Is the firmware current?



The other day I was struggling with something that should have worked “out of the box”. It was a little wireless bridge (Linksys WET54G Wireless-G Ethernet Bridge). The idea was to just connect it to the pc and it would just work. Well…. in a word NO. It “sort of worked”, the problem is the pc didn’t receive the dhcp address, so I had to manually set it. I didn’t know the correct gateway information (should it be the bridged device ip or the REAL gateway.) At one point I got dns lookups working, but routing to the internet was not working, then the access point got pulled off a shelf and EVERYTHING stopped working. Checking in on the bridge would show it was just cycling through the WPA handshake process over and over and over.


As you probably know by now, I don’t give up that easily. I started looking at what my options were and came up with a few possible plans. One of which included checking for firmware updates to see if that would address any of the (now several) problems I was seeing. Indeed – the bridge had firmware v. 1.0.7 (according to the update changelog from linksys the OFFICIAL RELEASE was 1.0.8 – so I got a pre-release firmware?) The firmware had seen about 6-10 updates since the official release and was now up in the 2.x range. SO, that was a high priority. That essentially solved the dhcp issue AND the wpa handshaking issue. (The signal strength reporting was listed as much greater (80% link quality after upgrade as opposed to 20% link quality before.) My suspicion is that there were b/g competition issues that the firmware fixed.

Anyway, I bought the unit in February of 2006 – the official release of the firmware was dated as November (I think) 2005. So, that means that what I bought in February was shipped with obsolete (read “pre-release”) firmware. Now, I distinctly remember a time 10-15 years ago when you NEVER did a firmware upgrade unless you had SERIOUS problems. But these days it is very common for there to be frequent firmware updates for all sorts of hardware. It’s worth remembering two things from this story…. 1)just because you just bought it doesn’t mean it has the most recent firmware/software patch. 2) Worlds of problems might be solved by checking if you’ve got current firmware.

Another aside on this little box…. using the windows based “setup utility” was painfully unworkable. It would ALWAYS fail to find the device that was connected. I had to resort to the web interface for configuration. (Default ip is 192.168.1.226).

(By the way – it IS a good little piece of hardware for the concept of wirelessly bridging to a networked device (or network segment) that getting cable to is unworkable.)

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