I was excited to finally upgrade to DSL from dial-up. Before I got home I went ahead and bought the Linksys WRT54GS. My laptop only has an 802.11b wireless card but I figured I’d be prepared for the future while I’m at it. I did some brief research and checked reviews of this particular model. I’d helped my girlfriend and her roomates set up their older 802.11b Linksys router and I liked the interface. So I went ahead and spent high dollar (approximately $90).
I got home and plugged it in between the DSL router and the old iMac in the office. Suddenly I no longer had internet on the iMac. I could, however, bring up the admin page for the router. For some reason the internet specifically wasn’t coming through. I spent some time fiddling with the ip addresses and later called my ISP for help and they suggested changing the default 192.168.1.1 ip address to 192.168.2.1 in order to avoid any conflict with the ip address of the DSL modem. I tried that with no success. At one point I was even able to bring up the admin page of the DSL router through the Linksys, but internet remained unavailable.
All of this could be due to a lack of knowledge on my part, but I don’t think a router should be this complicated for such an expected setup. I just wonder what someone less technically savvy would do in this situation. The Linksys is very Windows-specific. The setup CD included will walk you through setting it up apparently. The instructions say to just put the CD in and let it take care of itself. Unfortunately, this is strictly for Windows. There’s a pdf in there but it wasn’t much help. The older Linksys router that I mentioned above actually had a paper manual with some generally helpful information about ip troubleshooting and more.
In an attempt to better understand my situation I unpacked my slightly older D-Link router (not wireless) and plugged it into the same situation that the Linksys was in. I let the DHCP reconfigure itself on the router and the iMac and then I immediately had internet. Everything just worked. This did not include any setup whatsoever. It looked like different hardware might be the solution. The Linksys’s wireless worked great, I had a strong signal down in the basement and everything. Just the detail of actually getting internet to pass through the router didn’t work. I think this may be a unique problem having to do with the way the ZyXEL modem and Linksys router interact as unlikely as that would seem.
My hardware setup is unusual (original iMac running OSX 10.3.9 and an old laptop running Ubuntu 5.1), but TCP/IP and the wireless protocols are standards that are not proprietary, so that isn’t an issue as much as the tech-dorks at the stores would like to convince me otherwise. Fortunately Staples accepts returns and in my agitation I most likely told them more than they cared to know about my situation. Now I have a Belkin in my car that I hope will ‘just work’ (especially since it cost $50 less than the Linksys). I’ll update this comment with the outcome.