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Router Guide

DD-WRT Installation and Water Cooling

by Chris J. Robb - 6 / 14 / 2010

Introduction

         In 2010 fall semester, I was a 5th year senior majoring in Information Systems at Grand Valley State University. During college I have completed freelance work consisting of web design, miscellaneous programming, network installation, and computer repair. I have previous experience building custom computers with extreme cooling components.

         Installing Linux on a router was something I had never heard of until assigned to me by Professor Reynolds. There are two major Linux distributions for routers that I know of called DD-WRT and Tomato. I chose to install DD-WRT because it has support for a larger variety of routers. Once I discovered overclocking possibilities which create additional heat, I developed an innovative new cooling system.

 DD-WRT Installation

          First you will need to check the router database to insure that your router is supported. Next, visit the installation guide for your router. I have had success installing DD-WRT on the Linksys WRT54G v1.1 and on the D-Link DIR-615 revision C1. For both of these routers you will install DD-WRT by upgrading the firmware through the web interface. Every router has their own specific directions and it is critical that you follow them or you risk bricking (breaking) your router.

          While flashing the DD-WRT firmware on the Linksys router it froze and I thought it was bricked. It actually was not bricked. This is why it is important to utilize the 30 / 30 / 30 Rule when you run into trouble. The rule states: hold the reset button for 30 seconds with the router turned on, hold reset for another 30 seconds with the power cable unplugged, and then hold reset for the last 30 seconds with the power cable plugged in. Never let go of the reset button. It is very important to watch a clock while performing these actions. Before I knew this rule, I tried my own process using less than 30 seconds and it did not work. Make sure you follow the rule closely. After you are done flashing the firmware, installation is complete!

DD-WRT Tips and Tricks

  • I recommend disabling the broadcast of the wireless SSID. Your network will be safer if it is not advertised. This option is found near the bottom of the Wireless → Basic Settings tab.
  • If you wish to prioritize bandwidth for applications use QoS. Go to NAT / QoS  → QoS tab. This is where you add services and their ports. I like to prioritize bandwidth for computer games so that my roommate does not hog bandwidth while he is running BitTorrent.

Bricked Routers

          A bricked router is a router that will not respond. Some people report that bricked routers will have all of the LEDs constantly lit. I recommend using the 30 / 30 / 30 Rule before attempting any procedure to unbrick your router (described above in DD-WRT installation). It is possible to brick your router if an error occurs while flashing the firmware on your router. There is a TFTP program for windows that will force a firmware upload to your router from Windows. If you have a Linux machine, you can also use TFTP to upload firmware (described in step 6 in an article by Andrew Pollack). If all attempts are unsuccessful, proceed by grounding PIN 15 & 16 on the flash chip (described in step 2, by Pollack). If all of the above steps fail to fix the router, the router is most likely dead.

Water Cooling

      The water cooling tutorial has been published at www.overclockers.com.
Visit the article here: http://www.overclockers.com/watercooled-router-mod-tutorial/

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