Open-Source is always better. Be it for your mobile phones (Windows CE vs Android), Computers (Windows vs Unix) or any thing for that matter. Open-Source puts power into the hands of consumers instead of Service Providers. Little would you know that the micro-OS (Firmware) that lives inside your WiFi routers and modem also has an (many) Open Source alternative. Intro to DD-WRT :
Most well known of them is DD-WRT. What is it, What can it do for you and How to get it. Read More Below :
Intro To DD-WRT !
While the name sounds like a acronym for something, its not. Infact its a pretty little reminder of the heritage of the open source WiFi Firmware project. DD is the license plate prefix of Dresden, A cozy city in Germany, Where the first development team of DD-WRT project lives. WRT stands for Wireless Receivers and Transmitters.
DD-WRT is one of the many third-party Firmware’s available along with OpenWRT, Gargoyle and Tomato. While each and every one has its unique features, If you’re just diving into the world of FOSS Firmwares, DD-WRT has the most complete documentation, Support and and availability for common home routers.
Common features of DD-WRT include Multiple SSID’s broadcast, QoS, ipTables based Firewall, UPnP, Wake-on-LAN, Router overclocking, Transmission power overclocking, TOR and OpenVPN, A BitTorrent client, console terminal and ability to Wireless Access Point Configuration. DD-WRT was hyped by HackaDay article “Turn Your Cheap Router into a $100 Router.”
The DD-WRT Project :
So you have a cheap WiFi Router you bought on sale for $20, How does one begin to install DD-WRT on it ?
Well the correct term would be Flashing the DD-WRT Image. It is done by grabbing an Image supported by your router from the DD-WRT Project Database. It’s so easy that anyone can do it :
- Start by locating your model name, model and version. One can find it on the box or by accessing the status page of your router homepage. (Default 192.168.0.1)
- Now head over to the DD-WRT Project Database Here, Search for your router and select the correct version (Year).
- Once located the right listing, Select the latest DD-WRT Build, And select DD-WRT Factory Image (factory-to-ddwrt.bin) to download. You may select the webflash image incase you want to upgrade you old DD-WRT to newer build, generally DD-WRT updates itself automatically.
- Now access your router homepage, go to Update Firmware and select the file from your PC to begin the upload. A good advice is to search Your Router Model + DDWRT guide to find personalized recommendations for your router.
- It takes about 2 minutes to for a successful flash. Once done, You shall be greeted with the DD-WRT Status Page.
- Now Feel free to tinker with the settings, Overclock your router or increase its transmission power !
4 Best Routers To Try DD-WRT:
TP-Link’s TL-WR841N : Best Economical 2.4Ghz Router :
TP-Link WR841N is the best economical router for general purpose home routing. It supports DD-Wrt basic functions, has a great signal range and is cheap as dirt.
Cons : No 5Ghz routing, No GBpS WAN or LAN, Can run only dd-wrt Lite version.
Note : v4 of this router doesn’t support DD-WRT anymore. Look online for a v3 Version.
TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 : Best Economical Dual-Band Gigabyte Router :
If you are willing to spend some bucks, TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 is a great choice for superior gaming and streaming. This router also supports the full version of DD-WRT so you get VPN functionality and all the bells-n-whistles of it. C7 also has Gigabyte WAN port so you can get the maximum speeds allocated by your ISP.
TP-Link Archer C9 AC1900 : High-end Dual-Band Gigabyte Router :
TP-Link Archer C9 comes with all the bells and whistles most people could possible need. It is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor, uses gigabit ports for your network, provides one USB 3.0 port and one USB 2.0 port and supports DD-WRT Full Version.
Raspberry Pi 4 : Our Pi, A Router :
Newer Raspberry Pi 4 offers 5ghz WiFi sharing, A Gigabyte ethernet port, and the ability to attach data storage to USB 3.0’s for a streaming DD-Wrt supported router. Its available from just 35$, and the basic version is more than enough for router usage.