Programming a Wireless router to do what it’s not meant to do

dd-wrt interfaceThe other day I threw few bucks on an old P4 HP pavilion PC which was working very well on XP. Plan was to use it as an entertainment unit coupled with the TV to watch DVDs, access USBs, download PODs , and hopefully also to use as a satellite receiver.

Turned the computer on, Didn’t take more than few seconds for me to realise the first problem, Damn thing doesn’t have a WiFi card!.

OK,, Now I have two options,
One – Buying one of those low end wireless cards for $20 which is almost double the cost of the PC,
Two – Program one of my old wireless routers as a WiFi card.

Changing the router firmware
Any electronic device such as calculator, printer, microwave has it’s own set of operational instructions embedded in to its memory. Some of these have the ability to be reprogrammed.  For instance if a microwave is re-programmable, we could be able to make the plate inside rotate other way around or make the light inside flashing.

 dd-wrt
dd-wrt is a free open source Linux based firmware compatible with quite a few router brands. Installing dd-wrt makes the router multifunctional allowing it to perform many tasks such as;

  •  Hotspot Portal
  •  Client bridging
  • Linking routers
  • MAC address cloning
  • Wireless bridging
  • And much more

Changing the firmware is extremely easy if steps are followed correctly

Here is how;

  1. Download a recommended build for your router. DO NOT USE SP1. If you are using a broadcom router, read the peacock thread prior to starting. http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=51486 Use one of those recommended builds.
  2. Do a HARD reset on your router.
  3. Connect a cable from your computer to the LAN port on your router.
  4. Set your computer to a static IP address of 192.168.1.9
  5. Set your browser to 192.168.1.1 and open the dd-wrt webgui.
  6. You should be asked to change your password and username. Carefully type these in. If you aren’t asked for a password and username, do a hard reset, this time doing it properly! Hit change password.
  7. Go FIRST to wireless, wireless security and enter the security type and key that matches your primary router.
  8. Hit SAVE, (or APPLY if you wish to)
  9. Go to the wireless, basic settings page and change the wireless mode to Client Bridge.
  10. Your wireless network mode, channel and encryption should be set to the same as the primary router.
  11. If you are using N only or Mixed with N, set your wireless channel width to match your primary
  12. Set the wireless network name to exactly the same as your primary router. Make sure spelling and capitalization match.
  13. Hit SAVE at the bottom. Then hit APPLY.
  14. Check to make sure all the configurations, including the mode, saved and the mode is still client bridge. If any changed, fix them, and save again.
  15. Goto Setup, basic setup and enter a router Local IP address of 192.168.1.6. (Presuming your primary router is on the 192.168.1.x subnet. Client bridge must match the subent of the primary router) Leave subnet mask at 255.255.255.0.
  16. Set the Gateway IP to your primary router. (Likely 192.168.1.1)
  17. Leave Local DNS blank
  18. Check Assign Wan port to a switch, if you wish to.
  19. Change your timezone and DST to match where you are.
  20. Hit Apply.
  21. Set your browser to 192.168.1.6 and login to your router
  22. Goto Security, Firewall. Under Block Wan Requests, uncheck everything but “Filter Multicast” (Leave Filter multicast checked).
  23. Hit Save
  24. Disable SPI Firewall
  25. Hit Apply.
  26. Go to setup/advanced routing and change the operating mode from “gateway” to router. Hit Apply.
  27. Set your computer back to auto IP and auto DNS.

You are done. Configure any other settings you wish at this point.

For  extra info
http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

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