God damned Linksys

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?

7 thoughts on “God damned Linksys”

  1. Yes, you can use it as an access point by plugging the wired network into one of the 4 switch ports in the back instead of the ‘Internet’ port. I’m using 3 of them that way.

  2. After my friend and I had 3 seperate Linksys routers die in the course of a few months, I swore I’d never buy another one.

    I’m very happy with my NetGear firewall/router/access point.

  3. I’ve been trying to find a forum to post this incredibly stupid support chat I had with linksys, and i found your site, and your hate for linksys, so I figured I’d top that off. this chat is actually regarding a WRT54GS. this is just to complete the complaints about their stupid support people!! argh … ok here we go ..

    Rique (22312): Hi, my name is Rique (22312). How may I help you?
    Georges: Hi Rique…
    Georges: about a month ago, I installed a WRT54GS for one of my clients..
    Georges: and I’ve been having an issue connecting to services behind the router from the WAN …. a
    Rique (22312): Okay.
    Georges: after all the troubleshooting, it dawned on me to try and do an nmap from the outside to look for open ports … and to my surprised, all port forwarding seemed to have ceased to work . the only port that remained open was the one for remote management…
    Georges: everything else that I had specified had gotten blocked off.. in the management interface I see the ports set, but they are not actually doing the forwarding.
    Georges: i’m currently on firmware 1.05.0
    Rique (22312): So you cant access other servers from the WAN?
    Georges: well . I happen to only have one machine online 24/7 behind the router …
    Georges: so that’s my only test at this time. I was thinking of taking another temporary machine on there to be on for a few days to see if the same problem happens on it ….
    Georges: the server was running DNS at first, and I thought it was causing an issue, so now I stripped the server from all services except file server service… I even moved DHCP back to be managed by the linksys …
    Georges: right now, to me the biggest clue that it’s a problem with the router is the result of the nmap .
    Rique (22312): May I know how many servers do you have on your network?
    Georges: just one at the moment. it’s a simple small office network …
    Georges: the server is on 24/7 , and the clients are on during business hours….
    Georges: when i lose the forwarding… we also lose internet connection .. .
    Georges: so it’s as if the firewall rules, and/or the routing tables are getting messed up on the linksys ?
    Rique (22312): It was working fine before right?
    Georges: nope .. never worked since I installed it …
    Georges: it works for a maximum of about 24 hours at a time before it drops …
    Georges: i’m not sure what’s triggering it … right now, I’m thinking when it has slightly high traffic, but Im’ not positive..
    Rique (22312): Did you set static IPs on the server computers?
    Georges: yes it’s a static IP
    Rique (22312): All of them?
    Georges: and when the problem occurs, I am still able to ping the server from the router itself (through the diagnostic screen) ..
    Georges: and the server all networking services run just fine with the NAT, just not through the WAN..
    Georges: what do you mean all of them? I only have one NIC enabled on the server, and it’s set to a static IP
    Rique (22312): Okay, so you only have 1 computer as the server for several applications?
    Georges: yes the server is just a simple file and print server… that’s not really the issue though …
    Georges: the problem I’m having is that Remote Desktop from the outside, and VNC from the outside cease to work .. because port forwarding on the router stop working …
    Rique (22312): Can we go to the port forwarding page of the router?
    Georges: sure. Im’ there already
    Rique (22312): What do you have on the first row?
    Georges: I have RDP 3389 3389 Both
    Georges: and checkmarked “enable”
    Rique (22312): For what application is that?
    Georges: RDP (Remote Desktop)
    Rique (22312): Okay, what about on the second row?
    Georges: VNC 5900 to 5900 BOTH checked “enable”
    Georges: for VNC …
    Georges: these are the only 2 ports I got open
    Georges: i just have them open so that I can remotely manage the server….
    Rique (22312): Okay, only those ports are forwarded on the router right now?
    Georges: yes… that’s what I just said.
    Rique (22312): You can use that application only one at a time.
    Georges: what do you mean ?
    Rique (22312): If you are using RDP, you cannot use VNC. If your using VNC, you cannot use RDP. Because these applications are run by the same computer.
    Georges: I’m sorry, but you are incorrect….
    Georges: I don’t mean to be rude, but is there anyone else I can speak with about the issue?
    Rique (22312): Let me verify that Georges.
    Georges: In any case, I’m not trying to use them both at the same time. that is not even the issue I’m having. I was having the same exact problem even when I only had RDP port enabled…
    Georges: I only installed VNC because I had thought that the problem I was having was with the RDP protocol. but then VNC failing proved that it wasn’t RDP on the server failing
    Rique (22312): Okay, I’m sorry, your set up should work, port forwarding will not work simultaneously only if you have the same ports opened for two different IP address.
    Rique (22312): Please wait.
    Georges: yes, I know that part. as you said, my setup is correct as is, since I’m only forwarding the port to one internal IP
    Rique (22312): Yes, by the way, how do you access the server from the remote desktop?
    Georges: i just open the RDP client , and connect to the external IP… the default port for RDP 3389, so as long as it’s open then it works …
    Rique (22312): Okay, so the only one that is working is the RDP.
    Georges: no .. right now , nothing is working, other that remote access to the router itself . through port 8443 (that’s through the remote management
    Georges: i’m going to try to place the server in the DMZ to see what happens ….
    Rique (22312): Okay, are you going to do that now?
    Georges: yeah I’m doin it now..
    Georges: unfortunately, I have no way of rebooting the linksys remotely… I’m not on site right now..
    Rique (22312): Okay.
    Georges: nope.. that didn’t do it …
    Georges: [root@fkweb ~]# nmap 71.160.x.x -P0

    Starting nmap 3.70 ( http://www.insecure.org/nmap/ ) at 2006-01-08 18:39 PST
    Interesting ports on static-71-160-x-x.lsanca.dsl-w.verizon.net (71.160.x.x):
    (The 1659 ports scanned but not shown below are in state: filtered)
    8443/tcp open https-alt

    Nmap run completed — 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 109.704 seconds

    Georges: here’s the results of nmap …. if things are working correctly .. then there should be two more ports in that list, 5900 , and 3389 .. that should be the biggest clue that something’s wrong with the router.
    Rique (22312): I see, are the applications working when bypassing the router?
    Georges: what applications? … I’m not understanding why you keep taking me back to applications …
    Georges: if you don’t want to connect me to a supervisor or someone .. can you at least run this chat by them, and show them the nmap results?…. it’s an obvious problem!
    Georges: and to answer your question .. if by “application” you’re referring to remote desktop .. yes they work from within the NAT at all times…that’s because there’s no port forwarding going on from inside the network …
    Rique (22312): Okay, because that’s all we have to do forward the ports and if it doesn’t work, we may need to upgrade the firmware of the router Georges and that’s also the suggestion of my immediate superior, upgrading the firmware of the router.
    Georges: alright , i’ll do that and contact you if that doesn’t resolve the problem
    Rique (22312): Okay, thanks for your patience.
    Georges: u’re welcome. is there an email address for feedback on support?
    Rique (22312): Yes, Linksys will automatically generate an e,ail after the session.
    Rique (22312):
    For your reference, this chat session will be e-mailed to you. If you have general networking questions, you may visit our knowledge base,http://www.linksys.com/kb. Again, this is Rique, with Badge ID 22312. Thank you for choosing Linksys and have a great day!
    Georges: ok.. thank you.

  4. A cautionary note re Linksys customer service. Beware the $29 charge for each over-the-phone session of technical support. The period covered is just 7 days after the call; after that you pay again. Having had three breakdowns in three months, I’m junking my wrt54g and Linksys altogether. and should you try to circumvent the charge by making fixes via their chat, do not be surprised, as i was, to get disconnected midway through a reconfiguration, only to be told that to continue, via phone, would cost, yes, 29 bucks. Crazy Eddie’s had been service.

  5. Well, Linksys hasn’t gotten any better. Here it is, 2008, and they still can’t get it working right.

    I have two devices right now that have serious issues. First is a WRT600N that uses a USB Storage Link to connect an external USB hard drive…that’s a laughable matter. The hard drive, when it works, gets corrupted files through the Storage Link, and the file transfer rate drops to a pitiable 5-6 MBPS. The second device, a WPSM54G print server listed on the Linksys website as Vista compatible, isn’t really Vista compatible. It won’t work on the 64-bit version of Vista, only the 32-bit version.

    I will never again be tempted to but a Linksys product. I’ll stop using computers and the Internet altogether should my only option be Linksys.

  6. I’ve configured over 100 routers while providing technical support for IP cameras and network DVRs and there seems to be a common problem, most notably in the WRT54G. Remote management via 8080, port forwarding, nor DMZ hosting cease to function after a period of time. No entirely sure how old the router needs to be before these features cease to function, but it’s happening more and more. My in-laws just happened yesterday….and today..yet unother baffled customer with correct settings unable to get port forwarded, and big surprise…remote access would not work either. WAN/Internet IPs are all public as they should be, resetting/rebooting fixes nothing, no SPI firewalls enabled or anything else, latest firmware installed. I just can’t see why linksys has this problem. I’m thinking there HAS to be a setting that I’m commonly missing, but I do not think that is the case. I’ve done port forwarding, dmz, etc. on about 15 different brands of router and only complaint I ever run into are the Linksys’s (some models work fine, but some simply do not work). It’s a shame they have poisoned the Cisco brand.

  7. I agree. I am now on the “HATE LINKSYS” bandwagon.


    I’m on the phone with tech support because the firmware upgrade bricked my BEFSR41…

    The long and the short of it is that the tech says that the hardware failed… at the very moment I updated the firmware. The hardware was fine the millisecond before but now it died. “It could be just a coincidence, but it happpens.”

    … Note that the firmware upgrade completed successfully, according to the box. But when I tried to reconnect the box is a black and blue brick….

    Holy Heisenburg! That is crap! This reminds me of Schrödinger’s cat. It’s alive if you don’t update the firmware, but the hardware fails immediately if you update the firmware!

    He then went on to tell me that these units fail most of the time a “user” tries to upgrade the firmware and they prefer to upgrade them remotely (i.e. please give me money now..).

    He retracted and tried to say he didn’t say that, but he did.

    Never again will Linksys darken my door. Cisco good expensive stuff. Why do they allow this crap to even have their name on it.

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