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Networking Hardware

WRT54G Successor Falls Flat On Promises 113

Posted by Soulskill
from the too-good-to-be-true dept.
New submitter JImbob0i0 writes: "Back in January, Linksys/Belkin made a big deal about their new router, the WRT1900AC, which they claimed was a successor to the venerable WRT54G, and how they were working with OpenWRT. They released it this week, but their promises have fallen far short. You need to apply patches (which don't apply cleanly) and compile yourself in order to get it to work... so long as you don't need wireless support. There has not been much response from Linksys on the mailing list to criticism of the improperly formatted patch dump and poor reviews as a result."
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WRT54G Successor Falls Flat On Promises

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  • by gl4ss (559668) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @02:30AM (#46820713) Homepage Journal

    they clearly missed the ball on there about what made the previous model useful.

    I mean, for 400 bucks you could pick up two minnowboards.
    or like, 7 raspberry pi's with wifi.
    or like, 10 normal home wifi routers.

    400 bucks why bother with their gpl dancing around. you can buy a frigging dualcore laptop for that money and enjoy out of the box webcam hosting, ethernet + wifi routing with a built in high resolution display and built in ups!

  • Re:OMFG compile! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nikker (749551) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @03:11AM (#46820829)
    From the mailing list:

    The firmware can be built with what we have provided, and will run on
    > the WRT1900AC successfully. It is true that it would lack wireless
    > support, but that would not stop the firmware from actually working. We
    > are actively working on the package to support the wireless hardware,
    > this will not be overlooked.

    So basically they are saying since the firmware they are providing will compile (even though it doesn't contain any wireless support) is still a firmware so they are technically holding up on their end of the bargain. This is just really obtuse.

    So nerd or not there is no amount of compiling that will actually make this WIFI router actually connect any WIFI devices.

  • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @03:32AM (#46820897)
    The router has just been released and none of Amazon's usual resellers (including themself) have it in stock yet, so only a handful of grubbier resellers are listing it. The list price is $249 [linksys.com], and undoubtedly it will be even cheaper than that once it's in good supply.
  • by RR (64484) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @05:09AM (#46821219)

    What you need to do is to look at the available routers, and find which ones have supported chipsets and adequate flash storage and stuff.

    In the 802.11n dual-band generation, the best seemed to be the Atheros AR7161 routers, such as the Netgear WNDR3800. [newegg.com] I bought that specifically because it has robust open-source drivers for both radios, so it works smoothly with OpenWRT. It's not the fanciest, but I used 802.11g for years without problem, so it can't be that bad.

    For the 802.11ac generation, I'd guess that devices with version 2 of the Qualcomm Atheros QCA-9880 might work best, such as version 2.0 of the TP-Link Archer C7, [openwrt.org] but I haven't been following it since I don't need an upgrade, yet.

  • Nothing has changed (Score:5, Informative)

    by auzy (680819) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @05:13AM (#46821229)

    I work for a company which installs and deploys home / business networks for home automation purposes, and EVERY Linksys device we have tested, has inevitably ended up in the bin, not because they were faulty, but because they turned out to be rubbish.

    Linksys has a long history of producing unstable devices, and their original WRT54GL Linux router's only redeeming feature was that it was open source. The interface was terrible, and so was the firmware. In fact, we aren't only talking routers, because we noticed that some of Linksys's cheap gigabit switches had issues with stuttering when playing media (no other switches were affected by this issue, including 10/100 cisco ones). It's particularly pathetic given that Blu-ray requires only 54mbps to stream.

    Even assuming that patches are supplied which fixes the issues with this router, unless Linksys seriously has seriously improved their development team, and their hardware, you would be far better off with a cheap TP-Link which acts solely as a router/ADSL modem, a switch which manages the network traffic (NOT A LINKSYS ONE), and Unifi's for your Wifi (those are a dream to roll out in bulk, and the new Unifi software if it comes will even support Seamless wireless WITHOUT an expensive hardware controller).

    Further evidence, we didn't even want to risk selling our used Linksys equipment on eBay and damage our seller rating (it was worth the write-off)..

  • by MrNemesis (587188) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @07:16AM (#46821575) Homepage Journal

    From a few posts along in the thread https://lists.openwrt.org/pipe... [openwrt.org]:

    Quick update on this subject: Linksys has now posted a GPL source for
    the WRT1900AC, and it contains the wifi driver sources.
    It appears to me, that this driver was properly licensed under GPL, with
    proper license headers in all source files.

    This means that work on supporting this device can theoretically
    continue, although I expect it to take quite a bit of time. As I
    anticipated, the code quality of the driver source code is abysmal.
    This looks like rewrite (not cleanup) material, ugly enough to cause eye
    cancer or frighten small children ;)

    There are also still some pieces missing: Since this driver does not use
    standard Linux Wireless APIs, it can only properly function with custom
    hostapd/wpa_supplicant hacks. I don't see those in the release.

    - Felix

    Update 2: Those can be found in the OpenWrt SDK for this device on
    GitHub. Same comments regarding code quality apply here.

    - Felix

    The link to the firmware appears to be here http://support.linksys.com/en-... [linksys.com], it's one of those annoying javascript-non-hyperlinks.

    Can anyone more au fait with OpenWRT verify that this is correct?

  • by jittles (1613415) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @09:10AM (#46822277)

    Just get a Buffalo. Good OpenWRT/DD-WRT support (some come pre-installed with DD-WRT), good price, good hardware. Linksys have been shit since the late 90s when I first encountered them, and the WRT54G was never that great to begin with (how many hardware revisions were there?)

    The current Buffalo routers have TERRIBLE WiFi. I mean absolute garbage. I bought a Buffalo router and am using it as my firewall and LAN router. I bought an Airport Extreme to actually provide WiFi service to my home. With the Buffalo I had to reboot the device every 4-6 hours minimum just to use the WiFi. I could not copy a 5GB file over WiFi as that was guaranteed to screw the router up and WiFi would stop working all together. The Airport is expensive as hell but I haven't had to touch the thing in 3 years. I would use that as my only device if only it let me configure things like dynamic DNS support, etc.

  • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @11:50AM (#46824181) Homepage

    OpenWRT developer Felix Fietkau has something different to say [openwrt.org]:

    "Quick update on this subject: Linksys has now posted a GPL source for the WRT1900AC, and it contains the wifi driver sources. It appears to me, that this driver was properly licensed under GPL, with proper license headers in all source files."

    Of course, this is Linksys code so...

    As I anticipated, the code quality of the driver source code is abysmal. This looks like rewrite (not cleanup) material, ugly enough to cause eye cancer or frighten small children ;)

    The issue here isn't that there is no wireless support, just that it's of codethulhu quality.

  • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @12:58PM (#46825009) Journal

    Commodity networking for anything more complicated than a switch has been garbage for years. To keep the price down, the manufacturers are brutal about reducing CPU specs and speed, then pushing them to their absolute limit so they're constantly in danger of overheating. They cut the RAM to the minimum as well. They also spend as little as possible developing and debugging the firmware.

    And they lie. They like to try to sneak changes past the public by keeping the model numbers the same while totally changing the innards. They will change only the "revision" number, as if the total redesign was only a minor change, and not print this on the box. I once bought the famous Linksys WRT54G, and found it was junk. Couldn't even ping reliably through a wired connection, never mind wireless. My old router (a Netgear RP114, no wireless capability) worked fine, so it was definitely not anything else. I found out why. When I bought it, Linksys had just moved from revision 4 to revision 5. Revision 4 was the good one, with Linux. Revision 5 had half the RAM and was running a very buggy firmware on VxWorks.

    Just a guess, but from my own experiences, maybe as many as 1/3 of the routers out there are so poorly made that they never work properly or well, or if they do, they don't last long, dying from overheating in the first year. Including that Linksys WRT54G revision 5, I've taken many a router back within the first 3 days because they just did not work, even after updating them with the latest firmware offered on the vendor's website. Of the ones that do work, sometimes have had to work hard to make configuration changes through their web interface. The web pages sometimes do not load properly because the router suffered a brief instant of overheating, perhaps, or because of a bug, hard to say. The Trendware routers I've seen have particularly bad interfaces that make Metro look nice by comparison. I could put up with that, if they at least worked well, but no. The latest piece of junk I'm having to deal with is an Arris DG860, supplied by Time Warner, which figures. It will drop wireless connections for no apparent reason, and may start working again a moment later, or may need to be reset by power cycling it.

I cannot conceive that anybody will require multiplications at the rate of 40,000 or even 4,000 per hour ... -- F. H. Wales (1936)

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