win10 desktop linksys wrt54g to home router

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Jerry

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Oct 4, 2021, 1:00:03 PM10/4/21
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I have an extra old win10 desktop with no wifi card.
I have an old linksys wrt54g version 8.1 & ethernet cord.

How can I connect that desktop with that router to my home router?

Jerry

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Oct 16, 2021, 6:43:15 PM10/16/21
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How to use a spare router as a makeshift Wi-Fi card for a Windows 10 desktop
A. Tested with an old Windows 10 desktop with only Ethernet (no Wi-Fi card).
B. Tested with an old Linksys WRT54Gv8.1 router (flashed with DD-WRT firmware).
C. Tested with a typical Netgear wireless router as the access point & router.
D. DD-WRT is set up as a gateway in "wireless client bridge mode"

The DD-WRT firmware converts Wi-Fi to Ethernet protocols (& vice versa).
1. I started with an old Windows 10 desktop that has no Wi-Fi card.
It was already on my intranet using its wired Ethernet connection.
But I wanted to move the desktop to a location infeasible by wire.

2. I happened to have an old unused Linksys WRT54Gv8.1 router handy.
I'm told Linksys doesn't allow "client bridge" mode in that router.
But I was told that DD-WRT firmware does allow "client bridge" mode.
<https://forum.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page>

3. I flashed the appropriate DD-WRT firmware onto that Linksys router.
(Firmware Version: DD-WRT v24 RC-7 (03/19/08) micro - build 9330M Eko)
<https://wiki.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Linksys_WRT54G_v8.1>

I flashed the firmware using a web browser (I had no need for tftp).
The WRT54Gv8.1 router already has a Linux CFE in the flash.
There is no need for prep or killer files before the initial flash.
<https://wiki.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/How_To_Flash_the_WRT54Gv8>

4. I set up DD-WRT in "Client Bridge" gateway mode which was "paired" to
the home router by a MAC address to MAC address connection over Wi-Fi.
<https://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/89059>
<https://wiki.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Client_Mode>

5. This "wireless bridge" gateway connects my wired desktop to my intranet.
The desktop Ethernet port is connected by cable to a gateway LAN port.
That DD-WRT "Client Bridge" gateway connects to my home router MAC NIC.
That MAC-to-MAC connection is done over Wi-Fi as a "wireless bridge."

These are the steps I ran (so that you can follow them yourself).
a. Run a search on setting up dd-wrt on the WRT54Gv8.1 as a client bridge.
<https://duckduckgo.com/?q=install+dd-wrt+client+bridge+linksys+wrt54gv8.1>

b. Obtain the correct dd-wrt.com bin file to flash onto your WRT54Gv8.1 router.
<https://dd-wrt.com/support/router-database/>
<https://dd-wrt.com/support/router-database/?model=WRT54G_v8.1>
<https://dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Linksys_WRT54G_v8.1>
Manufacturer Linksys, Model WRT54G, Revision v8.1
Supported yes (this means you can install dd-wrt)
Activation required no
Chipset BCM5354 chip rev 2, RAM 8MB, FLASH 2MB
Supported by v3.0 [Beta]Build 44715
<https://download1.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv2/downloads/betas/2020/11-03-2020-r44715/broadcom/dd-wrt.v24_micro_olsrd_generic.bin>
<https://download1.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv2/downloads/betas/2020/11-03-2020-r44715/broadcom/dd-wrt.v24_micro_generic.bin>
<http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/download.php?id=4470>
Firmware Version: DD-WRT v24 RC-7 (03/19/08) micro - build 9330M Eko
Save: C:\<path-to>\wrt54gv8p1\
Name: dd-wrt.v24-9330_micro_wrt54gv81.bin
Size: 1708052 bytes (1668 KiB)
SHA256: DC536ED0B91DD22880247958111A42C0289C1A9E9E18603E9548DD511E46BEF0

c. Just in case save the reversion file (let's hope you don't ever need it).
http://download1.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv2/downloads/others/tornado/Gv8/vxworksrevert-Gv8-v3.bin

d. Write down the existing settings for your home router.
IP Address = (write down the IP address), mine was "http://192.168.1.1"
Broadcast = yes (it's easier to set up if the SSID is not hidden)
Security = (write down the security), mine was "WPA2-PSK [AES]"
Passphrase = (write down the passphrase)
Gateway Router = (write down the IP address), mine was "192.168.1.200"
Primary DNS: (write down the DNS server), mine was 8.8.8.8
Secondary DNS: (write down the DNS server), mine was 4.4.4.2
Use Router as DHCP Server = (write down the answer), mine was checked
Starting DHCP IP Address = (write down the answer), mine was 192.168.1.2
Ending DHCP IP Address = (write down the answer), mine was 192.168.1.254

e. Decide what IP address is available for your client bridge & Windows PC.
Client Bridge = (I chose 192.168.1.200)
Windows PC = (I chose 192.168.1.201)

Some people will choose to let the home router DHCP assign an IP address.

f. Write down the existing settings for your wired computer.
IP assignment = Manual
IPv4 address: 192.168.1.201
Ipv4 subnet prefix length: 24 (this is the same as 255.255.255.0)
iPv4 gateway: 192.168.1.1
iPv4 DNS servers: 8.8.8.8, 4.4.4.2

Some people will choose to let the home router DHCP assign an IP address.

g. Set your PC IP address (depends on what you have decided above of course).
c:\> ipconfig
Ethernet adapter Ethernet:
Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :
IPv4 Address. . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.201
Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.0
Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.1
<https://www.partitionwizard.com/partitionmagic/how-to-change-ip-address.html>

Some people will choose to let the home router DHCP assign an IP address.

h. Test your Win10 desktop browser for Javascript capability
<https://jsfiddle.net/>

i. Just in case, enable your tftp client on your Windows 10 desktop PC.
You won't need tftp unless you can't connect to the Linksys via a web browser.

Run > control > View by small icons > Programs and features >
Turn Windows features on or off > [x]TFTP Client > [OK]

After a few minutes it should say "Windows completed the requested changes."
<https://www.omnisecu.com/cisco-certified-network-associate-ccna/how-to-install-tftp-client-in-windows-10.php>

j. Assuming the Linksys WRT54Gv8.1 still has Linksys firmware, reset it.
a. Find a suitable reset tool (a cotton swab with the end cut off works)
a. Plug in the 12VDC 0.5A center-positive power cord
b. A moment later, press the reset button for about 20 to 30 seconds

k. To prevent mistakes, tape over the Linksys WRT54Gv8.1 WAN port.
You won't need the WAN port for setup, nor to use as a client bridge.

l. Connect the Linksys WRT54Gv8.1 LAN port #1 to the desktop Ethernet port.
Use the RJ45 connection on the Windows PC.
You can use any of the LAN connections on the Linksys WRT54Gv8.1 device.

m. From there, I followed almost exactly the directions found here.
<https://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/89059>
Using those directions, my results are reproduced below.

n. With a javascript-enabled browser, visit http://192.168.1.1
When/if it asks for your login information, use <blank>/admin to log in.
By default, you'll be placed in the "Setup > Basic Setup" tab.

Make a note of "Status > Router" information.
Firmware Version: 8.1.08 build 02 Oct. 26, 2007
Current Time: Thu Jan 1 00:50:43 1970 (GMT -08:00)
MAC Address: 00:1D:7E:A1:48:45

o. Optionally, additionally restore the Linksys WRT54Gv8.1 to factory default.
Administration > Factory Defaults > Restore Factory Defaults
(that did not change the firmware version when I did it on mine)

p. Upgrade the firmware from Linksys firmware to DD-WRT firmware.
Make sure there is adequate power delivery (e.g., on a laptop).

Then go to Administration > Firmware Upgrade > Browse
Browse to C:\<path-to>\wrt54gv8p1\dd-wrt.v24-9330_micro_wrt54gv81.bin
Firmware Version: DD-WRT v24 RC-7 (03/19/08) micro - build 9330M Eko
Press [Start to Upgrade]
After a while you should see "Upgrade is successful. Rebooting......"
Maybe wait a few minutes before pressing the provided [Continue] button.

q. If necessary, log into the Linksys WRT54Gv8.1 router again.
You should now be in the dd-wrt System Information control panel.
Make a note of "Status > Router" (which will ask for your login/password)
User Name: admin
Password: root
This should put you into the "Status > Router Information" page.

r. Make a note of what this router information page is telling you.
Router Name = DD-WRT
Router Model = Linksys WRT54G v8.1
Firmware: DD-WRT v24 RC-7 (03/19/08) micro
Firmware Version = DD-WRT v24 RC-7 (03/19/08) micro - build 9330M Eko
(RC = release candidate)

s. The first thing to do is to change the Linksys WRT54Gv8.1 IP address.
Bring up the javascript browser to https://192.168.1.1
Press "Setup" and log in as root/admin (if needed)
Go to: Setup > Basic Setup > Network Setup > Router IP >
Set the Local IP Address = 192.168.1.200
Set the Subnet Mask = 255.255.255.0
Set the Gateway = 192.168.1.1
Set the local DNS = 192.168.1.1
Press Save & then press Apply Settings

t. Before you make too many changes, it's maybe a good idea to reboot.
Press Administration > Reboot Router

u. Now it's time to set up the router in "client bridge" mode.
With a javascript-enabled browser, visit http://192.168.1.200
(Whenever it asks you to log in, use root/admin as before.)

Go to Wireless > Basic Settings > Wireless Physical Interface wl0
You'll see this (but you will be changing that momentarily).
Physical Interface wl0 - SSID [dd-wrt] HWAddr [00:1D:7E:A1:48:46]
Set the Wireless Mode = Client Bridge
Set the Wireless Network Mode = (match that of the home router 2.5GHz access point)
Set the Wireless Network Name (SSID) = (match that of the home router access point)
Leave the Wireless SSID Broadcast = enable (it will go away soon)
Leave the Network Configuration = (this defaults to "Bridged") (it will go away soon)
Click Save and then click on Apply Settings and then wait for the router to respond.

v. Go to Wireless > Wireless Security
Set the Security Mode = (match that of the home router access point 2.4GHz SSID)
Set the Algorithms = (match that of the home router access point 2.4GHz SSID)
Set the Shared Key = (match that of the home router access point 2.4GHz SSID)
Set the Key Renewal Interval (in seconds) = leave at 3600
Click Save then Apply and wait for the router to respond.

w. Now it's time to "Join" (bridge to) the network you just set up.
Go to Status > Wireless > Site Survey
A new page will open and it should find your broadcast wireless gateway ssid.
http://192.168.1.200/Site_Survey.asp
You may need to press "Refresh" (but if it's hidden, it won't show up).

x. If there are more than one, find the correct AP you wish to connect to.
SSID = (same as your wireless gateway setting, e.g., MY_SSID)
Mode = AP
MAC = 8C:3B:AD:A6:B2:55
Channel = 3
Rssi = -81
Noise = -92
Beacon = 200
Open = No
DTIM = 0
Rate = 12(g)
Join Site = Join
Click the blue "Join" button for your access point, and wait a bit.
You should see: "Successfully joined the following network as a client: MY_SSID
Press the [Continue] button.

This takes you back to the wireless section basic settings page.
Scroll down and click Save and Apply Settings again and wait for any response.

y. You should now be connected to your gateway.
To check if you are, go to "Status > Wireless" and scroll to the bottom.
You should now see at least 1 MAC address and info including signal quality.
This will be your wireless gateway
Mac = 8C:3B:AD:A6:B2:55
Interface = eth1
TX rate = N/A
RX Rate = N/A
Signal = -81
Noise = -92
SNR = 10
Signal Quality = 15%

z. Test that you are now on the Internet via the wireless client bridge.
From Windows, the following pings should work.
ping 192.168.1.200 (this tests the connection to the Linksys WRT54Gv8.1)
ping 192.168.1.1 (this tests the connection to your home router)
ping www.google.com (this tests the connection to the Internet)
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