The day after I updated my WRT54GL DD-WRT router, I could not connect to the router with my laptop wireless. Investigating revealed the router wireless configuration was set to TKIP rather than AES. My laptop is configured to use AES, which has been working without incident for a couple of years.

Every time I tried to correct the option, the router immediately reverted to TKIP. All I needed to do was select the Apply Settings button on any router configuration page. I tried several approaches, including completely erasing the NVRAM, which required me to temporarily reset my static IP address in order to be on the same default subnet as the reset router.

A full erasure seemed to resolve the specific problem, but I did not want to manually rebuild my entire router configuration.

As the most recent router changes included only modifying a startup script, I had not made any major changes to the NVRAM since my last backup, I attempted to restore from that backup file. Several reboots and a few hard power down cycles affirmed the stubborn option was remaining set. As I had a new NVRAM backup from the day before — although not knowing that specific copy was corrupted, I was able to copy and paste the traffic string data into a terminal window and use nvram set/commit to keep my router traffic data for this month. I also had to update the SSH keys as they had changed since the last NVRAM backup.

I have no explanation for the corrupted NVRAM.

The happy ending to this story is although I had decent notes about my DD-WRT configuration, I realized full screen captures of each web page would be ideal. As I have the Shutter screen capture program installed, I discovered the gnome-web-photo plugin allows Shutter to take screen shots of any web page by entering a URL. In this specific use case, some glitches with this approach is I needed to enter a password for each router web page and I was not allowed to specify the screen shot file name. Fortunately there are not many DD-WRT pages and renaming the PNG files cost me only several minutes.

The screen captures are high quality, even after magnifying to read the long pages.

Next time I will try Firefox. I discovered that Firefox supports this same feature in the Developer’s Tool Box. That option likely would avoid the password requirement once I logged into the router. Press Shift+F2 to open the Developer Toolbar, then type screenshot --fullpage. This seems like a handy tool — I wish Firefox developers paid as much attention to users as they do to themselves.

With respect to Shutter, as Jerry Pournelle liked to write in his Byte magazine Chaos Manor reviews, “Recommended.”

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: DD-WRT

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