Downstairs in my living room, I have a Nintendo Wii and a Toshiba A3 HD-DVD Player. For a while now I’ve been trying to get them hooked up to the internet. With the Wii’s wi-fi, connection to the internet didn’t work most of the time. The signal was spotty due to the lack of antenna on the unit. It’s unavoidable that my wi-fi access point (AP) sits in one corner of my house on the 2nd floor, and my living room is on the other side. The HD-DVD player has an ethernet connection only and my house doesn’t have cat-5 ethernet wiring through the walls. So I need to find a way to connect these devices to the internet some how.
I read about using a DD-WRT firmware to enable a wi-fi AP to act as a wireless repeater. I shopped for a compatible hardware last week, and I found the Linksys WRT54GL from NewEgg. The buyers’ comments claimed to be able to hack the firmware with ease. I thought it was the perfect hardware to do the job. It comes equipped with 4 ethernet ports which I can connect to the HD-DVD player. Since it was also $50 (including rebate), I figured I’d try it out.
I followed the instructions on how to install the firmware from the DD-WRT.com site and found the appropriate firmware image for Linksys. The setup was straight forward enough. I noted the importance of heeding the warnings such as using wired connection to upload the firmware, and having a second computer ready with internet connection in case I have to look up something. It was also handy to have another laptop to perform the tests. Here’s a photo of my desk during the test.
The installation was a success. With the new firmware, I proceeded in setting up the wi-fi AP as a repeater. My particular setup uses WEP to secure the network, and I noticed the firmware made it easy for me to connect the repeater to my main wi-fi AP by just typing in the passphrase, not the 20-digit hex codes. On the repeater, I also used WEP to secure it. I got the Wii to talk to the repeater and the connection to the internet is reliable for simple updates like the Wii Channel, News, Weather, and Check Mii Out. I haven’t done the “big” test using Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Mario Galaxy, yet.
I also tested the HD-DVD player by using the Transformers web-enabled movie feature, showing info on the movie scenes, such as GPS tracking on the top right corner, robots info and health status on the left sidebar, and in-movie facts and figures on the bottom middle of the screen. I’m going to have to go through my other HD-DVD discs, such as 300 and The Bourne Supremacy, for more web-enabled features.
Now my living room is ready for more ethernet enabled devices. Maybe a SlingBox, Roku, or a Blu-ray set top player.
Tags: access point, hd-dvd, internet, linksys, repeater, tv, wifi, wii