In this article we are going to show you how to get most out of your router and unlock features that didn’t exist and get more customizability than the manufacturer is necessarily willing to give you. We are talking about DD-WRT.
What is DD-WRT?
This is an after market firmware that as long as your router is compatible you can upload to the point where you are basically using only the hardware that you bought from Asus or Linksys or who ever manufactured your router is and you are using a completely different set of software with its own completely different set of advantages.
Modern day routers have simple interface which makes it easy for the end user to understand and use it but simplicity is not for everyone and some people are complete tech freaks who want next-level of customizability to improve their home or office network.
What can you do with DD-WRT?
DD-WRT takes that stock firmware and gets rid of it. It gives you access to a bunch of cool stuff like more power out of lower end hardware and it is compatible with wide variety of different wireless routers. It gives you better VPN, better QoS (quality of service) and remember that most consumer grade routers do not even have VPN and have very limited QoS implementations.
It also allows you to turn any router into a range extender so if you got a old wireless router lying around you can turn it into a range extender to extend the range of your wireless network to your garage. It gives you performance graph that you can use to monitor the overall performance of your network and much more. And there are so many more features of DD-WRT that take huge advantage of your existing hardware which makes more sense to install it over stock firmware.
How to flash DD-WRT?
Now there are some precautions that you have to take before flashing DD-WRT to your router. This is an after market firmware and putting it on your router could potentially void your warranty. You also need to make very, very sure that DD-WRT firmware is compatible with your router.
In many cases just looking at model number of your router on DD-WRT Router Database is not enough because some revisions of the same router might be compatible while the other may not. You also have to make sure that your router is set completely to factory default before you flash anything and make sure that you do not interrupt the flashing process. If you do not follow the correct instructions or flash incompatible firmware then you might brick your router and since you voided your warranty you are completely out of luck.
I would even recommend to hook your router to some kind of a reliable power source such as UPS while you are running the update and DO NOT INTERRUPT THE UPDATE PROCESS.
The first thing that you are going to do is go and reset your router to factory default settings. Then look up the model number and hardware version of your router on DD-WRT Router Database to check (and double check to make sure) if your router is compatible.
Then download the correct files, navigate to firmware update section on your router and upload the new firmware.
You can find complete instructions on how to flash DD-WRT here.
After the flashing is done keep your router plugged in and let it boot properly by itself.
After your router has booted properly then go into your internet browser and login to your router at 192.168..1.1 you will be greeted with a whole new web interface of your router.
After that you can install robust QoS service on your router or even enable Ad Blocking on your router. If that not enough you can even install packages on your router to get the most out of it. Here is the complete list of features that you can enable once you install DD-WRT on your router.
If you think you have become an expert of DD-WRT and know how to tune your hardware then it is a very great idea to flash DD-WRT on your new router and get the most out of it. But first experiment on your old hardware to learn the DOs and DONTs of DD-WRT.
Here is the list of some Best Wireless Routers that you can buy and install DD-WRT on top to get maximum performance and features.
Along that note, this is recommended for advanced users only. Not only is there a risk that you are going to brick your router but a lot of these features are not going to give any benefit to a basic user.