more). It is feature rich (some would say too much but you can never have enough of a good thing).The very first thing that struck me about the DD-WRT stuff was the GUI-it was so much cleaner than anything I had seen before-and you can have it in different colours!
Here my thoughts on some of the crtitcal comments I have seen:
  • You have to reboot when you apply new settings-well, if your setting it up, you shouldn't have live traffic on it anyway-and once it is set up, why would you be constantly having to fiddle with it? Not a big problem in my case.
  • Its become commercialised and its against the GPL-so what? I'm not into the Linux thing (ohhh-that's going to upset a few people!), I just want something that works.I made a donation through Paypal as it did the job.Pay somebody for a good product if it works-every router I've flashed has worked a treat, even the micro version.Its miles better than the Linksys.
  • It is great for extending wireless networks-through WDS, repeater function, whatever-works a treat
  • It can be a bit slow when getting an IP address-but as long as you know to wait a while, your sorted
In short, its not for the faint hearted in upgrading it but if you can get one for £20 off Ebay, what have you got to lose? Stick a few 9dB omni aerials on it and you have a cracking SOHO router.Hopefully this counteracts some of the comments on the web-it's only my opinion but as is the way these days, if your top of the pile, the only way is down!

Ok-so the above is not exactly in keeping with the whole wireless/wired thing but I spent a weekend trying to work out how to do the above, reading various posts from various people, and none worked. A point to note-this will NOT work for a PC/laptop in hibernation or completely shut down-the reason being all power is removed from the Ethernet port so the WOL (Wake On Lan) client cant talk to your PC/laptop.It only works if you want to put it into standby.

So I thought it a good idea to put this up as there seems to be a lot of people asking the same question-here goes

1) Do ONCE-Get rid of the welcome screen and fast switching on the HOST machine (from User Accounts)

2) Do ONCE-Don’t use hibernate on the HOST machine-this removes the power from the Ethernet port and WOL won’t work. Use standby instead

3) Do ONCE-Get a WOL client http://www.depicus.com/wake-on-lan/wake-on-lan-gui.aspx, use port 7, put in the MAC, IP and mask-I use Internet but you could use local

4) Do ONCE-Make sure the tick box on the Ethernet port on the HOST machine for “allow the computer to turn off this device to save power (don’t worry about the “bring this computer out of standby”-it will be/might be grayed out with a tick but it seems not to matter) is UNTICKED -if not, as soon as you try to put the machine into standby it will reboot because the Ethernet port see’s traffic from your (still) active RDP session

5) Use RDP to connect to the HOST machine and do what you want to do

6) Use Alt-F4 to bring up the shutdown options on the HOST machine. Make sure you have no highlighted windows as this will close them! Just click once on the desktop and you should get the pop-up screen with the options

7) Close your RDP connection-if you don’t, the REMOTE (the machine you are using to connect to your HOST-the HOST is the one far away from you in your office 100’s of miles away) will close it for you but it better to make a clean break

Use the aforementioned WOL client to send a “Magic Packet” to the HOST machine to wake it up-your done

That’s it!

Just a quickie today-I have a particular soft spot (quicksand) for speed test sites. But I’ve found this one which seems to tick all the boxes. You can do the usual HTTP tests and if you sign up, you get to record your history. But it also has the option to do direct downloads, by HTTP or FTP which when combined with a good free download meter really gives you an idea of the speeds your are getting.

If you have a 20Mb connection (or higher-lucky you!), then I would go for the direct downloads and download at least 2 files at the same time in order to “fill up” your connection.I find only one connection at one time, even on the fastest servers, can lead to not maxing out your available bandwidth thereby giving misleading results

It seems to be mainly ADSL based but it works on your cable modem connection as well. The servers are based in Slough so latency and bandwidth should not be an issue. Tracerouting from my home connection (middle of the UK) shows a 12 hop route with a round trip time of 22ms-which is blooming good! Sign up and see what you think

They have a blog you can subscribe to as well.

With the launch of ever increasing broadband speeds, I thought I’d do an anecdotal test on how fast your wireless connection is, when compared to wired.When I say wired, I mean using an Ethernet (CAT5) cable plugged into the wireless router.When I say wireless, sitting with the same laptop to the same router but connected by the wireless side of the router.On the same “side” of the router, a server, running some FTP download software that allows me to  download, and upload, files.
The reason for all this is that with the increasing use of wireless, attached to higher speeds courtesy of your ISP, people expect the same speeds for their bucks.They don’t care, or don’t know, why it would be different. To be fair, wireless has never been punted as a Very High Speed Medium (VHSM).Personally, I would only use it for general browsing and downloading and if you look at most companies, wireless is an add-on to the network, not a core function. So now we know how the test was performed, what were the results like? See below:

As you can see, the difference is enormous-now a few caveats before I get slaughtered by the technophiles. This is a 54G network, it is not a N network. G networks can only do theoretical speeds of 54Mb/sec but you can see it’s well down even on that.My laptop was only 2 foot from the wireless router and I had no competing signals. Also, and this I found surprising, was that there was no difference between using encryption and no encryption. The connections on the wired side are 100Mb/sec but some are half duplex so you wont get 100Mb/sec anyway. The point was not to see how fast I could go on wired but the difference between an average wired and wireless network.

I’m going to get a N router (and N adaptor) and do the same tests but I bet I get nowhere near the advertised 300-600Mb/sec. Think about it-you can make such outlandish claims but until you get a home connection that can supply you with VHSM , how do you test it? And even within the home environment, 15-20Mb/sec will quite happily stream HD video (this seems to be the litmus test at the moment) so why do you need N type? Sorry, I digress, the whole point is if you want a high speed home LAN network that doesn’t suffer from interference, that does what it says and gives you a constant and reliable service, don’t choose wireless.Get Ethernet.
Back to me favourite subject-wireless. Sad that I am, I’m on a quest. I’m going to put a page up on the website explaining how it’s done but the blog seems a quick and easy way to talk about. I’ve set up an aerial in the car, attached to a Alpha USB wireless adaptor and hooked it all up to an old Compaq with XP on it. All feeding into a little app called Wi-Fi hopper which detects and logs Access points (AP’s). It doesn’t do any connecting in my set-up (although it can), but it details nicely AP’s. Stick it in the boot, put it on auto-save and away you go. Which leads nicely onto the next point…

I wanted to find out (approximately) how many people in my area, and a bit further afield, were using open and more importantly, WEP . Here’s my theory-WEP, which is security on wireless routers, is more dangerous than an open (no encryption) router.If it’s open, the you can take precautions .If you have WEP, then you have a false sense of security. So far (13th Sep), I’ve detailed just under 3,000 AP’s! Breakdown is roughly 30% Open, 35% WEP and 35% WPA/WPA2. Surprised-I’m not. I’ve mentioned Aircrack before (WEP key cracking tool) but some bright spark has built a VM ware image-so now it’s plug and play.With the above bits of hardware, you simply download and install VM player on your XP machine ,load up the image and away you go. 5 mins for 64 bits encryption and 20 mins for 128 bits (all on my own wireless AP of course). Da-dah-encryption key is found. Then it’s simply a matter of going back into XP, use the Windows supplied wireless software and connect to the router using the said found key.

The really interesting (or dangerous) point is the amount of business’s that have a WEP configured router-it’s one thing to let someone use your bandwidth-it’s another if someone decides to hack into your network and delete your last year’s accounts. My question is-how do you let them know to tell them how to fix it?
First post on the new website-this blog will be a musing of my personal thoughts with some techy bits thrown in.Some of it will be related to the website, some not. I'll kick off with one of my fave subjects-how networks and wireless security