Yesterday I posted about my router taking a dump on me and what I did to solve my problem and get back online.
If you were wondering before I get comments on it, yes, my router “taking a dump” is the proper technical term.
I also mentioned about using the DD-WRT custom Linux firmware and received a few emails about how to set it up and what special things I do with it.
Today I’m going to cover how to flash DD-WRT on your Linksys wireless router.
Disclaimer: I do not take responsibility for anything you do to your router. If you brick it or something else goes wrong, it’s not my fault. I’ve documented everything I’ve done in flashing my own routers however your mileage may very. Proceed at your own risk.
It takes only a few minutes to flash the router with a new firmware but you must note these key steps.
Keep in mind that you can only flash a Linksys WRT54G Router version 1-4. Look on the bottom of your router. There should be a label with the version number on it.
You can also tell from the serial number by checking the first 4 letters:
- Version 1.0: CDF0, CDF1
- Version 1.1: CDF2, CDF3
- Version 2.0: CDF5
- Version 2.1: CDF6
- Version 2.2: CDF7
- Version 3.0: CDF8
- Version 3.1: CDF9
- Version 4.0: CDFA
I’m going to assume you’ve already downloaded your choice of DD-WRT firmware. If not, go download it now. I recommend dd-wrt.v23 SP2.
Flashing Your Router:
1. Connect your PC with the .bin file to the router via Ethernet cable. Do not try to flash the firmware through a wireless link, which could be unstable and lead to a brick.
2. Reset your router’s current firmware to factory defaults. You can do this through the current firmware’s configuration pages – Administration/Factory Defaults/Yes/Save Settings.
As an alternative, you can physically reset the factory defaults by pressing and holding the reset button on the back of the router for 30 seconds.
3. Now you can flash the new firmware. Connect to the router’s configuration pages with your browser and navigate to Administration/Firmware Upgrade. Open the browse dialog to select your ..bin firmware file.
4. Once you start the firmware upgrade – do nothing! Have a drink, go for a walk. Just don’t touch your computer or the router. Leave them alone for this intimate moment. Interrupting this process will only produce a new baby brick.
5. After a minute or so you’ll see the upgrade progress bar complete. The router will now reset itself and assuming everything worked, you’ll see a new page with a button marked Continue.
6. Wait at least two more minutes before clicking the Continue button. Sometimes the router presents the continue screen before it has truly cleaned up from its upgrade and you’re better safe than sorry. Have another drink or walk around the block again.
7. Now click Continue. You should be forwarded to the main configuration page for your router. In the case of DD-WRT, it looks much like Linksys’ own page, except with DD-WRT markings and a whole lot more features to explore.
That’s it. You’re done. Congratulations. From here you’ll want to explore the configuration pages and follow any guides or documentation available for the firmware you’ve installed.
What if you didn’t make it this far? What if something terrible has happened and the router did not come back to life?
This is a rare but possible event. It is very unlikely if you’ve followed steps one through six. Your router may be bricked, which is somewhat like being dead, except with the possibility of resurrection.
First, try to reset the router to factory defaults by pressing and holding the reset button on its rear for 30 seconds.
When and if it relights, try to connect to it with your browser. You may be lucky and have a chance to start the process over again.
There are various other tricks you can try to revive a bricked router, also known as recovering from a bad flash. In this case, you want to consult the WRT54G Revival Guide.