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Linksys Resurrects WRT54G In a New Router 310

Posted by samzenpus
from the blast-from-the-past dept.
jones_supa writes "A year after purchasing the Linksys home networking division from Cisco, Belkin today brought back the design of what it called 'the best-selling router of all time' but with the latest wireless technology. We are talking about the classic WRT54G, the router in blue/black livery, first released in December 2002. Back in July 2003, a Slashdot post noted that Linksys had 'caved to community pressure' after speculation that it was violating the GPL free software license, and it released open source code for the WRT54G. The router received a cult following and today the model number of the refreshed model will be WRT1900AC. The radio is updated to support 802.11ac (with four antennas), the CPU is a more powerful 1.2GHz dual core, and there are ports for eSATA and USB mass storage devices. Linksys is also providing early hardware along with SDKs and APIs to the developers of OpenWRT, with plans to have support available when the router becomes commercially available. The WRT1900AC is also the first Linksys router to include a Network Map feature designed to provide a simpler way of managing settings of each device connected to the network. Announced at Consumer Electronics Show, the device is planned to be available this spring for an MSRP of $299.99."
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Linksys Resurrects WRT54G In a New Router

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  • Cost? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anubis350 (772791) on Monday January 06, 2014 @03:03PM (#45880445)
    Part of the appeal of the 54g was its relatively cheap cost for a nicely hackable router (I have serveral of the first gen ones lying around, the ones from before they got downgraded and the old version rebranded as the "gl" with a higher price tag), $300 kinda kills its usefulness
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MightyYar (622222)

      Yeah, my jaw kind of dropped there at the price.

      • Re:Cost? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by H3lldr0p (40304) on Monday January 06, 2014 @03:17PM (#45880591) Homepage

        And it is almost to guaranteed to drop over time.

        Don't forget you're getting: The A/C radio standard , a huge amount of space to store/program in, and support. Yes, support. So if you brick the thing with your endless tweaking of it, they'll try to get it back to working condition.

        That stuff is going to cost early adopters. Like it always does. So chill out, have a cool beverage of your choice, and wait awhile. Let the other people absorb the early costs. Wait some for others to figure out the traps.

        But for heaven's sake, shove the whining about the price right up your ass.

        • Re:Cost? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by spire3661 (1038968) on Monday January 06, 2014 @03:21PM (#45880619) Journal
          I could build a x86 based router for less. $300 is absolutely ridiculous for this kind of hardware.
          • Re:Cost? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06, 2014 @03:27PM (#45880673)
            Prove it. You can't do it - not supporting the 802.1AC standard and actually routing at a decent speed.
            • Re:Cost? (Score:5, Interesting)

              by SJHillman (1966756) on Monday January 06, 2014 @03:38PM (#45880755)

              Considering I built my current router is a low-power dual core 2.0GHz x64 CPU with 4GB DDR3 RAM, 16GB SATA-III SSD and 5 gigabit Ethernet ports for ~$200, it shouldn't be too hard to add a wireless card for around $100 and call it a day.

              • Re:Cost? (Score:4, Insightful)

                by NatasRevol (731260) on Monday January 06, 2014 @03:43PM (#45880795) Journal

                As long as you don't count labor.

                • Re:Cost? (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by MightyYar (622222) on Monday January 06, 2014 @03:51PM (#45880877)

                  If you are buying a router to screw around with DD-WRT, you almost certainly aren't counting labor anyway.

              • Re:Cost? (Score:4, Insightful)

                by hawguy (1600213) on Monday January 06, 2014 @04:09PM (#45881047)

                Considering I built my current router is a low-power dual core 2.0GHz x64 CPU with 4GB DDR3 RAM, 16GB SATA-III SSD and 5 gigabit Ethernet ports for ~$200, it shouldn't be too hard to add a wireless card for around $100 and call it a day.

                How much power does it use? Power consumption is an important factor in a device that's going to be running 24x7. 20 watts of difference in power consumption could be costing you $20/year or more depending on how much your power costs.

                • Re:Cost? (Score:5, Informative)

                  by SJHillman (1966756) on Monday January 06, 2014 @04:40PM (#45881365)

                  Normal use is around 35 watts (as measured by a Kill-A-Watt), although it will spike as high as 50 when powering up. It's not as competitive on that front, but it makes up for it in expandability. You can easily slap a couple of HDDs into it and have it fill NAS duties without the cost of a separate NAS. Full blown OSes usually give more options for power management as well, so I could set it up to go to sleep during the night or while I'm at work if I wanted to.

                  For me, the deficiencies in power are well worth what it makes up for in expansion/upgrading/ease of fixing if it breaks. I could have probably shaved off another 10 or 15 watts if I used something like an Atom without driving the price up too much. It's all a matter of what you want to do with your device; I have a full server rack in the basement and electricity is pretty cheap where I live, so it makes sense for me but I'll be the first to admit it's not for everybody.

                  For anyone interested, I originally had ClearOS on it and later switched to Sophos. Both are about as user-friendly as something like this gets for installation, maintenance and flexibility to easily add more roles to the device.

                • by ediron2 (246908)

                  Y'all can keep rationalizing, but the fact remains that the WRT54g was interesting at $120 ten years ago, and fun at $60. There is NO WAY that this is going to see similar market penetration at $300.

                  Besides, high profile item prices seldom go downward between the vaporware stage and release, but they've been known to go upwards: what if it gets released at $450?!

                  A decade later, under $200 is only slightly interesting, and $100 makes me smile. 300 just annoys the fuck out of me: I won't spend 300 when the

              • by Kagato (116051)

                802.11AC 4x4 MIMO card? Good luck finding that under a hundred mate.

              • Re:Cost? (Score:5, Interesting)

                by LoRdTAW (99712) on Monday January 06, 2014 @05:30PM (#45881941)

                Power consumption would be an issue with desktop hardware. I bought a brand new Alix kit (board, case and power adapter) from Ebay for less than $200 and run m0n0wall on it. It might not scale well with higher speed connections on the order of 50+ mbits but for my 20mbit cable, its more than enough. The only drawback is you need a mini-pci WIFI adapter if you want built in wifi and support is somewhat limited. I simply use an external WAP which is connected to a separate LAN port. I can filter traffic between the LAN and wifi networks to give me a bit more security as the wireless network can't talk to the LAN save for a few ports (SSH and http). I also disabled the router management for the wifi network, you must be on the hard wired LAN to configure the router.

                Up time can be measured in years if there is no power loss. And the power consumption is around 5 watts. That is around 50 cents a month in electric costs, less than LED or CFL bulbs. Its even a bit smaller than the WAP54g. You can't go wrong for the price.

            • by Hadlock (143607)

              With... a netbook? Depending with the onboard chipset it's very possible. $300 is a lot of money for a computing device. What we're talking about here is a glorified Raspberry Pi or Beagle Bone Black with some extra RJ-45 ports and a quality radio in a themo-injected plastic casing.

              Even if you bought the Beagle Bone Black ($50), SD card ($15) and 5 port netgear gig-e switch ($35) that's only $100 worth of hardware leaving you $200 (retail) to buy a special chip and antennas.

              And that's the o

              • by hawguy (1600213)

                Even if you bought the Beagle Bone Black ($50), SD card ($15) and 5 port netgear gig-e switch ($35) that's only $100 worth of hardware leaving you $200 (retail) to buy a special chip and antennas.

                But then you'd be left with a single core 1 Ghz ARM CPU with 512MB of RAM rather than a dual-core 1.2GHz ARM with 256MB of RAM (plus USB3.0 and eSATA).

                Whether it's better depends on which you need more - CPU or RAM.

              • With... a netbook?

                If only manufacturers made those anymore [slashdot.org]...

            • see my post, above.

              install intel 802.11ac mini pci-e card into a board that takes pci-e (laptops, itx boxes) and you're there.

              $30 for that intel card. linux 3.11 and forward supports it.

              even a 3 yr old laptop will BLOW AWAY anything in a consumer plastic router.

          • by Lumpy (12016)

            Yes if you find the right MiniITX board with a soldered on processor. but nothing that will have 4 or more ethernet ports. honestly you need 3 network interfaces just for a basic router.

            • by hawguy (1600213)

              Yes if you find the right MiniITX board with a soldered on processor. but nothing that will have 4 or more ethernet ports. honestly you need 3 network interfaces just for a basic router.

              You really only need 2 ports for a basic router. If you need more, you can use tagged VLAN's.

              • by kasperd (592156)

                You really only need 2 ports for a basic router. If you need more, you can use tagged VLAN's.

                In that case you could do with just one port on the router. Of course with only one port you only get half the bandwidth of two ports. But if you have 1Gbit/s between router and switch chip, I doubt that is going to be a bottleneck for many private usages. The port you saved on the router of course means you'll have to use one of the ports on the switch chip for WAN instead. So you gotta ask if the extra port on the

                • by hawguy (1600213)

                  You really only need 2 ports for a basic router. If you need more, you can use tagged VLAN's.

                  In that case you could do with just one port on the router.

                  I don't trust tagged VLAN's enough to leave the tagged port open to the world, so I always keep the unsanitized public internet traffic on a separate port.

            • Yes if you find the right MiniITX board with a soldered on processor. but nothing that will have 4 or more ethernet ports. honestly you need 3 network interfaces just for a basic router.

              You can - the MiniITX/Atom-based routers that I build and sell to my clients have 5 gigabit NIC's on them. But MiniITX is niche, and the parts are not cheap. If you just need a cheap multi-port router, put in a Mikrotik, and then run your pfSense 'on a stick' with as many VLAN's as you need, unless you need wirespeed gigab

            • by LWATCDR (28044)

              You just add a switch for the extra ports.

          • by Lehk228 (705449)
            smaller than a shoebox, silent, and runs on a few watts?
          • Not if it Just Fucking Works. JFW is a very valuable feature.

            Additionally, it looks like performance will be a priority. With gigabit connections to the home finally becoming reality, the next generation of home routers needs to kick it up a notch. This one seems like it might have a shot at handling serious bandwidth. Gigabit wired ports, gigabit-capable wireless, dual-core processor, etc. I'm looking forward to seeing the benchmarks on this thing when it's ready.

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          But you can buy better hardware that is more open right now for less money. There are lots of options for a DIY router, boards that even have card slots so you can put on your own wireless card, etc..

          Alix boards, and lots of others out there both ARM and even X86 based. Plus those boards you can run a real router like pfSense or IPCop on them instead.

          • by hawguy (1600213)

            But you can buy better hardware that is more open right now for less money. There are lots of options for a DIY router, boards that even have card slots so you can put on your own wireless card, etc..

            Alix boards, and lots of others out there both ARM and even X86 based. Plus those boards you can run a real router like pfSense or IPCop on them instead.

            I'm waiting for the new Alix APU [pcengines.ch] board to be available for my next firewall. I've been using an alix2d13 Alix board with pfSense and have been very happy for it. My current firewall has enough CPU power to route my full 50 mbit comcast connection, but I'd really like more RAM so I can load the pfBlocker list.

        • Re:Cost? (Score:5, Informative)

          by the_B0fh (208483) on Monday January 06, 2014 @07:06PM (#45882695) Homepage

          Shit. I could buy an Apple AirPort Time Capsule with 2TB storage for $299. It also comes with 802.11ac

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          Except what we've seen lately is companies simply quit making the device when they can no longer command premium prices, thus making sure the only way you can get one is to take your chances on the used market. Just look at how many of the first gen dual core tablets are still being sold, you'll find companies like Asus simply quit selling the unit when it can no longer get $300+ per unit.

          Personally I hope I'm wrong but sitting here at the shop it looks like the market is gonna end up split in 2, with one

      • Re:Cost? (Score:5, Funny)

        by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday January 06, 2014 @03:41PM (#45880775) Journal

        At first I was like "This could be my next router upgrade!"

        Then I was like... [imgur.com]

    • Re:Cost? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday January 06, 2014 @03:09PM (#45880517) Homepage
      Yeah, keep your eyes open at the thrift store and you can get decent routers there for $10. Just remember to bring your internet enabled cell phone to check for model numbers so you know how to distinguish the ones with a 4 MB ROM from the ones with a 1 MB Rom. I've picked up a couple of routers this way. Amazing what these little boxes can do with some custom firmware.
    • I concur, when a FLAGSHIP home router can be had for 199, I can't see spending 300. People could afford to have two of the old WRTs, one for experimenting, and one for "Production."

      I get that more radios / Antennas, and a dual 1.2GHZ processor alone all add up. A dual 1.2 isn't going to be as cheap as a whatever was in that wrt... (IIRC it was like 400mhz?) It's just that you can get a router w/ up to 5 separate networks (Plus V-lans) for $200. Maybe that was a typo, and was supposed to be 199?

      • by afidel (530433)

        $40 tablets at the dollar store often have a dual core processor these days and they have to include a battery and screen as well.

    • Re:Cost? (Score:5, Funny)

      by avandesande (143899) on Monday January 06, 2014 @03:16PM (#45880581) Journal

      I am just dying to hook one of these up to my 1.5 mbs cable modem!

      • by FooAtWFU (699187)
        Clearly you don't do a lot of networking between home computers like a NAS or something.
        • Don't need a router for NAS or sharing and there are plenty of cheap GB switches out there. The router usually on the edge.

        • by Obfuscant (592200)

          Clearly you don't do a lot of networking between home computers like a NAS or something.

          If your internal home network is so large that you need a router, and you're worried about speed, then you're not going to be buying a SOHO router to manage it. And since you probably don't need a router, you'll buy a full-duplex gigabit managed switch for $100 or so like the HP1810-8g. Then you'll buy a $50 or less wireless access point if you need wireless, and a $50 or less router to the outside, and still be $100 ahead.

    • Re:Cost? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Scragglykat (1185337) on Monday January 06, 2014 @03:31PM (#45880705)
      Yeah, the ASUS Black Knight AC router is half this price and also able to run open source firmware. Sure the CPU and other specs seem very nice, but that's a lot of dough for a consumer router where one half as expensive will work basically just as well.
      • by Wrexs0ul (515885)

        I've bought over 40 of these and yet to see one die that wasn't from trying to skip steps flashing it. Even then they're recoverable.

        By far the best consumer router out there IMHO.

    • For not much more than three hundred bucks I can put together a MicroATX router with dual NICs and a WiFi card that will have a lot more RAM, a lot more CPU power and even a reasonable bit of storage.

      I have three of them, sans the WiFi, that are fanless with 60gb SSDs, that are the gateway/VPN routers running full Debian installs for our three offices. Admittedly they are el-cheapo chipsets, all of them running VIA x86 CPUs and 512mb of RAM, but for the kind of load we have, they do just fine.

    • Plus, you could mod it pretty well ... :
      http://bjdouma.home.xs4all.nl/SD-mod/ [xs4all.nl]

  • by nbvb (32836)

    That makes an AirPort Extreme seem like a bargain ... And it's no bargain.

    (I do own one though!)

    • by hondo77 (324058)
      For $300 I can get a 2TB AirPort Time Capsule. I owned one of these blue routers way back when. Why would I want to shell out that much for one now?
    • In this case, you're paying for the radio transceiver technology along with an embedded computer. And if anything home-brew router related holds true, it's a quality transceiver that's the most important aspect when ensuring good WiFi coverage and stability.

      • by Luckyo (1726890)

        For that price, you can probably add two-three decent separate access points for far better coverage to a budget router and still stay under the price.

  • Part of me really wants it. Then part of me questions why I would need a $300 router for a 1 BR apartment.

    Then the other part of me says "Shut up and take my money."

    I think Cisco is going to win out even though I just retired my old WRT54G 6 months ago and have no need for a new router. The one I got is fine but I can't put DD-WRT or Open-WRT on it, and it's a pretty low-spec model.

    • Why do you think Cisco will win out here? The first sentence of TFA clearly states that Belkin bought Linksys from Cisco a year ago.
      • by redmid17 (1217076)
        Cisco got paid a bunch of money for something that may or may not sell well and basically gave up on developing. Solid win for them. Caveat: I meant to type Belkin. I was just inadvertently correct
  • A lot of AC routers are half the price. $199 maybe but $299 is just too much. You can run OpenWRT on much less expensive hardware. Too bad because I really want one.

  • missing it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr Krinkle (112489) on Monday January 06, 2014 @03:10PM (#45880523) Homepage

    I think they are missing the main reason that router sold so well..

    At least the reason I bought them, and recommended them for others....
    IT WAS CHEAP AND good.
    It was a moderate priced option, that I KNEW would work for people. The fact that it had all the hackable benefits was gravy for me to have my own versions.
    I didn't trust a lot of the other low end units to not constantly have problems. I could also talk someone into spending 50-75$ instead of 40$.
    There is no way I could get someone to spend 300$ instead of 20-50$ now days..

    • by Skater (41976)
      Yeah, it was what I recommended as well. I have a version 1.1 floating around; I stopped using it just last year, after buying an n-capable router with gigabit ethernet (I often move large files around my network, so the n network speeds were a useful upgrade). Unfortunately, that router sometimes won't let devices connect and has to be rebooted, a problem I never had with my WRT54G... sigh.
    • There is no way I could get someone to spend 300$ instead of 20-50$ now days..

      $300 is crazy, but I remember spending ~ $115 for a 54GL. That's also about what I spent on my first few WNDR3700's. Actually if you price that 54GL in food or energy, it's pretty close to $300 now. Obviously, Moore's Law, so that's not reasonable now, but the value is relevant.

      While I love the guts of the WNDR3700's, having to solder and dremel in an antenna lead sucks, so for antenna-sensitive placements, Belkin might actual

    • by citizenr (871508)

      I think they are missing the main reason that router sold so well..

      No, they didnt. They are simply at the next stage. Taking old cult classic objects name, slapping it on modern hardware and selling to suckers for a premium.
      Look at Ford Mustang. In 1964 it sold at 2/3 of Average car price. It got popular because it was CHEAP. Todays Mustang is a modern pimped piece of shit sold to hipsters at a premium.

  • $300? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Monday January 06, 2014 @03:12PM (#45880537) Homepage Journal

    Yikes. Could build a really small fan-less PC and run pfsense on it AND have storage..

    • by snarfies (115214)

      YOU could, maybe. Most people can't.

      I have my own VPS, and I'm not even sure I can.

    • Not that I agree with the price but the unit has eSata and USB ports- I assume you could add storage.

  • by dugancent (2616577) on Monday January 06, 2014 @03:15PM (#45880565)

    Bought it in 2004 or 2005 and am still using at my main, and only router. Thought about upgrading but I still haven't found a reason to.

    • by redmid17 (1217076)
      Only reason I retired mine a few months ago is because it was intermittently interfering with my Tivo and broadband connectivity. It didn't seem to play too well with the MoCA adapter needed to get the secondary TIVO box connectivity. Tried swapping out multiple cable modems, tivo units, and cycled through the three DD-WRT routers I had. Only constant was the WRT54G. Switched over to a crappy netgear I bought for cheap and everything started working with no hiccups. At some point you'll really want the upg
      • by unitron (5733)

        I don't have any TiVos newer than S3s and S3 HDs, and they're on analog cable, but I'm successfully using a flashed 54G in wireless bridge mode to let the main room TiVos communicate with a stock 54G that's daisy-chanied to the cable modem by way of a BFSR41, both of which have all available ports used by other TiVos.

        I give everything that doesn't leave the house a fixed IP address and use old CPU cooling fans installed internally in all that Linksys stuff and it works pretty well.

    • Mine melted in the backseat of the car in the sun on a hot Las Vegas day almost 10 years ago. Taped the melted case back together, still works like a champ as my only router. Now that's quality.
  • Belkin, eh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by J'raxis (248192) on Monday January 06, 2014 @03:15PM (#45880567) Homepage

    Never trust a product made by this company. "Belkin Routers Route Users to Censorware Ad" [slashdot.org], reported by Slashdot:

    The Register has a story today about Belkin routers redirecting their users' network traffic. To me, this seems like the logical next step after top-level domain name servers piping ads to your browser. Now the routers themselves hijack the traffic they are supposed to, uh, route -- and you'll love where they send you instead. But it's OK because you can opt out. Incidentally, the Crystal Ball Award goes to Seth Finkelstein, who in 2001 quoted John Gilmore's famous aphorism about the internet, and asked "What if censorship is in the router?"

    This company has been on my shitlist for ten years and always will be.

    • Then there's those of us that have had a Belkin router for years with no issue. After Cisco acquired Linksys what was there available for the home market - that didn't suck... D-Link?
      Maybe, but you couldn't with confidence buy a D-Link router and know that it would be relatively trouble-free.

      Netgear for instance, might be a decent model or might be complete trash. I've had fairly good runs with a few different TP-Link models and Belkin - compared to all of the non-WR54G Linksys models and D-Links that ha
      • by J'raxis (248192)

        My main point was "vote with your dollars" against sleazeball behavior from companies like this. Some of their products may work fine, without incident, but that doesn't mean I want them to have a single dollar from me.

  • by unixisc (2429386) on Monday January 06, 2014 @03:17PM (#45880597)
    Is it improved, or is it non-existent?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      With OpenWRT or another Linux-based up-to-date router firmware (which you'll install on this specific device if you have anything worth mentioning between your ears), it has first-class IPv6 support, snmp included. Heck, OpenWRT can even do BGP and OSPFv3 if you add the appropriate packages...

  • by wjcofkc (964165) on Monday January 06, 2014 @04:13PM (#45881083)
    I recently brought an early revision WRT54G out of retirement after a newer router failed. Although I did recently re-decommission it, it still worked fantastically well for the modes it supports. For anyone who missed the party:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linksys_WRT54G_series
    • by citizenr (871508)

      Main problem of old design is ~20Mbit max routing speed. This is not enough outside of US, we in civilized places routinely get 120Mbit home connections.

  • Nice specifications. Hard to justify when you can buy a really nice router from Mikrotic for under $100 though. Hopefully the price will drop eventually and it will be competitive.
  • I've had nothing but trouble from linksys routers,
  • by Rob Riggs (6418) on Monday January 06, 2014 @05:23PM (#45881871) Homepage Journal
    Real Geeks are buying Ubiquiti equipment. Very reasonably priced, easy to hack the firmware [openwrt.org], and the radios are "Amateur Friendly [blogspot.com]", meaning you can operate the radio in the Ham bands and limit the channel usage or bandwidth to stay in the ham band.
  • by geminidomino (614729) on Monday January 06, 2014 @10:11PM (#45883873) Journal

    I don't need a wireless radio that's going to crap out after a year to jack the cost up through the roof. I hate wireless, and I have access points already.

    On the other hand, if they're going to offer a router-only version, then it might just be enough for me to overlook their past misdeeds [slashdot.org] long enough to give them another chance.

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