Wednesday 13 December 2006

DD-WRT: Router Firmware Minus the Suck

So far I've tried the default Linksys firmware and OpenWRT. I think we all agree the Linksys firmware is hobbled and frustrating. For example, it limits you to 10 port forwarding rules, there is no signal strength tweaking, and there is some arbitrarily low maximum number of IP connections (I think around 500). All this means Linksys can neither forward all the ports I need nor let me run all the applications I want (specifically bittorrent will use a lot of connections).

OpenWRT was also hobbled but in different ways. The web interface was useless as tits on a bull, the community apparently rejects the idea that you can get port forwarding to work, and updating the software apparently bricks the router. Now the lack of web interface wasn't really a show stopper for me and in fact, I was pretty happy with straight terminal access. It was really the dead router that convinced me to dump OpenWRT.

Now DD-WRT has only had one problem so far. During installation, the router didn't come up properly. As per a comment for the v23rc2 installation, you have to do the manufacturer reset (hold the reset button and power-cycle) once DD-WRT is uploaded.

Otherwise, it's been great! The web-interface is *way* nicer then the Linksys web-interface. It supports an arbitrary number of forwarded ports, shows *way* more status information, let's you tweak up the max number of IP connections, and even lets you tune the wireless power levels.

We will see how long this experiment works for us, so far I'm optimistic.

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