Paean to the WRT54G, the hackable router of the 2000s

Oh yes, the WRT54GL! Still have one in the cupboard at home, loaded with Tomato - fond memories. When I switched ISPs to a fibre provider a few years ago, the WRT got retired as it couldn’t really cope with modern speeds.

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Makes sense. The cafe owners were dummies.

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At one point back in the early days of that design (2005 ish) they had a wall mountable plate that could be either screwed into the feet, or friction fit. Coupled with a PoE injector/receiver, it made for a fantastic way of mounting the AP only version of that style of hardware up and out of the way. (Somewhere, I think I still have that WAP11, and maybe the plate as well…)

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If only Heathkit could have survived to the maker era.

I had two copies of the GL variant and only stopped using them a year or so ago. All the Linux-based community firmwares I tried (Tomato, DD-WRT, OpenWRT) had dropped support for models like this early in the decade… but surprisingly Linksys themselves continued pushing out their proprietary firmware updates for much longer. So by the end of my routers’ lives I had made the unthinkable choice to downgrade back to the closed-source firmware for current security support.

I do see that the newest firmware Linksys released was released in 2016… which is pretty long in the tooth, especially for a product they still produce and sell.

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That’s a more recent update than the router I’m using now, which was abandonware the moment it hit the shelf. (Soon to be retired to a 4 port switch.)

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