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Upgrade the Linksys WRT54G with open source firmware

Marc Perton
November 10, 2005
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The Linksys WRT54G is a fairly typical WiFi router, able to connect your home network and work seamlessly with a broadband connection. But what makes the $60 router unique is the fact that its firmware is based on Linux. A couple of years ago, Linksys — under pressure from the open source community — released the firmware under the GPL, and since then, developers have taken it apart and put it back together again, adding new features, including the ability to run the WRT54G as a VPN or VoIP server, a RADIUS server, or even as a full-fledged (albeit very low-end) computer. WiFi Planet has a good rundown of the options available to WRT54G hackers, along with lots of warranty-voiding tips; the site estimates that by upgrading the firmware, you can turn the WRT54G into the equivalent of a $600 workhorse. Of course, all of this raises the question of what's really in all of those $600 routers powered by proprietary firmware. The answer, we assume, is pretty much the same guts as a $60 unit, and $540 of trademarked, patented, intellectual property. Thank goodness for open source!

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