DD-WRT To The Rescue

I got a Linksys WRT160N wireless router with a wireless problem. It’s not good when a piece of hardware no longer function the way it was intended to. I can’t get my laptop connected to it even if I’m literally 3 inches away from it. Instead of throwing away the router, I’ve decided to install a third-party firmware called DD-WRT.

It was a little unsettling at first because installing a third-party firmware can potentially brick a router if I don’t do it correctly. But, since the router is already useless, I’ve decided to install DD-WRT. Just as a word of caution. If you decide to install DD-WRT, make sure your router is supported. Read up. Do your homework. And follow instructions.

Suffice to say, the wireless router firmware upgrade was successful. The router is functioning nicely. DD-WRT will give you router functions you normally see in enterprise equipment, but the biggest improvement is, I now have a router with a much stronger wireless signal. Linksys sets their routers to transmit power at about 40mW. The DD-WRT firmware allows you to change the transmit power from 1-251mW. Mine is set to the DD-WRT default, which is about 70mW.

In addition to increase signal, you can also set the router as a wireless client, a wireless client bridge, a wireless repeater, and a wireless repeater bridge. Awesome. If you have an old router that’s misbehaving, you might want to look into the DD-WRT firmware. You can breath new life in an old wireless equipment.


5 thoughts on “DD-WRT To The Rescue

  1. DD-WRT is useful 3rd party linux distro/firmware for many routers. I have had in the past 2 linksys routers with DD-WRT – However I have fallen out of love with them recently – and gone with http://www.polarcloud.com/tomato : Tomato Firmware – some of the features are much better – but they support a smaller number of routers currently.

    I agree care is always needed on any firmware upgrade – particularly making sure you have the correct firmware for your hardware set-up.

    1. I thought about using Tomato at first. Then, I decided to go with DD-WRT because it supports a lot more hardware. I might try it eventually. I thought about using DD-WRT router for a client of mine, but I still need to do more testing before I push it out. Just curious about radio waves. With the transmit power at 71mW instead of the Linksys’s default of 24mW, I seem to be getting a headache while being next to it. Have you heard anything along those lines? Just a little curious about the effects of radio waves to people in general.

      1. I tended to keep my transmit power quite low on the DD_WRT (it recommended 70) I kept mine around 30 and never had any probs – connection was still good though. The main reason I moved was that my DD-WRT firmware build for my linksys hardware did NOT support ssh!

        1. I lowered my transmit power to 40mw since it works throughout the house. I noticed just a slight decrease, but it’s acceptable. I just got a new toy, a WRT54GL. I tried connecting to a Starbucks 1000 feet away, about half a block, but I’m not picking it up. I even placed a parabolic cardboard wrapped in tinfoil. What I really need is a high-gain directional antenna.

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