Wireless networks, bow before me!

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Linksys WRT54G
As you can probably tell, I'm a bit pleased with myself. I moved house last week to a new apartment, and of primary importance was getting the network connection up and running. Setting up the cable modem was easy, and connecting the wireless router, again no problem. So my laptop was online, which was good, as I need it for très important blogging.

But I also own two desktops, neither of which have wireless cards in them, and all of the bedrooms in the apartment are up one floor from where the cable came in, in the living room. Hmm. I could run a really long Ethernet cable and put the router upstairs, but I didn't relish the idea. Nor was I fond of spending the more than a hundred dollars it was going to cost me to equip both of the desktops with wireless cards.

Fellow blogger Derik entered the equation at this point, suggesting I pick up a Linksys WRT54G router and use it as a wireless bridge. In order to do that, you need to upload the Linux-based firmware available for it. Only I didn't realize until I got home that the revision I bought for $50, v5, was not supported by that firmware. Uh oh.

The situation looked grim for our hero...

As it turns out, despite Linksys trying to cripple the v5 edition, some enterprising people have managed to hack it anyway. The procedure is somewhat more complicated than the standard router, in which you can just upload the firmware. You have to upload firmware in three separate steps, cycling the power at the appropriate places, and using a special micro version of the DD-WRT firmware.

I think I held my breath for most of the operation, having read the disclaimer in the instructions that read

WARNING: You may brick your router if something goes wrong. In fact, let's assume you WILL brick your router. You assume full liability for whatever happens and hold nobody responsible for damages, tangible or intangible, resulting from the use or mis-use of techniques and/or software found or referenced by this web site, or made refrence to be the author or others elsewhere.
these steps

So now, my wired desktops are connected via Ethernet to the WRT54G, which is wirelessly bridged to my Netgear router downstairs, and they all live together as one big happy family (although I haven't managed to get the Wireless MAC address filtering working again). Still, I'm confident enough to say this: I am a wireless networking god!

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