Recommendations for OpenWrt on WRT54GS

I am intending on giving OpenWrt a show on an old WRT54GS v2 I have sitting around.
From what I've heard, it has 8MB Flash/32MB RAM.
I am well aware of the fact that it has lackluster specs, and may not be stable.
Does anyone have any tips on using this particular router with OWrt?

Are you willing to spend dozens of hours trying to build a crippled half-working image? Or would you rather spend 20 bucks on a decent device?


Just install OpenWrt 18.06 or older. Newer ones will probably be instable.

If you really want to run the latest OpenWrt versions, you must buy a new device

The thing is, I'm just wanting to see if it'll work. I DO know that there is a post here about getting 19.07 installed on one of these things.

There are official 19.07 images for this device, it's not hard to install.
See the links at the end of this page

I followed the instructions in that 19.07 installation forum post, and everything worked, except for wifi. (It showed flashing the standard build of OpenWrt). I suppose it was the image I flashed not being specifically targeted for my router (I tried installing the proprietary Broadcom-wl wireless driver, and the network's SSID would appear, but I couldn't connect to it. The Wireless menu said "Wireless not associated" and "Device not active", but I was able to scan for networks with the wl driver).


If your use case includes wifi you really should buy new hardware, since running b/g is not good for the performance of co-channel 802.11n networks. If you really really want to use the wifi, run a firmware like Tomato or dd-wrt as those include Broadcom closed-source drivers which work a lot better.

if you installed this image
then you installed the image targeted at your router

In general if you install the wrong image you brick the router.

Afaik opensource broadcomm wifi driver sucks so it's normal that it does not work.

I have no experience with broadcomm proprietary driver but I wouldn't be surprised if it eventually stopped working with newer kernels and nobody noticed.

if nobody else shows up and you really need the wifi working, try installing either an older OpenWrt release or dd-wrt where they use the real proprietary driver that is also used in stock firmware

dude it's a forum, not a chat. People don't answer immediately

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  1. I was using the "standard" build of 19.07.
  2. I said I was using broadcom-wl (kmod-bcrm-wl), which is the proprietary Broadcom driver.

PS: I flashed back stock firmware after giving up on getting wireless working.

  1. with standard build it is normal that wifi does not work, because it is using opensource wifi driver, and opensource driver for broadcomm is either missing or very limited (depending on chipset).
  2. in my experience the "proprietary broadcomm driver" from that package is not the same thing as the proprietary driver used by DD-Wrt project. All devices with broadcomm wifi usually work fine with a firmware image from DD-Wrt project.

DDwrt and its derivatives use a very old kernel matching the driver blob they have. They have not tried to recompile driver for a new kernel.

Yeah they use the original kernel version as used in stock firmware.
I don't think they have a blob driver with an opensource shim like with OpenWrt (where you can recompile the shim to run the driver on newer kernels).
I think they have a blob driver from the Broadcomm SDK and that's it.

I did the change on a WRT54GS V1 which is also a 8/32 HW config.
I've tested OpenWrt 19 very unstable, 18 very slow and 15 which worked with some LUCI interface bugs.
Therefore I revert to DD-WRT V24sp2 (2009) which is working much better while obviously the kernel is quite old.
I donnot well undertand why OpenWrt doesn't work well çn this device as it woks fine an plenty of other 8/32 units that I have.

CPU clock 200 MHz. And that was one of the faster WRT54G models.

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same devices or different? If the devices have different chipset then it's normal.
Most other 8/32 devices have better CPU and different wifi.

Yes works well on other 8/32 devices using different CPU/WIFi Hardware. However the dedicated OpenWrt version for WRT54GS is developped and compiled for this specific HW therefore there is no easy understandable reason for it to be either bugged or not working well.
Anyway the purpose of my first comment was mainly to share my experience on using various releases of OpenWrt on the WRT54GS platform.

OpenWrt does not have a "dedicated version" for this HW. Most of the software is shared with all devices, also the kernel is updated in sync.
The build system is mostly automated, it just takes the same software all devices use and recompiles for this device's CPU, then assembles an image.

So even if developers stop caring and testing this device the build system will still build the images automatically.

That is why you get images that have problems or just don't work.

Thanks, it will be useful for future readers.

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