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I've got a Linksys WRT-54G wireless router. The connection is flaky. Once or twice a week I come home from work and can't connect to the wireless so I have to reset the modem. It's annoying.

If I install the open source DD-WRT or Tomato firmware, will this issue go away? Is this a software problem or a hardware problem? I was thinking, well I'll just try it. Then I looked at the instructions for installing DD-WRT -- wow that's a lot of work.

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You haven't provided enough information to determine if this is a software or hardware issue. First, can the computer that is connecting to the router through WiFi connect physically? After you connect the computer to the router with a cable (I'm assuming your internal network assigns an IP address automatically), are you functional? This would at least narrow the problem to a WiFi only issue. If you still can't connect, what happens after you restart your client computer? Can the client computer connect to other WiFi locations? Do you see signal at all on your home WiFi network? – Everett Nov 19 '10 at 15:56
You may want to diagnose this issue before trying to change things (install the new ROM). If this is a hardware issue, you may be able to take the router back under warranty and get a new one. – Everett Nov 19 '10 at 15:57
@all: the router isn't under warranty. I'm reasonably certain this is a Wifi issue; there's 3 computers (if you include my phone) that are connecting and one is connecting physically while 2 are via wifi. The computer with the physical connection maintains a connection while the other 2 lose connection. I can see the signal (phone has a basic wifi analyzer) but it times out when attempting to connect to the router wirelessly. – jcollum Nov 19 '10 at 19:08
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Yes, I have found the DD-WRT to be much more stable than the latest Linksys firmware on the WRT160Nv3 and it may be true for the WRT-54G as well. Make sure you follow the upgrade instructions on the DD-WRT wiki exactly. Sometimes the reset process of 30/30/30 is essential in making the hardware accept the new firmware and be stable.

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No upvotes, but an answer from someone who's tried it with a similar router. I read the upgrade instructions and they appear to be a lot of work. I think I'll just buy a good refurbed router and try that first. – jcollum Dec 30 '10 at 16:57

The biggest issue I have seen with this router and similar dvices is poor power. A slight brownout and the devcie goes into some kind of crippled mode. Seems to be alive but a reset puts it back to functioning. I installed a UPS on the router and the modem and have had no issues since. And the UPS reports regular voltage drops.

Naturally there are other issues with inexpensive routers, but this really helped for me and for others.

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hadn't considered that... good suggestion. – jcollum Nov 19 '10 at 19:09

The best way to find out is to try it. I just installed DD-WRT on my router a month ago. It took a few days to figure out how to go about doing it, but once you're prepared, the actual installation is very simple.

Of course, my situation is not your situation. In my case, my router was dropping connections and returning spurious DNS entries. Installing DD-WRT appears to have fixed it. But if you have to reset your modem (not the router) to temporarily fix your issue, then it sounds like your modem may be the culprit, not the router. Did you purchase your modem or do you lease it from the provider? I know I've taken many modems and DVRs back to my cable company's office and they replace it without question. You can try that first, then try replacing the router's firmware.

If you do the firmware replacement, at least you'll have a more capable router and geek cred.

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