How to Flash Your Router With DD-WRT Firmware — Full Installation Guide

Do you consider a DIY DD-WRT installation on a router? Truth is, the process isn’t a walk in the park – particularly for less techy persons.

While there is a truckload of installation guides online, too often, they cause even more confusion.

Although the DD-WRT installation is somewhat technical, with the right guide, it isn’t a big deal.

If you have little to zero IT knowledge but looking for How to Flash Your Router With DD-WRT Firmware, read on.

This guide holds you by the hand and leads you, step-by-step, through the installation process — from start to finish.

Again, the process is a bit complicated. Besides, you may need to do personal pre-installation research before using this guide.

This article seeks to lead you throughout the installation process itself.

Before you start following this installation guide, read the complete guide to avoid getting stuck midway.

That said, let’s cut to the chase…

What Does DD-WRT Mean?

how to flash your router with dd-wrt

DD-WRT is a permanent software – called firmware – which powers a router.

The free Linux-based firmware is open-sourced. This makes it easily configured. A DD-WRT operating system on your router gives you better control of your router. Besides monitoring, the router packs on a range of exciting features that increase its functionality.

Summarily, DD-WRT typically upgrades and enhances your router.

Why should I flash my router?

As mentioned, the DD-WRT operating system gives you better control over your wireless connection. Although at advance level, DD-WRT offers a range of high-end functionalities, typical benefits include:

VPN installation

If your router runs on DD-WRT, you may install a VPN on it. The private network shields all connected gadgets.

Increases WiFi signal

The DD-WRT operating system allows you to modify your wireless connection from its setting. You may choose a channel with less router traffic as they offer faster connectivity.

Remote access to Home Network

You can use a router as your VPN server and access your home network devices remotely. This is particularly useful for on-the-go users who may not want to copy off files from their computers.

Caution – Pay Attention to these things

Before flashing your router, you need to double-check some essential things.

Note that installing an incompatible DD-WRT version can brick your router. So, again, you may run some personal compatibility research before proceeding with this guide.

Checking devices’ compatibility isn’t rocket science, though. Simply check the back of your router for the brand and model numbers and see if it fits. You can check to know DD-WRT supported devices.

To be cocksure, also check out for unsupported devices. If your device is compatible with the software, congrats. You’re good to do with your installation.

Besides DD-WRT’s compatibility with your router, also ensure the downloaded firmware suits your router. Again, the wrong firmware may brick your device.

All information about which firmware to download and the specific build to use are available on DD-WRT’s supported device page.

Although the page uses some high-tech jargon, don’t jump out too soon. Scroll through the device list to find the details about the recommended firmware to download. You may also find handy information on choosing the right firmware on DD-WRT online forums.

Downloading DD-WRT Firmware

DD-WRT’s wiki can be scary, particularly to tech noobs. Here, you’re concerned only about flashing your router, so, let’s leave the advanced things for the techies.

Being an open-sourced firmware, developers can tweak the primary code and create their unique version. This accounts for the truckload of DD-WRT builds and versions out there.

Rule of thumb — download firmware by BrainSlayer or Kong.

Prefer BrainSlayer’s firmware. This developer is renowned for his builds’ regular updates – you may not update, though.

Simply to go the last upgrade. Click the file with your router’s model and brand. Download file with “firmware” in its name.

Set up your hardware

After downloading the required file, a hardware setup is next. Your hardware setup requires:

  • A PC or Laptop
  • Router
  • Uninterrupted power source
  • Ethernet cable

Now, follow these instructions to the letter T

  1. Plug your router to a power source and switch on
  2. Connect router with the cable to the PC
  3. Plug Ethernet cable in a LAN port – not WAN port.
  4. Plug the other part of the cord into a LAN port on your PC.
  5. Ensure your computer’s internet access is turned off. Completely turn off your WiFi. Your router may brick if you have an active internet connection when flashing.

After these setups, return to the firmware file you downloaded before the hardware set up. Remember?

DD-WRT Installation

Henceforth, it’s a step-by-step guide. Note that routers often have little differences. Kindly refer to your router’s installation guide, if available. The guides are usually found, the same place the builds are listed on the compatible device page.

Where there are no specific guides, follow these instructions:

Visit the admin page of your router. To do this, enter your device’s IP into a browser’s address bar. Check the body of your router, or it’s manual. They are usually in this format: “10.0.x.x” or “192.168.x.x”

  • Visit the Admin Section of your account
  • Click on “Firmware Upgrade”
  • Hit “Select File”
  • Upload the Firmware file you downloaded initially
  • Patiently wait for the router update. Do not operate your PC or router during this process.

When done installing, set up your internet connection and log in to the Admin page. If it prompts for a username and password, the defaults are

  • Password: admin
  • Username: root

From your admin page, you can view the default page of your newly installed DD-WRT operating system and explore all the available features. For security, you may also want to install a VPN.

Hard resetting your router

You may need to Hard-Reset your router to trash the firmware’s old memory.

No fears, your new firmware remains even after a hard reset. Here’s how to run a hard reset on your router:

  • Press and hold the reset button (Don’t release the button till the end of the process.)
  • After 30 seconds, disconnect from the power source
  • Allow staying disconnected for 30 seconds.
  • Reconnect and allow for another 30 seconds.

These steps ensure your old firmware does not interact with the DD-WRT.

Wrap up

A DD-WRT router offers a remarkable internet connection control experience. Hence the need to understand how flashing a router with DD-WRT works.

Sadly, many people end up bricking their routers due to wrong procedures.

That said, if you have followed this guide religiously, you’re good to go. Again, remember you’re learning. It’s ok if the process looks somewhat complicated. With some patience and focus, you’d soon discover how installing a DD-WRT on your router can be.