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#1 judge_l

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 07:57 PM

Just looking for some advice on setting up a better home network. Currently I have a cable modem which goes to a Linksys wireless router. All of the wired connections are being used and we have two laptops that can access it. It is using the software that came with it. The software is horrible and I can't get any other wireless devices to be added to the network. The kids are getting a Kindle Fire and an iPhone for Christmas (grandparents are generous). I know I'll be in trouble if they open that stuff and theres no wifi for them.

Everything I read says I should put ww-drt software on the router, but if I'm reading the list correctly, my router isn't supported. Is there any other good (free) options? If I try to install the software on the router and it doesn't work, can I revert back to the current stuff?

I'd also like to make sure what I have is reasonably secure. Currently using an antivirus program on all the computers, is there anything I should add?

#2 rismoney

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 09:02 PM

Well there are a number of ways to go about this-
Determine the model # of Linksys you have and check OpenWRT, DD-WRT, and Tomato for specific compatibility.
To get around physical port limit, you can plug in any "switch" into the Linksys.
Alternatively you can upgrade your Linksys to a newer version. Some may have more ports or better aggregate performance across hosts. cnet does reviews of these regulary.

AV is fine. The best thing I can recommend is that if you are using windows hosts, to not logon with an account that has administrator access unless you are installing programs.

#3 pete_c

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 06:58 AM

If you have an older computer around that you are not using anymore you can:

1 - Install a second network card in it. (cheap; almost free these days)
2 - download most current version of Smoothwall
3 - burn the ISO download of Smoothwall to a disk
4 - install the Smoothwall ISO; read the wiki for instructions; its really a basic setup
5 - go to the smoothwall web gui and make your adjustments; its very friendly and has a multitude of "off the shelf options"
6 - Put a new wireless Access Point on your network. I still utilize DD-WRT. Go to the DD-WRT forum / list of supported hardware and see what is most popular. Here I utilize Buffalo, Linksys and Asus. I'm not saying one is better than the other; they all have DD-WRT in common.

If you want to get really more granular about wireless security; put a 3rd network card in your Smoothwall firewall and configure a separate network just for your wireless access. Its plug n play to do this.

Or; skip steps 1-5 above and just get a popular Access Point, combo switch router and firewall that you can drop DD-WRT on. If you are reading that your router doesn't support DD-WRT; then there's really nothing you can do to install it; the alternative is another one. I've seen combo's on sale for less than $30. Its take 5 minutes to drop the DD-WRT OS on the box.

Since it is only a few days before Christmas; your sure bet would be to buy something compatible off the shelf at whatever big box store is around and update it with DD-WRT. You will have to look for something compatible on sale. Have a look at the DD-WRT spreadsheet. The DD-WRT spreadsheet database is really specific relating to models and firmware on specific models and methodologies of updating the firmware. Its not every firmware or hardware revision of any specific model that works. The DD-WRT AP router spreadsheet list only the ones that have been tested to work with DD-WRT.

I did this for a neighbor in FL three years ago. I did have a problem in that I had one day of free time to do it. I shopped the big box local stores on line, made a few phone calls and only found one store which had one model of an Access Point which was compatible with DD-WRT. It was not on sale. I sent the neighbor to the big box store which I had spoken to a customer service person with specific instructions relating to what to sell her. He sold her the Access Point; she brought it to me; I configured it and installed it in about 30 minutes and that was that.

If you read the wiki instructions for updating a combination AP router with DD-WRT and follow the step by step processes; taking your time; going slow the update to the firmware is easy. If you speed through the configuration and short cut it or skip a step you will risk "bricking" the router and rendering it useless.

Its a hands on update that really cannot be done remotely.

I am in the midwest this week. Drop me a line via email if you are somewhere in the vicinity and I will help you.




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