What is DD-WRT? A comprehensive guide

Justice Ekaeze Last updated: March 15, 2023 Read time: 18 minutes Disclosure

This article discusses the DD-WRT firmware in detail, how it helps you do more with your router, and how to keep it safe when used.

Sneak peek at what DD-WRT is

Your router is capable of so much more than you know, much more than is on the box. With DD-WRT, the limits to what your router can do are in your hands. Yet, you must not want to compromise your online privacy and security merely because of your router firmware. Therefore, we advise you to dive into this article to ensure you know the risks before installing DD-WRT on your dedicated router.

Wireless routers are an integral and almost unavoidable part of our lives. While they are beneficial, they also present users with some difficulties. Some users have complained of repeated glitches, lost connection, or total failure if it serves multiple devices simultaneously.

As a result, users are often advised to upgrade their router’s hardware, but this only sometimes fixes the problem. What do you do then when this does not work?

Upgrading the router’s software is the most effective solution. You can do this by installing DD-WRT, which almost immediately improves the router’s functionality upon installation.

If your router especially has trouble working with a VPN, installing DD-WRT also helps.

You may want to know about DD-WRT and how it can improve your router’s functionality. This article covers every detail about DD-WRT, including its benefits, risks, and the best way to use it.

Three best VPNs for DD-WRT routers: Quick overview

  1. ExpressVPN offers great support if you wish to set up OpenVPN with your DD-WRT router and also includes live customer support and tutorials. The VPN also has fast server networks and assures users of privacy and security.
  2. NordVPN offers adequate installation support and adds an option to purchase preconfigured routers, a very affordable choice that meets all user needs. It also includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  3. Surfshark is the best budget VPN for DD-WRT routers. A great option with easy-to-follow router setup instructions and also offers pre-flashed routers. In addition, it has generally high speeds and impressive security.

What is DD-WRT?

DD-WRT is an abbreviation split into two. The first part, DD-, is for Dresden, the city in Germany where the technology was created. The second part — WRT, stands for Wireless Router.

DD-WRT is essentially firmware — a software or program that alters how one device communicates with others.

For example, consider a plugin on your PC that allows you to do more than the browser and PC allows. Firmware like DD-WRT is often permanently fused with the selected piece of hardware for lasting effect.

When you install DD-WRT, it gets to work in replacing your router’s firmware. The process completely rewrites the router’s software and is known as “flashing.” Flashing helps you to make much-needed changes to your router, such as how it interacts with connected devices and the internet.

Because DD-WRT was created using the Linux OS, the firmware is an open-source program. That means any user can tweak it and pass the new version off to other users to either use or further tweak to their taste. The firmware is also free to download, making it much easier for users to install and use. 

Benefits of DD-WRT

Using DD-WRT opens the door to many benefits for the router user. Below are a few of the benefits that come with DD-WRT:

1. IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) functionality

IPv4 is currently used in the internet landscape to generate digital addresses for devices and route online traffic to the appropriate locations.

Your routers currently run using this IPv4. And unfortunately, this internet protocol is outdated and is already running out of available addresses for the surge of devices popping up yearly. 

IPv6 is the future, and DD-WRT is already ahead of the curve. So, with DD-WRT, your router can skip the queue and gain functionality for the next, more improved computing phase.