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DD-WRT is an incredible Linux based alternative OpenSource firmware, but you need a quality router to make the most of it. We think the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 is the best option for most homes.
If you have money to spend, you should get this monster among DD-WRT routers. It’s not just for gamers, but for anyone who values speed, security and ultimate control of your network. If you need something more affordable, theNETGEAR Nighthawk AC1750 is also a great device.
For disclosure, Nechstar has affiliate partnerships (including Amazon). These do not influence editorial content, though we may earn commissions for purchases using our links. Learn more.
Slow loading speeds, buffering and lagging are all frustrating occurrences.
They are virtually unavoidable with today’s technology.
However, many streamers are discovering the many benefits or DD-WRT routers.
What are DD-WRT routers?
These types of routers are Linux system based and allow users to release their internet router’s full potential, enabling flawless streaming possibilities. They also allow you to connect multiple devices on a highly secure network. Some even allow you to create your own guest network for added security.
There are more DD-WRT supported routers appearing on the market, and a beginner may not know what to look for when purchasing one.
You’d have to be familiar with tons of technical jargon to be able to make the best choice for your needs.
Our goal is to provide some guidance for what may be a daunting task. Below you’ll see our reviews of the best DD-WRT routers of 2021 to ease your mind.
Frequency: Tri-band (dual 5 GHz, single 2.4 GHz), (5334 Mbps) | Wireless standards: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac | Connectivity: 8 x LAN, 1 x WAN, 2 x USB 3.0 | Features: MU-MIMO technology, Beamforming, VPN Fusion, Game IPS, ASUS AiMesh, AiProtection, Parental control
Perfect for gaming
Free lifetime protection against online threats
Two USB 3.0 ports
Overkill for most homes
A godsend for gamers, the GT-AC5300 is one of the fastest DD-WRT supported routers on the market. Both software and hardware optimization let you game lag-free. It’s not just for gamers, but for anyone who values speed, security and ultimate control of your network.
The hardware includes a 1.8 GHz Quadcore processor, giving it a powerful signal. Chances are you’ll have an excellent signal wherever you are.
The Trend AirProtection provides you with parental controls and ultimate security from intruders. Furthermore, the device can be controlled with a smartphone app and even with Alexa commands. You can monitor each connection so you know exactly what networks your devices are connected to 24/7.
It’s also equipped with radar so you can choose the fastest servers near you. There are also numerous customizable settings with eight LAN ports and a user-friendly game dashboard.
What´s more, the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 gives you the power to run a completely private network with close to 5,000 square feet of range.
If it wasn’t for the high price tag, this would be our top pick for the best DD-WRT supported routers this year.
Fortunately, there are refurbished options and bargain sellers available. If you have money to spend, you should get this monster among DD-WRT routers.
Frequency: Dual-band 2.4GHz (450 Mbps) + 5GHz (1300 Mbps) – AC1750 | Wireless standards: 802.11ac | Connectivity: 4 x LAN, 1 x WAN, 1 x USB 3.0 | Features: 3 detachable antennas, Works with Alexa, and Google Assistant, Beamforming, Circle® Smart Parental Controls, Armor Cyber-threat Protection, Smart Connect, Personal Cloud Storage, VPN
Great for gaming and streaming
Impressive NAS/Storage performance
Bigger than a typical router
The Nighthawk AC1750 is an affordable DD-WRT compatible router for serious streamers. It has a 1 GHz dual-core processor, 1750 Mbps wireless speed and other advanced technology for lag-free streams. You can also get up to 1500 feet of Wi-Fi coverage for up to 25 devices.
If you’re a parent and want to add parental controls, theCircle app provides many options. You have the freedom to filter websites and set time limits on all connected devices. It’s also smartphone compatible so that you can set up and control your network from your smartphone app.
One of the most beneficial features is the added cybersecurity. You can cancel your internet security subscriptions since it comes with built-in NETGEAR Armor softwarethat protects an unlimited number of devices from intruders.
The NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1750 is a great option for avid streamers on a budget.
Frequency: Dual-band 2.4GHz (800 Mbps) + 5GHz (1733 Mbps) – AC2600 | Wireless standards: 802.11ac | Connectivity: 4 x LAN, 1 x WAN, 2 x USB 3.0 | Features: 4 amplified antennas, MU MIMO, Dynamic QoS, Amazon Alexa Voice Controls, Beamforming, Double firewall protection, Parental controls
High-speed 5GHz rates
Can plug into multiple HDDs
Good 5GHz range
The Nighthawk 4S is a step up from the AC1750 and gives you a 1.7 GHz for a slightly more powerful signal and a 2500 square feet range. With 2600 Mbps of speed, it’s highly suitable for gaming and HD streaming. The router supports up to 45 devices.
It has similar parental controls as the AC1750, allowing you to filter and time each device on your network. Use your smartphone to easily connect and monitor devices by downloading the app.
Furthermore, built-in security gives you protection against viruses, malware, and other intruders. There’s no more need to download anti-virus and internet security software. The router has a double firewall and allows you to add a guest network too for exceptional security.
The X4S comes with an app that allows you to backup all of your PC connections for storage and attaches a number of storage devices. Though it’s more expensive than the AC1750, it’s got a few more impressive features worthy of a few extra dollars.
Quite possibly the fastest router currently on the market, theLinksys WRT1900ACS provides exceptional and professional level speed, storage and capability. With this DD-WRT compatible router, you can surpass limits. Expect to never experience lagging, buffering and loading lag again with Tri-Stream 160 technology.
It has a 1.8 GHz processor with 2.6 Gbps Wi-Fi streaming speed. You can double the 5 GHz bandwidth and triple the number of channels available for seamless streaming.
Easily setup and customize your device with the smartphone app. With it, you can set parental controls, set device priority and set security settings. You can monitor all connections, create a secure VPN and also manage hotspots.
This DD-WRT compatible router contains GREENnet technology and thus consumes up to 70% less power than other models.
The TRENDnet AC1900 has a stylish antenna free design. Though the speeds reach only 600 Mbps N and 1300 Mbps wireless speed (because of the antenna free design), it’s less bulky and fits right in with your home’s decor.
You can still expect lightning speeds and easily stream HD.
It also comes with parental controls, one-touch connection technology, and pre-encryption. Furthermore, the router allows you to set up a guest network for added security.
For additional storage, there are USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports. Furthermore, the gigabit-capable LAN ports boost the speed.
The Nighthawk X6 boasts 3500 square feet of range, tri-band speed, and a 1 GHz processor. It has a whopping 3200 Mbps speed capability for some serious speed, which is great for gamers and heavy-duty streamers. Up to 50 devices can share lightning speed on the three-band network for impeccable speed.
Similar to the other NETGEAR models, it’s easy to customize parental controls by setting schedules and times and filtering websites. Easy smartphone setup allows you to control settings from your smartphone.
Additionally, NETGEAR Armour protects an unlimited number of devices from malware, viruses and other intruders.
What caught our eyes about the Nighthawk X6 is its intelligence. Advanced technology can determine the speeds of each device to prioritize which device has the fastest connections delivered. What´s more, the Nighthawk X6 is Alexa compatible router, so you can use voice commands to control it.
We hope the reviews help you to choose the best DD-WRT router for your household’s browsing or gaming needs. As you know now, though they can be pricey, these routers offer you a way to take control of your network.
Rest assured that you may never have to worry about switching your internet service provider or troubleshooting for connectivity issues again. Plus, the added security gives you peace of mind.
For those who need detailed information about DD-WRT, we´ve prepared a buying guide and answered important questions.
What Is A DD-WRT Router?
DD-WRT is a Linux based alternative OpenSource firmware for wireless routers. Available online from dd-wrt.com as free, DD-WRT contains special features and optimizations designed to improve on the standard firmware that router manufacturers provide with their products.
The standard firmware that your router is using determines just about everything the router can do.
So, if you want to get more power and control over your home Wi-Fi network, buying a DD-WRT compatible router is a good idea.
A DD-WRT supported router also allows the user to install more software directly onto the router’s memory. What software? For more security on the internet, many users are installing VPN.
How Much Power Does a DD-WRT Router Use?
The router doesn’t consume a lot of power. A wireless router is a device that is running 24/7 to provide uninterrupted internet access.
Check out this power consumption databaseand find here your router. Or simply estimate that a Wi-Fi router uses 2 to 20 watts depending on the specific model.
On average, a Wi-Fi router costs no more than $1 to $2 per month to run. You can also use a free onlineEnergyUseCalculator to get detailed information.
What Are Pre-Flashed DD-WRT Routers?
For beginners, installing a third-party firmware can be difficult. That´s when pre-flashed routers come on the scene. There are many benefits of buying a pre-flashed DD-WRT router, so you should be worry to buy one. They have been tested and come with a warranty.
What Does Flashing A Router Mean?
Flashing a router is a process where you replace the manufacturer’s firmware with a third-party alternative. Be aware that the memory size on a router is limited, so you can´t simply uninstall the factory firmware and replace it with DD-WRT, OpenWRT or Tomato.
Will installing DD-WRT on your router void the warranty you have on your router?
Read the terms of the warranty of the manufacturer. In most cases, repairs or modifications of the router by anyone other than the manufacturer or his approved agent will void the warranty. The manufacturer of your router can claim that installing DD-WRT voids the warranty.
Likely, you could always re-install stock firmware. If you brick the router while DD-WRT is installed, then you may have an issue.
There is also good to know that if the router is advertised as an open-source router (DD-WRT, OpenWRT, Tomato) then is assumed that you will try to install third-party software on the router’s memory, and the warranty is not strictly against it.
Can You Install DD-WRT On Any Router?
Simple answer: No.
You have to get a device that supports custom third-party firmware, a router that can run DD-WRT without any problem. You should always check the manufacturer’s description to see if the router is compatible with DD-WRT software.
Is DD-WRT Safe?
In fact, firmware designed by manufacturers for routers is actually built around the same open-source software as alternatives like dd-wrt.
The manufacturer´s firmware has to be maintained to be secure.
DD-WRT is an open-source system which is some kind of advantage over any stock firmware. Security vulnerabilities can be identified and fixed faster.
If you take a router, install DD-WRT on it, and then forget all about it, then DD-WRT is not safer than the manufacturer´s firmware.
The advantage of DD-WRT is that it makes it easier to install updates. That is what we mean if we talk about security. Regular software updates.
Is DD-WRT Free?
Yes, DD-WRT is a free Open Source firmware that can be flashed on any compatible router in order to give the user extra functionality.
Will DD-WRT Speed Up Your Router?
A faster router speed is not the priority for DD-WRT firmware. To answer that question, we can say that if you configure a DD-WRT router properly, it can speed your wireless network. For more information, get advice from the community of theDD-WRT forum.
How to Install a VPN on a DD-WRT Router?
DD-WRT vs. OpenWRT vs. Tomato
DD-WRT is not a single third-party firmware you can use to customize your router. In fact, there are two popular custom firmware options.
DD-WRT: A most popular and free firmware for wireless routers. It is a complete toolkit. It comes with almost everything you could want in router customization.
Supports tons of routers
Built-in OpenVPN support
A robust array of options
Overwhelming for new users
Hard to find new versions for some routers
OpenWRT: The oldest open-source router project. The OpenWRT can be a good option for free software enthusiasts with tons of features and OpenVPN. Unfortunately, it is not the most user-friendly software.
Tons of options
Ability to dig into lower levels
Not as user-friendly
More time to get running
Not too many routers support this project
Tomato: This is the most user-friendly router project out there. And it also a firmware that already earned a reputation for speeding up routers.
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