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  1. #1
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    DD-WRT on Netgear N750

    A few months ago I switched from DSL (@ 4 Mbps) to Cable for my ISP. I'm now on Xfinity @ 100Mbps. I bought my own Modem/Router, a TP-Link TC-W7960 (4 Ethernet ports plus 2.4GHz WiFi) to avoid a monthly rental fee. I had been using my old Netgear N750 as a switch without updating the firmware, which meant giving up the WAN port and one LAN port, but everything worked fine. I had setup the N750 with an IP address of 192.168.0.2 (default was 192.168.1.1). The TP-Link DHCP starts at 192.168.0.10, and its IP address is 192.168.0.1.

    I put DD-WRT in my favorite search engine a few days ago and began educating myself in spagetti world of router firmware. Sure enough, there was a way to update my N750 WNDR4000 firmware with a version of DD-WRT, but it required a double-flash. The first was a small firmware update that provided a recognizable header to the WNDR4000 to allow it up flash. The second was a larger and more full-featured version of DD-WRT. I'm purposefully not giving any build numbers, because it varies so much from one brand/model to the next, but there are 100's of Wiki's out there for just about every router made.

    For my WNDR4000, there were multiple resets involved in order to get things rolling. The wiki I was following called for two, one before the first, smaller firmware upgrade and one after, and the a second flash with the larger firmware upgrade, but no reset unless I ran into difficulties. The DD-WRT firmware defaults to 192.168.1.1 for its IP address, so that was one of the first things I had to change. I ran into difficulties.

    It seems that my WNDR4000 requires 5 or 6 hard resets to actually get reset. By hard reset, I'm referring to what is known as the 30/30/30; push and hold the hardware reset button (throughout the entire process) for 30 seconds, then power off for 30 seconds while still holding down the hardware reset button, then power on while still holding down the hardware reset button for an additional 30 seconds. After that the wiki said to wait at least 5 minutes before attempting to flash the larger firmware upgrade. And I had to reset it several times getting everything sorted out.

    All together I think I spent about 5 hours getting from the old setup to my new setup, but I'm finally there, and everything is working quite well. I turned off my WAN ethernet port, and turned it into a LAN ethernet port, and that's the port I use to connect to my TP-Link Modem/Router, and gives me 4 available LAN ethernet ports. I turned on DHCP forwarding, so my TP-Link Modem/Router handles the distribution of IP addresses to all my connected devices; 2 PC's, a docked laptop and a printer on ethernet, plus two ethernet cables for laptops without docks, then 2 laptops and 3 phones on WiFI.

    All in all, DD-WRT opens up a whole new world of ways to expand and improve one's home network. I rename and broadcast my SSID; from everything I've read, hiding it provides no real security and serves very little purpose. Using WPA2/AES security is enough to keep all but professionals out, and I don't really have anything to hide.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  2. #2
    Administrator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbearren
    All in all, DD-WRT opens up a whole new world...
    Many thanks, bbearren, for your post. I flashed my then router with DD-WRT a few years ago and was amazed to see the new configuration options available to me, especially one that allowed me to adjust wireless transmit power.

    Such a shame that my ISP now supplies a locked down, re-badged cable modem/router that doesn't let me 'play/experiment' in the same manner as before... but a timely reminder that I still have one or two spare routers that I can re-flash for re-purposing.

  3. #3
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Corbett View Post
    Such a shame that my ISP now supplies a locked down, re-badged cable modem/router that doesn't let me 'play/experiment' in the same manner as before... but a timely reminder that I still have one or two spare routers that I can re-flash for re-purposing.
    I thought that a rental modem/router combo unit was my only available choice from my ISP until I recently found that they sell what they call a "pass through" modem for $25. I already had a decent router, so I bought the pass-through modem and very easily got my router working with it. I now have full control of my router - I can access all areas of it. (With the rental modem/router, there were areas I couldn't get to.) I can now use my Netgear N300 router rather than the antiquated rental modem/router. And best of all, no more rental fees. In three months I will have paid the same in rental as I paid to outright purchase the pass through modem.

    I found a list of routers which are compatible with DD-WRT, and mine wasn't on the list, so instead I installed the latest firmware from Netgear. I figure that since I have a good router now, I don't want to risk bricking it and having to purchase another one.

  4. #4
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbearren View Post
    I rename and broadcast my SSID; from everything I've read, hiding it provides no real security and serves very little purpose. Using WPA2/AES security is enough to keep all but professionals out, and I don't really have anything to hide.
    I believe that using a non-descript SSID is a better way to secure it than hiding it. For example, I would never use "mrjimphelps" as my SSID; but I would use something nondescript like "footballfan" or "baseballfan". Also, if I moved from New York City to, say, Dallas, I definitely wouldn't use "NewYorkGiants" as my SSID, because all of the Dallas fans in my neighborhood would know immediately that the SSID belonged to the guy who just moved there from New York! But I might grit my teeth and use "DallasCowboys" as my SSID so as to be unnoticeable to people who were in range of my wifi signal.

    By picking an SSID which is visible and nondescript rather than hidden, you will make your life a lot easier, because you won't have any hassle attaching new devices to your network like you would if the SSID were hidden.

    (For those of you who aren't from the United States, the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants are arch rivals.)

  5. #5
    Administrator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Tried DD-WRT in my router a few years ago but didn't find any advantages with it over the stock firmware. The only useful to me new option it provided was increasing the wireless transmit power. Played with that but it didn't really increase my range significantly. Also, you could have warranty issues if the router fails.

    Jerry

  6. #6
    Gold Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    Jim
    OpenWRT may be an option:
    https://openwrt.org
    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

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  8. #7
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    By picking an SSID which is visible and nondescript rather than hidden, you will make your life a lot easier, because you won't have any hassle attaching new devices to your network like you would if the SSID were hidden.
    When the SSID is hidden, that's the only thing that's hidden. The WiFi signal is still broadcasting. My Windows 10 Laptop shows "Available networks" and the hidden SSID's show up as "hidden", and whether they are open or secured.

    It doesn't really matter other than personal taste.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  9. #8
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwitalka View Post
    Tried DD-WRT in my router a few years ago but didn't find any advantages with it over the stock firmware. The only useful to me new option it provided was increasing the wireless transmit power. Played with that but it didn't really increase my range significantly. Also, you could have warranty issues if the router fails.

    Jerry
    For a newer router that is a real concern, but for one like mine, 6 or 7 years old (I can't really remember) it won't make a difference. Plus it's all open source and new releases are coming out regularly for more and more routers. The release I'm running is from August, 2017.

    My biggest gain was going from a 3-port router to a 5-port router with nothing more than a firmware upgrade and a few hours learning stuff. And I'm always into learning new stuff.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

  10. #9
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Today just a bit before noon, a big truck made a turn onto 6th street about half a mile up the road from where I live, and was just tall enough to catch the Comcast/Xfinity cable hanging from the power poles and break it, plus making two power poles tilt slightly. (I drove down to where I saw the utility trucks to find out what was going on)

    Apparently all of that slapped the 7200V mainline wires together, because here at my house, the power went off, came back on, went off, came back on, went off and stayed off all within the span of about a minute. No doubt there was considerable surging in the voltage coming back on. Power was restored after about an hour and a half, after they got the poles standing straight again. My internet connection was out until around 8:00, after the contract crew finished splicing, restringing the cable and lacing it up to the supporting steel cable.

    Something in all that gave my two UPS's a fit and caused my DD-WRT to reset to default, so I had to set it back up again. Where the wiki calls for a 30/30/30 reset, for my Netgear N750, that means do it three times, 30/30/30 X 3. It's working fine once again.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

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