Thumbs up to Tomato Firmware, Thumbs Down to X-Wrt

I have an old Linksys WRT-54G v3. I have ran various different firmwares over the years, but performance was never a big deal. I was mainly looking for something that allowed to me to access all of the devices features and a nicer frontend than the one that Linksys provides. At one point I was using different firmwares for QOS when we were sharing our connection with some other people in our building. Anyways, I had been using X-Wrt (white russian) for quite some time. It is basically a nice user-friendly version of OpenWrt.

Recently we purchased a Squeezebox Duet and even more recently we purchased a second Squeezebox Receiver. We finally have wirelessly-streamed music in pretty much every room of the house. We had been noticing gaps in the audio and I decided it was finally time to fix it. I discovered a diagnostics page (called "Server & Network Health", available via SqueezeCenter's Help page) and noticed that streaming rates I was getting were much lower than the 3000 kbps that I was expecting. In fact I was actually getting much lower than 1000 kps and had to change the scale of the measurement just to get a proper reading.

I decided to upgrade to Tomato firmware, which I had heard a lot of good things about. Immediately, I was getting about 3000+ kbps and the audio problems were gone. As an added bonus, we are now able to watch MythTV from a wirelessly-connected laptop, which were not able to do before (previously I had assumed that wireless streaming video was just too much for today's wireless networks to handle, or too much for MythTV to handle). I think I am going to make a donation to Tomato because it has made such a big difference for us. We can now enjoy listening to our mp3 library anywhere in the house (without gaps) and can watch recorded TV shows on our laptop.

Just Pre-Ordered a Squeezebox Duet

My wife and I just pre-ordered a Squeezebox duet today that should be arriving here at the end of February. It's a device that will allow us to access the mp3/ogg library on our PC from another room in the house (without requiring a laptop). Before the introduction of the display-less Squeezebox Receiver and Squeezebox Controller, the only choice was the Squeebox unit, which comes with a simple remote. I don't have much use for a display like that on the original Squeezebox. For me it is much more useful to have one nice remote with a display and multiple display-less receiver units.

The Squeezebox line is similar to Sonos' devices, and they are now in direct competition with the introduction of the Squeezebox controller. The only problem with Sonos is that it is so god damn expensive, not to mention that their devices are much bigger. Sure it is more powerful, allowing you to connect to up to 16 devices with Samba shares or Windows shares on them and one of their devices has an amplifier whereas all the Squeezebox devices require a separate amplifier or powered speakers. Fortunately we don't have any good speakers of our own already so we'll just buy a few nice Bose powered speakers. Then maybe buy a couple more along with another Squeezebox Receiver and expand our network.

Squeezebox has the advantage that it's SlimServer software is open source so it is constantly being updated and improved and it is written in Perl so it is totally cross platform. It's unfortunate that it is written in Perl actually, but I guess they could have chosen an even worse language.

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