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Installing DD-WRT firmware

What is DD-WRT?
DD-WRT is a third party/open source router firmware distribution which allows the user increased flexibility to control the hardware features of the router. This is in contrast to the factory firmware which allows only a preset functionality support. DD-WRT based on Linux kernel, just like a normal personal computer, is limited only by the physical limits such as flash memory size, RAM size and CPU clock speed.

Origins of DD-WRT

Open-WRT (another open-source router firmware project) started in 2004 as Linksys based firmware built on top a linux distribution consisting of customizable software packages. DD-WRT (>2004) also started as linksys based firmware based on the Alchemy firmware by Sveasoft. However, v23 onwards (2006), the linux kernel is based on the Openwrt kernel. Currently, DD-WRT is trying to merge its code-base with Open-WRT so that packages can be mutually used.


1. Large Developer support. For example, Linksys E4200 (released, Jan 2011) has DD-WRT support but no Open-WRT support as of now.

2. Better Support quality of service than Open-WRT (popular opinion, DD-WRT forums)

3. Supports Overclocking. (Open-WRT doesn't on RS-Pro)

4. DD-WRT has an integrated web interface (Open-WRT has a add-on package for web interface managed by another open source community X-wrt)

5. DD-WRT is now getting released as factory firmware on Buffalo and some Ubiquiti routers.

However, both Open-WRT and DD-WRT support advanced networking features such as:- RADIUS, WDS, IPv6, OpenVPN, JFFS, Dynamic DNS and many general features.

Installing DD-WRT
DD-WRT firmware (.bin file) for a given router can be easily downloaded from the DD-WRT website. The DD-WRT wiki page is a valuable reference for installation, use and troubleshooting. We describe the installation process for Linksys E3000 and Ubiquiti Routerstation Pro wireless routers.

Important installation notes:-

Hard reset clears the NVRAM
Failure to do any of the above steps correctly may BRICK your router.
DD-WRT for Routerstation Pro is licensed at ~30$ per router.

A. Linksys E3000 wireless router

1. Perform a Hard reset (30/30/30) of the router, i.e. When the router is in powered on state, hold the reset button for 30 secs, then continue holding the reset button while the router is powered off and finally hold the reset button for a further 30 seconds while the router is again powered on.

2. Have a wired connection to the router via a PC or Laptop, Log on to the web interface and install the DD-WRT E3000 Initial Build (from the firmware submenu)

3. Wait 5 min, then power cycle router for 30 sec, again wait 5 min.

4. Perform Hard reset (step 1)

5. Wait 3 min, log on to the DD-WRT web interface (

B. Routerstation Pro router

1.Power off the device and power it on again while holding the reset button for about ~10 seconds

2. tftp ( Open-WRT daemon ) to

3. put RSPRO.dd_wrt.bin in binary mode

4. wait 3 min, power cycle for 30 sec, again wait 3 min, log on to DD-WRT web interface

Miscellaneous Things to do after installing DD-WRT

1. Enable SSH daemon for shell access.

2. Configure wireless antennas to use 802.11n mode.

3. Log on to shell, use ipkg (DD-WRT package installer, similar to Ubuntu apt) to install additional packages.

802.11n Wireless clients

A Wireless access point project needs 802.11n clients to connect. We now describe how to setup 802.11n clients in Emulab:-

1. A pcwf Emulab node with an Intel 6200 WLAN card is required. Setup an Emulab experiment with Ubuntu10 as the Operating System, instead of the default "FEDORA10-WIRELESS". Ubuntu 10 has support for the latest Intel WLAN cards.

2. Use ifconfig to turn on wlan0. Install "iwconfig" package through apt.

3. Use iwconfig to select dd-wrt SSID. Use ifconfig to setup a static IP address (e.g. for wlan0 in the router.

4. Ping the router at to confirm connection.


1. Comparison of wireless routers

Linksys E3000 has lower flash and RAM amounts as compared to Routerstation Pro. Routerstation Pro hence can support heavier applications. Another advantage of Routerstation Pro is support for multiple MIMO antenna configurations for Tx and Rx. However DD-WRT is a paid license for Routerstation Pro.

Among other routers with 802.11n and MIMO support : Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH series routers comes with DD-WRT as factory firmware. Linksys E4200 (released Jan 2011) is the latest Linksys release.

2. Upgrading DD-WRT
Upgrading to a later version of DD-WRT should be done from the shell as below:-

1. write newer_ddwrt.bin linux
2. reboot after 3 min
3. erase nvram