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For those in the know, DD-WRT, along with Tomato are among the best options for supercharing your router, and securing your network

What is DD-WRT?

DD-WRT is an open source operating system, which can be installed on all of vast array of commercially available rotors.

In addition to having an opensource code base, thus meaning that it can be constantly audited for vulnerabilities or and or malicious code, which would otherwise be concealed within proprietary copde DD-WRT provides additional features and functionality via a simple GUI (graphical user interface) which doesn't even come as part of higher end devices such as the Netgear Nighthawk D7000.

Why should I get a DD-WRT router?

The DD-WRT firmare offers five core advantages to the average user:

  1. Better Security
  2. Multiple SSIDs and VLANS
  3. Port Forwarding
  4. Stronger and faster connections

Better Security

DD-WRT is open source, this means that there are thousands of security consious users monitoring the code, looking for and closing any possible exploits, compared to the potentially far smaller number of developers tasked with managing your your commercial version.

Multiple SSIDs and VLANS

This enables you to have a seperate guest network, IoT network and private network for your smartphone and laptop. By compartmentalizing your devices you can ensure that if a smart plug, or bulb gets hacked it doesn't have access to your mobile phone and laptop.

Port Forwarding

DD-WRT grants the ability to control exactly how every single port on your network is managed. This means that if you want to run an old laptop as a personal FTP client or filesharing solution, use Plex, or access an opensource smart hub such as Home Assistant over the internet you can ensure that its port, or another non standard port determined by you on your external IP is always forwarded exclusively to this device. It ensures that any traffic coming in is properly secured if not in useand not open facing to the internet

Stronger and faster connections

Unless you're using a mesh network then your Wi-Fi works a lot like a speaker, becoming harder to hear the further away you get from it, the more obstacles are in the way and the more background noise there is. For a router this means distance, walls and your neighbours networks. DD-WRT offers the ability to increase signal strength and range, but even better lets you choose the best channel to use to limit interference. If your neighbours are using the same channel as yourself then you'll see more dropout and interference

Route your traffic via a VPN

While SSL connections can protect your interactions from snooping eyes they do nothing to secure wehat you're looking up, the domain, the site URL etc. by configuring your router to use a VPN you can route one hundred percent of your traffic through a VPN provider in an encrypted way that makes it impossible for even your internet service provider to determine what websites you're accessing