Flash Aa-ah! Firmware Upgrade


Now I have the router the real work begins. The first task was to set up the router and actually get into the settings so that I could change the firmware. The router came with a set-up CD which I tried out of curiosity.

This helpful CD ran through some set-up procedures obviously to make things easier for the non-tech savvy customers. The CD tries to find updates for its processes.

Then it gives instructions on how to connect a router with the supplied cables.

The following generic progress bar screen seems to hide the search for the router on the network and attempt to reach the settings on the router. When it has found the router it presents you with a suggested or default wireless configuration, of course you can change the settings but the ones given are obscure enough to be secure if accepted as is.

I was slightly amused at the idea of a wireless network being named ‘ShyGiraffe’ but I changed it to something more meaningful for the project which was ‘Drive-By-Heal’. Once the first set-up was over and I was able to get access to the router by typing ‘192.168.1.1’ into my browser. This called up the advanced settings options available from the web interface. The Linksys web interface that comes on the router as part of the firmware has a good variety of settings. Unfortunately it doesn’t have the exact option that I need which is the ability to set-up a hotspot system that uses something called a captive portal or walled garden. I do know that there is firmware available on-line that provides the options I need, the DD-WRT is an open source firmware that is constantly being updated with more router models and manufacturers being supported all the time. I chose the E2000 because I knew that it is supported by DD-WRT.

The Flashing

In order to put the correct software on the router I needed to follow a set of steps found here.

Flashing another form of firmware upgrade except it involves overwriting the insides to the device so that there is no remains of the old firmware. Normal firmware upgrades would only add to the existing firmware.

On this router I had to do a special type of reset that meant holding the reset button for 90 seconds in total whilst I turn the router off and back on again in order to allow it to receive the new different firmware.

Now the router is on DD-WRT I can look at my options for creating the hotspot system that will great my visitors like described in my Plan of Action.

DD-WRT has lots of useful services and over the next week or two I’ll be looking at my best options to get the desired effect.

So the Fun begins!!