On Linksys WRT54GC v2.0

I think this is the first time I will be reviewing a hardware component. I am just happy that I could again share my Internet connection between my desktop and notebook. I have borrowed a router from my uncle before, but he already took it back for use on their home. I’ve only used [that] one router other than the WRT54GC that I currently am using.

Since the bigger WRT54G has dual antennas, it has an expectable wider signal range[1] than the compact with only one.[2] It provides a high speed Wi-Fi connection of [close to, if not] 54 Mbps with the notebook and the access point approximately 15 meters away from each other,[3] while the compact could only provide approximately 11–24 Mbps under the same conditions even though the Windows XP Wireless Network Connection manager usually reports Very Good signal strength.

That may be a good compensation for its bulkiness, but I have had problems with the Linksys WRT54G when using the BitTorrent protocol.[4] As answered in the µTorrent FAQ, this router[5] has severe problems with P2P applications using a lot of connections. Also answered on the above linked FAQ entry is a fix, which includes installing one of two third-party firmwares. Remember that the router wasn’t mine in the first place. Besides, installing and/or upgrading firmware risks the router being bricked, and add to that the fact the software recommended was made by hardware hackers and wasn’t official.[6]

Linksys WRT54GC v2.0

I have been trying to borrow the router from my uncle again, but he came to our house with a Linksys WRT54GC v2.0 instead. Of course, I was surprised, but I still do not know if he will give me this one or sell it to me.[7] I’ve installed it immediately, and I’ve been testing it using µTorrent with a huge download task and several seeding tasks for three days almost continuously already.

The only problem I’ve had with the Compact Wireless-G Broadband Router is its Static DHCP feature, which should take care of Static IP addresses without configuring the client manually. I really want to utilize the said feature for Port Forwarding since I use BitTorrent and it has to have an open port for incoming connections. The problem is that whenever I place my computer on the list of clients with static IPs, and change the DHCP IP range to something excluding the static IPs, it still gives the client an IP within the DHCP range and not the listed static IP.

With the hopes of having no slowdowns like the experience I’ve had during the WRT54G period, I’ve searched for responses from WRT54GC users on various fora. Thankfully, I’ve found no significant problem other than users trying to get the version 2.0 external antenna to be replaced by a High Gain Antenna. But I still haven’t encountered an unambiguous response to one question[8] I would have asked myself, so I stopped searching and continued testing. Through the past three days of downloading 6 GiB of data, I’ve encountered minor slowdowns more possibly linked to an ISP issue rather than a router issue. The last two afternoons were probably the best evidences I could offer regarding the performance of this product—the download speed reached 85 kB/s[9] when I was connected to a nearby peer. Therefore, no signs of slowdowns due to high amount of connections were exhibited—a sickness, I may say, about the stock WRT54G/GL/GS.

Other features of the Linksys WRT54GC includes [among others]:

  • Compact and portable design: approximately 4″×4″×1″.
  • 4-port wired Ethernet switch; Wireless Access Point for 802.11b/g devices.
  • High security with WPA/WPA2 Personal, Wireless MAC address filter, SPI firewall.

Disclaimer: The above Linksys WRT54GC v2.0 photo was taken from the official product information page without permission.

Update note: Photo from the official Linksys Web site was taken down and replaced with my own shot of the router to avoid copyright issues.

Footnotes:

  1. ^ Our neighbor two houses away across the street claimed to have received my SSID broadcast.
  2. ^ The C in WRT54GC stands for compact; version 1.0 of the compact has no built-in external antenna, only an internal one—I am using a version 2.0.
  3. ^ With concrete and wooden walls, and everything else in between.
  4. ^ And when I say, using, I mean always.
  5. ^ Along with similar routers, WRT54GL and —GS.
  6. ^ But, responses to the alternative firmwares were mostly positive.
  7. ^ I really, really hope for the former.
  8. ^ The question of how it would perform on a lot of connections.
  9. ^ I’m on a 384 kbps connection [as advertised], so my theoretical maximum download speed is 46.875 kB/s.

28 thoughts on “On Linksys WRT54GC v2.0

  1. Perhaps it’s a dumb question because it’s so obvious, but did you assign your computer a static IP? I mean not on the router, but in your Windows XP network settings? Otherwise your computer will always request a new IP through DHCP.

    Besides one of the main advantages of the Linksys router is that it runs Linux, hence there are myriads of possibilities to pimp the router with open source firmware. I mean, you can run Asterisk as a VoIP phone server on this little machine or do other fancy things, that’s awesome!

    Although you are right that this firmware is provided by “hackers”, thousands of people have tested it and contributed code, thus I consider it rather reliable. Though I must admit I have a Belkin router at home, but colleagues have the Linksys router with the open source firmware.

  2. According to a review from Linksysinfo:

    … the client doesn’t have to do any manual configuration.

    So, I didn’t. And when I did try to configure the client itself [because the feature won't work] I was disconnected from the router—I cannot anymore access the administration settings from 192.168.1.1 until I configured the client to request an IP address from the DHCP server again.

    And, btw, I say hacker as a compliment, and use the word cracker otherwise. :)

  3. [quote comment="13427"]And when I did try to configure the client itself [because the feature won't work] I was disconnected from the router–I cannot anymore access the administration settings from 192.168.1.1 until I configured the client to request an IP address from the DHCP server again.[/quote]

    The IP has to be in the same IP range as the router, so if the router is 192.168.1.1, the client IP must be something between 192.168.1.2 and 192.168.1.255. If you configure 192.168.0.2 instead it won’t work. Also the Subnet is usually 255.255.255.0 (it must match the router’s setting), and the Gateway is the router’s IP address, i.e. 192.168.1.1. ;)

  4. I’m starting to think that the IP address I should set on the list of the router’s Static DHCP feature should be within the DHCP IP address range, and not the usual outside the DHCP range when configuring the client itself instead of using the router’s feature.

  5. I had been searching for a resolution to the same problem, and reviewed a few FAQ’s on the issue. I went with manually setting an IP on my machines and they work fine now.

    Not sure if you needed directions but I figure it’s easier to just list:

    Open network connections, selecting status of your connection and click properties. Under Internet Protocol TCP/IP change the settings as the IP outside the DHCP settings, and the subnet 255.255.255.0, and your router’s IP (192.168.1.1 on most Linksys).

    My real problem was that required me to enter a DNS. I’m using RoadRunner so I just contacted them for the DNS values, they told me I could also get them by connecting directly to my modem and opening a cmd using the ipconfig /all prompt.

    Also, he mentioned something about setting the DNS to the router IP and having the router auto-detect the DNS if I planned on using multiple machines. Hope that helps a little.

  6. Thanks, that may be useful to others, but I’ve already tried that, and I arrived with similar results. I just didn’t continue with configuring the client manually, because the Windows XP TCP/IP Properties dialog requires manual DNS server address settings along with a manual/static IP address configuration—just like what you’ve said—but I wanted automatic DNS server resolution. Besides, I really wanted to utilize the router’s feature since management would be centralized that way.

    I think the problem was solved anyway when I used a “Static DHCP” IP address within the specified DHCP range—not a usual situation, but the router still doesn’t give other clients the Static IP address registered with the MAC address of my PC.

  7. mejo may kalakihan ung font size mo ah! hehe. dropin by lang :) ingatsss..

  8. In the router table choose an address outside the dhcp range, and put the correct MAC address.
    I have this router with dhcp in 192.168.1.101-192.168.1.115 range and on the static ip table configured to have my pc to get 192.168.1.100. Having my pc to get dhcp from server, it gets 192.168.1.100 always.

  9. I have the exact same model router, and I was wondering if you already tried to update the firmware on that thing lately (first- or third-party)?

  10. Any DHCP server (in your case, your router) will always assign a static IP via the clients Media Access Control (MAC) address of your Network Interface Card (NIC).
    The MAC address is usually showed as a 6-group of 2 digits hex number.
    (eg. 01:2a:4b:6c:8d:0e). its also called a physical address by some OS’s.

    if your WRT54GC router is set up as such
    Gateway: 192.168.1.1
    Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0
    DHCP client list: 192.168.1.100 – 192.168.1.149
    then you should be able to assign any IP address
    from 192.168.1.2 – 192.168.1.99
    and 192.168.1.150 – 192.168.1.253

    Best check with your OS on how to verify your MAC address.
    ipconfig /all via command prompt (MS Win)
    ifconfig -a should do the trick for Linux boxes

    Once you have set your static IP make sure you check-enable it in the WRT54GC checkbox.

    There are some cases wherein the Router does ignore the set up static ip for the client and still gives it a dynamic IP.
    the easiest workaround would be to assign a Static IP directly on the client. just make sure you have the default gateway correctly set up in the client.
    The DHCP Server then should respect the direct Static IP request.

    Hope it helps

  11. I have one strange problem with my WRT54GC using or not static DHCP.After some random amount of time (hours or days) the PC loses the connection with the router. Then Win Xp SP2 shows the message that there is no connection or it is limited. Everything worked well for years, but in the last weeks this problem appeared.
    I do not know if has to do with that but in this period I have changed my internet from cable to ADSL. The ADSL seems to be fine and I have not made any major changes in the router except change the connection type to PPPoE.

    No matter what I do I can not connect to the router (192.168.1.1). The only solution that I found was to turn the router off disconnecting the power and connecting it again soon afterwards. When I do that everything works fines for some more random amount of time, until it loses the connection again.

    Somebody knows what is the problem? I coud not find more information about this problem.

  12. I am having the same problem with my WRT54GC. I have it wired to a pc running vista, and use the wireless for an XP SP 2, and it will randomly lose the connection on both. It will immediatly begin working again after I unplug the router and then replug it back again, but this is quite annoying. Any ideas of what this might be?

  13. The same thing here, I have wired my PC running Vista Ultimate to the router (WRT54GC). And I have a laptop with XP Home with wireless connection. They also lose the connection randomly. My ISP says that this is because there are too many computers on our local network, and are now dividing it. I don’t really think that this could be the problem but who knows :) If it works, I’ll tell you and if anyone has a solution to the problem, please share. The router connects to the Internet via DHCP and I have also enabled DHCP for the PC and the laptop.

  14. I have the same router, also V2.0, firmware 1.00.7, and the same problem with static DHCP.

    All clients put in the static DHCP list will just get a dynamic adress, not the one specified.
    Widening the dynamic IP range to include the specified ‘static DHCP’ IP does not work for me.
    Annoying, as I want my laptop to get the same IP every time, but do not want to configure it to a fixed IP for obvious reasons.

  15. This thing doesn’t work with netmeeting – yeah i know it is almost extinct, but some people out there still use it (me being one of them)

  16. I also have the v2.0 version,but i’m not verry happy with this one. Im losing my connection almost every time i use my torrent client. I tried to set the max connections to 30, but still, one time it will stay online for serval hours, am the other time im losing connection within 10min running at high speed (aprox. 1mb/s).

    I seriously considering updating it with the OS-firmware, but im not sure if its really compatable with the wrt-54GC version.

  17. I have the same router, wrt54gc ver 2.0 .. never had a problem with it… even downloading using torrent.
    I am a noob regarding port forwarding, so I just used the defaults of the router (only changed the wireless settings and securities, never bothered about port forwarding) and I can download using torrents without any problem.
    static DHCP is also working fine…

  18. I am using the same router for more than a year now with Smartbro. No problems. It might help to do what I did. Using DHCP, I cloned my Mac Address and assigned static starting from 192.168.1.2 It might help. Try it!

  19. Need help from any blog participator how to set password for making the network secure…..I tried & failed..my set is Linksys wrt54GC V2.0…tons of thx in advance !!

  20. WOW I cant understand anything here although I have the same router. How can I learn the things that you know specially with the IP things?

  21. can anyone teach me a basic lecture about this things?pls
    whats this all for?

    Gateway: 192.168.1.1
    Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0
    DHCP client list: 192.168.1.100 – 192.168.1.149
    then you should be able to assign any IP address
    from 192.168.1.2 – 192.168.1.99
    and 192.168.1.150 – 192.168.1.253

  22. how can you connect 5 router’s in one network? can you help me with that please???? and i want to have a 100 mbps speed or more than that….can you help me??

    my network set-up is like this:
    ISP (Globe Lines)> Modem (AM300)> SD2005 (switch)> Router (WRT610N), 4 regular router’s (WRT54G V7) each connected to the switch.

    I can connect to the router’s SSID but I can’t access the internet, I already check my IP. It’s 192.168.1.113. Im so confused I should be able to connect right?

  23. @disconnection problem:
    Try changing the router wireless channels, basically router has multiple channels so may do trial and error untill you found suitable one, if else failed, reset and reconfigure the router…

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