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Oh The Joys Of Dd Wrt

For me, it was an annoying beginning.. but now it's wonderful. Networking is great when it works the way you want it to.

About 5 years ago I bricked my Linksys WRT54G router flashing DD-WRT firmware... Or so I thought. Apparently I made the noob mistake of not doing what they call a "30-30-30" before flashing, as well as using Firefox to flash the unofficial firmware.

To briefly explain the 30-30-30, each 30 is in seconds, and you basically hold the reset button for 90 seconds. The reason it's divided in three parts is because once you get to the second 30, you unplug the router (while still holding the button) and plug it back in once you get to the last 30. It's vital that you do this whenever you flash new firmware to a router apparently, because it's supposed to delete some temporary data built up on the router.

Now why is Firefox a problem for flashing firmware? Well it's actually not a Firefox problem. It's a known flaw in the official Linksys firmware (only IE works for flashing), and being the Firefox evangelist I was then, I have no doubt that's what I was using. After DD-WRT is flashed, everything is good and dandy. I decided to take a leap of faith and tried flashing again in DD-WRT on Opera (what I use now) and it worked.

Now how did I unbrick my router?.. Well I think it was the 30-30-30 that did it. I followed this guide, and was able to update the firmware using the latest IE on Windows 7.

But all that is just backstory... Now I'm enjoying DD-WRT on my (now backup) router . I wanted to share about it because there's quite a bit of features I've discovered that I'm very fond of.

The first of which is KAID, as in Xlink-Kai, the console game tunneling service. It's really nice to just run it from a built in feature in my router, even though I don't use it often. It does wonders for LAN only games, as well as when you want to play with friends who don't have an online subscription. I use it mainly for PSP and Xbox, but if you have no need for KAID and just don't want it on your router, there are "NOKAID" builds available.

Secondly, dynamic dns login and autoupdate is supported through multiple websites. I personally just use a dyndns.com free account, but should I find the other services to be better, it's very nice to have options (and the autologin!).

The third feature I'm extremely fond of is using the router as a wireless bridge. It's like I have a second router in another room, and I can set the WAN port to act like a LAN one, enabling me to hook up 5 devices at a time.

Finally, I would say the coolest features this firmware is it's Quality of Service and Access Restriction settings. You can block specific applications or networks (ie. gnutella, bittorrent, wow, etc), do scheduled tasks (reboot, enable/disable wireless, etc), and set service priority. Service priority is cool because you can set specific applications or services to get the most bandwidth. There's so much more than I'm mentioning as well. You really do get some real solid control over your router.

Should any of you decide to give DD-WRT a shot, I highly recommend you visit their forums and check out the FAQ threads. In the Broadcom section there's a "Peacock thread", which is exactly the FAQ I have in mind. If you take time to read in detail (like what I initially failed to do), you'll have a great idea of which build to use for your specific router.

If you're a DIY enthusiast, control freak or just plain feature savy, I highly recommend this firmware.

Never gonna give you up, DD-WRT. (oh yeah, I went there)



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