I bought this router because it had gigabit and because it was cheap /w good reviews. I was wondering what DD-WRT is (I know it's some sort of firmware) and what does it do. I use the wireless network mostly for gaming and streaming movies. How can I install DD-WRT (if it's better than the Linksys firmware)
If you're happy w/ it as is, why install dd-wrt? Esp. if you don't even know what it is.
For the record, dd-wrt is third party firmware that adds TONS of features, far more than the average user will ever need (or understand in some cases). Really great stuff if you’re a networking nerd and want all the bells and whistles.
Again, if you're content w/ your current setup, there's probably no good reason to consider dd-wrt (well, unless you’re just feeling adventurous). The one exception might be if you wanted to reconfigure the router into a client or repeater bridge. Most stock firmware doesn’t support these features, and buying standalone devices for these purposes can be cost prohibitive. But by using an expensive router that's dd-wrt capable, you can have these features and perhaps save a few bucks.
Highly unlikely since it does nothing to change the hardware, which ultimately determines what is possible in terms of performance (assuming the manufacturer didn’t make some grave error in their own firmware, of course). These third party firmware solutions are not really about increasing performance, but functionality. Any performance differences (up or down) would only be coincidental, not by design.
Your initial post didn’t describe a specific problem. You merely said you got this router cheap, you do mostly gaming and streaming, and were curious about dd-wrt and thought it might be better. As I said, I don’t think dd-wrt is necessarily going to make improvements in your current circumstances, at least in terms of performance. If that’s your expectation and goal, then throwing dd-wrt or tomato into the mix may prove disappointing.
That said, is dd-wrt better? Yes, in terms of features/functionality. If you find that interesting and want to pursue it on those grounds, by all means, do so. dd-wrt is ABSOLUTELY LOADED w/ features, many even I don’t use. It supports numerous forms of bridging (WDS, client, repeater, both bridged and non-bridged), VPN client and server, SSHD, QoS, USB (when applicable), NAS, captive portals, various logging options, visual bandwidth monitoring, detailed connection monitoring, WOL, VLANs, yada yada. You can even install what’s called optware and add more features beyond what’s already available (e.g., bittorrent client). It’s a networking nerd’s paradise.
As long as you're willing to accept the slight risk of bricking a router, and willing to take the time to learn the new UI and additional features, I’m sure you’ll learn a lot and eventually find things you can employ within your own network. And it’s a lot of fun too!
Hey eibgrad. Great answers that you provided above. I have another question for you though. I think what a lot of people considering installing tomato or dd-wrt are also wondering about is wireless range. Would installing one of those firmwares and then increasing your Tx power to a higher, but still relatively safe, setting really increase your wireless range significantly? I have read that the increase in range could be miraculous, but that it could also be negligible. I know it also depends on your setup, but what can the average user expect? Is it really worth installing them just to increase your wireless range or would you recommend just getting a repeater to do that? I have also read that there is a trade-off in speed, that these firmwares do not run as fast as the stock firmware that comes with the router. And truth to this?
Sorry I know this thread is a bit old, but if you're still around, or if anybody else could chime in here, I would greatly appreciate your advice.