Improve your wireless signal

Hacking your wireless router

There are tons of ways to hack your router.   It doesn’t always mean upgrading your firmware (although this is the best way).

DD-WRT has so many options as a free firmware for dozens of routers that you can do so much more than the average manufacturer’s firmware. You can increase your router’s power, EoIP, VPN, VOIP, manage it as a Firewall, use as a repeater/bridge/AP, install Radius and dozens of other features.

The Cisco E2500 along with several other Cisco routers allow you to put in a hidden webpage setting  that opens up several settings you can tweak- Here’s a post Dawn put up that describes her problem router and what she found –

I recently bought a Linksys E2500 router and wanted to tweak my network settings but was unable to find the settings for things like Beacon Interval, RTS and Fragmentation Threshold. I was a little frustrated and I’ll replace it. Well, for those interested, there is a hidden management page! Open Internet Explorer (or the browser of your choice), type the IP Address of your router into the address bar and add this to the end: /Wireless_Advanced.asp
and tweak away!

Here’s a few more that may and may not be available on your router-

(either) /Site_Suvey.asp  or /Site_Survey.asp

(Oh, don’t tweak if you don’t have the information on HOW to tweak!!) ;)

Screenshot for the /Wireless_Advanced.asp

Linksys/Cisco WRT  Routers – These routers are some of the most hackable routers on the market.  Dawn found an excellent site that shows comparison charts, hacks and how-to’s on these home routers.

I recently flashed my WRT54GS with DD-WRT firmware.  This firmware unlocks your router and allows you to tweak settings such as output power from 1mw to 251mw of power.  It allows for site surveys and has hundreds of hidden tweaks. One of the most impressive screens is the site survey that shows the connections and their connection strength.

Tutorial page for DD-WRT firmware

MyOpenRouter is  a one-stop resource for tools and a list of the latest firmware including dd-wrtopenwrt,tomato and others.





V22-DD-WRT interface

V23-DD-WRT interface

V24beta-DD-WRT interface

Recently Jared L. wanted to extend his wireless from his home to his shop.  He flashed his older WRT router and bridged it to his home router and now it goes over 360′ into the metal shop.   Here’s what you do to bridge it.  Thanks Jared.

Note: This 360′ mark was a test to see how the connection was after bridging… he was able to stream Youtube videos.

Open source firmware can result in a ‘bricked’ router.  You must read the instructions.  Here’s a revival guidefor some linksys routers.

Ryan’s mod (DD-WRT) to keep his new E3000 cool.

Hey, on the way to work this morning i picked up a E3000 from Wal-mart. I flashed it with DD-WRT, and did some mods on it.  I put a CPU fan on it, and also put some feet under neath to give it some more clearance for the air to flow, here are some pics
Don’t forget you can manage your router with Router Commander.

The Anatomy and Autopsy of a Linksys Router

Here’s an excellent article and breakdown of Linksys (now Cisco) routers.

Powerful small access point

Need a powerful access point to cover your entire house or business?  The Ubiquiti picostation2 is an excellent choice for wide coverage at a very affordable price.   With three models that cover between 700,000 square feet to 8,000,000 square feet (under $100 for each model), the picostations also offer open source software that accept OpenWRT or DD-WRT.  Each of the picostations can be configured as an access point, repeater or bridge to connect buildings.    What makes these access points so powerful?   100mw to 1000mw output.


Processor Specs Atheros MIPS 4KC
180MHzMemory Information 32MB SDRAM, 8MB Flash
Networking Interface 1 x 10/100 BASE-TX (Cat. 5, RJ-45) Ethernet Interface
Antenna RP-SMA omni antenna
Power Supply12V, 1A DC, Supply and injector
Passive Power over Ethernet (pairs 4,5+; 7,8 return)
Operating Temperature -4F to +158F   Weight 3.5 oz

WAP54Gs end of life? Saving money with opensource

Opensource is not always the solution.   Many opensource software is dropped or no longer support.  Most people who get involved with opensource drop from a project or a project they support after they become busy or during some life changing event.

It is not always the case with all forms of opensource software.  Some software has been well documented, continues to grow and has very well received by business and industry.

When Computerworld interviewed us on lean IT and education;  we confessed to using a lot of open source software in order to meet the demands of technological growth on a limited budget.

Here’s a recent example of where opensource software can be used to save money and breath life into older devices.  While we have focused on DD-WRT in the last week, we were facing upgrading 12 smaller training rooms with $150-$400 wireless devices.   Our current older technology in these rooms were Linksys WAP54Gs.

Before we flashed the WAP54Gs,  it often took 5-45 seconds to get an IP address and the device would sometimes drop the wireless connection.   The wireless signal was not consistent with the older firmware.   When monitoring the wireless signal we would see -90db to -30db (Amplitude) .   Once we upgraded the access point, obtaining an ip address is almost instantaneous and the signal is clean and much stronger.

DD-WRT has grown and the software has became very stable along with performance that is excellent.

While DD-WRT is designed for routers, someone has taken the time to make the software work with many wireless access points.

When flashing the WAP54G, I took the access point off of the local network and hooked it up to a laptop with a small CAT5 cable.   Here’s the steps for an access point.

  • Reset the Access Point using the reset button
  • Disable the wireless card on your laptop
  • Enable the LAN card
  • Set a static ip address of
  • Open IE and enter  (The default ip for WAP54Gs)
  • Enter the username and password (default for the access point)
  • Click on Administration
  • Click on upgrade firmware
  • Browse to the micro bin firmware you downloaded from DD-WRT
  • Click on upgrade (If you get an error, which I did on 4 access points simply perform the upgrade again)
  • Once it says complete, close your browser
  • Wait two or three minutes
  • Unplug the Access Point
  • Wait 1 minute
  • Plug the Access Point
  • Wait two minutes
  • Open IE and browse to
  • Enter a new username and password
  • Click on Setup
  • Enter the new password and username if necessary
  • Disable DHCP
  • Enter your new IP address for your Access Point
  • Apply the settings (Save and Apply)
  • Close your browser
  • Enter a new static ip address (LAN card) on the same network as your Access Point
  • Open your browser and enter the new ip address of the Access Point
  • Enter your username and password
  • Click on Wireless
  • Select a Channel for your wireless (it is good to use inSSIDer before doing this to find an open channel)
  • Apply the changes
  • Click on Wireless Security and enter a WPA or WPA2 passphrase (complex passphrase)   – Save your settings
  • Disconnect your wireless access point and plug it into your network
  • Remove the static ip address from your LAN card
  • Enable your wireless
In our case recycling older hardware saved $2400.
Note:  The default 71mw should be left the same.   There is no real reason to increase the power.  If you elect to do so, you should modify your WAP with a cooling fan.
From DD-WRT’s website:
WARNING – DD-WRT was not originally intended to be loaded on a WAP unit. It was found that it will run but it is a tricky unit to load and have function correctly. Below are a compilation of methods/instructions to assist you with creating a DD-WRT-loaded WAP unit.

Hard reset does not work on this device so it is not possible to clear the NVRAM using the reset button. This can be problematic if you need to reset the device in order to access it. If this happens you can reinstall the linksys firmware using the tftp method and then reset it.


RTS, DTIM and other settings that can further tweak your router.

About TCAT Shelbyville IT Department

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology - is one of 46 institutions in the Tennessee Board of Regents System, the seventh largest system of higher education in the nation. This system comprises six universities, fourteen community colleges, and twenty-six Applied Technology Colleges.
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