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Debian on Asus WL500g Premium

Hi all,

I am considering to buy an Asus WL500g Premium to install Debian on a
hard drive connected via USB.  I have found a few resources on this
subject[1] and I think it should be no problem getting the device to

What I am interested in is answers to a few practical questions:

- As far as I understand, the wireless chipset is a "Broadcom BCM4318"
  which you can only get to work using non-free firmware (just like the
  Intel stuff and many other wifi devices). However, the discussion page
  of first URL I referenced contains a warning that wifi doesn't work
  with the given kernel, followed by an explanation of how to
  enable wifi on the Premium. Does that mean that wifi doesn't work on
  the "Deluxe" version but it does on the "Premium"?

  Wifi is a must for my intended usage so I would be glad about a
  definitive answer. Comparisons of signal strength and coverage against
  my old WRT54g would be nice, too.

- Can I change nvram settings when running Debian? I have some
  experience with OpenWrt on a Linksys WRT54g where nvram manipulation
  is necessary for most configuration tasks. I understand that Debian
  will (by default) not use any of these settings, but nevertheless the
  device will use them for clock speed, amount of RAM etc. Does that
  mean I have to install OpenWrt first, change nvram settings and then
  flash the new kernel to boot from USB or is it possible to
  cross-compile OpenWrt's 'nvram' program for Debian?

- Does anybody have numbers on the performance of OpenVPN on this
  device?  With my WRT54G I could achieve 200-300kB/s throughput which
  is unfortunately a lot less than what my ISP provides. That's why I
  currently have OpenVPN running on another computer. I'd be happy to
  have one reason less to have another PC running 24/7 (and to simplfy
  my network topology as well).

- Does the small amount of RAM limit ordinary administration tasks? I
  love vim, but I hate vi. :) I could also imagine that apt(-get|itude)
  might be a bit too heavy for 32MB. Any hints on lowering memory
  consumption are appreciated.


[1] http://wpkg.org/index.php/Running_Debian_on_ASUS_WL-500G_deluxe
    http://wiki.debian.org/DebianWRT and a few others
After the millenium I will shoot to kill.
[Agree]   [Disagree]

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