Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A flash of routery goodness...

On vacation. That's the answer to a question nobody asked ("Where have you been?"). I'm back to work this week after two weeks of blissful hanging around the house.

The Aged Ps paid a visit from Edmonton (well, from St. Albert to be precise).

We had a good time. Dad helped me install some stair stringers and a patio stone landing area out the back door, so we now have back yard access without having to do the dash around from the front.

We also took some time to visit the zoo with the kids, which they really enjoyed.

The other thing of note I did over the holidays was pick up a Linksys WRT54G to replace my aging BEFW11S4. Now that I'm using the laptop a lot, 11Mb wireless just doesn't cut it for internal transfers.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a WRT54GL, which runs Linux, so had to settle for the poorly performing WRT54G v6.

But in a case of really fortuitous timing, it turns out that you can upgrade the WRT54G to run Linux. I followed the instructions, and everything worked perfectly, apart from a hole in the instructions--at the last step, when you're running the TFTP client on your PC and about to put the DD-WRT firmware on there, you have to remember to give your PC a static IP, or it won't be able to find the router, as the router is no longer servicing DHCP requests.

I rebooted with the new firmware, rubbing my hands together in glee. Wireless worked, wired worked, all was good. Then I went to set the WAN connection information on the router. Hmmm. Three WAN choices. Static IP. Automatic. Or Disabled. Where's PPPoE? Hey! I need that!

So here I was at the end of a one-way street, download-wise, with no way to go back to the VxWorks firmware, and no Internet connection to go look into this problem. No worries. I plugged my BEFW11S4 back in, surfed back to the DD-WRT site and poked around. It turns out that the unstable, alpha releases do have PPPoE support. So I downloaded that, flashed it in, and everything worked--or did, once I remembered that MTS insist on you using user@hostname as the PPPoE user name.

So now everything's back up and running with DD-WRT and life is sweet--I had noticed, since getting the WRT54G that DNS lookups were taking a lot longer... well, they're back to quick and zippy now. And let's be honest, I love having a router you can telnet into and get a shell prompt.