Now that I had explored the firmware provided by Asus with their RT-N16 router, it was time to take the next step and see what OpenSource router firmware could offer. The first one to install is from DD-WRT.
On your first visit to the DD-WRT web site you’ll probably find the same notice as I did: “To obtain the matching version for your router please use the Router Database:” You then look up your router model and find the corresponding firmware version you should use.
This seems simple enough. However, after finding this information I then took the time to read through the forums only to find that the router database is incomplete, and that the firmware recommended should not be used. Latest versions of the firmware are also not recommended, as not all of them are stable.
It took some time reading through various threads, but this is what I used for the Asus RT-N16:
The Authoritative Installation Instructions
The authoritative source for firmware installation is the wiki page for your particular router model. In my case, the Asus RT-N16 Router installation page should be used. The router database should NOT be used – apparently this is maintained by someone else and is not correct.
General DD-WRT Firmware Installation Instructions
The general firmware installation instructions should be followed as preparation before actually performing the firmware installation for your particular router.
In particular, read through the section on “Prepare to Go Offline”. “Flashing” your router will cause your internet connection to disconnect, during which time you will not have access to these resources. Saving them on your hard drive first, using Internet Explorer, will allow you to refer back to them if needed.
Per the instructions on the wiki page for my Asus RT-N16, I initially flashed my router with the Stable “14929” version – (dd-wrt.v24-14929_NEWD-2_K2.6_mini_RT-N16.trx).
Post Installation Instructions
Once I successfully completed this, the instructions indicate you can upgrade to the latest version. Instead of the latest version I upgraded to “15943” instead – (dd-wrt.v24-15943_NEWD-2_K2.6_mini_RT-N16.trx). The reason for this is the information I found in the following thread, about half-way down this page: DD-WRT Forum :: View topic – 100 pages of RT-N16 post Condensed.
The “15943” version can be found at: ftp://dd-wrt.com/others/eko/V24-K26/svn15943-snow/.
I upgraded to the mini firmware first, as indicated above. After satisfied with this I plan to install the mega for the same version (dd-wrt.v24-15943_NEWD-2_K2.6_mega.bin).
DD-WRT Installation Quirks
Overall, the firmware installation went very smooth – no problems. There are a couple of things worth mentioning.
First, the instructions tell you to “1.Do a factory reset in the Asus GUI.” This is in the Administration menu of the Asus firmware. After I did the factory reset all of the rest of the firmware menu options disappeared, including the option to install the new version of firmware, which is needed to install DD-WRT with. Instead, it immediately started the internet connection wizard and walked me through the initial connection details, including the wireless defaults. I didn’t see any other option, so I followed the wizard steps and reconfigured my internet WAN connection.
Secondly, a couple of times during the DD-WRT instructions I had to either reset to factory default, or upgrade the firmware which caused the router to reboot. I found in both cases after waiting a few minutes that I needed to refresh the browser device’s URL address in order for the DD-WRT firmware screen to reappear.
DD-WRT Installation Summary
Other than these couple of quirks, the installation process was smooth. Actually, it was easier than I expected. I spent much more time researching than I did with the actual install. The time spent just with the install was maybe 10 minutes.
Return to the Firmware Overview: Asus RT-N16 Router Firmware Overview