The Best Wireless-N Routers for Installing & Running DD-WRT Open-Source Firmware (2012 Updated)
Since our previous post about the best and most popular DD-WRT routers is far and away the most visited in our site’s history with readers, we figured it was time to provide visitors with an updated list.
Technology moves fast, lightning fast. Gadget life cycles that previously lasted a few years, shifted to a year, and now new versions of mobile devices and operating systems are released every few months, if not more often. To keep up with proper security measures and techniques as well as the desires and demands of connected users today, a wireless router with firmware that keeps up with the times and can be consistently upgraded like a DD-WRT router is a must!
What to look for when purchasing a DD-WRT Router?
Before choosing a router as the backbone of your network, it is imperative to map out the specific options you need and plan how to utilize and implement them within your network configuration. Ask yourself , “Is there a specific setting that I know is available but is missing on my current router?” Think about it and then ponder the additional benefits and advantages to be acquired from running DD-WRT.
- Do you need Virtual Private Network (VPN) client integration (PPTP, OpenVPN, L2TP) to provide secure connections for all your devices and users?
- Are you looking for advanced NAT controls for preventing lag and delays with online console gaming like XBOX Live?
- Do you need simultaneous dual band transmissions?
- Would you like Universal Plug and Play (UnPnP) and networked USB printer/backup storage support?
- Need to setup a Guest Network or WiFi Hotspot for your home or office?
Default router firmware often hinders a person’s ability to have many of these options at your disposal. Replacing a router’s lackluster firmware with DD-WRT creates an upgraded, open source solution which make these previously impossible tasks as simple as a few clicks.
The DD-WRT platform supercharges a router with a wide breadth of abilities, turning the average a $100 router into a $500-plus router. Just a few improvements from DD-WRT installation include: advanced QoS (Quality of Service) bandwidth controls for specifying spectrum and speed for specific network devices, settings for boosting a router’s antenna strength, WiFi hotspot integration & a Wireless Repeater Mode to extend wireless range into wireless deadspots in a home or office.
Dissecting router specifications and quality can quickly become an endless, frustrating task; so here is a handy, time-saving list of the DD-WRT recommended router choices to meet dissenting tastes and differing pricing and feature needs. That’s where FlashRouters comes to the rescue!
When purchasing a DD-WRT from FlashRouters, we offer network specialists who can assist you in making sure your DD-WRT network can get up and running the way you desire. Ready to find the right DD-WRT router for you? Read on!
The Best All Around DD-WRT Router
Linksys Cisco E4200 DD-WRT
The E4200 is a DD-WRT router that users have craved. Stylish, lightweight, and designed to fit fashionably into a home as the latest networking accessory. Providing high end antenna & processing power, alongside the bells and whistles that a wireless networking experts have long preferred.
E4200 DD-WRT Router Performance
The E4200 running DD-WRT has undergone extensive and continual DD-WRT version flashing tests, scouring for the most all-encompassing version for its Broadcom chip; testing its stability and durability for long term and heavy use for power users. Converting the firmware from Lnksys Cisco’s subpar firmware to DD-WRT Mega build allows the E4200 to flourish and become the perfect network solution for the most memory intensive networking setups and operations.
The E4200 DD-WRT Router handles all the tasks you may need in stride from high-end streaming video to screaming download speeds to a high volume of connections with guest networks and P2P torrents while also providing consistently the strongest VPN connections. The E4200 works perfectly with most VPN service providers including: Overplay, HideMyAss, StrongVPN, Astrill & PureVPN.
Touted by Cisco as part of their Maximum Performance router series, here’s a quick list of the most highly sought after and desirable features on the Linksys E4200 DD-WRT Router:
- Maximum Wireless Speed up to 750 Mbps (300 + 450 Mbps).
- Six Powerful Internal Antennae with full 3×3 MIMO antenna array.
- Simultaneous Dual-Band N (2.4 & 5 GHz).
- Gigabit Ethernet 4-port switch.
- Network USB port for data sharing, media storage backup & networked printing.
- Unrivaled HD Video Streaming via Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, and more.
Ready to upgrade to a Linksys Cisco E4200 DD-WRT?
Get an E4200 for $199.95! (Psst! Just because you read our blog, use the coupon code “best2012″ through 5/15/2012 and get an extra $10 off any router in this post over $65.)
Best in Class DD-WRT Runners-Up
Netgear WNDR3700 N600 ($149.95) – Offers the full package of top shelf consumer grade router options including Simultaneous Dual-Band, four Gigabit Ethernet ports, Max Wi-Fi speed of 600 Mbps (megabits per second) eight internal antennas for signal-boosting strength and a networked USB port for network printing and system backup capabilities.
Linksys Cisco E3000 ($149.95) – A DD-WRT classic! Linksys Cisco’s one-time best-in-class consumer router is now a speedy, powerful high-end value router, perfect for those who want the benefits of a fast processor, a networked USB port, dual band connectivity but at a lower price point than the E4200.
The Most Popular & Recommended DDWRT Router
For the second year in a row, the Asus RT-N16($134.95) tops the list as the most popular DD-WRT router.
After surveying DD-WRT users, scouring router reviews and message boards, the ASUS RT-N16 emerges as the most highly rated by DD-WRT users for its excellent price, dual USB ports, and huge installed memory.
The Asus RT-N16′s huge 128 MB of RAM with 32 MB of Flash memory is a distinct advantage over more expensive, higher-end routers is its — even the Linksys E4200 and the Netgear WNDR3700 only contains 64 MB RAM with 8 MB Flash. This extra memory gives the RT-N16 space to burn when it comes to installing the mega build of DD-WRT allowing for ample space for buffering your network activity.
A bedrock of consistency, the Asus RT-N16 offers just about everything that a DD-WRT router user would want. The RT-N16’s three potent external antennas compared to the trendy internal antennas provide one of the most consistent signals from strenuous streaming and sharing tasks to everyday Internet surfing use. It is especially popular with users who prefer its high-powered external antennas that can be upgraded to even stronger signal receivers/transmitters.
The variations of firmware that is dedicated to this favorite is astounding and overwhelming but can also lead to confusion and anguish so let FlashRouters use their expertise to pick the best DD-WRT firmware for you.
Ready to get upgrade to an Asus RT-N16.
Up and Coming Best-of-Breed DD-WRT Router
TP-Link TL-WR1043ND ($89.95) – A very popular Atheros chip DD-WRT router which has a similar form factor to the RT-N16 with its white exterior, 3 external antennas. The lower price is due to a smaller memory size and only one USB port but has comparable speed and wireless connectivity. A perfect under $100 Single Band Wireless-N router.
Best Budget DD-WRT Router/Wireless Repeater: Airlink 101 AR670W
In a surprise upset, the trophy for top budget router in performance goes to the Airlink101 670W DD-WRT Router ($64.95). This overlooked, under-appreciated workhorse paired with DD-WRT firmware allows for seamless transition of a router into alternate, more specified networking tasks.
As is the case with all of our FlashRouters, economy class DD-WRT routers come with built-in VPN passthrough capabilities for those with security concerns looking to filter all their traffic through an encrypted VPN connection. Augmenting a network with a FlashRouter enables you to create a separate gateway just for connecting to a VPN while leaving the main router as the center of your network’s standard non-VPN traffic.
For more information on this and other dual router configurations and options, visit our post on dual router setups.
Best Low-Priced DD-WRT Router Contenders
Linksys E1000 DD-WRT Wireless-N Router/Repeater ($59.95) – A customer favorite as the BEST affordable DD-WRT option as wireless repeater/range extender or dedicated VPN connection router in a dual network setup.
D-Link DIR-601 ($47.95) – Tiny but nimble. A all-time favorite of the DD-WRT community with its extremely low price tag, portability, and reliability. Not available as a wireless repeater.