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Linksys' ever popular WRT54GL still brings in millions in revenue, 11 years after launch

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 06 Jul 2016 9:22 User comments (4)

Linksys' ever popular WRT54GL still brings in millions in revenue, 11 years after launch Arstechnica had a very interesting article today on a wireless router that should be familiar to many Afterdawn readers; the Linksys WRT54GL.
The router was released in 2005 and remains up for sale, bringing in millions in revenue for the company despite certainly having outlived its usefulness (from a tech standpoint). The router uses the 802.11g Wi-Fi standard (since elapsed by 802.11n and 802.11ac, it can only use the 2.4GHz frequency band, and it has max speeds of just 54Mbps, far lower than the new 1Gbps standard.

"To be honest, it somewhat baffles my mind," said Linksys Global Product Manager Vince La Duca. But will they stop selling it? No way. "We'll keep building it because people keep buying it," La Duca added.

Having sold over 30 million units since launch, why does the WRT54GL remain so popular? The answer may lie in its support for popular open source firmware like DD-WRT. Linksys has always allowed users to quickly and easily unlock their devices to run Linux-based open-source software that offers more advanced capabilities that some more locked-down routers nowadays don't even offer. Of course, the router does have great name recognition (nearly 4000 positive reviews on Amazon) and a cheap price tag ($43 on Amazon), which certainly helps with the popularity. The report also says small businesses use the routers as a cheap way to offer public Wi-Fi hotspots.

"People say, 'I had it, it worked, or a friend had it and it's been working ever since nonstop, so I went and bought one,'" La Duca noted. Customers also know they can "quickly throw DD-WRT on there and do hotspots [and] VPNs with them. Even though you can do it on newer stuff, it seems like there is this interesting cult following behind it."

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4 user comments

16.7.2016 23:18

I never understood why they had the GL. DD-WRT works the same on the non-L models too. I still have one laying around somewhere, but the main reason was because it was on sale cheaper than the regular G model.

29.7.2016 18:48

Originally posted by xnonsuchx:
I never understood why they had the GL. DD-WRT works the same on the non-L models too. I still have one laying around somewhere, but the main reason was because it was on sale cheaper than the regular G model.
The amounts of RAM are different.

310.7.2016 2:03

Originally posted by Bozobub:
Originally posted by xnonsuchx:
I never understood why they had the GL. DD-WRT works the same on the non-L models too. I still have one laying around somewhere, but the main reason was because it was on sale cheaper than the regular G model.
The amounts of RAM are different.



Oh yeah! I think the regular G model you had to install the mini version of DD-WRT before installing the full version due to memory issues, whereas the GL could install the full version as-is.

410.7.2016 2:55

The model number, even if a "G" version, also matters; older models I believe version 4 and earlier? I don't fully remember, it's been a while ^^' but it's either version 4 or 5 had about twice the RAM.

This is exactly why later versions of the WRT-54G (after the decrease) are less competent for heavy P2P use. Because they have less RAM, their routing tables quickly are filled up with P2P IP addresses; when combined with overly-long retention of IP addresses in the IP table (like 2-3 days, as I recall, on WRT-54Gs o.O') this ends up requiring the classic "BitTorrent reboot" of the router every so often.

Later models of the WRT-54G also are much more difficult to properly kit out with DD-WRT; I bricked a few of 'em trying =p .

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 10 Jul 2016 @ 3:00

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