Linksys WRTSL54GS thinks it's a brick

I have a Linksys WRTSL54GS that I can't do anything with or to.

I'm pretty sure it was OpenWRT on it. What version? I have no idea. I can't remember the last time I used the router, but it's at least 2 years ago. (It's been in a drawer since we moved to the new house in 2017.) When I turn it on, the power LED blinks rapidly for startup. (How fast? So fast I can't count, so I don't know if it's 2.5, 5, or 10 hertz.)

Pressing the RESET button with a paperclip has no effect. I've tried pressing it for 10 seconds and releasing it and there's no indication of change. I've done the same by starting with the router off and holding it for 10 seconds after I turn it on. I've done the same (holding for 10 seconds) just after turning it on and as soon as I can. (The LED starts blinking immediately on power-up.)

I've tried holding that reset button for 10 seconds in every combination I could think of. I also tried all the same combinations with the EASY SETUP button, just in case. No change.

I can see the SSID show up on my iPad when the router is on. When I plug a CAT5 cable from the WAN connection to a switch on my LAN, I don't see anything new show up on the list of DHCP leases from the DHCP server. (My LAN does not use the address space. I don't know if that could be an issue or not.)

One time I was able to log on (With an iPad) to the wifi network from this router, but could not pull up I tried turning off wifi on my Mac and connecting my Mac to the LAN side of the router (and making sure my networking settings specified to listen for a DHCP address). No joy.

Most of the time I can't even join the wifi network from this router because I get a "No internet connection." I also connected the WAN directly to my internet router. (My house is set up so I have my ISPs router, then a CAT5 connection to an embedded system running PFSense as a firewall and DHCP server. There are no systems connected to my ISP router directly, everything is inside the more protected LAN shielded by the PFSense firewall. The ISP router uses a address space, but the main LAN is all under PFSense and in a different address space. I had thought maybe using the router where the DHCP would be using the space would help - it didn't.)

We're renovating an old barn that was on this lot when we bought it and I want to add wifi down there. While I have other plans, so this is only a temporary fix, it'd be nice to return this router to a useful state. So if I can force it to clear everything and work under OpenWRT again, that'd be great, but I'd be just fine with a factory reset, too.

Right now it's useless, so I just want to find a way to get back control over this router, whether it's under OpenWRT or the Linksys OS.

Did you try the failsafe mode? And do you have a serial cable to connect this to your computer? If so, those are the most likely ways to gain access if you can't get in via traditional methods.

But, honestly, this really isn't worth much, if any time invested in trying to fix it. It is ancient -- 802.11b/g wifi, 100Mbps ethernet, and a very underpowered SoC by todays standards. $20-$30 USD will get you something much more powerful with 802.11n or ac.


Serial cable as in USB? That's the only connection on this besides the RJ45s. I saw references to serial cables, but whenever I've done anything with that kind of setup, it was "real" serial. (Does anything even support that these days?)

I had only looked briefly at ac routers and the ones I saw were $80 or more - guess I need to look deeper.

I'm talking about a serial (TTL) to USB adapter. You would connect to the serial port pins on the router's circuit board (see the device info page here) and to the USB port of your computer. These cost between $5-$20. I'm guessing you don't have one of these, though, or you'd probably already have known what I was talking about. And with that in mind, it is not worth spending the money on an adapter cable for this router (although the cable can be useful for other routers and projects).

Its behavior “running” any secure version of Linux wouldn’t be much different. It doesn’t have enough flash or RAM to be viable. Time to retire it.

If in the US, the GL.iNet GL-AR300M is/was on Amazon for US$30 after a 25% off coupon and it would run circles around the WRT54G for a 2.4 GHz only device. Multi-core, ARM-based, dual-band routers start around $55, with less expensive, MIPS-based ones available as well

Definitely not worth buying new parts or taking it apart to deal with it.


Thanks, @jeff, for the recommendation. Right now, having a low priced router to use while I set things up will be a nice help.

The building was originally 1 floor and cinder block. For a while, the router will have to go on the 1st floor, but, after things get set up and other things are done, I can move it up to the 2nd floor. My concern is that any wifi router on that 1st floor won't have much range for the area outside because of the cinder block. So just a low end router, or if I could have resurrected the Linksys, will do until I get something that I know has more range. (The whole area around the barn will be recreational, so having wifi that we can use outside it will be helpful - at least once spring gets here!)

5 GHz and cinder block don’t get along too well, from what I’ve read.

At $30, for me, the GL-AR300M as a backup router seems like a no-brainer. With 128 MB of RAM and 128 MB of NAND flash, it should have a long run ahead of it.

Another device to consider would be the Linksys EA6350v3. Linksys seems to be replacing it with an inferior (and as yet unsupported) v4 and they might still be available for $50-60 or less. It won’t say v3 or v4 on a website, so make sure you can return it. I’m guessing the v4 units will be selling back around $99-129 once they hit the market.

Since you are renovating your barn, take this opportunity to run some Cat6 ethernet cables from some central point to various strategic locations. The central point doesn't have to be in the middle of the building, just some point that is convenient for all the wires to terminate and to setup network equipment). This way you can setup a more thoughtful network than just dropping in a cheap router (although you could do that, too -- but the wiring/infrastructure is so much easier to do when you're already doing a renovation).

There are some great ceiling mount wifi APs (I'm a fan of the Ubiquiti Unifi devices, but there are plenty of others) -- many of these run via PoE so you just need a single ethernet cable and a PoE injector or PoE capable switch. There are also outdoor rated APs to help give you coverage around the building, as well.

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Basically we pulled the roof off the barn and that left a concrete slab and cinder block walls, with trenches in the floor. The 2nd floor was built in to the truss design, which is a gambrel roof. That gives us dead space between the 2nd floor walls and the steep part of the roof.

So I've wire the hell out of that place with CAT6 and RG11, plus some HDMI cables in a few rooms for specific plans. There's a patch panel in the utility closet, under the steps. It's in the center, but just because that's how it worked out. I'll be putting the ethernet switch on a shelf right by that patch panel. Until I do more with the upstairs, the router will go there, too.

I've used that dead space in the truss design and one of the trenches in the floor (now covered over, so it's a tunnel) for an amazing amount of wiring.

Personally, I don't believe in wifi for fixed devices. I'd rather use wired whenever possible for anything that stays in one place. That leaves wifi for tablets, phones, and any other mobile devices.

But with all that, I still need wifi for mobile devices, especially once spring comes and we use the huge porch out there or the swing set for the grandkids and so on. (I'm hoping that I have everything set up by spring so I can take time to research routers and get one that gives me maximum range. At that point whatever I get now will probably be used in a gazebo I'm planning that I want to have a small wifi node around. (I'll be using fiber optics to get the data to that gazebo, since it's through the woods and a cantenna will probably have serious issues when the leaves are out.)

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When specifying equipment the first thing to consider is ISP speed, since you'd want enough performance to fully use the connection you have.

One or two indoor APs upstairs, placed nearer the outside walls where there will be users outside would be a good starting point. There should be reasonable coverage downstairs and nearby outside since the walls and floor are wood. I like the Ubiquiti APs also.

(BTW, it's an 8/32 device.)


Sounds like a fun project! Since you've got all the wiring, you should be able to setup a really nice network. I agree with you about connecting fixed devices via hardline whenever possible, too.

Depending on the length of the run to the gazebo, a standard (outdoor/burial rated) cat6 cable may do the trick, too -- and then you can use PoE for the AP out there. If the run is too long, obviously fiber is a good option.

With all of that said, it really sounds like you're on the right track for the networking setup. Abandon that ancient device and get some new kit to make your network fast, robust, and easy to manage. @mk24 is right that you really should consider your ISP speeds (and also your bandwidth needs internal to the network as well). As much as I love OpenWrt, I really do like the way that the UAP-AC-[x] devices work using the Unifi controller since you have a central place to do all your administration and check status. Many of the Ubiquiti devices can also be flashed with OpenWrt if you so desire (you'd still have great hardware and PoE capabilities), but YMMV with respect to the more recent firmware possibly making this more difficult (I haven't tried to flash OpenWrt on my AP-AC-PROs).

For both the house and barn, I did a lot of planning for ethernet, coax, and HDMI cables. I do NOT want to have to run cables in the future because wifi is choking on heavy video usage or something like that!

The gazebo will be somewhere from 250-300' from the barn. I'm probably going to use fiber optic cable. I just finished running three of them through about 480' of black poly pipe to go from the house to the barn. Now we have wifi and real internet in the barn! (Yay!)

Once things are all finished and we have furniture in place, adding wifi routes near the ends of the barn building won't be a problem. I just don't want to put anything in place until I know where furniture will be - don't want to be routing wires from the wall plates multiple times!

The old Linksys is already in the trash and the new router arrives tomorrow.

ISP speeds - well, for about two years we have Viasuck - er, Viasat. But, man, do they suck! Conventional satellite is terrible, but I found another ISP that resells cell data. It's like having real internet again. By this time next year, Elon Musk has said they will have about 1,500 satellites up for Starlink and will be offering service for the main part of the U.S. I'll be looking at that, since he is talking about a lot of bandwidth.

I haven't bought a new router in, well, probably 5 years or more. AC wasn't a standard at that time, so it sounds like I have a new experience to look forward to.