A New Firmware Is Available for Your Router
Routers are basically little computers. By default, they run a manufacture-provided operating system, or firmware, to route network traffic and provide you with various settings and features. But you tin often supervene upon this firmware.
Well-nigh people don’t need a third-party custom router firmware. Aye, custom firmware can provide you with additional features and other benefits, merely they’re more circuitous and
most people simply desire their router to function as an appliance.
Your router runs an operating system, known as its firmware. Router manufacturers provide a mode to “flash” new firmware, which is typically used to upgrade the router’s firmware to a new version from the manufacturer. Still, y’all don’t necessarily have to flash a file provided by a manufacturer — you could instead flash a file provided by a third-political party. This file could take a customized operating system on it.
Routers aren’t like PCs. You can’t just install any old firmware on any old router. You’ll need to use a firmware that’s been specifically designed for your router- – ane that supports its hardware devices and one that fits in the express storage space your router includes.
The Linksys WRT54G
Custom router firmware first took off with the Linksys WRT54G router released back in 2003. These routers ran a firmware based on Linux. Linksys didn’t
release source code
when they released the router, although they were supposed to. They eventually released the WRT54G firmware’due south source code after some pressure level. Enthusiast’s then had a router that ran Linux and the source lawmaking to the router. They could take that lawmaking and modify it, calculation features, tweaking it, modifying the interface, and then flashing their customized version dorsum onto the router.
Future versions of the WRT54G ran a different operating system. However, the line of Linux-based WRT54G routers continues in Linksys’southward WRT54GL series — the 50 stands for Linux. However, the WRT54GL series only supports 802.11b/chiliad Wi-Fi and lacks back up for 802.11n wireless, and so information technology’s not really the ideal router to purchase today.
People like installing custom router firmware considering they provide boosted features. For example, the OpenWrt firmware is basically a Linux distribution for your router, consummate with a package manager. You can use it to install lightweight web, VPN, and SSH servers on your router. Fifty-fifty
user-friendly options like DD-WRT
add powerful features like
quality of service (QoS)
support for prioritizing network traffic, a feature often establish only on college-stop routers. Here’s
a demo of the DD-WRT interface
y’all tin can view online.
Custom router firmware can also be more stable than the manufacturer-provided firmware in some cases. If your router needs regular reboots, a custom firmware
make information technology run more than stable.
Security is another concern. For case,
some D-Link routers contained a backdoor
— if your browser used a special user agent string, y’all could admission the administration interface without a username and password. Many consumer routers independent another backdoor which was fixed with a patch, but the patch actually but
hid the backstairs
so it was still usable past attackers. Asus routers with network file share features may betrayal
your files to the Internet
for anyone to access.
The country of home router security is a nightmare, and these open up-source projects based on Linux likely won’t include amateurish backdoors.
How to Install a Tertiary-Party Router Firmware
If you lot want to employ a third-political party router firmware, you’ll beginning need to choose the one you desire to use.
is a powerful Linux-based router firmware written from scratch to support WRT54G routers, and it’s moved on to supporting more than routers.
is a more than convenient distribution based on OpenWrt.
has been popular in the by, but information technology was last updated in 2010 so it won’t support equally many routers and is more outdated. In that location are many other third-party firmware projects, too — you’ll detect
a long list on Wikipedia.
Next, you’ll need to be sure you actually accept a router that supports this firmware. Y’all can notice a list of router hardware firmware support on their websites — here’s
the list of devices OpenWRT supports
and here’due south
the list of devices DD-WRT supports.
If you’re shopping for a router, you lot’ll want to practise some research to find a solid modernistic router that supports tertiary-party routers well. For example, nosotros saw
on the DD-WRT site — ASUS is advertising directly to enthusiasts looking for 3rd-political party router firmware, arguing that their hardware is the ideal platform for running your own router operating system. Geeks who hack their routers are a large enough market for manufacturers to pay attending to.
You’ll want to follow the firmware’s instructions to become through the installation process. However, the process is generally as uncomplicated as downloading the appropriate firmware file for your device, visiting the Upgrade Firmware page in your router’due south spider web interface, and uploading the 3rd-party firmware through this form. The router volition and then supersede its original firmware with the third-political party 1.
Of course, third-party router firmwares more often than not aren’t supported past the router’south manufacturer. They’re similar
installing a custom ROM on Android
your PC’south operating organization with Linux. If you run into a trouble, y’all tin’t just contact the router’s manufacturer and wait them to troubleshoot problems with the third-political party software.