WRT madness...

So over the weekend, I rebuilt the home network because of some IP address conflicts I had been getting into, and also to get a wireless connection to my Samsung DVD player so I could watch Netflix online. Well I had 3 WRT54G models of different years but similar makes (WRT54G 3.0 or WRT54GL.) The main one is running OpenWRT White Russian because it was what I was experimenting with originally when I got the GL. Originally I wanted the other systems to be Client Bridges which I had working with one (running an older version of dd-wrt.) The 3rd router was one my parents sent me to play with when they replaced it with something 802.11n.

My project then was to update the routers, set them up in various places through the house and see if I could Bridging to work so that everything on the wireless was on the same 'network'. Due to work on Monday and various other tasks.. the project had to end at 3pm on Sunday with all systems either working or put back into a working 'original settings' mode. Going through various networks, I realized that the 172.16 was a /12 and I could use all the way up to 172.31... most places I have had conflicts only use a /15 so I decided some high networks were what I would use in renumbering the network.

My first problem... what is my password. I try to keep passwords stored in an encrypted file or locked safe for cases where I don't log in regularly. Going through the ones in both the file and printed copy, it turned out none of them were ones used on the routers. I eventually got one to work by uppercasing letters I had lowercased in the printout... [I guess I was being clever or something.] This got one router, but the other one I eventually had to reset the working dd-wrt one to get into it. This one had had a working client bridge mode which I found I could not replicate afterwords. [Not a problem I thought.. I have a newer version of both OS's so it should work when I update the routers to a newer set.]

Ok second problem... which WRT to use. I went with Tomato first... if for no other reason that I love its picture graphs for network traffic. Well I installed it on the two non-WRT's and found the configuration very easy and useful. However, client-bridge mode and client mode do not seem to be supported in WPA (only in WEP and clear-text.) Since I know of too many war-driving people with WEP 'crackers'.. I decided that I didn't want to get a "Hey look smooge! we pwned your home network this weekend!" as my motd or some other thing.

So Tomato was flashed over with OpenWRT. I went through several Howto's and tried to get them to work, but for some reason wasn't able to get it to work. Next went dd-wrt and again I could not get them to get into a working client-bridge mode. As it was reaching 3pm on Sunday, and my family was wanting to get back onto the Internet for various things.. it was time to come up with plan B. I gave Router A (it is still OpenWRT), Router B, and Router C dd-wrt was able to set up a WPA-2 Client mode and so the family was able to watch MythBusters on the Samsung that evening.

Next week, I will reflash the top router to be Tomato (I do love those graphs) and change the networks from being NAT'd to being open so machines on the network can talk with each other 'clearly'.

I think my biggest wonder was that for all the similarity between the different embedded OS's each one has different strengths and weaknesses.. Each seems to be able to implement some things or none at all.. I am guessing it is mostly due to the closed source nature of the Broadcom switch/wireless and then how 'open' each project is in how it solves things :). In the next technology upgrade I will look for something more open (though Tomato only implements for the Broadcom.. and I really like those pretty graphs).
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