New router, new DD-WRT, patch

| by Ken | in Technology Add comments

I returned home from vacation to find that the house had gotten pretty toasty in my absence and my trusty Linksys WRT54G was not only seized up and requiring a restart but also making a distinct hissing noise. I’m no expert on circuits but I don’t think routers are supposed to make a noise that sounds like a tire leaking air – and no, the power supply wasn’t the noisy part (unplugging the power connector from the back of the router made the noise stop even though the power supply was still plugged in). Power cycling the router did make the router start working again but only temporarily. Each subsequent power cycle got it working for a shorter period of time which gave me just enough time to do some shopping at NewEgg and Best Buy.

I wanted a Gigabit router (future proofing) with wireless N and a few bells and whistles. Based on the reviews at NewEgg, I settled on the Netgear WNDR3700-NAS. It was also on the approved list for DD-WRT. All stock router firmware looks like a joke compared to DD-WRT and there’s no going back for me. And as a nice perk, it was on sale at the local Best Buy for $129.99. So, I was able to run right out and get it.

Setup was annoying since all of the router setup expects you to start from scratch and since my home network operates with a different subdomain than usual. I fired up an old laptop and plugged it directly in to the router without connecting the router to the rest of the network. That allowed me to hit the configuration page on the router with the stock IP. I loaded up the compatible version of DD-WRT which is a pre-v24 version following the instructions for the WNDR3700 at the DD-WRT wiki. Then I was able to use that laptop to talk to the router and set up the router the way I want including copying over all of the port forwards from the old router that was nice enough to stay functional through the copying.

Things had moved around a little from my pre-v23 version I had been running on the old router but I was able to map stuff without too much trouble. The biggest problem I had was trying to get “loopback” working. That’s when you hit an IP address that points back to your local network which I do quite a bit with VNC connections. Apparently, there’s a bug with loopback that causes the router to fail to resolve those requests. Fortunately, the bug includes a fix which I did get to work. (At first, it didn’t work at all and I needed to reload my settings but I’m assuming it was user error since I don’t know how user settings could have effected this fix.) I went with the simplest fix which is the first line of code in the bug but I just had to update my code to have my proper subdomain.

In hindsight, I think my router has probably been flaking out for a while because speeds have been inconsistent and because sometimes, the network would just seize up. I’d been assuming it was Comcast’s fault but now I think it was probably my router all along. Hopefully with the new router set up, I won’t have any more of those issues.

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