Buffalo router DD-WRT firmware upgrade
Most network routers have fairly basic firmware that limits the hardware's full potential. You can change that.In most situations, a network router's normal purpose is to facilitate in connecting computers together to form a network, either for internal use or for granting access to the World Wide Web. Admittedly, if you actually want to do anything interesting with the hardware, most routers have fairly basic firmware that limits the hardware's full potential.
I know this first hand, as I picked up an ASUS RT-N12 router from a good friend of mine recently to replace my underwhelming Belkin branded one. Although ASUS hardware is mostly of high quality, the firmware felt rather raw and unpolished. With that in mind, I did some research online and found that custom router firmware was available and I decided to give it a try.
Eventually, I settled on DD-WRT, which is quite honestly one of the best router firmware packages I've ever used. For those who are unfamiliar with it, DD-WRT can be flashed on any compatible router in order to grant the user extra functionality, which hardware manufacturers seem reluctant to include in stock software. Once you flash your router, you probably won't want to go back. You quite literally get everything but the kitchen sink at your fingertips.
For an idea of what DD-WRT can do for you, I will highlight some of my favorite features included with the firmware.
If you wanted to set up an OpenVPN gateway for all systems that connect through the router, you can add your VPN cert and private key, flip a few switches to determine the encryption and tunnel type, and voila! Every computer that connects to the router will pass right into the VPN. No client end VPN software is necessary.
I also like how DD-WRT is extremely verbose on stats, showing you total inbound and outbound traffic to date, as well as router performance information, including free memory and CPU activity. Having access to this panel will give you insights into what kind of traffic you are dealing with and if you need additional hardware down the road.
An example of some of the available router stats
Finally, DD-WRT just seems to improve network performance by a decent margin. For instance, after switching the firmware from stock to custom, surfing web pages and downloads seemed a bit snappier than before. Not to mention, I could be more discriminatory of what protocols (i.e. Bittorrent) could do what it needed to do with the network to improve balance.
Installing takes some research
Now, when it comes to getting DD-WRT installed to the router, there really is no one-size-fits-all method, as hardware from different manufacturers is handled on a case by case basis. There are some routers that are unable to be flashed too, so if you are shopping around for a new router, it would be advisable to refer to the DD-WRT hardware compatibility database first before committing to a purchase.
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