- Category: Tech Blog
- Published: October 21, 2007
- Written by Grant
As some of you know I moved this year to a new house. I now have plenty of room in the garage for the servers which means my heating bill will go up now that they won't be contributing.
Anyway I'd been using Powerline networking for some time and it's worked wonderfully because you never need drivers for the network. How it works is you plug your network cable into a powerline bridge and then plug the bridge into the electrical wall socket. Do this for each location and you have an instant network! It's completely painless. Only problem is your electrical wiring needs to be perfect and mine to the garage in the new place isn't. My print speeds were so horrible that I was copying data to my laptop and carrying it down there to print. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that isn't the solution. I've always shied away from wireless outside of occasional use on the road because of the security implementations but it appears I have no choice short of rewiring my house.
The new 802.11n stuff is tempting but without more testing I'm not going to bite. I already have a Linux powered Linksys WRT-54g which has served me well. My plan was not to add wireless cards to all the machines in the garage but rather set up a wireless bridge and plug a Gig switch into it so the servers could talk to each other at 1000Gbits and the rest of the world at 54Mbits. My biggest requirementis the router has to support the Linux DD-WRT software. After some looking I settled on the Buffalo WHR-G125 available for $29 at Circuit City with rebate...
The Buffalo WHR-G125 does not come with Linux installed and from what I saw on the review forums doesn't come with much functionality in the stock firmware either. I honestly didn't even log into the stock firmware or use it in it's stock form. The first time it was ever powered on I nailed it with a tftp upload with new Linux DD-WRT firmware and it's been running Linux ever since.
The Buffalo WRT-G125 is a 240 mhz mips processor (Broadcom BCM5354) embedded device with a 5 port switch and uplink. It has 16 megs of ram and with Linux running there's about 14 free. The antennae is fixed but I found one guy solder a connection on so he could connect any external antennae.
If you don't know what dd-wrt is you're in for a treat. It's a replacement firmware operating system for many consumer based routers. It gained it's fame on the Linksys WRT-54 series and that's where I came into contact with it. The Linksys WRT-54g was a Linux router and several firmware replacement projects stemmed from it. I started using a paid for replacement called Talisman. The firmware was encoded and I lost the original file once and didn't want to go through the hassle of getting the author to give me another so I decided to look around and see what else was out there. Well, that and there was a lot of controversy about the developer's practice of stealing other people's code and then acting like a copywrite Nazi when anyone else wanted his code. I don't like supporting people like that so I switched to dd-wrt. DD-WRT adds many features to your router like ssh access, QOS, wireless bridging etc.. There really isn't any reason that I can think of for not using it.