The answer to the question of if the WRT3200ACM is unflashable is now “no.” DD-WRT builds are now available for both the new and re-certified WRT3200ACM FlashRouter.
Over the past few months, Linksys has changed the hardware of the WRT3200ACM. Since September 2017, the WRT3200ACM has a new NAND chip. For those of us who have long since abandoned factory firmware due to a seemingly never-ending supply of backdoors and bugs like the KRACK attack, this is not good news. The WRT3200ACM’s hardware change has rendered the router unflashable to open source firmware such as DD-WRT and OpenWRT.
NAND Flash Memory is a type of nonvolatile storage technology that does not require power to retain data. Linksys has upgraded the WRT3200ACM with a more advanced NAND chip. DD-WRT requires a more complex Linux kernel to match these changes. There is yet to be an update to the DD-WRT firmware for the WRT3200ACM.
What many people don’t understand is that upgrading a router isn’t really based on a model or model number but that firmware is developed for the chips internally. So even a small version change on a router can make a HUGE difference when it comes to open source comparability.
Once you get deeper into this world, as we at FlashRouters have, you see how often this happens and how frustrating it can be to users as well as developers.
The Future of the WRT3200ACM DD-WRT FlashRouter
Is this the end of the WRT3200ACM DD-WRT FlashRouter?
The shaky future of the WRT3200ACM is an important concern for us here at FlashRouters as is the entire popular WRT line of Linksys routers.
Since we have become aware of this complication, we have been in constant contact with Linksys as well as developers of Open Source firmware in regards to this issue to try and work out a solution.
However, it is kind of like starting from scratch. Usually that can mean months of work before anything changes.there are no working builds for the WRT3200ACM with new hardware. Only models with serial numbers starting with 198106 can be flashed. For the time being, only re-certified WRT3200ACMs are available.
UPDATE: The ExpressVPN app is now working on WRT3200ACMs with serial numbers after 198106. There is still no update for DD-WRT and new versions of the WRT3200ACM.
What is a Re-Certified Router?
As newer WRT3200ACMs cannot be flashed, for the foreseeable future, only re-certified devices will be available. What is a re-certified router, you ask? Now is a good time to explain the difference between new, re-certified, and “open box” routers.
We receive our re-certified routers directly from the manufacturer, in this case, Linksys. These devices have been “triple tested” in that they have been opened and inspected by a customer, sent back to Linksys, evaluated by their testing team, and finally appraised by the FlashRouters Support Team.
Our re-certified routers are cosmetically perfect and arrive with the same warranty as our new models. On the other hand, the routers placed under the “open box” category may have cosmetic defects like slight scratches. Furthermore, open box FlashRouters do not come with a warranty. Due to these limitations, our open box devices are significantly discounted in terms of price.
The FlashRouters placed under the “new” condition arrive in the manufacturer box, after undergoing testing and flashing by our Support Team.
Options for New Devices
If you would prefer to use a new rather than re-certified or open box FlashRouter, comparable options to the WRT3200ACM are available in the “new” condition. The Netgear Nighthawk R7800 DD-WRT FlashRouter (pictured above) uses a 1.7 GHz Broadcom processor alongside four powerful external antennas. This is comparable to the WRT3200ACM, which uses a 1.8 GHz Broadcom processor and four external antennas.
Have any questions about open source router compatibility? Shoot us a message.