Software Development with Linux

OpenWRT rocks or why open firmware are the way to go

MON, 01 NOV 2010

This weekend, I upgraded my Linksys WRT54GL wireless router's legacy firmware with the free and open source OpenWRT firmware.  The main reason behind the move was that I needed the router to always re-assign the same IP address to the same host.  That feature isn't available in the Linksys firmware.  After many readings and good recommendations (thanks Tony and Kyle), I decided to go with the popular and very versatile OpenWRT.

While it doesn't seem to be the most convivial one (derivatives like Gargoyle seems to have a better web interface), the installation was still easy and painless.  The only problem I had was that OpenWRT's initial configuration (which is only to setup a root password) need to be done by telnet.  Well, I had not installed the telnet client on my brand new Sabayon installation...  Fortunately, I had it on my Ubuntu laptop, so I used it to set a root password.  After that, I could access the router's web interface (powered by LuCI).

It only took me a couple of minutes to setup the WiFi interface with the correct information, and all my wireless devices (two laptop, a Nintendo Wii, and a home made multimedia centre PC) were all back on the network.

While I am still far from having mastered this piece of software, I am amazed by all the possibilities offered.  It truly shows the power of a great community.  If something is possible to be done by a wireless router, I'm sure OpenWRT allows it.  I don't think there's a lot of wireless router that offer that kind of possibilities.  And I'm sure that this router, the Linksys WRT54GL would not have sold that much if it would not have been possible to install custom firmware on it.  That's something a lot of hardware manufacturer have trouble grasping I guess...

But that is their lost, not mine.  So now that I've got OpenWRT up and running, what are you recommending me to install on it?  Which great software I should be aware of?