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What Is DD-WRT And How It Can Make Your Router Into A Super-Router

Ryan Dube 27-07-2012

what is dd-wrtThe funny thing about my decision to write this article is that I am not really much of a router connoisseur. The extent of my router explorations amounted to me walking into the computer store, selecting the second-cheapest router I could find (usually a Linksys), and calling it good.


I liked it when the router worked instantly without much effort, but I was willing to go in and do things like change the admin password or enable router security, once I was convinced by my geeky friends just how dangerous an unsecured router could be (even though my nearest neighbors are the occasional deer and maybe a chipmunk.)

I first started actually poking around in that LinkSys router when I discovered that a neighbor – a person visiting the area from Texas for the summer – was in fact stealing my Wireless signal How To Tell If Someone Is Using Your Wireless Network Read More . It’s not a good feeling – but I quickly closed up that security hole. At the same time, I started digging around and discovered that I could do some pretty cool things with that router, like port forwarding, Internet filtering, and setting up QoS with high priority for my own PC!

Of course, it wasn’t only until very recently that I decided to recover a bricked Linksys by loading it up with the DD-WRT firmware How To Unbrick Your Trashed WRT54G Linksys Router Have you ever bricked your router? Were you able to fix it, or did you give up and throw your router away? Follow this tutorial that shows you how you can bring back your router... Read More . It wasn’t until the moment when that firmware came up in the browser screen that I realized just how much that I had been missing all of these years. Linksys clearly doesn’t hold a candle to DD-WRT.

Setting Up Your Super-Router

By wiping the Linksys default firmware and installing DD-WRT, I had unknowingly and unwittingly converted that cheap router pretty much into a super-router. It is now capable of more things than I could have ever imagined.

Think about it – the hardware is the same, the setup is the same, but the capabilities and features of this router are now far beyond anything I thought possible with a Linksys. In this article, I’m going to show you some of the coolest features of DD-WRT which, if you decide to make use of, will allow you to transform your own router into the super-router of your dreams.


Setting Up Your Second Router as an Access Point

While DD-WRT isn’t the only router firmware capable of turning your router into a wireless access point, it is certainly one of the easiest. All you have to do is go into your router setup page, click on the “Setup” tab, and then follow this procedure:

1. Plug your computer directly into one of the LAN ports on the router with a network cable. Call up the Admin page and click on the “Setup” tab.

2. Disable DHCP under WAN Connection Type.

3. Make the static IP one up from your main router. So if your main router is, you will make this access point


4. Change DHCP type to “Forwarder” and the DHCP server to the IP of your main router.


what is dd-wrt

This essentially has your main router pass DHCP addresses to any new PCs that might connect to this second router. The second router will show up to people as a second wireless connection that they can connect to, but it is still the same network, and your main router is handling the issuing of all IP addresses.


Monitoring and Logging Your Network Activity

One of the coolest things that I discovered about the DD-WRT is that it doubles as a convenient network monitoring tool. From any PC in the house, you can connect to the router and call up the bandwidth monitoring tool to see if there’s anything consuming your network bandwidth in a big way. This area is located under the “Status” menu, if you click on the “Bandwidth” tab.

how dd-wrt works

Also, if you click on the WAN tab, you will see a history of traffic details, showing you your average network traffic use on a daily basis. I don’t have any actual data in my log yet because I use my router as a secondary rather than a primary. However if you are running DD-WRT as your primary router – this tool can really come in handy for recognizing patterns – are your kids downloading torrents on certain days of the week? Is someone streaming movie files on the weekend?

What Is DD-WRT And How It Can Make Your Router Into A Super-Router ddwrt4


This tool may not tell you why your traffic is spiking on certain days, but it’ll certainly show you how much it’s spiking and when. The beauty of this is that it’s all logged, historical data, so you can do your analysis any time, unlike real-time data where you have to sit there and watch the traffic live, waiting for spikes.

Speaking of monitoring, you can also see all active users connected to your wireless network by clicking on the “Wireless” tab and scrolling down to the “Clients” area.

how dd-wrt works

Here, you’ll see the MAC address of every device that’s connected wirelessly. It shows the signal strength between the router and that device, which can also help you identify the distance the device is from the router.

Other Features

The fun doesn’t end when you are using DD-WRT. If you’re a gamer, you will absolutely love the ability to tweak the router to apply specific network bandwidth priority to your gaming escapades.

Under the QoS tab inside the “NAT/QoS” menu, just enable QoS, make the port “WAN” and Packet Scheduler “HTB”. Perform a speed test to determine your uplink and downlink speeds, and apply 85% of that value to the Uplink and Downlink fields in this form.

how dd-wrt works

You can select a specific protocol or game (Quake, Runes of Magic, PP Live, etc…), or you can configure priority for a specific netmask, mac address or even an ethernet port.

Other interesting features under “Services” is the ability to specify Cron Jobs to run from the router, or the ability to overclock your router!

What Is DD-WRT And How It Can Make Your Router Into A Super-Router ddwrt6

I don’t know if I’d have the guts to try and overclick my lowly Linksys, but then again it’s so cheap, what do I have to lose?

Another cool feature is under the Administration menu and “WOL” tab – you can set up specific hosts on your network with Wake on LAN (assuming the network card has that feature available).

what is dd-wrt

And, one of my favorite super-router features of DD-WRT, is the ability to set up a watchdog monitoring system. What this means is that for those older Linksys routers that used to have those annoying issues where network connectivity would suddenly drop out until you rebooted the router – you can set up the Wachdog to automate that process for you.

Basically, what I’ve done here is set up the IP address of as the test IP to ping. The moment the router can’t ping Google for over 1000 seconds, it will automatically reboot itself.

how does dd-wrt work

This feature alone could give those old routers some new life! Why toss them in the trash when you can install DD-WRT and turn those old routers into the super-router you could never afford?

Give some of these features a test drive and let us know how it works out for you. Do you love DD-WRT as much as I do? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Wireless Wi-Fi Router via Shutterstock

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    December 2, 2017 at 6:54 am

    Can installing dd-wrt turn a 3g router into a 5g router?

  2. William Dason
    August 27, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    DD-WRT firmware is what every router own has been looking for if your wanted more then your router firmware would let you do . I am running dd-wrt firmware on old netgear wndr3400v1 even the fact the router is running problems some times due its age and the fact it has a few mods the netgear would not like. Over all the dd-wrt firmware does a very good job of running this router will reuse the router a repeater later after I get a new AC standard router.

  3. Ben
    July 6, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Grieta article!
    I'm using an 802.11ac Airport Time Capsule and I want to add extenders using DD-WRT. Can I use lynksis routers as my extenders? Also, is it possible to load DD-WRT onto an Airport Express or older Extreme? Would it need to be ac, as well?

  4. Anonymous
    October 14, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    If you want a good router, buy ourselves one of the latest Asus ! PERIOD !

  5. Anonymous
    October 14, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    So what the big deal , that somebody was using tour Wi-Fi signal ? ............................. In Europe ( while traveling ) for me there were (private open networks) real life saver. In Serbia- Belgrade there are hundreds of open network on every street. The same in Bulgaria. Greece, Italy, Sweden, Norway Netherlands !................................... My question is , what the f. big deal that somebody in need will use your f. network for half an hour or even more ? I have opened my network in Toronto - range almost 300 meters ( 900 ft around ) . Again , American moron , what is the f. big deal ? Lock yourself in a storage room and don't leave !!!

    • Ryan Dube
      October 14, 2015 at 11:43 pm

      Once someone gets on your network and gets all of your devices infected with a nasty virus, you'll quickly realize what the big deal is (and who the moron is). But hey - keep having fun on all those open networks, dude.

      • AFK
        January 3, 2016 at 2:11 pm

        Haters gonna hate! Ignore the dork Ryan, thanks for the article; very helpful.

    • average joe
      August 14, 2016 at 5:50 am

      That is a wildly ignorant thing to say. Having your network open to the public is a very nice thing to do, but you can still be secure and offer wireless access to others. With all the things that can be done, and will likely be done, on your network it is always a good idea to keep your network secure. For example, you leave your network open, and your neighbor, as nice as he is, begins torrenting on your network. Legally you will be held responsible for that because it was done on your network. If you are okay with that risk, great, but on the other hand, an adept user would be able to steal cookies and login to your accounts, facebook, bank, etc. which could be devastating. If you would like to provide wireless to those around you do it properly, separate it from your internal network....Most routers by default will allow you to setup "Guest Networks" which allow users to use it but not access your internal resources.. you could also block common torrenting ports and other traffic as needed.

  6. Anonymous
    September 21, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    I've been putting off DD-WRT for a long time, but why to I want an access point? What's the benefit?

  7. aliffridhzuan
    April 9, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    Can you restore back to original firmware if you don't want to use dd-wrt anymore?

    • Anonymous
      June 27, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      Yes depending on if the manufacturer provides a copy of the original firmware or if you know how to make a backup of the original firmware.

  8. Jennifer
    March 1, 2015 at 3:19 am

    I'm not going to say that I'm computer illiterate, but I am definitely delayed. So here's a question.... dd-wrt shows up on my list of available wireless networks on my laptop at work; as though it is it's own network connection. We have been having some security issues, so I started looking into what dd-wrt is. My very basic understanding is that it's some sort of "add on" firmware to make a router work better. Is that a correct analysis? We have 3 routers in house. Would this firmware have come pre-installed on one of those routers, or would someone have needed to add it? Can someone help me understand why it would be showing up on my list of available network connections? Thanks!

    • Anonymous
      June 27, 2015 at 8:18 pm

      To answer your first question dd-wrt in this case is just the name of the wireless network (SSID), it could be that someone installed dd-wrt on one of the routers (Most likely since the default wireless network name is dd-wrt) or they just put dd-wrt as the name of that specific wireless network. The answer to your second question it is not an add-on firmware for your router it is a replacement firmware, and none of your routers would come installed with it out of the box you would need to install a specific version of dd-wrt for your specific router (Google is your friend).

  9. John Traynor
    February 16, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    I have an E2500 downstairs and a WRT54G v8 upstairs. The WRT54G is a good office router but the range is a little limited. Rather than switching the G to an N router I am thinking of going to a Linksys 1900AC and then flashing the G with DDWRT to use the WRT54G as a repeater or wireless access point. I know the WRT54G is DDWRT compatible. Has anyone done this with a WRT54G V8 and how has range improved when you overclock it??

    • matyse
      January 13, 2016 at 3:46 am

      i did this with a WRT54G V8 router, and at first, the setup is different than the default for the router, but it is a very good OS for the router, it works well with it being used as a range extender.

  10. joni stone
    January 28, 2015 at 8:54 am

    nice article, instaled this firmware on my tp-link wr741nd very cheap router only $16 but yes it gave my router new feature and capabilities.

  11. Griffin
    December 12, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    "neighber" and "overclick" Not sure if just joking or spelling mistakes. Either way my OCD over what others do is kicking in. (I have no OCD about what I do. Just what others do)

  12. Andrew Niklas
    December 2, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    how can i find the setup page of a dd-wrt router if i forgot the IP that i assigned it

  13. Gerhard Tinned
    November 13, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    I have a linksys router running ddwrt for years now. Works great!!! Never wanne go back to the original firmware! ;-)

  14. Nadia Hunt
    October 23, 2012 at 10:27 am

    In my dd-wrt control panel I can't seem to get into the setup, wireless or any of the available tabs. When, I am asked for the name and password I put in admin for both, but this still does not all me to get into the tabs. I wanted to rename the router and password protect it. Thanks. ~Nadia

    • Rynousa
      January 11, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      Default DD-WRT:

      Username: root
      Password: admin

  15. Henrique Dias
    September 9, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    I personally prefer Tomato over ddwrt as I think is more stable and user friendly.

    Ddwrt is indeed a very powerful option to convert any home router to a professional level.

    Very important is to know what you're doing... specially on the installation phase is critical... depending on the mistake made you can "brick" your router (means leave it unusable).

  16. Do Huy Ngoc
    September 9, 2012 at 8:57 am

    is it safe to use? I mean a firmware is not like a software which can be easily re installed if something's going wrong.

    • Henrique Dias
      September 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm

      Yes you have the potential to "brick" your router... so It's very important to study ddwrt site very carefully. They have a lot of useful information.

  17. Erik Wilkinson
    September 8, 2012 at 2:45 am

    Has anyone compiled a list of compatible routers?

  18. AriesWarlock
    August 13, 2012 at 2:15 am

    Can someone give me a summary of the benefits of DDWRT?

  19. Scutterman
    August 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    I'm now considering getting a cheap router so I can try this out. If it works well I'll use it as my main router, and keep my current one as a drop-in replacement.

  20. jessemanalansan
    July 29, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Is DD-WRT free of charge to use?

  21. Doc
    July 28, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    "Make the static IP one up from your main router. So if your main router is, you will make this access point" This may conflict with an IP address already issued by your main router - make sure that it's either a reserved address or outside the range for DHCP leases (typically 2-100 or 100-199) on your main router.

    • Ryan Dube
      August 7, 2012 at 4:59 pm

      That's a good point. I did a quick ping to be sure it was available, but if it's in the range for DHCP leases, you could potentially run into issues. Thanks for pointing that out.

  22. sabih
    July 28, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    I shall tell my father about this and get him to use it. Great! Thank you!

  23. Mike Green
    July 28, 2012 at 9:48 am

    My router isn't compatible :(

  24. Collin Hoffman
    July 28, 2012 at 3:00 am

    I wanted to try this with my old Linksys WRT54G2, but the revision I had wasn't compatible with DD-WRT. I've checked periodically, but no luck (of course, I'm not sure that I could find my old router even if my revision was made compatible).

    I personally prefer the Airport Extreme (my only Apple product), even though it is a little more expensive. It is so reliable that I forget the configuration password because I never need it. It really supports anything you could want from a router: Simultaneous dual-band, Gigabit ethernet, USB hard drive or printer sharing, a guest network separate from your main one, MAC address control, port forwarding, and much more. At a little over a year old, it's lasted longer than my old Linksys, with about the same number of problems that I would get from the Linksys in a week or two.

  25. Rigoberto Garcia
    July 28, 2012 at 2:25 am

    Excelent article Ryan. Should try it out...

  26. Kylee Kanavas
    July 27, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    So do i need two linksys routers?

    • Ryan Dube
      August 7, 2012 at 4:50 pm

      No - you can use a single linksys and load DD-WRT onto it to replace the original firmware. It does everything the original Linksys firmware does and more. However, if you've never done it before or are nervous about it, ask someone that has done it before to give you a hand because there's always a possibility of bricking your router if you don't do it right.

    • Asul
      January 26, 2015 at 9:40 pm

      I'd recommend 2 Linksys Routers, 3 N300 Wireless Routers($294), and 3 AirPort Base Stations from Cupertino's Apple Store

    • Asul
      January 26, 2015 at 9:41 pm

      use 2 Linksys routers and a Router labeled "NETGEAR".

  27. Eric Swank
    July 27, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Definitely an informative article that has answered a lot of questions for me. I recently learned about flashing the firmware on compatible routers, although there had been some apprehension about bricking the router. Mainly of interest is setting up an access point with another router to extend the range on the same network.
    Thank You Ryan and

    • Ryan Dube
      August 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm

      Your welcome, and DD-WRT is definitely the way to go for your purpose. DD-WRT only requires a few really simple settings to be configured to accomplish turning the router into a repeater, it's great.

  28. Dany Bouffard
    July 27, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    DD-WRT is not the only one custom firmware there is also Open-WRT and Tomato, also dont forget to check if your router is compatible with the custom firmware, not all routers can get flashed.

    • Ryan Dube
      August 7, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      True, I'd say this article is targeting the Lynksys family as far as flashing. Agreed on Open-WRT and Tomato - two others that I'd like to try out someday. Thanks for the comment.

  29. Ashwin Ramesh
    July 27, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Neat! Should try it out!

  30. Yash Desai
    July 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    great article, finally convinced me to put dd-wrt on my router

    • Ryan Dube
      August 7, 2012 at 4:43 pm

      Excellent - don't forget to let us know how it went!

      • Nadia Hunt
        October 23, 2012 at 10:29 am

        I meant to add the comment here below.

        Can you help me?

        In my dd-wrt control panel I can't seem to get into the setup, wireless or any of the available tabs. When, I am asked for the name and password I put in admin for both, but this still does not all me to get into the tabs. I wanted to rename the router and password protect it. Thanks. ~Nadia

        • Helper
          November 2, 2012 at 1:50 pm

          Unfortunate recommendation : read on the dd-wrt wiki and you will know the answer.

          Real answer : your router's username and pass are now
          root - admin instead of admin - admin