Archive for the ‘networking’ Category

Installing dd-wrt on a Linksys WRT160N-RM v.3

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

So I cheaped out and bought a refurbished Linksys WRT160N from Amazon for $28. Great price for a 802.11n enabled router (most are in the $100 range) but it kept dropping wifi connections, slowing up and refusing to respond. Wired connections were fine so I suspected a dodgy radio. Linksys support couldn’t fix the wifi issues so I was about to send it back when I decided to wipe the Linksys firmware and flash dd-wrt to it. The router wasn’t doing much anyhow.

The latest version of dd-wrt supports the WRT160N v.3 router. It is easy to install via the router’s web admin interface and rather than repeat myself here I’ve updated the dd-wrt community wiki page with the step-by-step instructions.

Note: when you search the dd-wrt router database it’ll give you back three different bin files to choose from. You only need one of those to kick off: dd-wrt.v24-13309_NEWD-2_K2.6_mini_wrt160nv3.bin AKA “mini” is the basic dd-wrt firmware that I used. It has more than enough features to keep most users happy.

My router has been up and running with dd-wrt for the last 4h29m without any problems and it feels faster (not sure if that is psychological). The best part is that the nerd in me is now super excited to have a working, fully featured, Linux-based router in the office.

Network Addressable Storage

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

We’ve got a bunch of USB hard disks at home that are used for backup and media storage. I’m fairly good about plugging them in and running backup utilities (rsync and SyncToy, mostly) but it is a bit of a pain. So I spent an hour looking at options for network addressable storage.

You can now buy a USB to Ethernet dongle that shares disks over the network. They come in a variety of flavours: feature-low Newlink [£26] which says Windows only; Addonics [£37] which has a load of extra features such as BitTorrent, iTunes, SMB/Samba, XBox media (great review at crunchgear.com). I’m not sure if you can put a USB hub on either of these and access multiple drives.

Another alternative would be to take the drives out of their USB enclosures (they’re usually just laptop or 3.5″ drives) and put them into a NAS enclosure. I found these enclosures on ebay for as low as £13. Again, prices and features vary for them — the Newlink offering at Amazon gets decent reviews for the price [£27].

The final goal is to create a multi-disk box with RAID on an Ubuntu Server. I’ll use that for all backups, media and remote storage. By setting up port forwarding on a home router I’ll be able to access them from anywhere in the world. I’ll wait until we’ve moved into our new home before working on that.