Linksys WRT54G v2.2 Wireless-G Broadband Router


I’ve been using the DD-WRT firmware on my old v1.1 Linksys WRT54G router for a couple of years now. I upgraded to the DD-WRT firmware when I was frustrated with the Linksys firmware locking up the router while using BitTorrent applications due to too many stale TCP connections. This has worked great, but my needs have changed and so I went looking for alternatives.

Having recently switched to Vonage for VOIP service at home, I specifically was interested in using QOS features to prioritize the Vonage calls over everything else, and drop any BitTorrent traffic down to the lowest priority yet still provide it as much bandwidth as possible when my connection is idle. My personal experience and subsequent research had shown that DD-WRT did not have a QOS implementation that was working for me; every time I enabled it and tried to get QOS working, the router would lock up, forcing a hard reset. I was also interested in tracking my bandwidth usage, after hearing the news that Comcast was going to start capping bandwidth. So I decided to try the Tomato firmware.

I’m the type that always reads the README documents with new software, so I thought I had gone about the upgrade from DD-WRT to Tomato correctly and everything would work well. Unfortunately, I had missed a critical step that I was supposed to check a box in the DD-WRT upgrade menu that would force a reset of all stored settings. This left me with a “bricked” router that would not assign IP addresses, route traffic, or even respond to a ping. Fortunately, I’m able to tether with my Windows Mobile phone and access the internet, where a Google search quickly turned up a link to The WRT54G Revival Guide. About half an hour after finding out that Vista does ship with a tftp client, breaking the warranty seal on the case of my router, and shorting out two pins on the flash chip, I was back in business with a correctly functioning router running the Tomato firmware.

I prefer configuring static DHCP address for my PCs and MediaSmart Server rather than static IP addresses so I set those up, configured my secure wireless connection, forwarded a few specific ports, and happily noticed that Windows Home Server had correctly configured the ports it needed via UPnP. I also enabled the bandwidth monitoring feature, created a Guest share on my MediaSmart Server with full read/write access, and configured Tomato to use that as a CIFS storage location for the bandwidth logs. This last bit allows the router to store the bandwidth logs so it can keep historical data of my bandwidth usage even in the event of a power outage or router reboot.

Finally, I got to configuring the QOS settings to prioritize DNS and VOIP traffic the highest, web traffic and Xbox Live high, other services medium, and bulk traffic like BitTorrent the lowest. Here’s a screenshot of my config.

This has been working great so far, calls are clear with no drops no matter what other internet activity is going on, the connection is stable, Remote Access to my MediaSmart Server works, and I’m able to track my bandwidth usage.

What are the rest of you using, and how is it working out for you?


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