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  • 802.11g AP recommendations?

    So, I'm taking the plunge this weekend and starting the conversion of my network to 802.11g. Trying to run at 11Mbit just doesn't cut it anymore when you need to move 4Gb of files over wireless.

    Any recommendations on APs? I'm leaning towards the Linksys WRT54G, since the price is about what I'm willing to pay and I can use it as an emergency holographic router should my main firewall/router ever take a serious dump. Thoughts? I haven't dug up any good comparison tests yet, so figured I'd ask.

  • #2
    Originally posted by skroo
    I'm leaning towards the Linksys WRT54G, since the price is about what I'm willing to pay and
    I've had a WRT54G for 3 weeks now with clients connecting on B and G, here are some notes:
    • It seems to have a stronger radio than the BEFW11SR4 on both B & G (using Orinoco-B and Linksys-G cards).
    • Transfer rate from a wired client to a wireless client is around 11 mbps with in 50-60 ft of the AP (using netIQ).
    • I don't do a lot of streaming media so I don't know if it suffers from the UDP problem (AP slows down until it locks up) that the BEFW11SR4 suffers from
    • The firmware is linux so it is possible to package custom firmware. Haven't tried this yet for fear of breaking a new toy.
    • I'm using it as an AP, so I don't know about the other stuff it can do, but judging by the admin screen it seems to have the same capabilities as similar Linksys products.
    • It has the added "feature" of being capable of upgrading the firmware via wireless. LOL

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    • #3
      i have little experiance with 32bit hardware, but they were accurate with all my .11b findings......

      Review list....
      the fresh prince of 1337

      To learn how to hack; submit your request

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      • #4
        Wrt54g

        Originally posted by murakami
        • It seems to have a stronger radio than the BEFW11SR4 on both B & G (using Orinoco-B and Linksys-G cards).
        • Transfer rate from a wired client to a wireless client is around 11 mbps with in 50-60 ft of the AP (using netIQ).
        • I don't do a lot of streaming media so I don't know if it suffers from the UDP problem (AP slows down until it locks up) that the BEFW11SR4 suffers from
        • The firmware is linux so it is possible to package custom firmware. Haven't tried this yet for fear of breaking a new toy.
        • I'm using it as an AP, so I don't know about the other stuff it can do, but judging by the admin screen it seems to have the same capabilities as similar Linksys products.
        • It has the added "feature" of being capable of upgrading the firmware via wireless. LOL
        It sounds pretty much like a 54Mbit version of the BEFW11S4, which is what I expected of it. This is all good info to know; my main remaining question would be its performance in mixed b/g environments as I'll be running only one g client until I can afford to replace the other three. Mostly I'm concerned about lockups, which I have heard happens on some routers when the b/g frame timing differences get desynced.

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        • #5
          So I bought the WRT54G...

          Originally posted by skroo
          It sounds pretty much like a 54Mbit version of the BEFW11S4, which is what I expected of it.
          I feel weird replying to myself, but here goes anyway.

          I became impatient this morning (another 2Gb to move across the airwaves) and bought a WRT54G. I'm using it with a Netgear WG511 802.11g card in g mode; b mode is with a Netgear MA401 PCMCIA card and MA411 PCI card. Here's what I've found so far:

          So far, I'm happy with it. There's really nothing to complain about; it's pretty much the same as any other Linksys product in this segment. However, there are two things I've noticed about it so far:
          • Observation: generating a 128-bit WEP key from a passphrase now generates all four keys at once, not just one key repeated four times as on the WAP11 and BEFW11S4. I always hated how they did that, and was even less thrilled that Linksys never fixed it.
          • A minor gripe: data rates seem to fluctuate between about 24 and 54Mbps under even idle circumstances. I do have three other neighbouring APs I can detect, though, so this may be a result of the WRT54G rejecting their 802.11b traffic - the geography of my apartment doesn't seem to be the issue here as far as I can tell.
          • A more serious one: it does not like operating as a straight wireless -> ethernet bridge a la its little brother, the WAP54G, particularly if the LAN and WAN addresses you're trying to assign to it are on the same network.

            Essentially, it expects to always act as either a gateway or a router - which is understandable, given its intended application and the inclusion of a 10/100 switch. However, I would really have liked to have the option to run it in a dumbed-down mode whereby all interfaces essentially behave as though they were part of a non-managed switch (mainly because it'd be nice to have all four ethernet ports available for switching and use the WAN port for uplink).

            This is pretty much how I'm running it now: I assigned a bogus (read: non-routable from my network) IP address and netmask to the WAN interface, and plugged the connection from my firewall into a port on its LAN switch. Hey presto, packets now route as expected.
          • Feature request: why doesn't Linksys support SSL-enabled administration of their products? The web-based interface works well enough, but I'd really rather not cleartext passwords and configuration info across my network if I have to make changes to the AP on the fly with other people using it.


          In short, I like it so far. Haven't got it to lock up or bog down yet, but it's still early days. It'll be interesting to see how it does over time - particularly in the field of stack- and routing-based exploits surfacing for it.
          Last edited by skroo; September 21, 2003, 15:27.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by skroo
            I feel weird replying to myself, but here goes anyway.
            A minor gripe: data rates seem to fluctuate between about 24 and 54Mbps under even idle circumstances. I do have three other neighbouring APs I can detect, though, so this may be a result of the WRT54G rejecting their 802.11b traffic - the geography of my apartment doesn't seem to be the issue here as far as I can tell.
            Have you tried setting the WRT54G to a channel different from your neighbors? It might help with interference.

            A more serious one: it does not like operating as a straight wireless -> ethernet bridge a la its little brother, the WAP54G, particularly if the LAN and WAN addresses you're trying to assign to it are on the same network.
            I set up the BEFW11S4 the same way, I never got it to work as a bridge. When I set up the WRT54G, I assumed that I would have to set it up the same way so I never tried.

            I did some port scanning and web app testing last night with Nikto and Spike on my server deployed at a colo (making sure it was still the way I sent it) using the WRT54G. Pretty innocuous, but reasonably traffic intensive; the AP and the card seemed to perform quite nicely.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by murakami
              Have you tried setting the WRT54G to a channel different from your neighbors? It might help with interference.
              Actually, I am on a different channel - the other APs around me are default for *everything* (apart from one which has been WEPped). My understanding, though, is that 802.11g is constantly scanning the 802.11b channels as well, regardless of the channel the AP itself is set to. I think this may be a part of the problem - it does a scan/lock/reject cycle for everything other than 'my' channel, and because it sees 802.11b traffic on other channels this causes it to drop its rate. Of course, I may also be totally off-base on this.

              Originally posted by murakami
              I set up the BEFW11S4 the same way, I never got it to work as a bridge. When I set up the WRT54G, I assumed that I would have to set it up the same way so I never tried.
              Now that you mention this, I remember having the same issue with mine. My solution was to go back to using the WAP11 I already had, since DHCP was happening on the network side anyway. I just find it kind of irritating that it can't emulate the functionality of the 'lesser' device (which, ironically, costs the same).

              Originally posted by murakami
              I did some port scanning and web app testing last night with Nikto and Spike on my server deployed at a colo (making sure it was still the way I sent it) using the WRT54G. Pretty innocuous, but reasonably traffic intensive; the AP and the card seemed to perform quite nicely.
              Interesting. One thing I am looking forward to is getting some decent logging going on this thing to a remote box: I'd like to see exactly how many external join attempts are made to it, especially considering I'm not beaconing my SSID.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by skroo
                Actually, I am on a different channel - the other APs around me are default for *everything* (apart from one which has been WEPped). My understanding, though, is that 802.11g is constantly scanning the 802.11b channels as well, regardless of the channel the AP itself is set to. I think this may be a part of the problem - it does a scan/lock/reject cycle for everything other than 'my' channel, and because it sees 802.11b traffic on other channels this causes it to drop its rate. Of course, I may also be totally off-base on this.



                Now that you mention this, I remember having the same issue with mine. My solution was to go back to using the WAP11 I already had, since DHCP was happening on the network side anyway. I just find it kind of irritating that it can't emulate the functionality of the 'lesser' device (which, ironically, costs the same).



                Interesting. One thing I am looking forward to is getting some decent logging going on this thing to a remote box: I'd like to see exactly how many external join attempts are made to it, especially considering I'm not beaconing my SSID.
                Noticed this in my bookmarks. Can't remember where I found it but thought it might be of interest:

                http://www.batbox.org/wrt54g-linux.html
                perl -e 'print pack(c5, (41*2), sqrt(7056), (unpack(c,H)-2), oct(115), 10)'

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