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I've got a Linksys something or other router. I've never had any issues with the default firmware but have always wondered what I'm missing out on by not changing to a 3rd party more configurable firmware.

What should I consider changing to? What does I gain by switching to it?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Journeyman Geek May 15 at 10:48

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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The 3 answers below, AFAIK, are the 3 real choices, and I'd say all 3 are equally good. I had great luck with DD-WRT in getting dead Linksys routers working again. –  Will Eddins Nov 25 '09 at 15:08
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So you think you're missing out on some features that you're not sure even exist, or don't exist (because you haven't stated what features you're looking for and don't know what features you have with your current router) and you've got some Linksys model "something or other" router. My suggestion is to install the GNU "something or other" firmware and get all the features you'll ever need, including the features that haven't been invented yet, because you neither know what you have or what you're looking for. I have a car but I know there's something better. How do I get one? –  joeqwerty Nov 25 '09 at 15:24

4 Answers 4

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Another alternative: DD-WRT:

DD-WRT is a Linux based alternative OpenSource firmware suitable for a great variety of WLAN routers and embedded systems. The main emphasis lies on providing the easiest possible handling while at the same time supporting a great number of functionalities within the framework of the respective hardware platform used.

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DD-WRT has a great feature set, with many features not covered by Tomato. –  Breakthrough Nov 25 '09 at 15:08
    
My friend has installed DD-WRT on his router (D-Link DIR-300), and his connection became really slow - only 1 MiB/s, while without the router (direct connection to the computer) the speed is around 10 MiB/s. Even with the original firmware the speed was much better (3-4 Mib/s). I don't know why this is so. –  Mad Fish Nov 25 '09 at 18:53

I would recommend DD-WRT as well.

Just note, depending on which version your router is will affect your experience. I've used it on the "gimped" versions (WRT54G v.6+) and IMO it still works great, but the process of installing it is a bit more complicated and the risk for bricking your router is higher.

Here is a great tutorial on dealing with the complexities of these versions..

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You can try OpenWRT. It supports a broad range of hardware and has many packages in a repo. It feels like a solid Linux system. There is also a good web configuration interface available.

I'm using it and think that it is very nice.

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The following is a web based interface for OpenWRT: x-wrt.org –  ricbax Nov 25 '09 at 14:52
    
i <3 my openwrt + x-wrt. love the ssh interface -- i've tweaked mine heavily to do things like avoid ISP ad-riddled DNS. –  quack quixote Nov 25 '09 at 15:59
    
Starting with 8.09 it has now it's own built-in modular web interface, called LuCi. So there is even a choice now between LuCi and X-Wrt. As I know, even more web frontends are being developed. –  Mad Fish Nov 25 '09 at 18:50

I'd recommend Tomato if your router is supported. It's great for a beginner and the interface is fairly easy to navigate and understand. It gives you a bunch of great features.

To list a few:

  • manage aspects of the router through cron jobs
  • block certain packets based on headers (block flash, java applets, etc)
  • real-time bandwidth monitoring
  • more detailed QoS (set download and upload speeds rather than just prioritizing)
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