Rooting the Router’s Problem: Bad Software.

Since yesterday, I’ve being tucked away inside my room, hunched over my keyboard, trying to figure out what are the best solutions available in replacing the software on my router that the vendor supplied with it. I have running an Linksys WRT95GS Access-point/Router with Linksys’s software for the last three years, and I just got fed up with how crappy it is with all my wireless hardware. I really had very little satisfaction with keeping everything connected while maintaining good solid security in my little WAN. This system had so many holes in it, that unless it was “wide open,” my wireless connections were gone!

It wasn’t until I was searching for ideas on building a Captive-Portal for the router that I came across some nifty alternatives to Linksys’s pit-falls. The direction I went with is Open-Source, and this now gives me so many more options that, even a souped-up Windows’ machine would be happy connecting to–if I choose it. The magic software is installed, called OpenWRT, and it gave me everything I had asked for. And just to make even the Weary Vista Window user happy, you can also run it with a Web Interface called X-WRT, if you have no idea how to use a C.L.I., (Command Line Interface). ….and no, DOS is nothing like a C.L.I., sorry.

I “brick” [new terminology here] my router a couple times already getting it up and running: i.e., it “was” nothing more than a brick at that point. There are so many options that the WRT95GS can do that the vendor’s software didn’t allow, that it took a good solid night of going through every page, tweaking it, until I had a good network set up.

Now, I have a captive portal running on my router that once you detect it, and try to use your browser, you are directed to a web page on my router that asks you to log on to my WAN. The advantage to this is, I can allow only those who I wish to have access to my Access Point by giving them a password and some other form of identification like an email address without going through the hassle of setting up an account, MAC address, etc…. So far everything is working fine. But what a learning curve!

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