Saturday, December 30, 2006

My Experiences with DD-WRT

I was reading today that DD-WRT (the free firmware that originally ran on Linksys's WRT54G router) is now available for x86 machines so I thought that I would give it a try. For more information on DD-WRT please see: DD-WRT on a standard X86 pc, and

Installing DD-WRT

To install DD-WRT from Windows please see: DD-WRT on a standard X86 pc.
To install DD-WRT from a UNIX-like system you will need: An x86 compatible pc (i386) or greater with at least 16MB of RAM, 2 network cards, and a hard drive. Also you need to download this image: dd-wrt_public_vga.

To install DD-WRT you need a way of writing the image onto the hard drive you are going to use. I decided to use a LiveCD and dd(1) the image off the usb key. So after downloading the image I placed it on a usb key.

I booted my chosen LiveCD: TrueBSD. Then I inserted my usb key, made a directory in /mnt and mounted the usb key:
# mkdir /mnt/usb
# mount -t msdos /dev/da0s1 /mnt/usb

I changed directory into /mnt/usb, and wrote the dd-wrt image to the hard drive:
# cd /mnt/usb
# dd if=dd-wrt_public_vga.image of=/dev/ad0
22528+0 records in
22528+0 records out
11534336 bytes transferred in 40.308342 secs (286153 bytes/sec)

Then I unmounted the usb key and rebooted, taking out the livecd.
# cd /
# umount /mnt/usb
# shutdown -r now

My Impressions

Well this was a disaster for me I don't know how you will go, but after a couple of hours of total frustration I wiped the hard drive. The errors produced where amazing, varied, and did not stop. No matter how many different things I tried I could not get to the stage of accessing the web front end. For a while I couldn't even get a login prompt. After searching for answers and solutions I felt totally disheartened. I don't very often give up on things, yet this was beyond me. I just could not get this to run. Maybe it was just my hardware?
I hope that others have more luck than I had! Yet I don't think I'll will bother with DD-WRT. To much work for no reward.


Anonymous said...

I've been using dd-wrt x86 on the main router at my office for over 8 months, and its GREAT. Very fast, powerful and can handle all of our demand. I do wish it had more features for the x86 version, out of the box though. Like other linux router distro provide (ie: smoothwall) Like USB support! Come on DD-WRT! (for external hard drives, printers, webcams, scanners)

Kris said...

I'm glad that it works for you mate! I wish I could have tried it out.

Most routers using either a BSD or Linux kernel rock, and are some of the most powerful available for the x86 platform. Therefore I think that DD-WRT leaves much to be desired.

Thank you for you comment, have fun with your router, cheers Kris