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Wi-Fi Router Charts

Click for Wi-Fi Router Charts

Mesh System Charts

Click for Wi-Fi Mesh System Charts

Step 3: Flash Router with the DD-WRT Firmware

There are two basic methods to flash a router: Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP), a simple file transfer method using a command line interface, and using a router's web interface firmware upgrade feature. Flashing via the web interface is easier and supported by most routers. The exception is Buffalo devices, where you must use TFTP.

NOTE!Warning! Warning! Warning! Warning!

- As with any open-source firmware, it’s very important to follow all the directions and precautions because one mistake could ruin (brick) your router.

- Making these changes will, of course, void your warranty.

- SmallNetBuilder, Pudai LLC and I are not responsible for any damage that the information in this article may cause.


Since the exact flashing procedure can vary depending on the router manufacturer vendor and model, you need to reference the flashing directions on the DD-WRT website.

Step 4: Setup a Hotspot Solution

As touched on before, DD-WRT integrates many independent open source projects specifically designed for hotspots into its firmware, including the following:

  • Sputnik: Integration with a free/paid hosted service from Sputnik that provides user authentication and device management for use with free or pay access hotspot solutions. Although you may pay for the service, it’s a bit more user-friendly than the other solutions, which are all open-source.
  • Wifidog: Integrated into the firmware, providing advanced captive portal and content management features for free access hotspots. You must set up an external server with their proprietary software which requires some advanced web development skills and knowledge.
  • Chillispot: Enables hotspot user authentication and management for free or pay access hotspot solutions, but requiring an external RADIUS server. Hosted servers, however, provide an easily way to obtain the advanced hotspot features and functionality. Here’s a few places that offer free/paid hosted services for use with this solution:
  • NoCatSplash: Provides only a simple captive portal (splash screen) feature with a few filtering options, however is excellent for giving away free access (or even paid access with some work) when user tracking and advanced hotspot management isn’t necessary. It’s best to have some web development experience, as you must create your own splash screen. Otherwise it’s fairly straightforward.

Now that you have chosen a solution, here are the basic steps (in v23 SP2) to set it up:

  1. Login to the web interface (figure 3 shows an example) using the router’s IP address (by default

Example of the DD-WRT web interface
Click to enlarge image

Figure 3: Example of the DD-WRT web interface.
  1. Click the Services tab.
  2. Enter the router’s username and password (by default root and admin) into the dialog box.
  3. Click the Hotspot tab. Figure 4 shows an example of this page.

Example of the hotspot settings page in DD-WRT.
Click to enlarge image

Figure 4: Example of the hotspot settings page in DD-WRT.
  1. Enable one of the hotspot solutions, configure the settings, and click Save Settings.

Although we won’t discuss configuring each solution, most of the bullets given earlier offer links to configuration instructions or at least the website of the project where you can obtain help.

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