How to choose your router firmware the right way?
There are several important things to bear in mind before you installing a custom firmware on your router. But first of all, why is this important to do? Well, once you install a firmware you will change a lot of things on your router and you will be able to change things that were fixed before. For example, firmware will enable you to get a better track of all the things, your Wi-Fi may be boosted and the signal will be stronger and there is also a possibility of installing a personal VPN with the right firmware. To cut the long story short, there are numerous benefits that come with a custom firmware installed on your router and we will see later which firmware is the best for you. However, before it all, let’s discuss this:
Is it worth the effort?
To answer right away – yes it is. Imagine the following situation – you and your friend are using the same Wi-Fi signal constantly for different purposes but you just do not know his internet activities which may slow the internet speed down. In other words, his activity cannot be tracked. Well, you then decide to install a custom firmware and – voila, you have it all on screen.
This was, of course, just a banal example of how it all works. Here are several other things which will apply if you install a custom router firmware:
- You will also be able to gain a complete control over your Wi-Fi, meaning that you can make it friendlier to the people who are welcome to join it or more hostile towards the possible intruders.
- Also, you will be able to make your own Virtual Private Network and run in from home. Although it is a complicated task to do, it is still very interesting.
- The most important thing why a custom firmware to your router should be installed is security. The original router firmware is simply not good enough to protect you because it is often out of date and you do not see the exact level of protection.
Now we come to the most important question of this article:
Which is the best open router firmware ?
There are these three major open router firmware types which are recommended by almost all the professionals. We are not going to explain the exact process of installation in this article because it is slightly different for each of them. Instead, we are just going to state some of the most basic preferences and how can they impact your activity on the internet. Therefore, the most important are DD-WRT, Open WRT and Tomato.
Let’s dissect them.
DD-WRT is Linux based and it is also based on OpenWRT which means that a lot of things are similar to OpenWRT (which will be described afterwards). There are several pros and cons about this firmware
- The best thing about it is that it is not at all difficult for installing and that the interface is very user-friendly. Therefore, if you do not consider yourself a savvy in this area and you need the basic options such as real-time monitoring and QoS.
- This custom firmware supports that ability that we mentioned of creating your own VPN.
- The bad thing with DD-WRT is the fact that many of the routers are simply not supported by it. Indeed, it supports those which are most common, but if it happens that you have those less famous ones, make sure to Google it out whether your router is supported by DD-WRT
- One more thing – there is a feature called Wake-on-LAN which means that you can put to sleep computers which are on your home network and wake them up from distance.
OpenWRT is the second out of three and it is basically a predecessor to DD-WRT. Compared to it, OpenWRT also has certain advantages and disadvantages.
- The first thing to know is – it is an open source firmware which is based on Linux and it is completely customizable. It has all these add-ons which can be added and which will serve their purpose well once properly installed.
- Secondly, we come here to the crucial point – the installation and use of this firmware are rather difficult. In other words, it is not really user-friendly and you need a lot of patience in order to set it up properly.
- It has real-time monitoring, QoS, dynamic DNS and many other features which will help you with your internet connection.
- The number of devices supported by OpenWRT is high and you can also Google whether your device is included in that list or not.
Tomato is the most popular router firmware because it is simple to install and use. As a matter of fact, it is much simpler than DD-WRT and even the complete beginners will be able to get used to it with just a little practice.
- Speaking of the advantages that this firmware has, I’d say it is a real-time bandwidth. This means that you can track all the things happening on the network in the real-time. If you have a problem in your network you can instantly find it and eventually remove it. Furthermore, this also means that all the undesirable presences on your network can be detected and exterminated.
- Beside this feature, Tomato Firmware has a very neat design and all the advanced option are simplified so that the average user can understand it. Basically, all is great with this firmware except the one thing – the number of supported devices.
- Tomato supports just a few devices and there is slight chance that yours will not be on the list.
To sum up, these are just the three basic custom firmware types which are also the most popular ones. There are others which require more knowledge and expertise, such as Gargoyle or DebWRT. The one thing that you need to keep in mind is that the firmware and the router are compatible with each other and that you should choose the router firmware in accordance with your knowledge about network. Now that you know how to choose the best firmware for you, you can proceed to installation which is a big step!