Tether PiZero to WRT54GL with USB mod

I would like to do what is stated in the title and for that I found that I need kmod-usb-net-cdc-ether and/or kmod-usb-net-rndis modules (https://medium.com/@matthewhuie/connecting-a-raspberry-pi-zero-to-a-network-via-usb-on-the-go-and-openwrt-8995a58ec151), (https://www.pcsuggest.com/openwrt-usb-tethering-to-router/).

Problem is that this is an old router which seems not support OpenWRT newer than 10.03.1. And for that firmware version these packages are not available.

Is it possible to build those packages for the 2.4 kernel, or is there some other way to get these modules for this router or some other way to accomplish this goal?

Thank you for any idea/input.

Yes, the WRT54GL hasn't been supported or supportable for nearly a decade now. Time to pitch it in the e-waste bin.


  • Buy a Raspberry Pi Zero W for $5-10
  • Buy an 802.11 USB adapter that the Raspberry Pi supports for $10 and a USB-OTG cable for $8
  • Buy a GL.iNet AR-300M-Lite for $17

Hi Jeff, thank you for the suggestions but I am well aware of all of them. The idea behind my goal is to spend as little as possible to link Pi Zero to a network and provide it with housing. Having a bunch of old wrt54gl routers around which could (in theory) do both with practically zero extra costs seemed very good to me.

As we all know this router is still available to be purchased as new, so I wouldn't go so far as consider it a relic. And even so, it is more than good for cheap experiments and projects. Who would purchase a $100 router just to experiment with it? One could probably buy the completed project for that money.

So in my opinion old routers should be supported in the first place by 3rd party firmwares, their purpose being to improve or add new features. New routers have probably enough power and features so they probably don't even need 3rd parties.

In case building these modules is possible for this router I would attempt to do it but I would like to know what are my chances before starting. So if someone can tell me something about that and maybe help with some guidance I would be grateful.

4 MB flash and 16 MB RAM were a relic 10 years ago already, even more considering that you can purchase used routers with much better specs for a song - and even new ones with better capabilities for less than 20 EUR.

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There are no viable options between https://openwrt.org/supported_devices/432_warning and the fact that Broadcom wireless performs very poorly, if at all, under open-source firmware. Even if you could get modern firmware to fit into 4 MB of flash, it is unlikely to be able to run with any stability with only 16 MB of RAM, if at all.

If you're US based, the GL.iNet unit mentioned is $18 through Amazon

  • 16 MB flash
  • 128 MB RAM
  • QCA9531 at 650MHz

and is also compliant with current 802.11 standards and can be secured against the recent discoveries of flaws in 802.11 security.

Even if Linksys is still selling it, they haven't updated their materials; "Platform Compatibility: Windows XP , Windows Vista 32/64" -- all three have been EOLed long ago. I can't say that "Wireless-G Convenience" is much of a selling point either.


Even if you value your time at say half the minimum wage the WRT54GL will be by far the most expensive option :wink:

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Well glad to see I have some answers here even if all are against what I want :slight_smile: .

Two things to mention, first, I am doing it for fun so the more "unaccomplishable" the goal the better if I am successful in the end so my time in this case values zero :slight_smile: .

And second, security is not a concern at this point, if it were I would probably use a wired connection.

What I mean is I dont have the need for fancy hardware features, I would just like to allow the old one accept usb tethering (but maybe this is a fancy feature?). And I understand from what you say that I need the new software for that (the new OpenWRT version) which is not compatible.

Am I understanding this correctly? Is there no practical way to build the modules for the old platform?

"4 MB flash and 16 MB RAM were a relic 10 years ago already, even more considering that you can purchase used routers with much better specs for a song - and even new ones with better capabilities for less than 20 EUR."

The keyword here is "purchase" which I would prefer not to do at this time. But I see usb support is available for it, just not usb tethering ... maybe it is possible to build a custom image with most things stripped out to make room for the needed usb tethering stuff?

I have literally bought a used 500 MHz mips 34Kc dual-core router with 16 MB flash and 64 MB RAM for 1 EUR (plus 4.95 EUR shipping), with USB 2.0, populated serial header, 2.4 GHz wlan, VDSL2+vectoring capable modem and two FXS ports (and that's not a one-time-only-deal). Likewise I could purchase a 333 MHz mips 24Kc router with 8 MB flash and 64 RAM, with USB 2.0, populated serial header, 2.4 GHz WLAN and ADSL2+ modem for 3.95 EUR in large (or single) quantities a regular/ local shop… (both fully supported by OpenWrt)

No, sorry, 16 MB RAM are a no go (and yes, I own a wrt-54gl myself) - and likewise is rndis on kernel 2.4.

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I see. Well, thank you for all your answers, in this case for now I think I will go with an ethernet module which I can buy for 3.3$ on ebay and attach to the pi zero's gpios without costly cables.

However, I would certainly appreciate pointing me to the 1eu router, I would probably purchase one of those for other experiments.