This tutorial will walk you every step of the way through flashing your Linksys WRT54G (version 8) router to use the DD-WRT firmware.
According to Wikipedia, the Linksys WRT54G v8.0 is “currently one of the most commonly available (routers) at US retail establishments, such as Best Buy and Target”. Due to hardware limitations, the 8.x versions (8.0, 8.1 and 8.2) are only able to run the “micro” version of the DD-WRT firmware (you can find a firmware version feature comparison chart here). Even so, the micro version of the DD-WRT firmware provides dozens of features, many of which are not available with the default Linksys firmware.
This walkthrough is based on the WRT54G v8.x tutorial on the DD-WRT wiki. The biggest difference between this one and the one on the DD-WRT wiki is that I’ve elaborated a bit, and provided screenshots for each step.
Please make sure you understand each step before you complete this tutorial. If you’re unsure of anything, please leave a comment and I’ll respond as soon as I can. It is possible to brick (render the router unusable) your device if done incorrectly.
- You’ll need to use a wired (not wireless) computer to flash your WRT54G with the DD-WRT firmware. Make sure that computer (doesn’t matter if it’s a Mac or PC running Windows or Linux) is plugged in to Port 1 of your router. Unplug all other devices from the router – you can leave the WAN port plugged in to your cable/DSL modem.
- Download the files vxworkskillerGv8-v3.bin and dd-wrt.v24_micro_generic.bin to the computer you’re going to use to flash your WRT54G (the one plugged in to Port 1 of your router).
- You’ll need to set your computer to use the following static IP settings:
IP Address: 192.168.1.100
Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
- Unplug the power cord from the WRT54G. Push the Reset button (see image below) while plugging the power cord back in, and hold down the button for about 20 seconds. Use a pencil or ball-point pen to push and hold the Reset button – it’s a bit recessed and very difficult to push and hold with your finger or fingernail.
- Open your browser and enter the address http://192.168.1.1
You’ll be presented with a Management Mode Firmware Upgrade page. Click the Choose File button.
- Navigate to the vxworkskillerGv8-v3.bin file, select it, and close Choose (or Open if you’re using IE).
- Make sure that vxworkskillerGv8-v3.bin is listed on the Management Mode Firmware Upgrade page, and click the Apply button.
- Wait for at least two minutes before you go any further. After the 2 minutes is up, if you notice a dialog asking you to reboot the router, do so by unplugging the power cord and plugging it back in again. If you don’t get a message telling you to reboot the router, wait another 3-4 minutes and then reboot the router.
- You should be able to ping 192.168.1.1 (in Linux or OS X open a Terminal and type ping 192.168.1.1. In Windows open a Command Prompt by clicking Start, selecting Run enter cmd and then type ping 192.168.1.1). If the router doesn’t reply you probably haven’t set your network settings correctly (step #3 above).
- Now it’s time to flash the WRT54G with the DD-WRT firmware. To do so, enter the appropriate command for your Operating System:
Windows: (note: Vista users will need to install tftp first) enter tftp -i 192.168.1.1 put dd-wrt.v24_micro_generic.bin from the Command Prompt. Make sure that the dd-wrt.v24_micro_generic.bin file is in the same folder that you’re using the Command Prompt from. For example, if you downloaded dd-wrt.v24_micro_generic.bin to your Desktop, make sure the Command Prompt reads C:\Documents and Settings\your-user-name\Desktop> – where your-user-name is your Windows user name.
Linux: enter tftp -m octet 192.168.1.1 -c put dd-wrt.v24_micro_generic.bin at your shell/terminal. Note: if you get the the message error code 3 while trying to flash it, try atftp. The aftp command is: atftp –option “mode octet” –verbose -p -l dd-wrt.v24_micro_generic.bin 192.168.1.1
OS X: enter tftp -e 192.168.1.1 From the tftp> prompt enter put dd-wrt.v24_micro_generic.bin
Make sure that the dd-wrt.v24_micro_generic.bin file is in the same folder that you’re using the Terminal from. For example, if you downloaded dd-wrt.v24_micro_generic.bin to your Downloads folder, make sure you’re using the Terminal prompt from /Users/your-user-name/Downloads – where your-user-name is your Mac user name.
- The file will be transferred and automatically installed. Once this is done, DD-WRT will automatically boot. After about a minute, you can browse DD-WRT on your router at http://192.168.1.1
- If you browse away from the main page, you’ll be prompted for a user name and password. The default user name is: root and the default password is: admin. To change the user name and/or password (a very good idea!!) – select the Administration tab and then the Management tab. Enter your new user name and/or password in the spaces provided, and click the Save button at the bottom of the screen.
- When you navigate away from the Management tab, you’ll be prompted to enter your user name and password again. Enter your new user name and/or password to continue.