Setting up a WRT54G as a router

My local WiFi net has been using an Airport Base Station Access Point (AP) for sometime. It transmits at 10 Mbps and it’s been OK but I want to get the speed up to 100 Mbps so I’ve gotten a LinkSys WRT45G Broadband router to replace it.

The first problem I ran into was simply to talk to the WRT45G (the unit). I connected a network cable from the unit to my hub and fired up a browser and entered HTTP:// which is suppose to be its default address after a hard reset back to factory defaults. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

The problems and the solutions, after a LOT of investigation, turned out to be as follows:

– The network cable needs to be plugged into the unit in one of the four network jacks – not into the Internet jack.

– The unit comes up in factory default mode with its DHCP function enabled so it expects to handout network addresses to anyone who asks for one.

– To keep things simple initially, I took the unit away from my overall network and hooked it up to an isolated laptop. In this case, the network cable went directly from the unit to the laptop so it had to be a ‘crossover’ cable rather than a straight through.

-The laptop’s TCP/IP had to be setup to use DHCP.

With all of this done, I disabled the Laptop’s LAN port and then reenabled it and watched it get a network address from the unit’s DHCP. Then I fired up a browser and entered HTTP:// and got a login screen. It all sounds simple in retrospect but it was a hassle to figure out what it wanted.

The login wants the ID left blank and the PW to be ‘admin’.

Once in, I went through each of the unit’s configuration screens and made changes as I thought appropriate. This section is as much for my benefit as yours – it’s how I’m recording my setting in case I need them later. Remember, I’m going to use this as a router within my network. it will not be connected to a modem/Internet so its Internet jack will be unused. I will use some of its four hardware ports and its Wireless capabilities.

Notable changes were:

– Setup>Basic Setup>disable DHCP
– Setup>Basic Setup>IP Address = []
– Setup>Advanced Routing>Operating Mode = Router
– Setup>Advanced Routing>RIP = disabled

– Wireless>Basic Wireless Settings>Mixed
– Wireless>Basic Wireless Settings>SSID=[GalronWiFi]
– Wireless>Basic Wireless Settings>Broadcast=enabled

– Wireless>Wireless Security>Security Mode=WEP
– Wireless>Wireless Security>WEP Encryption=64 bit
– Wireless>Wireless Security>Key 1=[my WEP key]

– Wireless>Wireless MAC Filter>=enabled
– appropriate MACs were entered (protects against WiFi visitors)

– Security>=disabled
– remember, this router is within my network so another one at
the periphery will deal with firewall activities

– Administration>Router Password>[my PW]

– Administration>Wireless Access Mode>enabled
– I beleive this allows me to work with the unit’s setup over wireless
links as well as wired

– Administration>Remote Management>disabled

With all of this done, I was able to remove the unit from the laptop and take it back to my main network and connect it to my hub with a standard non-crossover network cable and I was able to ping it and to enter its IP address and get to its login screen.

Apparently, my normal network setup was incompatible with the unit in its default factory mode. My network doesn’t use DHCP. Everything has a static IP address assigned to it. But, it may well be that one or more entities on the net are enabled for DHCP and were causing confusion when I initially connected the unit when it thought it was in charge of DHCP.

With the above setup, I am able to access the units setup from a wireless PDA and I am able to also browse the web from the PDA so I think the unit is ready to replace the Airport Base Station.

[later] it’s all in place and working great.

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