Introduction: Install and Configure a DD-WRT Kong Router

Picture of Install and Configure a DD-WRT Kong Router

DD-WRT is a wonderful open source custom router firmware that is supported on many devices. It adds features, stability and configurability to consumer routers.

However, it's not easy for a novice starting out with DD-WRT. There hasn't been an official stable release since 2008. It's hard to choose the build for your needs (a good discussion of the various builds is here). Just choosing a router, suitable build, and revision of DD-WRT is a daunting task for a beginner; traditionally, one must pore over forum posts for information about balancing stability, features, and newer device support. Right here, right now, we're going to solve those issues.

This guide is designed to help beginners configure a fast & stable DD-WRT router with basic settings and wireless. We'll be using a Kong build of DD-WRT, which stably supports several newer devices. A couple of well-reviewed AC1900 routers that are supported are the ASUS AC68U and NETGEAR R7000. Since the R7000 is less expensive, and at the time of this writing the DD-WRT wiki specifically recommends Kong's build for this device, we'll be using it in the guide. I'll update this guide when a newer build has better results.

Note: If you already have some form of DD-WRT installed on your router, skip to Step 6: Upload the BIN DD-WRT File.

Materials:

  • NETGEAR R7000 Router

  • Ethernet cable

  • PC with Ethernet capability

Step 1: Get Files From Kong's Download Page

Picture of Get Files From Kong's Download Page
  1. In a browser, go to: http://desipro.de/ddwrt-ren/K3-AC-Arm/
  2. From the folder called "Initial", download the CHK file dd-wrt.K3_R7000.chk
  3. In addition, from the folder for revision 24865M, download the BIN file named dd-wrt.v24-K3_AC_ARM_STD.bin

Note: Some people find that using an even older build 24345M solves some random rebooting issues with certain DD-WRT setups. If you see these types of problems, by all means downgrade, but I haven't seen any random reboots with my tests using the specific configurations detailed in this guide, and the OpenVPN scramble and password UI in newer builds are nice features to have, if you plan to setup a VPN.

Step 2: Connect to the Router

Picture of Connect to the Router
  1. If you have an active wireless connection on your PC, disable it temporarily.
  2. Connect an Ethernet cable from the PC to Port 1 on the back of the router.
  3. Connect power to the router, and make sure the power switch is on.
  4. On the PC, run cmd.exe to start a command window, and enter the following commands:
ipconfig /release

ipconfig /renew

Step 3: Login to the Router's Administration Page

Picture of Login to the Router's Administration Page
  1. In a browser, go to http://192.168.1.1/
  2. When asked "Do you want NETGEAR Genie to help?", enter "No, I want to configure the Internet connection myself.", then select the Next button.
  3. When asked "Are you sure?", select OK.
  4. Login with the default credentials (username = admin, password = password).
    • Note: These are printed on the bottom of the router.
  5. You should then be taken to the NETGEAR genie Basic Home page.

Step 4: Upload the CHK DD-WRT File

Picture of Upload the CHK DD-WRT File

Now, we'll upload the initial CHK DD-WRT firmware file to the router. CHK builds are specifically designed to upgrade from the stock factory firmware to DD-WRT.

  1. Navigate to Advanced > Administration > Router Update.
  2. Select the Browse button.
  3. In the file selection dialog box, select the CHK file you downloaded earlier, then select Open.
  4. Back on the Router Update page, select Upload.
  5. When asked to "Continue?", select OK.
  6. The file will begin uploading. Eventually, you will be prompted to login again. Login with the default credentials (username = admin, password = password).
  7. If you see a prompt "Warning! The firmware you are trying to upload is the same as the one you had.", just select Yes. Uploading will continue.
  8. When finished, the router will automatically reboot. Congratulations! You are now officially running DD-WRT.
  9. Windows may prompt to set Network Location. If so, just select Home network in the dialog and move on to the next step.

Step 5: Login to the DD-WRT Control Panel

Picture of Login to the DD-WRT Control Panel
  1. In your browser, you will eventually see the DD-WRT Router Management page, asking to change the password. Just enter Username root and password password, then select Change Password.
    • Note: This password is temporary, and will be overwritten in a future step.
  2. You will be taken to the DD-WRT main System Information page. Navigate to the Administration tab.

  3. At the authentication popup, enter username root, password password, and select Login.

Step 6: Upload the BIN DD-WRT File

Picture of Upload the BIN DD-WRT File

Now, we'll upgrade DD-WRT to the latest build.

  1. Navigate to Firmware Upgrade.
  2. At the Firmware Management page, select Choose File.

  3. In the file selection dialog box, select the BIN file you downloaded earlier, then select Open.

  4. Back on the the Firmware Management page, select Upgrade.

  5. An "upgrading" message will show, then the device will automatically reboot.

  6. If you see a blank page, or the message "If you have changed your router's IP address, please note that you must release/renew your client(s) address(s) on the network.", enter the following again in the cmd window:

  7. ipconfig /release
    ipconfig /renew

Step 7: Restore the Router's Factory Defaults

Picture of Restore the Router's Factory Defaults
  1. Select Continue.
  2. You will see an updated DD-WRT Router Management page. Navigate to Administration > Factory Defaults.
  3. On the Factory Defaults page, set Restore Factory Defaults to Yes, then select Apply Settings.
  4. At the warning popup, select OK.
  5. You'll see some lights cycle on the router. Wait 30 seconds, then point the browser to http://192.168.1.1/.

Step 8: Set a New Admin Password

Picture of Set a New Admin Password
  1. At the Router Management page, you'll be asked to set your password again. Select a secure username and password this time, as it will be the one you use in future. Here is a good, free random password generator. Note the password you have chosen for the future, and select Change Password.
    • Note: This is the password you'll use to login to the DD-WRT Control Panel, NOT the wireless password. That is set elsewhere.

Step 9: Find Unused Wireless Channels

Picture of Find Unused Wireless Channels

You'll be at the main System Information page again. Time to find out the best wireless channels (or group of channels) to use at your location. We plan to setup static channels later, and it's best to pick one that nobody else is using. Luckily, DD-WRT has a valuable built-in tool for this, called Site Survey.

  1. Navigate to the Status tab. If asked to login, supply your new Username and Password, and select Login.
  2. Navigate to the Wireless tab.
  3. You will be shown some info about your wireless device. Under Wireless Status, set the Interface to wl0 (the 2.4 GHz radio).
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and select Site Survey.
  5. The existing wireless networks will be shown in the Site Survey window. Make a note of them, or print them. In our example image, channel 9 is looking pretty open...
  6. Repeat the process for the 5 GHz wl1 Interface.

Step 10: Setup 2.4 GHz 802.11g/n Wi-Fi

Picture of Setup 2.4 GHz 802.11g/n Wi-Fi

Armed with knowledge of our wireless environment, we're ready to enter some new wireless settings in DD-WRT. This is an important step, as customized settings are needed to get full performance out of this router. Luckily, both Kong and the DD-WRT forums have complete suggestions. We'll configure some settings that agree with their recommendations, but these are by no means the best settings for every application. First, we'll setup the 2.4 GHz band as an 802.11g/n network, to be compatible with a wider range of devices.

  1. In the DD-WRT Control Panel, navigate to Wireless > Basic Settings.
  2. Configure these settings for the 2.4 GHz interface, wl0:
    • Regulatory Domain = pick your actual region; in this guide, we'll use UNITED_STATES
    • Wireless Mode = AP
    • Wireless Network Mode = NG-Mixed
    • Wireless Network Name (SSID) = whatever you want; in this guide, we'll use Secure2Point4
    • Wireless Channel = select an unused channel from our Site Survey in the previous step; in this guide, we'll use 9
    • Channel Width = 20 MHz
    • Wireless SSID Broadcast = Enable
    • Optimize Multicast Traffic = Disable
    • TurboQAM (QAM256) support = Enable
    • Explicit Beamforming = Disable
    • Implicit Beamforming = Disable
    • Network Configuration = Bridged
  3. After you set these, scroll to the bottom of the page, and select Save.

Step 11: Setup 5 GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi

Picture of Setup 5 GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi

We'll optimize the 5 GHz band for 802.11ac performance. This can be challenging when setting a fixed channel as Kong recommends. In general, try to pick a high base channel (149-161) that's not used by another wireless network on your Site Survey. More info on troubleshooting channel groups can be found here. The following channel settings are just one valid example; if they work for you, wonderful! If not, happy tweaking!

  1. Configure these settings for the 5 GHz interface, wl1:
    • Wireless Mode = AP

    • Wireless Network Mode = AC-Only

    • Wireless Network Name (SSID) = whatever you want; in this example, we are using Secure5

    • Channel Width = VHT (80+80 MHz)

  2. Stop here, and Save to make new options appear.

  3. Set Extension Channel = upper upper. Save again.

  4. Continue:
    • Wireless Channel = 161 - 5.805 GHz

    • Wireless SSID Broadcast = Enable

    • Optimize Multicast Traffic = Disable

    • Explicit Beamforming = Enable (If your 802.11ac network adapters do not support beamforming, leave this disabled; we'll assume they support it, and you'll have them setup to use it.)

    • Implicit Beamforming = Disable

    • Network Configuration = Bridged

  5. Select Save, then Apply Settings. If the page is blank after applying settings, go to http://192.168.1.1/ again, in the browser.

Step 12: Setup Wireless Security

Picture of Setup Wireless Security
  1. Navigate to Wireless > Wireless Security.
  2. Set Security Mode = WPA2 Personal and WPA Algorithms = AES for both Interfaces, and set a strong password (recommend longer than 15 characters) for both.
  3. Select Save and Apply Settings.

Step 13: Disable Unnecessary Default Services

Picture of Disable Unnecessary Default Services

Now for some housekeeping. In the past, DD-WRT has had issues with the ttraf Daemon using up NVRAM. We can easily disable it.

  1. Navigate to Services > Services.
  2. Under WAN Traffic Counter, set ttraff Daemon = Disable.
  3. Save and Apply Settings.

Step 14: Configure Time Settings

Picture of Configure Time Settings

Almost done!

  1. Navigate to Setup > Basic Setup.
  2. Under Time Settings, set:
    • NTP Client = Enable
    • Time Zone = your city (You might have to do some research to pick a city in the same timezone, if yours isn't listed.)
    • Server IP/Name = time.nist.gov (or another preferred time server)
  3. Save and Apply Settings.

Step 15: Backup the Settings

Picture of Backup the Settings

Backup your settings, in case you need to roll back later.

  1. Navigate to Administration > Backup.
  2. Select the Backup button, and a configuration file called nvrambak.bin will be downloaded to your PC. You can Restore this file later on the same screen if needed.

Step 16: Conclusion and Additional Info

Conclusion

Congratulations, you're done! Connect the WAN port of your router to your cable, fiber or ADSL modem, and you're off and running. Now that you have DD-WRT setup, you might want to explore its many advanced features, like VPN, NAS, and overclocking. For extra VPN help, check out my Instructable on how to Configure VPN Settings on a DD-WRT Router for Private Internet Access.

And if you have issues, the DD-WRT forums and wiki are a great place to find help.

Additional Info

DD-WRT Forums: http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/

DD-WRT wiki page for the R7000: http://dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/DD-WRT_on_R7000

NETGEAR's R7000 support site: http://support.netgear.com/product/R7000

Kong's DD-WRT blog: http://tips.desipro.de/category/dd-wrt/

Special Thanks

Kong, BrainSlayer, Fractal, Eko, Steve Jenkins, Spiff

Non-Commercial Statement

I haven't been incentivized or compensated in any way by the organizations I've linked or recommended in this guide.

Comments

sarahbishop2017 (author)2017-07-26

Thanks for the tutorial, it is so detailed, I can know how to install a DD WRT Kong router and make follow each step easier.
https://19216811wiki.com/

Tsc.ConsultingInc.M (author)2016-01-28

dd-wrt.K3_R7000_06_30_2015.chk

R7000 IS NOT UPLOADING the file? nothing is happening.

Tsc.ConsultingInc.M (author)2016-01-28

These instructions did not work ! Routuer is NOT uoloading CHK file?

David S1 (author)2015-10-07

well I have a question. on my r6700 nighthawk, i installed a kong dd-wrt, http://myopenrouter.com/download/dd-wrt-kong-mod-09-07-15-netgear-r6700. and now I cannot login into my routerlogin.net to change router settings. I'd like to revert back to stock firmware which i have already downloaded from netgear. how do i do this?

MyouraO (author)2015-10-04

This DD-WRT Kong supports TP-Link Archer c9..???

robdavo (author)2015-08-23

Done successfully. An excellent tutorial. One panic moment when the thing crashed whilst uploading the BIN file, but it worked successfully after a 30/30/30 reset. However, three problems since

1. I'd assumed I'd connect the internet port of the Nighthawk to one of the LAN powers of my modem and be away. No such luck, the internet light comes on solid but I can't get any internet service. Any thoughts, DHCP conflict, blocking? Oddly it works absolutely fine if I use a LAN port on the Nighthawk but the light remains orange, not white?

2. I've tried for hours to set up a HMA VPN with no luck. HMAs settings vary slightly to the F/W version here, but I've worked through it but can't quite crack it. Any experience of HMA VPNs? Could this be because I'm using the LAN port and not the Internet port?

3. The 5GHz channel is up but nothing connects to it. Bit of a shame as I specificaly bought it for streaming on 5GHz and could have got something for a quarter of the price to do a VPN on 2.4GHz.

Any help most appreciated. No criticism of these instructions, they got me exactly to where I needed, Has anyone else had similar experiences once the DD-WRT router is set up?

Thanks

Rob

SaadiaP (author)robdavo2015-08-30

Hi Rob, having problems 1 and 3 as well! 5GHz issue I suspect is my mac wifi settings, but did you find a solution for the lack of internet connection?

robdavo (author)SaadiaP2015-08-30

I've got 5GHz working by changing the Wireless Network Mode setting to N-only. Still can't get it connecting to the internet other than through a LAN port though, think it might be because I need to set it to PPPoE and get login settings from my ISP. I've also read that some ISPs will limit you to one connection on their network so you need to set the Nighthawk to clone the MAC address of your ISP provided router.

SaadiaP (author)robdavo2015-08-30

Thanks for the tips. Been at it for ages!! I've tried so many things, don't know why it won't work. I'll try cloning the MAC address though. And I need to put my modem in bridge mode I think. I can't even get internet through the LAN port at the moment

robdavo (author)SaadiaP2015-09-01

OK so I've now got a path out to the internet by putting my ISPs router in bridge mode, copying the ISPs DNS server addresses in to the new router and setting the Nighthawk to make a PPPoE WAN connection. Only problem is I don't know the PPPoE login password for my connection and it is just xxxxx in my original router. So I can reach the internet but get booted straight to the ISPs home page with an error message. Sadly this puts it at the mercy of customer services!

alexandru.shelaru (author)2015-02-19

Hello,

Cheers for a good instruction. How about hard reset of the router using 30/30/30 rule? It is stated on DD-WRT to do it.

A question I am seeking answer and I cannot it:

I would like to have a bittorrent client on the DD-WRT firmware, can i do it in Kong? Probably I will need to install it on top, no?

If there is no bittorent client in Kongs build, which build would be the most stable one for installing this feature?

Also I need a support for USB 3.0, currently, the current original firmware is supporting my router without any issues.

Thanks!

dtsx (author)alexandru.shelaru2015-08-30

see http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=264152

Traditional 30-30-30 resets are useless on ARM based routers.

aankkurr (author)2015-07-05

This is a great Tutorial which I was looking for. I am planning to follow this soon, but I have few questions before I start,

(1.) - On Step 2. you are saying, "2. Connect an Ethernet cable from the PC to Port 1 on the back of the router."

Do I also need to connect an Ethernet cable from my modem to router internet port? And modem should be on while doing this?

(2). - If I follow this Tutorial and first flash given initial_chk then do I must have to flash Kong 24865 or 24345 or I can flash directly latest version of firmware

25100 from http://desipro.de/ddwrt-ren/K3-AC-Arm/25100M/

or 26365 from https://cloud.serdarevic.net/index.php/s/81ba7d7baa30824bb87a823a52ebfa10?path=%2FK3-AC-Arm%2F26365M

(3). - If in future I need to update where I have to follow updates? Is it going to be at

http://desipro.de/ddwrt-ren/K3-AC-Arm/

or https://www.dd-wrt.com/site/

or https://cloud.serdarevic.net/index.php/s/81ba7d7baa30824bb87a823a52ebfa10?path=%2FK3-AC-Arm

(4). - If an update doesn't work well with me how do I downgrade to any of previous dd-wrt firmware?

Can I directly just flash an older .bin file over an latest update? I mean just like an update?

(5). - If you check, http://www.myopenrouter.com/download/dd-wrt-kong-mod-netgear-r7000-june-2015 , it says that To install this firmware:

Restore your router to NETGEAR Stock Firmware

Reset the stock firmware to factory defaults

Flash the router with DD-WRT

Reset the router using the pin on the back

Begin setup of DD-WRT

Why do I have to restore to stock to install this update? Here in tutorial it says first install initial_chk from stock? its confusing or I might be misunderstanding.

Hope someone will clear all of above my doubts.

(6) - After doing this can I follow this to setup VPN?

https://www.instructables.com/id/Configure-VPN-Settings-on-a-DD-WRT-Router-for-Priv/?ALLSTEPS

Regards,

aankkurr (author)aankkurr2015-07-06

I have done it and below are the steps which I followed for above queries,

1. Also connect an Ethernet cable from modem to router internet port and modem should be on while doing this

2. I flash first initial_chk and after that 26365M from Alternate page for Kong based firmware, http://ddwrt.serdarevic.net/

this is the Firmware version, DD-WRT v24-sp2 (02/26/15) kongac - (SVN revision 26365M)

3. Updates can be have from http://ddwrt.serdarevic.net

or http://www.desipro.de/ddwrt-ren/K3-AC-Arm/

4. For now this version is running smoothly so didn't need to downgrade

5. Havn't done any kind of reset, not factory reset, not 30-30-30 reset, (Because Router is brand new, after setting up firstly updated to dd-wrt

6. After flashing dd-wrt done VPN by following this,

https://www.instructables.com/id/Configure-VPN-Settings-on-a-DD-WRT-Router-for-Priv/?ALLSTEPS

Thank you,

scott.daniels.12 (author)2015-05-06

Thank you. This guide and your other PIA guide helped me to do this myself. My Nighthawk is up and running DD-WRT with PIA VPN now. Excellent guides.

matthew.b.woolery (author)2015-04-09

I made it through step 6 and I'm getting a "You're not connected to a network" page. I tried the ifconfig /release and ifconfig /renew commands and they failed. I got these messages:

"No operation can be preformed on local area connection 11* while it has media disconnected." (shows for both renew and release)

"An error occurred while releasing interface Wi-Fi : An address has not yet been associated with the network end point." (release)

"No operation can be preformed while it has media disconnected." (renew)

I am really new to this stuff and have about run out of hair to pull out! Any help you can give me would be insanely appreciated!

AlanR8 (author)2015-03-30

Hello

Any recommendations on the newer firmwares?

BrainSlayer & Kong now have a newer/working Broadcom driver that corrects the issue many users experienced with random router reboots due to certain 2.4ghz clients.

*** if you want to run Brain Slayer firmware, get it here***
ftp://ftp.dd-wrt.com/betas/

*** if you want to run Kong firmware, get it here***
http://www.desipro.de/ddwrt/

http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=26415...

4a005ba3 (author)2015-02-11

Hi, I was wondering if there was a build for the ASUS RT-AC87U Wireless-AC2400. I was looking through the kong folders for a compatible build but didn't see any. Has anyone ever tried it before with this ASUS model? Great and thorough instructions.

KaS4 (author)2015-01-14

I read somewhere that the Kongs build is not being devoloped anymore, is it true?

f1r_CTLF (author)KaS42015-01-28

Kong is not self-hosting any new builds on his website, but he has been a contributor to the DD-WRT project for some time, and is still active. He commits his changes to the official DD-WRT source. When a decently-stable DD-WRT build comes out of the official location, I'll update this guide with that instead of Kong's.

...And if you are referring to the forum post where he said "I quit", that was entirely a hoax. Nothing for us endusers to worry about.

mjhconnect (author)2014-10-17

Best online instructions I've ever used. Bravo Instructables. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for DD-WRT. My Netgear Nighthawk R7000 has become completely unstable after flashing to the Kong firmware. The router is constantly rebooting, often multiple times an hour. Completely useless. Based on the DD-WRT.com forum, I'm not alone. Thanks anyway, Instructables.

f1r_CTLF (author)mjhconnect2014-10-31

With the latest revisions of DD-WRT, some people have been seeing the random rebooting behavior you described. I have not personally seen this in my testing. There is some evidence that certain configurations and settings in DD-WRT trigger the problem. The DD-WRT developers are investigating with the community, as a range of routers using "new" Wi-Fi drivers are affected.

More info here: http://www.dd-wrt.pl/forum/viewtopic.php?t=268570

That being said, there are advantages for VPN users with the newer revisions. Acting on your comment, I've added a note to this guide to that effect, along with the specific DD-WRT Kong revision that is running stably as a daily driver for me, using only the settings I've detailed in this guide.

Keep in mind that problems with after-market firmware are nothing new. You always take risks when you go mucking about with firmware the manufacturers didn't intend. The idea is that it's worth it for some reason.

Also worth noting that DD-WRT releases are reorganizing a bit, and when I see a future, decently-stable release come out of the new FTP site, I'll update the guide.

mjhconnect (author)mjhconnect2014-10-29

Update: I finally gave up on Kong build 24710. It's riddled with bugs and shockingly unstable. Followed Instructables helpful guide to flash the router with the older build 24345M and configure it for Private Internet Access VPN. It's been running for a week without a single reboot. Thanks Instructables. Here's the link to those instructions: https://www.instructables.com/id/Configure-VPN-Sett...

Gabse (author)2014-09-05

I always use buffalo routers, they use dd-wrt as stock firmware.

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