WRT54GL still routing after 5 years

Since January of 2009, my WRT54GL on Tomato has been serving our home network just fine.

WRT54GL 7dBi antenna

With the purchase of a new Windows 8 laptop, capable of Wireless N, I started to investigate upgrading my router. After 2 days of doing research, I decided to stick with the tried and true WRT54GL.

Our current Time Warner broadband connection is 20Mbps down and 2Mbps up. The WRT54GL is more than capable of keeping up with the speeds the Ambit U10C018 cable modem is feeding it.

Doing a speed test at testmy.net on the new laptop yields a result of 13.7Mbps down and 1.8Mbps up, not bad for a laptop that sits on the second floor while the router is on the first.

Since the new laptop has a better wireless chip, I reduced the transmit power in Tomato to 42mW from the 84mW setting that I had it on. The router has the Linksys branded 7 dBi antennas, at that power I’m getting decent coverage on my whole property.

Reducing the transmit power allowed me to play around with overclocking the router:

  • PuTTY to (IP address of router)
  • nvram set debug_clkfix=0 (allows new clock frequency to stick between reboots)
  • nvram commit (commit the change to non volatile ram)
  • reboot (reboot the router)
  • PuTTY to (IP address of router)
  • nvram set clkfreq=250 (set the clock frequency to 250MHz from the default of 200)
  • nvram commit (commit the change to non volatile ram)
  • reboot (reboot the router)

24 hours later, the WRT54GL has been running steady, and with no overheating issues in sight with Winter fast approaching the Carolinas. The Tomato GUI feels faster and websites with a lot of assets are popping in my browser perceptively quicker.

A speed test on my cable connected desktop yields 19.3Mbps down and 1.8Mbps up, about as good as I’m going to get from my broadband connection. Should I ever decide to up my speeds, or if TWC is nice enough to one day up the speeds on the Turbo plan, then maybe I’ll look towards purchasing a new dual-band wireless-n router.

Full speed ahead Mr. Boatswain, full speed ahead
Full speed ahead it is, Sergeant
Cut the cable, drop the cable
Aye, sir, aye, captain, captain