In this Instructable, we will be adding fans, a heatsink, and 9dB antenna to the LINKSYS WRT54G series router for use with DD-WRT firmware upgrade!
These routers are…well…awesome.
Before we begin I wanted to provide a rundown on the router to spark your interest, especially if you’ve never caught wind of its awesomeness! J
They have been implemented in more scenarios than almost any other router on the market due to cost, ease of use, and potential abilities. With the GL being Newegg.com ‘s number one selling wireless router as well as on the sites Top Ten sold of ALL products (as of today 5/10/2010) and the GS reported in New York Times Online Top 10 Most Popular Routers worldwide(as of today 5/10/2010) , you cannot go wrong with this little wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The $50 WRT54G with DD-WRT firmware in a parabolic dish setup helped to set the 2nd place world record for unamplified Wi-Fi distance in Venezuela @ 173miles!!!! Second only to the $100 XR5 on a $190 PCEngine WRAP board at 189miles in Italy. Recap here Long Range Wi-Fi Wiki
Most versions of this router have the ability to upgrade its firmware to an open-source Linux build called DD-WRT downloadable from DD-WRT (free). If you decide to upgrade to a firmware on this site, PLEASE read ALL the directions, FAQ, Wiki and Forum EXTREMELY THUROUGHLY, as improper firmware flashing can leave you with a very expensive paperweight. I cannot stress this enough! You have been warned!
With a (somewhat) simple upgrade to the appropriate firmware, this $40 - $60 router can save you hundreds of dollars and open up a seemingly endless amount of capabilities (and void the warranty). Chances are though, if you’re confident in performing these upgrades, you couldn’t give a darn about warranties. You’ve already voided more of them than you care to keep track of. AmIright?
The purpose of upgrading this router is so that we can safely use the "DD-WRT" firmware "Overclocking" and "Increased Transmit" functions to their max without having to worry about overheating issues!
Note: I’ve heard several people arguing that adding heatsinks is not necessary; that they have maxed theirs out without any problems. I have personally burned out 2 of these units, and had serious stability issues in others due to overheating by maxing out without extra heatsinks at the very least. Please refrain from filling the comments section with “You don’t need heatsinks or fans” comments or the likes. If you don’t want to install them, keep it to yourself. Thank you! J
This type of upgrade is most useful in very large households, businesses, neighborhood-Wi-Fi, trailer parks, RV parks, campsites, etc.
With this one I’ll be using it for an ad-supported neighborhood Wi-Fi which provides both an internet source for people who cannot afford it, but also a way to reduce costs for the person who pays for the source connection- usually high speed cable service that a single household will never fully utilize; unless you have a pirate in the midst. (YaaarRrRR, I cannot condone piracy, mateys!)
In this Instructable I will not be covering flashing the router with DD-WRT, nor will I covering its configuration. That is one thing that is far too router specific for me to want to post. You can however find out all the information you need at the DD-WRT website.
Having said everything I wanted to get out of the way: I hope you and all the wonderful Instructable enthusiasts enjoy this Instructable!
Do NOT buy antenna on ebay!
I have personally purchased a pair of "9dB Antenna" from a VERY reputable seller. They did not reach anywhere near 9dB. If you follow this instructable and use antenna you got from ebay, don't complain when it doesnt work.
Comments, suggestions and questions are highly encouraged!
Without further ado, lets mod!