Saturday, January 31, 2009

Loading DWRT54G Linksys with DD-WRT

This is about the coolest thing I have done lately. I first read about this on Maximum PC, then on LifeHacker - changing the Operating system on a Linksys router from the default manufacturer with something better. There are two that I know of, Tomato and DD-WRT.

The Router I used was a Linksys DWRT54G v.6

The best information I got to do this with, was at this location: Bitsum Technologies .

Why would I want to do this? Well, there are all kinds of reasons, but here are just a few:

1. I am able to boost the power of the signal.
2. I am able to control which antenna is used to send or receive.
3. Radius authentication

I also have a Microsoft Router, that I have been using for years, but the darn thing is so locked down, that outside basic configuration, you can't do much at all. But I got it really cheap, and it was my first wireless router. I found that according to DD-WRT site, I can flash and change the firmware on that also.

One caution: Only do these if you are not afraid to completely bricking your router - I use routers that I can spare. If it fails, and I cannot recover, I am not out some crucial piece of equipment. On the other hand, success gives me a huge advantage and is like getting a new piece of hardware.

Here are the Step by step:

For the WRT54G v5, v5.1, and v6 ONLY

  1. Download [] and extract.
  2. Download [] and extract, OR create a custom firmware image with your MAC address embedded in it. See the 'Changing your MAC address' section below for more information.
  3. Download [DD-WRT micro generic]. You may want to check [DD-WRT] to make sure there isn't a newer version than v23 SP2 beta 08/03/06. Do not use the one labelled 'WRT54G' or 'WRT54GS', use the 'generic' version.
  4. If you don't know how to use (or don't have) a console mode TFTP tool (i.e. tftp.exe), download the [Linksys TFTP transfer tool].
  5. You will want to assign your network adaptor a manual IP address, since you may loose your automatically configured one and have trouble TFTP'ing the firmware. To do this see the troubleshooting section or google it. It's done at the properties dialog of your network connection, in the 'Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)' properties.
  6. Go to your router's web based interface and enter the 'Administration' tab. Then select 'Firmware Upgrade' and choose the vxworks_prep_v03.bin file. Hit apply. After a minute, your browser window will go blank. At this point, power cycle your router.
  7. Again point your web browser to You'll see a different sort of firmware upgrade screen. This is the Management Mode. Select and apply the vxworks_killer_g_v06.bin firmware upgrade. WAIT for your browser window to turn to report 'Success'. Have troubles? Try a different web browser, the http daemon in management mode is very finicky.
  8. Now unplug the power cord of your router, then plug it back in. The power LED should now be blinking.
  9. Now you need to do a binary mode TFTP transfer of DD-WRT micro generic to your router. To do this you can use the Windows TFTP console mode utility, the Linksys TFTP Windows GUI utility, or some other TFTP client. You may have to disable your firewall if by some chance it is blocking outgoing connections on port 69. Many TFTP clients don't default to binary mode, so be sure to specify it (i.e. the -i switch with the Windows console mode TFTP utility).
      • For Windows TFTP console mode utility (example, adjust accordingly):
        • tftp -i put dd-wrt.v23_micro_generic.bin
      • For the GUI utility
        • simply enter your router's IP (, select dd-wrt.v23_micro_generic.bin, leave the password field blank, and initiate the transfer.
Do NOT reboot your router after TFTP'ing, this will happen automatically. It takes a couple minutes after the TFTP transfer finishes for the firmware to actually be flashed.


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