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DD-WRT Worth a Try?


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#1 AStaley

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 17:08

I have a Netgear WNDR4000 router with the latest firmware loaded, does the job.  But feel like giving something else a try, is DD-WRT worth loading, are there any noticeable benefits to the latest release or any "gotcha's" I need to watch out for, once DD-WRT is loaded is it possible to return to the manufacturers firmware?

 

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#2 Pupik

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 17:10

Worth a try. I tried a few times, and always gone back to the official firmware by TP-Link. Didn't need the extra DD-WRT options myself and to be honest, found the router working better with the official firmware.

If you want to get back to default firmware, it depends on the router. Just check the DD-WRT database if your router is supported and has a back to stock firmware.



#3 +techbeck

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 17:12

I used DD-WRT on a couple older linksys routers.  One is used as a wireless repeater, the other as a wireless repeater/bridge.  That way I dont have to run physical cable.  Only reason i used DD-WRT was for this.  If  I didnt need the repeater/bridge...then I would just use stock firmware.



#4 gadean

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 17:16

Your mileage may vary.  Remember that not all features are available for each device.  Your best bet is to find the DD-WRT wiki page for your device and read up on it.  There's also tomato.  And if you don't like an alternative firmware you can always go back to the manufacturers.



#5 OP AStaley

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 17:17

One of things that interested me with DD-WRT was that I could add a DNS address to the router, for example my NAS instead of using a hosts file on my PC.



#6 Jason Stillion

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 17:18

With my Linksys WRT54G, yes.

It gave it new life / functionality. 



#7 +BudMan

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 17:32

I have a TPLINK TL-WDR3600, that I picked up for $42.. Great price could not turn it down. Only reason I got it was support for dd-wrt. I only use it as AP, so when it showed up I updated to the latest current native firmware.

That lasted all of like 5 minutes.. It was pure and utter CRAP!! I wouldn't wish that software on my worst enemy.. I have never seen a router thats native firmware was anywhere close to what can be done with 3rd party.

But what are you looking to do? If your native firmware provides you stable connectivity and provides the features you want - no I would not suggest you change. BTW here is the wiki page for that device http://www.dd-wrt.co...etgear_WNDR4000

#8 OP AStaley

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 17:41

Thanks for the reply Budman (and everyone else).  Not looking for anything specific at the moment, seen a lot of talk around DD-WRT and wondered about giving it a try.

 

I had looked at the Wiki page for my router, a couple of things I'm interested in at the moment is the ability to load a DNS address for my NAS on to the router and also with DD WRT I think you can set firewall rules so they accept traffic only from certain IP's etc, a feature that Netgear doesn't enable on my router.  Not a major issue as my NAS features a firewall of it's own which can be setup to only allow traffic from specific IP's.



#9 Shadrack

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 17:51

I like DD-WRT and use it with my Linksys dual band N router.  Since installing, I've noticed the following benefits:

 

* Up time is significantly improved.  I use to have to reset my router almost daily.  Current up-time according to the router web page is 40 days.

* DHCP and IP reservations are awesome server functionality for your house

* Built in Dynamic DNS server support to automatically update your IP with your dyndns provider.

* NAT/Firewall that is highly customizable.  I have the router forcing the kiddos devices to use OpenDNS (no way around it, it reroutes their port if they try to do anything sneaky).  The only way they can get around it is if they spoof their MAC Address.  At the same time, my wife and I still have access to the entire Internet.  If they figure out a way around my setup to access porn, then they have earned it.



#10 brink668

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 17:56

DD-wrt is great I use it on all my WRT54G routers and access points.  Lots of features that work really well.



#11 +BudMan

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 18:12

If you looking to set firewall rules to the internet, sure dd-wrt can do that. If your looking to setup firewall rules from clients on your network to your nas. Unless you setup vlans or multiple network segments. Which you can do in dd-wrt, you would not be able to setup firewall rules for clients to other clients on the same network.

local network traffic does not go through the router, it would have to be something off the local network - like internet or another network segment to firewall.

Unless your talking about wireless clients talking to other wireless clients with is called AP isolation or client isolation.

There is no gui that I am aware of for doing firewall rules between network segments. But you can do pretty much anything you want from the cmdline with iptables directly.

example
http://www.dd-wrt.co..._With_Internet)

yes you can create host entries so for example nas.local.lan would resolve to your nas IP. This can be done very simple if the nas is dhcp.. Or if you set it up static and not just a reservation then sure you can create entries so they will resolve. But again I don't think there is gui for this sort of option
http://www.dd-wrt.co...network_-_HOWTO

If your really looking for networking features like full blown dhcp servers and dns, etc. You might be better off just using a firewall/router distro like pfsense, ipcop, m0n0wall, smoothwall, etc. Just use your current wireless router as the accesspoint and control the other aspects of your network with true router/firewall distro.

This will for one give you nice easy gui to work with vs cmdline iptable commands ;) example here is firewall interface on pfsense. This is my wireless segment wlan, I allow my ipad to go anywhere and access anything on my lan or dmz segments, etc. But other wireless devices are denied other than talking to the printer on 192.168.1.50 or the ntp server at 192.168.1.40. The last rule says that you can go anywhere you want as long as its not the lan network

wlanfirewallrules.png

If you want you can run full blown BIND as a package, but the dnsmasq built in allows for easy creation of dns hosts, etc.

pfsensedns.png

While 3rd party can add loads and loads of features and fixes to wireless router hardware, and make them very useful and productive leaps and bounds above the native firmware. Doing some of the fancy stuff does require cmdline understanding and use.

To be honest though if you want to play with some fancy features, and like the gui. Something like pfsense is way easier to do these sorts of advanced features with ;)

Do you have an old desktop collecting dust? Can you add a 2nd nic to it? Do you have something you can run VMs on - you can run this software as your router in a VM which is what I do on a esxi host.

If you just want to get your feet wet, then 3rd party like dd-wrt, openwrt, tomato, etc. etc. Are great - I am not sure tomato supports netgear though. But it is a bit easier to use, and great feature set.. I would rank them in ease of use tomato, dd-wrt and then openwrt - and same for power of features from left to right.

More than happy to help guide you on your way to discovery of life beyond the crapware the soho router makers push off on their userbase. And then stop development on as soon as their next model comes out, etc.

#12 OP AStaley

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 18:52

Probably a little heavier than I was looking to go for at the moment.  Also I don't have a spare machine sitting around to load something like that on to, down the line I'm thinking about getting a HP Microserver to use as a testing environment instead of my PC with VMWare Workstation loaded, but that's a little way off.  I'm also playing with Cisco routers/switches in PacketTracer prepping for CCENT/CCNA (and hating sub netting).

 

Mines just a small home setup, router/NAS/PC/iPad which does what I need.  I was looking at DD-WRT to avoid having to use a host file on my PC for the NAS and to allow access to the NAS from my work IP.  Currently the only way I can do that is with port forwarding on the router and then setting up the firewall entries on my NAS, a Synology DS214.  It was something I was thinking I could do on the Netgear router, have in the past with older models but for some reason Netgear don't allow you to do with the WNDR4000.  I have a WNDR3700 in the office, I might load DD-WRT on to that to test rather than risk bricking mine for now.



#13 +BudMan

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 18:58

I have flashed prob hundreds of routers to dd-wrt, have never bricked one.. Now I have came close one time when having 1 too many wobbly pops I flashed the wrong firmware ;)

But it was recovered with the short the pins trick.

If you pay attention the odds of bricking are really really low, if you know how to read ;) And are not 3/4 of your way through your 2nd 12 pack ;) hehehe

Well clearly you can add dns entries if running dd-wrt, and firewall rules to and from internet are gui based as long as not too complex.

But if your playing with cisco ios, the cmdline should not be too big of an issue and you play with iptables ;)

#14 OP AStaley

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 19:22

I should probably pickup a Cisco router to use at home, something else to add to the list.  Along with a small Cisco CCNA Lab from ebay, but PacketTracer does what I need for now.

 

Does DD-WRT perform any better than standard firmwares with wired connections?



#15 Roger H.

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 20:01

I should probably pickup a Cisco router to use at home, something else to add to the list.  Along with a small Cisco CCNA Lab from ebay, but PacketTracer does what I need for now.
 
Does DD-WRT perform any better than standard firmwares with wired connections?


No to that last part as that's handled by the internet RISC CPU unless you mean routing (WAN to LAN) then it more than likely will be slower because new routers have "hardware routing" to route over 200Mbps connections. So if you have Google Fiber you wouldn't want to use it as you'll max out pretty low (150Mbps out of the 1Gbps)



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