Damn I hate Linksys. The first time I bought a Linksys product was years and years ago. I’m beginning to wonder why I thought it would be any different this time.
Vicki had convinced a friend that he needed to network his office, and that he needed to hire me to do it. I decided to do it wirelessly because running cable drops is expensive and a pain in the ass. I priced out the equipment, and Linksys was considerably cheaper than the other brands. I got PCI cards (which were really PCMCIA holders with a PCMCIA card in them) for the really ancient equipment, and USB adaptors for the newer ones. And a Linksys base station that also held a PCMCIA card.
The client systems all seemed to work fine (I could ad-hoc network them together), and the base station would work on the wired side, but I could never get the clients to attach to the base station. I even borrowed a friend’s laptop which I knew would connect to other base stations, and it couldn’t connect to the base station. So I tried to get Linksys to give me an RMA. And that was an ordeal in itself. I spent over 4 hours at a time on hold, several days over the course of that month. Each time they’d eventually answer the phone and take my number and promise to call back. But they never called back. After a couple of those I started refusing to give them my number and saying I’d stay on the line, or asking to talk to a supervisor. I also tried email, which got me a guy sending me older versions of the firmware, none of which worked.
Eventually the 30 day return window expired, and they stopped taking my calls. Not that they were actually taking them in the first place. But I finally figured out their tactic – they weren’t actually trying to fix my problem, they were just trying to run out the 30 day clock.
At the time, I vowed never to buy Linksys again. But memories fade over the years, and Linksys now belongs to Cisco. And I was tempted by the WRT54G, the world’s cheapest Linux box.
As detailed in previous blog postings (I won’t bother linking, you can look them up), I’ve had problems with this WRT54G. Before today, though, all that ever went wrong was that the wireless would stop working. An inconvenience to be sure, but at least my mail and news kept flowing. Today was the last straw, though – the wired connection stopped working.
So fuck it. I’m not going to put this thing as the only interface to the outside world any more. I hate to put the old Belkin back on-line, but at least the worst thing it did was to occasionally show the configuration web page to the outside world – and hitting “reload” would make it go away and give you the proper web site. The reason I hated the Belkin was that the configuration page sucked so much – it was like pulling hen’s teeth to get some information out of it.
I think my next idea will be to make the Linksys an access point only, and only use it for 802.11G connections, and have the 802.11B hosts (which is every laptop in the house except this one). If the Linksys is more stable with just ‘G’ connections, maybe I’ll switch it around and put the Linksys facing the net and the Belkin in access point only mode. I’d really like to be able to take advantage of the ZoneEdit automatic IP dates.
Does anybody happen to know if, when you’re using these guys in access point mode, you plug the connection to the wired hub and the rest of the local net to the WAN or the LAN side of the access point?