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Teach Your Router New Tricks With DD-WRT 257

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Serdar Yegulalp offers an in-depth look at DD-WRT, open source router firmware that can 'breath new life — and advanced features — into your old wired or wireless router.' Quality-of-service controls, iptables-based firewall, IPv6 support, DNS controls, Kai Daemon for allowing game console network tunneling, and a host of features for using your router as a public-access hotspot are among the many possibilities for hacking your router with DD-WRT."
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Teach Your Router New Tricks With DD-WRT

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  • no fucking shit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    welcome to 5 years ago dipshits

    • I concur. Been using dd-wrt for like 3 years and openWRT was around even before dd was.
    • I have an article for Caldera Linux laying around here somewhere if you guys wanna go further in the WayBack machine.

    • Which would you rather trust for the "security" excuse they use to lock down the firmware?

      A private company with closed source stuff that you can't be sure doesn't have some abusive feature sweethearted into it on demand of another company or the government?

      Or an open source sunshine drenched codebase maintained by geeks with a passion for programming who consider it a personal affront if their crap gets hacked or bugged?

    • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

      Especially since I haven't seen a DD-WRT release in a LONG time.

      I'm fairly certain I was running build 13064 (the "latest development release" listed on over a year ago.

      "Recent News" on has the latest entry as 10/13/2010

      No-IP updating has been broken for over a year. The router says it's updating, but I still get inactivity nastygrams every 30 days from No-IP

  • Open-Source my ass! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Heretic2 ( 117767 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @07:35PM (#37547484)

    Since when has dd-wrt been "Open Source?" It's very much closed-source. OpenWRT [] is actually open source, as in, you can download the code, modify, and compile it yourself. dd-wrt is closed, and often includes proprietary drivers.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @07:52PM (#37547640)
    • DD-WRT is also an OpenWRT fork from what I heard, hardly an "open source" model Slashdot should be promoting.

    • by galaad2 ( 847861 )

      Since when has dd-wrt been "Open Source?" It's very much closed-source. OpenWRT [] is actually open source, as in, you can download the code, modify, and compile it yourself. dd-wrt is closed, and often includes proprietary drivers.

      the source IS AVAILABLE and has always been.

      svn co svn:// []

      • by ace123 ( 758107 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @04:49AM (#37551250) Homepage

        DD-WRT is open source in the same sense that the original Linksys firmware was open-source. Clearly, the GPL parts are open source, including all kernel modules and command line tools based on BSD/Linux. And yes, it must be possible to compile a bootable image with minimal shell support (otherwise they wouldn't be complying with the GPL). However, (this was true two years ago--haven't checked sense) DD-WRT has several binary blobs and closed-source components that handle higher-level tasks (for example, at the time I was looking into this, it was not possible to extend the webserver.)

        Additionally, DD-WRT was still on the age-old nvram model of configuration, rather than using a read-write overlay filesystem to allow editing any configuration files. This means that some things were a pain in the ass to change once you have flashed the router, and building a custom image requires compiling a 10GB svn checkout. I'm sure you got it to compile, but I'm just saying that compiling isn't as easy as it should be. I (as did many other angry slashdotters) wasted several hours trying to compile DD-WRT. This is why the words "open source" in the description gave such a backlash.

        Anyway, I didn't bother to figure out the compilation process, and I just went over to OpenWRT for my Linksys WRTSL54GS (kernel 2.6 broadcom with b43 -- works really well), Airlink AR-430W, and D-Link DIR-615. They all work really well.

        That said, DD-WRT is a fine firmware if you want something that works and does more than the default images--I have friends who love it. It does Client Bridging which is the one feature I sorely miss from openwrt. So in my opinion it's a good choice if you are the sort of person who wants things to work and doesn't plan to write scripts or tweak things from source. And because fewer things are configurable and Brainslayer tests it on a ton of routers, you can be sure that an image will work on your hardware without tweaking anything (if it's on the Supported Devices list).

  • You can also enable rflow (which appears to match NetFlow v5) on DD-WRT routers, so you can find out who's hogging the bandwidth.
    • I can do that on any linux box (or openwrt) with iftop. Why is this significant?
  • This is old news, also DDWRT is a closed source solution that for some routers you have to pay for features.  Openwrt has much more for the price and if something is wrong you can fix the bug yourself.
  • Tomato (Score:5, Informative)

    by RenHoek ( 101570 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @07:42PM (#37547554) Homepage

    I used DD-WRT for some time, but if you want QOS bandwith managment for games (which was what I was really after), you have to buy your way into the forum where a premium version can be downloaded.

    Anyway, after some more looking I found 'Tomato' which fitted what I was looking for a lot better. Feel free to try it for yourself. []

    • Even better than stock Tomato (who's GUI and features are awesome) is TomatoVPN [] that includes a build of OpenVPN!

    • by afabbro ( 33948 )
      Tomato-USB (which, not surprisingly, adds USB support) is also a fine package.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Tomato seems to be a little stale, at the moment. See TomatoUSB:

      • Tomato seems to be a little stale, at the moment. See TomatoUSB: []

        I have to cron reboot my tomato router daily and it still goes into the ozone sometimes.
        Any advice for upgrading from tomato to tomato-usb (no-usb) on a WRT54GS from someone who's tried that route?
        I spent some time at the tomato-usb site so I saved nvram off box for reference and will save away the various config pages. So just firmware upgrade to the 2.4kernel no-usb build and 30-30-30 reset?

      • by repetty ( 260322 )

        Tomato seems to be a little stale, at the moment.

        Anyone who would use the term "stale" to describe software would probably also use the term "snappy."

        Go to the back of the line.

  • When there are all these good firmwares around, why do so many companies stick with their shitty proprietary ones?

    (Also applies to cheap NAS boxes; I just bought one where half the text was translated terribly from chinese, and the other half not at all -- with the aid of google translate I eventually figured out that to edit a user's password I had to click "Clam Party"... would just sticking freenas on it be so hard? :( )

    • Buffalo routers come with ddwrt installed. It seems a lot of people have a lot of trouble with ddwrt but ive installed it on a bunch of routers with no problems.

    • Firmware is already a collective plural -- like software, hardware, and clothing. You don't have "two softwares" or "two clothings" -- you have two pieces of software, or two items of clothing. Likewise, you should write: "When there are all these good firmware packages around..." Also, swearing is impolite. Good points, though.
  • I looked into a Buffalo router that comes with DD-WRT preinstalled and Buffalo tech support. But the latest firmware is almost 2 years old. Surely there's been bugs and vulnerabilities in it found since then, but no patches.

  • by Roachie ( 2180772 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @08:07PM (#37547776)

    into a brick.

    Which, interestingly enough, was an improvement. WiFi is from the devil.

  • by haruchai ( 17472 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @08:09PM (#37547786)

      Props for being the first to have custom firmware for the Linksys WRT54G but talking about earning the right to be the poster boy for "complete fucking asshole".
    Heard you're broke - sucks to be you.

  • Which FOSS router OS/SW can I use to replace what's installed on an Astaro router? I stopped paying for the annual license so it stopped working, but the HW is just fine. Twin WAN, firewall, antivirus, internal VLANs, VPN... but closed and locked down. I'd still pay to subscribe to patches, but not on something that just disconnects from the networks when I'm late.

    • More work, but OpenWRT is probably your best bet. ymmv though. I'm pretty happy with myy RouterstationPro board and OpenWRT setup.
  • by afabbro ( 33948 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @08:13PM (#37547820) Homepage

    Leave it to InfoWeek to be both completely confused and 5 years behind the times.

    To wit, this article [] with the same premise from Lifehacker in 2006. And that was before DD-WRT sucked.

    First, the author's router is not "an old router". In fact, it ships with DD-WRT. Take an old WRT-54G 1.0 and stick DD-WRT and that would be breathing life into an old router. All you're doing here is using a Buffalo-preconfigured (and encrypted, closed-source) version of DD-WRT.

    But more to the point...DD-WRT? Ick. If you want QoS (as the author seems to), you need pay for the commercial version. The QoS in the free version is known broken and has been for quite a while, and there is little motivation to fix it. Also, old routers cannot use the QoS, because you need 4MB or bigger flash. Maybe it works in newer routers but who cares - there are plenty of better alternatives to DD-WRT.

    Finally, for Slashdotters, let me say two words that will have you running screaming from DD-WRT: software activation.

    Tomato is a fine, free (in all senses) alternative, and I personally love the Tomato-USB [] version.

    • I am using TomatoUSB on both my E1000 and E3000, it's a so powerful firmware, and the GUI is really nicer than dd-wrt.
      Also dd-wrt was unstable for me, they release version too often and sometimes they are buggy.

      I am using the Toastman build of TomatoUSB, with IPv6, OpenVPN, QoS, all the bell and whistles.
  • I always look at DD-WRT vs OpenWRT like this: DD-WRT is like an improved stock firmware. Sure, it has lots of features that probably aren't available in the preload, but it still just feels like a manufacturer firmware. OpenWRT, on the other hand, lets you go 100% CLI (it didn't even come with a web interface until a few releases ago). In general, if you could do it with a plain old linux box, you can do it just as easily on OpenWRT. For example: I look in /etc/config. In OpenWRT I see human readable, easy
    • by haus ( 129916 )

      What are you talking about? OpenWRT has had a web interface for at least 5 years.

      If this were FireFox that would be like 270 version releases ago.

      • IIRC web interfaces existed for OpenWRT but LuCI was not included until 8. Back when I ran 7 I never installed any web interfaces and used SSH access exclusively.
  • by _Shorty-dammit ( 555739 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @08:27PM (#37547924)

    I used DD-WRT for years on an old Linksys WRT54GS (I think that's the model) router and it worked great for me. But after upgrading my internet to 100 Mbps I found out it pukes out at around 20.5 Mbps or something like that, haha. Almost wanted to swear at my ISP, and then decided to try plugging straight into the new Cisco modem/router they gave me, and found all the bandwidth I was paying for was there after all. Haha. But plug back into the Linksys and it chokes me back to just over 20 Mbps again. Couldn't believe it.

    • The "CPU" that is used in that device won't actually go much beyond 20mbit. It just simply can't handle faster streams, especially if you're using NAT on your internal network. NAT adds a bunch of overhead. Supposedly the GL can go up to 30mbit as it has a newer processor.
    • by caseih ( 160668 )

      Very few consumer routers can handle 100 Mbps throughput across the NAT (well, technically PAT) layer. They simply don't have the CPU power, bus speed, and memory required. I would be interested to know what routers are capable of such speeds and are compatible with the likes of OpenWRT.

      • by pev ( 2186 )

        I would be interested to know what routers are capable of such speeds and are compatible with the likes of OpenWRT.

        Well, this might get you started :

      • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

        Yup, I have FIOS and ended up switching to the Verizon-provided router for this reason. The biggest issue with it is the NAT table is limited, but I think I've mostly worked through that.

        You can potentially put the router into more of a bridging mode and use your own router (which obviously has to be decent), but that is pretty tricky due to how the whole setup (internet+cable) works.

    • ...PPTP/VPN (server) is disabled in DD-WRT. That pretty much chokes it.
  • I have a cheap router with an Atheros radio. DD-WRT did not deal with it well at all, with the WiFi connection dropping & very unstable. The router works beautifully using OpenWRT - WiFi included. DD-WRT probably works great with a Broadcom radio 'cause that's where it was born but my Atheros radio router likes OpenWRT much better.

  • I have nothing to do with any authors or developers but have had a pretty good experience with DD-WRT.

    I bought an ASUS RT-N16 on sale some time ago: []

    I liked the speed specs and also the USB ports -- I wanted to set up a network printer. The firmware that came with this router was GARBAGE. I mean totally, utterly, completely USELESS. My internet connection would constantly drop, forget about printing or NAS. I downloaded a particular build of DD

    • I had much better luck with TomatoUSB on my RT-N16 than I did with DD-WRT, though that was over almost a year ago... still running strong. :)
    • I have the same router and I run TomatoUSB on it, works GREAT!!!

  • My experience with DD-WRT for the WRT54GL has been less than optimal. After much tinkering it's stable with the features I want, but it took quite some effort.

    If you're considering installing DD-WRT, know that there's a good chance that the "stable" version listed on the main site [] is probably not your best bet, nor is whatever the router database [] suggests. Instead, hit up the forums [], find the relevant forum for your hardware, read all the way through the sticky posts marked "READ ME" (in the case of WRT54

    • by Artifex ( 18308 )

      Please upvote this -- there's been a longstanding issue with the searchable "recommended" firmware being wrong in many cases.
      Check out this excerpt from a thread in the Broadcom section of the forums for proof:

      We are very aware of the confusion users have finding builds. The Database was intended to simplify the process but "NewMedia-NET GmbH" has done a poor job of maintaining the Database. We forum moderators have already brought it to their attention long ago and they have begun asking for our feedback b

  • Not exactly "news", both dd-wrt and truly open source open-wrt has been out outperforming stock firmwares for 5+++ years

  • I am still using the latest stock firmware. It works fine for me, but I don't want to have to keep upgrading and reconfiguring. So which ones are the stable, simple, etc.? I don't want to have to fiddle with frequent upgrades, reconfigurations, etc.

    • I've been using Tomato on my WRTGL v1.1 For at least two years now, and It was very much install, configure, forget. QoS works great, and it manages my 40mbps connection with some trouble. (notably, It piles up if you saturate the link at 40mbps for a few days requiring a 30-30-30 reset) Even so, it's infinitely better than the stock firmware.
  • Is there an easy-to-use router package with a whitelist feature?

    It would be nice if it had an easy workflow. I.e., instead of editing a whitelist file, you'd have something like:

    -user tries to visit an un-whitelisted site.
    -the site is automatically added to a "request" list, optionally with a comment from the user
    -admin is presented with the request list in a web interface and approves the ones he wants to

  • My biggest issue is trying to find a router can that run DD-WRT/Tomato/etc, is trying to find a router that can handle 400mpbs+ of WAN LAN Performance.

    Are there any high performance routers that support open source?

  • But does it allow say a wifi router to go from being a wifi g and b to to a wifi n as well?
    If it does, then I would pay for that for sure, instead of buying new stuff, just reuse the old one with the firmware update and voila no more junk in the garbage dumps that could be recycled, so to speak.

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