TechSpot: Firmware Alternative Picks For Your Wireless Router

For most users a good wireless router is the one that you set up in a few easy steps and forget about it as long as it gets you online. Any decent consumer-grade wireless router will do the job well enough most of the time, while more inquisitive folks can still tweak around a few configuration options to make sure things are running smoothly.

But beyond the stock features that came with your router, there are many things that the hardware you bought might be capable of; it just happens that the manufacturer decided not to include them for a variety of reasons that go from keeping things simple, to the fact that they sell more expensive models to people who need those features.

Luckily for you, people have been working on ways to get the fancy stuff running on your average $60-$100 device. After a relatively simple upgrade to a free third-party firmware, you'll be able boost your wireless signal, prioritize what programs get your precious bandwidth, and do lots of other stuff usually reserved for pro-grade wireless routers.

Read: Custom Firmware Alternatives For Your Wireless Router

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I'm still irked that I got a WRT54G2 with the latest version, none of these custom routers support that hardware version (not their faults). I mean the router works, but I really wanted to play with these custom firmwares.

the worst thing is it wont work on all routers many routers have limitations i've couple of them which i want to try ddwrt but my routers are not capable.

SpyderCanopus said,
Will it make dying routers that can't stream video work again?

Possibly its worth a shot. Wont make it any worse. I loaded DDWRT on a router that would crash everytime a picture was uploaded to a blog. After loading DDWRT it works great no more crashing.

Does anyone have any experience with DGTeam or other custom firmware with the Netgear DG834GT? It's not supported by Tomato or DD-WRT that I can see.

I've been running DD-WRT on my old WRT54G for 3 years and I've NEVER had a single problem with it. Turned my $50 router into a $200 one.

I keep thinking about using Tomato on my WRT routers, but never get very far.

Can anyone recommend a guide on setting up multiple wireless routers that are hard wired back to the ADSL router so that they appear and act as a single wireless network but with increased range? I have a Thomson Speedtouch ADSL Wireless as the base, and a pair of Linksys WRT54Gs that I want to place at opposing ends of the house for improved coverage. Is this something that running Tomato on the WRTs would help with (I can't modify the SpeedTouch as it's owned by my ISP).

Slugsie said,
I keep thinking about using Tomato on my WRT routers, but never get very far.

Can anyone recommend a guide on setting up multiple wireless routers that are hard wired back to the ADSL router so that they appear and act as a single wireless network but with increased range? I have a Thomson Speedtouch ADSL Wireless as the base, and a pair of Linksys WRT54Gs that I want to place at opposing ends of the house for improved coverage. Is this something that running Tomato on the WRTs would help with (I can't modify the SpeedTouch as it's owned by my ISP).

Read the DD-WRT wiki. You should find easy to do steps on many things, including bridging routers to extend coverage and more.

I used to run Tomato, but I found DD-WRT to be more versatile and feature-packed.
Both are very good. The main advantage for people that don't need the extra features is the added stability for their routers. With stock firmware it isn't rare to reboot a router every few days and when the networks gets jammed with many devices.

With this firmware, users don't need to reboot at all, no matter how heavy the usage of the network gets over time. At least in my experience with several routers of different brands, that is.

Custom firmwares on your router means the sky is the limit as you have COMPLETE network routing and access controls available. Figuring out how to route them is another problem though.
Firmwares like DD-WRT will run scripts, do VPN, wifi-repeating, selected forwarding, QoS, WiFi hotspots/multi wifi points, nearly EVERYTHING you could ever want to setup.

I was unaware about the alternative flavors, but they all seem to be based around the same chipsets. which in itself has something to say about that design.

And if you live in Europe and have a FritzBox (ADSL routers from avm.de), you can customize the firmware with your own personal needs by building it with Freetz (http://freetz.org/).
I have a FritzBox since 4 years and it is just great, with Freetz I have the ability to add a wide variety of packages, such as IPv6, OpenVPN, lighttpd server, mail servers, svn server, and much much more.

I've been using tomato for years now and I haven't looked back. Bandwidth monitoring and awesome QOS FTW!

Since upgrading to an Asus RT-16N, I've been using a tomato variant from tomatousb.org to get wireless-N and USB port support. USB support also gets me a print server and lets me plug in an external USB drive and use it as a NAS simultaneously!

DaMiEn said,
How about tomato? I'm thinking about giving it a try.

Try it out. You won't go back to any stock firmware for a long time.

Another "me too" for Tomato. Rock solid, fast and flexible. Improved overall network performance. Wireless coverage improved as well as I could boost the antenna strength where the stock firmware could not.. no more dead spots in the house (or even the back yard.)

allwynd said,
my router is wireD .. can i use it on it? and if so how does it install?
Don't think so.. If you are connected thru a wire you should have considerably better speeds then your wireless connection anyway. And if you're not broadcasting out a signal (WiFi) then it should be all good.

allwynd said,
my router is wireD .. can i use it on it? and if so how does it install?

You have to look on the website and see if your model is compatible.

cescf said,

You have to look on the website and see if your model is compatible.

it appears to be compatible, but i will do it once i get high, cuz now i care if something goes wrong

The only one I didnt know about is Gargoyle.

DD-WRT is too much but it works great. Recommended to anyone who has a router that supports it.