Saturday, May 14, 2011

Router Blues...

Recently the router (a 10 year old Cisco 806) that connected us to the Intertubes started having intermittent problems.  The symptoms were really quite annoying: it would work just fine for some period between 30 seconds and a week, then suddenly conk out completely.  To “fix” it, we had to power it down, wait a minute or so, then power it back up.

That annoyance has been removed.  I've replaced the venerable Cisco 806 with a Buffalo Technology model WZR-HP-G300NH (at right, click to enlarge), flashed with DD-WRT (open source router software).  This single $80 router replaces not only my malfunctioning Cisco 806, but also a separate Cisco wireless router.

So what was it like to replace that Cisco 806? 

Installing the Cisco in the first place is something I remember well.  I was already reasonably familiar with the arcane Cisco IOS configuration files before I started that job.  Even so, to set up the 806 I had to learn a few new things.  It ended up consuming an entire weekend, and involved many failed attempts before I finally got us up and running on the Intertubes.  For months afterwards, I tweaked one thing and another until I finally got it all working.

Now contrast the more recent experience of bringing up the Buffalo Technology router.  There were just two steps.  First, I downloaded the latest DD-WRT version and flashed the router with it.  Elapsed time: about 10 minutes.  Then I used the built-in web pages to explore and configure the router.  Elapsed time: about 10 minutes.  Then I plugged it into power and the network, and … it all worked on the first try.  I've not had to do any tweaking at all.

Awesome job, DD-WRT folks.  Just awesome.  And much appreciated...

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