I’m writing this post from work; since it’s my first time doing a Saturday rotation and there is nobody else around. 🙂
I’ve known about DD-WRT for a long time. But, probably not many other people have. So, let me start with a little background. DD-WRT is an open-source linux based firmware for consumer grade broadband routers. The idea is that you install DD-WRT, and in the process, erase the default (linksys, netgear, etc.) firmware. Normal people might say “Why do you want to do that?” – Well, because. BECAUSE.
For me, I can’t stop hacking things. It’s almost an OCD. I’ve hacked my ipod to put Linux and Rockbox on it. I’ve hacked my Razr v3m with seem edits, I have a modded Xbox (thanks again JJA), and in general I just like to ‘hack’ at things and see what I can do with them.
But with DD-WRT, there’s more of a benefit than just ‘hacking’ your router. You can turn a bare-bones wireless router into a much more useful piece of equipment. Your basic device can be transformed to have VPN capabilities, QoS, Vlans, Bandwidth graphing, SSH access, and enhanced security features.
Now, DD-WRT isn’t a new thing by any means. But for me, I have hit one of those compulsive phases in my technical life where I simply MUST do this. I MUST use DD-WRT. Unfortunately my stupid Netgear WGR614v6 does not agree, and is not supported by any open firmware projects.
So I began shopping on ebay, craigslist, consult.it, and any friends I knew that owned a Linksys router. The Linksys WRT54G is famous for being a hackable device (Linksys actually open sourced the Firmware). I was simply hell bent on finding a Linsksy WRT54G v4. Specifically, version 4 is by far the best router to have when looking at DD-WRT because it has 4 megs of flash memory and is not locked down nearly as hard. In fact, you can upgrade to DD-WRT right from the default Linksys web interface.
After a few hours of looking around, fighting the ebay crowds, and coming up empty overall; I stumbled across an amazing tidbit of information on Wikipedia. Apparently, there was such a high demand for these WRT54Gv4 models, that Linksys re-released them and still currently sells them. They just rebranded it and label it as an open source router. The new model number is WRT54GL (with the L standing for “Linux”).
I found one of these WRT54GL routers on CircuitCity.com and it was currently 15 dollars off AND had free shipping. And, since Vanbergs still owed me a birthday present, I decided to cash it in on a brand new router.
Now I’m just waiting for it to get to my house so I can immediately flash it with DD-WRT.
Anybody need a ‘non hacked’ Netgear wireless router?