Are you sick of the limited features your router offers? Well I was, that is, until I discovered DD-WRT. DD-WRT is a third-party developed firmware released under the General Public License for wireless routers based off a Broadcom chip reference design. This firmware offers many advanced features that are not currently available through the OEM firmware. Some of these features include: OpenVPN, Dynamic DNS, VLAN’s, QoS Bandwidth Management and Wireless Mac Filters to name a few. You can find out if your router is supported here and for a full list of features check here
Choosing the Right Firmware:
Choosing the right firmware depends on what your needs are and also on what type of hardware you want to install it on. Most users will use the Standard version while others might use the VOIP or VPN builds. For a list of differences check here. Some routers might require a special version of the firmware also known as the Micro and Mini builds. To see if your router requires a special version you can check the supported devices list under the DD-WRT version required column.
Although their website contains a lot of useful information I found it kind of confusing trying to figure out how to install it on to my router. Eventually I found the install guide on the wiki site.
Installation is fairly simple, but this is still an advanced procedure and could brick your router if not done correctly. If you do not have a spare router and/or cannot afford to lose this one DO NOT INSTALL. Even though there is a minimal chance you could brick your router, it might not be worth it to the typical end user. But for me having the features of a multi-hundred dollar router in a router I paid $60 for is well worth it. I will cover a quick rundown of the installation since depending on your router the installation method could vary.
So the Basic install goes as follows (Not for Buffalo devices):
1. Log Into Routers Web GUI
2. Restore Router to Factory Defaults
3. Log back into the Router’s GUI using address 192.168.1.1 User: admin PW: admin
4. Browse to the Firmware upgrade page
5. Click browse and choose the DD-WRT .bin file you downloaded
6. Click Upgrade
7. A new page will open confirming the upload was successful
8. Wait about 5 minutes before clicking continue.
9. Log into the new DD-WRT GUI with the User: root PW: admin
And that’s it! You’re running DD-WRT Firmware. Eventually I will write a guide on using some of the advanced features of the firmware but you’re on your own for now.