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  • DD-WRT Firmware Upgrade

    Posted on bbearren Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by

     Michael432 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

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    • #323517 Reply

      bbearren
      AskWoody MVP

      Several 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, since upgraded to a Motorola MG7550 with 4 ports and dual-band 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 Motorola 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 the 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 to 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 then 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.  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 Motorola Modem/Router, and gives me 4 available LAN Ethernet ports. I turned on DHCP Forwarding, so my Motorola Modem/Router handles the distribution of IP addresses to all my connected devices; 2 PC’s, two docked laptops 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.  I don’t keep sensitive information (financial/personal) on any of my machines.

      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

      • This topic was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by
         bbearren.
      • This topic was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by
         bbearren.
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #331601 Reply

      Michael432
      AskWoody_MVP

      You are correct that hiding your network name (SSID) offers very little security. On other hand, if you have very few wireless devices, then the aggravation factor is low, so it might well be worthwhile.

      As for WPA2/AES its fine, but only if you use a long password. The minimal 8 character password is vulnerable to brute force guessing. This will not be true with WPA3 in the future. I suggest a password that is 14 or 15 characters long. No need for totally random junk, three words and a number should be fine. For more see

      https://www.routersecurity.org/wepwpawpa2.php

      Get up to speed on router security at RouterSecurity.org

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