Tag Archives: firmware

DD-WRT: Password Protect Your Status Page To Increase Network Security

DD-WRT is an excellent firmware alternative for your network router, whether your router is used at home for at your business.  One of my favorite features of DD-WRT is the router status page, shown below.  The DD-WRT status page is very useful for looking at real-time information.

This status page is shown by default when you enter your router’s IP address into your web browser.  Information included on this page is the WAN IP address of your router, the MAC addresses of your LAN, WAN, and Wireless connections, router memory usage, and partial MAC addresses of client users (which have been hidden by default.)

If you are looking to add some extra security to your DD-WRT enabled network, consider password protecting the status page.

How to Password Protect The DD-WRT Status Page

Step 1: Log-in to your DD-WRT enabled router by entering it’s IP address in your web browser (usually http://192.168.1.1).

Step 2: Click on the Administration tab.

Step 3:  Scroll down to the Web Access section.

Step 4: Check the Info Site Password Protect box, as shown below.

Step 5: Scroll to the bottom of the page and select Apply Settings.

Once the settings have been saved, close your web browser, re-open it, and return to your router’s IP address.  You are now presented with a box to enter your router’s username and password.  Entering this information will allow you to login and see your router’s status page.

Do you use the DD-WRT firmware on your router and have any tips for securing your network?  If so, share them in the comments below!

How To Use A Router as a Wireless Adapter Without NAT

In a previous article I showed you how it is possible to use a wireless router and 3rd party firmware as a wireless adapter.  While the information in that guide is still relevant to most users, the steps provided create a limitation for more advanced users.

In the previous guide, any devices connected as clients to the wireless router adapter would use Network Address Translation (NAT). (If you’re not up-to-speed on networking terminology, HowStuffWorks has a great explanation of NAT.) While the NAT adds an extra layer of security, it also adds an extra layer of complexity if you need to do any port forwarding to the clients of the wireless router adapter.

In this guide I’ll show you how to use an old wireless router and the same DD-WRT firmware as before to create a wireless bridge between two wireless routers and remove the NAT layer created by the DD-WRT Client Mode.

Configure the Router and Wireless Bridge

Step 1: Start by checking if you router supports a 3rd party firmware. (For this guide, I am using the free DD-WRT firmware).

Step 2: Download and install the firmware according to the instructions for your router model.

Step 3: Once you have the DD-WRT firmware installed on your router, connect an ethernet cable from your computer to a LAN port on the router.

Step 4: Enter the local address of your router, typically http://192.168.1.1, into your browser and log in using the default credentials. The default credentials are usually root for the username and admin for the password.

Step 5: When you are logged into the router, navigate to the Wireless tab and select Wireless Security. Select your current wireless security settings and enter your wireless encryption key that you use to access your wireless network.  Click Apply Settings.

Step 6: Navigate to the Wireless tab and select Basic Settings.  Select Client Bridge from the Wireless Mode drop down.

Step 7: Enter the name of your wireless network into the Wireless Network Name (SSID) box.  Note: This is case-sensitive! Click Apply Settings.

Step 8: Select the Setup tab, select Advanced Routing.  Change the Operating Mode to Router and click Apply Settings.

Step 9: Navigate to the Security tab and select Firewall.  Disable the SPI Firewall by checking the Disable button and clicking Apply Settings at the bottom of the page.

Step 10: Navigate to the Setup tab and select Basic Settings.   Here is where you give your wireless bridge router its new local IP address other than the default.  My main router has an IP address of 192.168.1.1, so I set my wireless bridge router to have an IP address of 192.168.1.2.  Basically make this anything other than your main router IP address or anything that falls within your DHCP pool.

Enter the Gateway and Subnet Mask of your wireless network next. You can find this information under Default Gateway and Subnet Mask by entering ipconfig in the command prompt on a computer already connected to your wireless network.  Click Apply Settings when the settings have been entered.

Step 11: At this point you will lose the connection to the web interface of the wireless bridge router since the IP address has now changed.  If you need to reconnect to the wireless bridge, simply enter the new IP address from Step 10  into your web browser.

Step 12: (optional) Click the Setup tab and select Basic Setup. Under WAN Port, check the box to Assign WAN Port to Switch. This will add the WAN port to the 4 port switch, giving you 5 ports to share the wireless connection.

Once the above steps have been completed, your router with DD-WRT firmware will connect to your wireless network as a client bridge just as if you connected to the same wireless network with a laptop.  Any devices that are connected to the 4/5 port switch has network connectivity and IP information that is handled by your main router, removing the NAT.

How to Use A Router as a Wireless Adapter

ddwrt-image1There may come a time where you have an extra wireless router on your hands (such as the Linksys WRT54GL) that you’re not sure what to do with.  One thing that I have recently found useful is to use the router as a wireless adapter to connect to a wireless network.

Using a router as a wireless adapter will not only provide you with wireless connectivity, but will also give you a multiple-port switch to connect your wired devices.  This is a great way to allow multiple devices to have network connectivity without needing a wireless network card for each device.

  1. Start by checking if you router supports a 3rd party firmware.  (For this guide, I will be using the free DD-WRT firmware).
  2. Download and install the firmware according to the instructions for your router model.
  3. Enter http://192.168.1.1 into your browser and login using the default credentials, which is typically a blank username and the password admin.
  4. Click Wireless.
  5. Change Wireless Mode to Client.
  6. In Wireless Network Name (SSID), enter the name of the wireless network you would like the router to connect to.
  7. Click Apply Settings.
  8. Click Wireless Security (If the wireless network you are connecting to doesn’t have security enabled, you can skip this step.)
  9. Select the corresponding Security Mode and enter the network key and click Apply Settings.
  10. In the top right corner of the web interface, your router should now get a WAN IP that is provided by the wireless network.
  11. Click Setup and then select Basic Setup.
  12. Change the Local IP Address of your router to something other than the default, such as 192.168.5.1.  This is done to prevent conflicts with your existing network.
  13. Enter the Gateway of your wireless network.  (You can find your Gateway information under Default Gateway by entering ipconfig in the command prompt on a computer already connected to your wireless network.
  14. Optional: Click Setup and select Basic Setup.  Under WAN Port, check the box to Assign WAN Port to Switch.  This will add the WAN port to the 4 port switch, giving you 5 ports to share the wireless connection.

Once the above steps have been completed, your router with DD-WRT firmware will be connected to your wireless network as a client just as if you connected to the same wireless network with a laptop.  Any devices that are connected to the 4/5 port switch will now have network connectivity as well.

Tomato Firmware: Increased Transmit Power Does More Harm Than Good?

Currently, I run four routers, all part of the WRT54G/GL/GS series, that allow a house to receive wireless internet.  These routers provide sufficient, although not yet ideal, coverage for the house.   Since the WRT54G/GL/GS routers are built on a Linux framework, they are easily upgraded to more powerful firmware, such as the Tomato Firmware available from http://www.polarcloud.com/tomato.  Third-party firmware such as Tomato adds increased functionality to what would otherwise be considered a standard router.  One of the more interesting features that Tomato provides is the ability to increase the transmission power of the wireless signal.  Continue reading Tomato Firmware: Increased Transmit Power Does More Harm Than Good?