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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I stole the Internet (well, borrowed it)

How to convert your wireless Linksys wrt54g router into a client

I’ve been overly fascinated with this latest find. Last month I moved from one side of town to the other. To my chagrin, mostly due to my laziness, the house closing was moved up one week and I hadn’t made preparations for a new broadband connection to be set up. I wasn’t terribly worried. I had my Verizon account with a Motorola Android and had already hacked it for use as a proxy and as back-up, a copy of PdaNet (an inexpensive tethering app for the Droid from June Fabrics [http://www.junefabrics.com] ). While I highly recommend PdaNet, it wasn’t practical for the time I was without a dedicated access point. I guess to be fair, I was being a little bit spoiled. The only frustrating aspect of the ordeal was that my phone had to be tethered via USB to my primary computer which then shared the connection with the other devices in the house. This didn’t effect me too much. The kids couldn’t play XBOX LIVE while I was gone from the house with my phone though(not exactly pioneer kiddos).


After two or three days I decided to see if there was a temporary solution to my woes. With my WiFi Analyzer app I checked the neighborhood and found a few unsecure networks with decent strength. That find immediately tripled my download speeds; though I still was tethered. With this new information, I did a quick search to see if there was any open source software for my Linksys WRT54g router that would enable me to “borrow” some of my neighbors bandwidth for a few days. Yowzers! There is a plethora of free software out there and they all work.


I tried all the popular versions of open source software I could find. Though I had trouble with some, they all worked swimmingly.

My recommendation for software and support for turning your router into a client, or client-bridge, is dd-wrt.com [http://www.dd-wrt.com].


Here is my time saving advice: When following the directions for installation and setup, take the time(s) listed extremely seriously. Patience will enable a quick and successful install of the software. When it is recommended that you unplug your router for 10 seconds, take it literally. When the instructions propose waiting one minute before re-setting your IP dynamically, follow the words to a T.


There are plethora of ideas floating around in my head with the ubiquitous open source software for the Linksys WRT54G router; a router I consider the work-horse of the industry. If neighborhoods could get together and form neighborhood networks, broadband companies would lose a significant amount of revenue… Just a thought!

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