Upgrade your router to DD-WRT

DD-WRT (www.dd-wrt.com) is a replacement router operating system. And when we say operating system, we do mean it: routers are relatively powerful computers and DD-WRT is in fact a modified version of Linux.

Upgrade your router to DD-WRT

There are more than 80 supported devices listed on the DD-WRT website, although some are a lot more compatible than others. The preferred model is the Linksys WRT54G series. Downloading the correct version can initially seem impossible to work out. First check the Supported Devices page at www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Supported_Devices. But beware: the first router we tried was listed as supported, but in fact the wireless radio wasn’t supported at all; to get it working we’d have needed to modify the hardware.

There are seven versions of DD-WRT, with different features for different applications; one of the versions is specifically for VoIP for instance, and one is for low-memory devices. The features list includes the things you’d expect of any decent router, including UPnP, dynamic DNS and QoS (quality of service) configuration. But you also get features more reminiscent of a full computer, including a Telnet server so you can log into the router remotely and get to a command-line prompt, and Samba support to allow you to browse the device on a Windows network.

If your router has only 2MB of flash memory (the supported-devices list will tell you) you can install DD-WRT Micro Edition, with a cut-down but still useful feature set.

Installing DD-WRT is definitely one of the scarier free upgrades. You’re actually flashing the firmware in the device: that means the old operating system is overwritten, and if it goes wrong you’ll end up with a “bricked” – in other words, dead – router. It isn’t something to be attempted ten minutes before you’re expecting an important email. You need to make sure you don’t paint yourself into a corner: following the instructions online, making a mistake and then realising you can’t get back online to fix it. It’s a good idea to have an old router as temporary backup if something does go awry.

For some routers you can install DD-WRT using the standard router web interface. Other models need to use a TFTP client to upload the new firmware file – there’s a free TFTP client for Windows on the DD-WRT site.

Free upgrades

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos