Going cold turkey while setting up a hotspot

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With my wife and I now using laptops as primary workstations at home, we decided to use a Wi-Fi router to share our PLDT myDSL connection. The snaking network cables were threatening to trip us and our kids.

I bought a Linksys WRT54G after reading about its storied history. Mark Stephens, writing as Rober X. Cringely, calls the WRT54G and its Linux system “The Little Engine That Could.”

Linksys wrt54g LINKSYS WRT54G. I used this Wi-Fi router to set up a wireless broadband connection at home. Click to enlarge image.

In my case, it was “the sleep-deprived blogger who couldn’t with the little engine that could.” I did eventually set it up—and I’m now using it to publish this post while downloading tons of files—but only after I went Internet-deprived cold turkey, at home at least.

Problem

The problem was the PLDT myDSL modem at home—it was a modem router. The Linksys WRT54G comes with a setup CD that guides you visually into setting up the Wi-Fi router. It wouldn’t work for me because I needed to make the PLDT myDSL router bridge the connection and let the WRT54G handle the routing function.

PLDT myDSL uses PPPoE to establish Internet connection. I called up tech support to request my username and password (they explicitly told me they wouldn’t help in setting up the Wi-Fi router because it was beyond PLDT’s scope) and was given [myphonenumber]@pldt as user name and [my account number] as password.

There’s the rub. I later learned from the PLDT tech guy who went into my house that my username is just my phone number.

I entered the admin interface of my PLDT router (accessible at 192.168.1.1) to bridge the connection and then entered into the Wi-Fi router the PPPoE username and password combination given to me by the PLDT call center support staff. Despite repeated attempts, the Linksys WRT54G couldn’t establish a connection.

Linksys installation guide ROUTER SETUP GUIDE. The Linksys Wi-Fi router comes with a CD containing a visual and step-by-step installation guide. Click to enlarge image.

I reentered the PLDT router’s admin interface and changed a few settings. I couldn’t recall clearly what the changes were, but I’m sure one had to do with DHCP. After I saved the new settings, I was locked out of the PLDT myDSL router. I could no longer access it. What’s worse, I had no Internet connection. To compound the disaster, I did it close to dawn on a Sunday.

I called up PLDT support to log a ticket and told them what happened. A PLDT technician called me up early Tuesday morning and kept saying “di man unta ka pwede musud sa admin sa modem” (you’re not supposed to enter the admin interface of the modem). He said it twice over the phone and twice when he went to my house. By his tone, I thought he would make me write “I promise not to play around with my modem’s settings again” a hundred times on a whiteboard.

Setting it up

After he fixed the modem, he said he’d leave the router setup to me. I got the impression that PLDT doesn’t want to help you set up third-party routers for your connection. I’m a bit perplexed because it’s a service I’m willing to pay for. Not that I wouldn’t attempt it myself (I’m a tech masochist, after all). Maybe it’s because I just have a residential plan.

After the PLDT man left, I didn’t bother with the setup CD and accessed the WRT54g using its web interface (accessible at 192.168.1.1). I entered the PPPoE username and password combination, this time without the @pldt suffix, and I was able to establish a connection.

The first thing I did after setting up the connection is to set up port forwarding. It’s ridiculously easy to forward a port to get good Bittorrent speeds. But to be able to do this, you have to set up your computer to use static IPs when connecting to the router. In Ubuntu Linux, I use wicd and it’s very easy to set this up using the application.

I tested download speeds using a torrent with less than 50 seeders and I was getting 50kbps, which is good enough for me considering I was just getting less than half that before.

Port forwarding with Linksys WRT54g EASY PORT FORWARDING. The admin interface of the Linksys WRT54G allows you to easily forward ports for your applications and Bittorrent downloading. Click to view larger image.

I still have to secure the router. I had problems connecting my Linux laptop to it using WPA2, so I just disabled security. I might use MAC filtering plus encryption and a few other things later. Right now, the only security is the power switch in the extension cord.

I was disappointed the Linksys WRT54G package did not come with a wall mount. But here’s a great tip from a YouTube user on how to easily mount it. I might try this in a few days.

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23 Comments

  1. Hi Max!

    Which WRT54G did you get? Did you get the linux version? WRT54G L?

  2. I’m assuming you have hardware version 5+ since BitTorrent (or other apps that run a lot of connections at the same time for long periods) freezes the firmware installed by default to hardware prior to that version.

    I’ve used that router before, but I’ve since switched to WRT54GC because of that problem I had with a WRT54G version 3/4 router.

  3. Fernando or do you prefer Mark :-)
    I don’t have the Linux version. I couldn’t find it in stores here in Cebu. But it’s not as if I took time to look for it, I just went through a couple of shops in Ayala Center and when I couldn’t find it, I just bought the cheapest available. I think this one run VxWorks.

    Aja,
    I think the one I bought is version 7.0, I couldn’t find an old stock of an earlier version, the one recommended by those who flashed their routers with third-party firmwares.

  4. I have setting encryption of my aunt’s server to WPA-PSK (TKIP). It was successful, our Windows workstations did connect. But my problem was on my Ubuntu Linux workstation, cause I don’t know if it’s the WEP hexadecimal, binary or whatever it was. Huhuhu, why doesn’t Linux use the common names of those encryption technologies. :(

  5. I think you should have bought the WRT54GL if you want to flash your router with third-party firmware. L stands for Linux which was used instead of VxWorks on WRT54G prior to version 5. :)

  6. Mikko,
    I’m with you on the encryption settings. I’m thinking of just using MAC wireless filtering so that I don’t have to deal with the encryption settings.

    Aja,
    Yeah but I couldn’t wait any longer :-) I did not have the patience to call and visit tech shops to inquire for Linux versions. :-)

  7. I have no problems using Ubuntu on a secured WPA/2-PSK connection. I only have had problems setting it up on a WPA2 Enterprise connection, which UST’s Wi-Mesh network uses. I use WPA2 PSK at home as I know MAC addresses could easily be spoofed. :)

  8. […] Setting up home Wi-Fi using Linksys WRT54G, PLDT myDSL broadband connection | Leon Kilat ::: The Cyb… – important when i move a linux machine to a residential place where the only broadband is dsl […]

  9. Hello we have my dsl residential plan at home too. My father bought a Thomson router but he can’t seem to get it to connect. It is always looking for a username and password of some sort. Can you help me please? I called PLDT already but they can’t provide me good enough assistance. Thanks :)

  10. […] Setting up home Wi-Fi using Linksys WRT54G, PLDT myDSL broadband connection | Leon Kilat ::: The Cyb… – important when i move a linux machine to a residential place where the only broadband is dsl […]

  11. I use a WRT54G V3.1 with MyDSL, that has a ZyXEL P600 Series ADSL Modem.

    I did not bother with Bridging and PPoE, I let the ZyXEL handle that!

    I did set my WRT54G to MAC emulation, so it has the same MAC address as the PC I connect via LAN to the ZyXEL before connecting the WRT54G I then configured by moving my LAN Cable from the XyXEL to LAN Port #1 on the WRT 54G and use the Yellow cord supplied with the ZyXEL to now connect to the WRT54G WAN Port.

    My step-daughters PC, my Laptop and my Nokia N95 8GB connect via WiFi to the WRT54G. I have SSID hidden, MAC Address Filtering and WPA enabled, so should be pretty secure.

    It’s amazing how many set up WiFi, and leave at ‘Default settings’ so they are wide open to someone Hacking or just getting a Free Broadband WiFi connection.

  12. nice post i haave RSS’d you, please update more often

    thankyou

  13. basically, with linksys routers, especially if you are using a “modem/router”, all you have to do is leave everything by default and change the local ip address of the router .. this is to ensure that the router and modem won’t encounter any ip conflict since most routers, modems and modem/routers are using this ip address .. powercycle the network and everything would be up and running ..

    then just don’t forget to customize your wireless settings and security ..

    peace out ..

  14. I think we have the same problem as you do. However, I dont understand the techy words. Whats the best thing we can do? ask PLDT again for help? Thanks.

  15. dyan yumaman ang mga pldt technician dsl connection. sideline.

  16. here’s how first try to connect to internet stand alone i mean connect to internet from pldt without router if you connect smoothly the next step is config you router pull out the internet from pldt then connect your pc to router make sure your router is in original settings then go to MAC Address Clone which all routers has just click the Clone’s your pc mac address then save settings and connect the pldt internet connection in Internet Port of the router wait a couple of minutes then presto you have your wifi at home ^_^ if this not helping you try to connect me to the status of your internet ^_^ thanks ^_^

  17. u know how to set up cnet cwr-854 router through pldt?been trying to set up my house as a wifi spot.it took me three days to set up but unfortunately it didnt happened…my sister even bothered to return the router thinking there must be a defect on the router itself.tried to call the pldt tech support but they just told me “mam,pldt doesnt support router connection!?”unsaon man nako pag set up?need help!pronto!

  18. Hi Leon, I know this post is old but I just want to ask if you still are using this setup. I’m trying to setup a wifi but only with a different router.

    I called pldt and got the same type of support—only the username and password was given. my username is in this format – [area code][tel no]@pldt. I ‘ll try it later without the “@pldt” suffix but do you have the same area code +tel no. format?

    Thanks!

  19. Hi,

    I can’t seem to access http://192.168.1.1. I’ve been trying to for the last couple of hours but I seem to be getting nowhere. Please help.

  20. i have the same problem. My wife bought a wireless router and sadly it’s really hard to configure connecting it to smartbro wifi. Untill now I can’t use it and my money is wasted buying that.

  21. @mitch: i’ve been searching for an answer for almost 2 weeks now. Thank God I found your reply!! It works!!

  22. So, the username is just the phone number what about the password? Help please :) Thanks :)

  23. does PLDT changed their settings now? followed your instructions to mitch ( october 8, 2009) and it didn;t work for me :( pls help on how to do the set up by this time.
    Thanks a lot Max :)

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