Category Archives: Routers Info

Is The Linksys WRT3200ACM Unflashable With DD-WRT?

Update 3/7/2018

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.

If you would prefer to use a new Linksys model, the Linksys WRT1900ACS/AC v2 is right below the WRT3200ACM in terms of performative ability and it can also be used as an ExpressVPN OpenWRT device.

Have any questions about open source router compatibility? Shoot us a message.

Understanding Router Chipsets (Router FAQ)

Routers come in many different shapes and sizes. A router could appear in the form of full, rack-mounted systems for enterprise clouds, consumer models from manufacturers much like Linksys and Netgear, or even DIY solutions made from hobby kits like the Raspberry Pi.

What Is A Chipset?

For the router of today, hardware comes in the form of an integrated system on a chip, or SoC. These are multi-function systems of many different configurations and capabilities.

A chipset is a type of SoC. Essentially, a chipset acts as the motherboard’s communications center and traffic controller. It determines what components, like the CPU, RAM, and hard drive, are compatible with the motherboard. The chipsets in most consumer routers are manufactured by Broadcom, Qualcomm Atheros, and Marvell. Furthermore, these different chipsets come with different strengths and weaknesses.

Currently, Broadcom and Qualcomm Atheros are the two front-runners in the world of networking devices. Marvell, a smaller manufacturer, provides SoCs to many mid to high-end routers.

Broadcom

Broadcom is the wireless and broadband component’s industry leader. The company began as an American fabless semiconductor company. They primarily focused on products for the wireless and broadband communication industry.

Broadcom supplies the SoCs for many popular routers such as the Netgear Nighthawk R7000, Asus RT-N66U, and the Asus RT-AC5300. This is important because, with open-source firmware such as DD-WRT and Tomato, only certain chipsets are supported. With Broadcom being one of the most popular chipsets for wireless routers, Broadcom based devices are commonly used for DD-WRT based projects.

Qualcomm Atheros

In 2006, Atheros was an independent company that had just absorbed Airgo Networks. This made it a big player in the wireless industry. Soon after in 2011, Qualcomm announced a takeover of Atheros. This made Atheros a subsidiary named Qualcomm Atheros and allowed Qualcomm to enter the commercial networking field.

Qualcomm Atheros then acquired Ubicom in 2012 for its SoC IP and Wilocity in 2014 for its 802.11ad expertise. With the help of these acquisitions, Qualcomm Atheros grew to an even greater contender in the wireless and networking industry.

As of now, Qualcomm Atheros chips are widely available in commercial routers, many of which are DD-WRT compatible. FlashRouters carries the Netgear Nighthawk R7800, which sports a speedy 1.7Ghz dual-core Qualcomm processor alongside a Qualcomm Atheros QCA8337 network switch.

Marvell

Marvell Technology Group manufactures and creates SoCs for networking devices. These SoCs are often paired with Broadcom transceivers.

Marvell chips are installed in all of the Linksys WRT models. Being that all Linksys WRT models house the Marvell chipsets, all of them are compatible with DD-WRT firmware. Presently, these models include but are not limited to the Linksys WRT1900ACS and the Linksys WRT3200ACM.

Best Budget FlashRouter

The best budget FlashRouter is the Asus RT-AC56U Tomato, dubbed the Dark Knight. This router sports the Broadcom BCM4706A processor, running at a 800Mhz.

This Broadcom chipset is compatible with the popular Tomato firmware, unlocking capabilities that were unheard of for this router. Furthermore, this includes but are not limited to advanced bandwidth monitoring, a stronger wireless signal, and even increased security.

Being a FlashRouter, the Asus RT-N66U is compatible with numerous virtual private networks that allow you to create a secure tunnel, providing your devices with privacy and encryption.

Best Mid-Range FlashRouter

Our recommended mid-range FlashRouter is the powerful Linksys WRT1900ACS. The WRT-1900ACS comes packed with a Marvell 88F6820, a dual-core processor running at a whopping 1.6Ghz.

Furthermore, the Marvell chipset on the WRT1900ACS is fully compatible with DD-WRT. Additionally, this allows the router to unlock many new open-source capabilities. These capabilities include increased stability, features, and of course the ability to run a VPN on your home network.

Additionally, FlashRouters can arrive plug and play. Simply provide us with your username and password for the VPN provider and the router will work right out of the box. Ultimately, no setup needed.

The Best High-End Router

In any case, our only Qualcomm Atheros based FlashRouter, the Netgear Nighthawk R7800, also happens to be one of our most powerful. Consequently, as stated above, this FlashRouter comes with a dual-core Qualcomm IPQ8065 processor running at 1.7Ghz alongside a Qualcomm Atheros network switch.

Ultimately, the powerful dual-core processor allows the FlashRouter to process information and data quicker than ever. For VPN users this makes a world of a difference as there is constantly a flow of encrypting and decrypting Internet traffic.

This chipset is fully DD-WRT compatible, making it one of the most powerful open-source ready wireless routers available.

Looking For More Router Basics?

Check out some of the many additional pieces we have written as part of our Router & WiFi FAQ.

What is a Router?

Firmware vs. Software

What is WiFi?

What is an ARM Router?

What is a VLAN?

What is Router Kill Switch?

What is Wireless-AD?

What is NVRAM?

What is WiFi Beamforming?

What Are the Best Routers for Nintendo Switch?

Well, it’s been a little over half a year with the Nintendo Switch, and a little over a month since Super Mario Odyssey‘s release. Suffice to say, we’re barely able to drag ourselves away from the system long enough to write this post.

Surely there are many like us. But, unlike us, not every Nintendo Switch obsessive has taken the necessary steps to support their new favorite gaming system with a top-of-the-line router.

So if your online play is lagging or freezing, FlashRouters can change that. Learn how you can make your Nintendo Switch gaming experience state of the art.

The Basics of the Nintendo Switch

For the uninitiated, the Nintendo Switch is the latest video game console from the fine folks at Nintendo, released in March 2017.

Aside from the games it offers, the Nintendo Switch distinguishes itself with its transportability. That is, though it’s primarily a home game system, you can remove the main unit and use it as a transportable tablet with an LCD touchscreen. You can even turn the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controller into a handheld device, a la the Wii controller.

The Joy-Con Controller

As to that special controller we were referencing above, you’re in for a treat. Not only is the Joy-Con Controller similar to an interactive Wii remote, it can be broken down to 2 controllers, which can be shared with a friend or just used on your own. What’s more, you can slide it onto either side of the Switch, making the whole system portable.

And that’s just the beginning of this controller’s flexibility. It can be used sideways or straight. You can rely on buttons or the motion control tech. Plus, there’s the HD rumble tech for added engagement, as well as a state of the art IR Motion Control Camera. Basically, it’s whatever control you want it to be.

Upcoming Nintendo Switch Games

And then there are the games. We’ve already mentioned the highly addictive Super Mario Odyssey, but there’s also plenty more where that came from. Skyrim: The Elder Scrolls V, L.A. Noire, NBA 2K18…and there’s a slate of classic Nintendo games coming to the Switch in 2018. That means Dr. Mario, Super Mario Bros, and many more. For a mixture of modern and classic gaming, the Switch is hard to beat.

Nintendo Switch Specs

CPU: Four ARM Cortex A57 cores (theoretical max 2GHz)
GPU: 256 CUDA cores (theoretical max 1GHz)
Nintendo Switch Chip Architecture: Nvidia second-generation Maxwell
Texture: 16 pixels/cycle
Fill: 14.4 pixels/cycle
Memory: 4GB
Memory Bandwidth: 25.6GB/s
VRAM: Shared
Storage: 32GB, max transfer rate 400MB/s
USB: USB 2.0/3.0
Nintendo Switch Video Output: 1080p60
Nintendo Switch Display: 6.2-inch IPS LCD, 1280×720 pixels, 10-point multi-touch support

How A Good Router Improves Your Nintendo Switch Experience

Now, if your intention is to simply play your games on your own or with whoever is in your house, then you’re all set. No router needed.

But for those interested in the online game play Nintendo Switch offers, a powerful router that can process lots of incoming data at lightning speed with no lags or freezes is an absolute must. And FlashRouters devices are designed with just that type of high-bandwidth activity in mind.

FlashRouters takes already strong WiFi routers, ditches their faulty stock firmware, and replaces it with open source alternative firmwares like DD-WRT and Tomato. These firmwares are more powerful and adaptable to modern WiFi network needs like online gaming and streaming.

With the help of a FlashRouter, you can manage your wireless settings and prioritize the Nintendo Switch in your network. By offering devices equipped to let our users manage their QoS (Quality of Service) settings, FlashRouters enables a more flexible, intuitive wireless experience. Noticing slowdowns with high bandwidth activities like Skype calls or video game streaming? Set your own WiFi priorities with a FlashRouter.

Best Routers for Nintendo Switch

Best Netgear DD-WRT

Before we give you our top router choices for Nintendo Switch users, we should mention we offer a wide variety of wireless routers that cover a range of prices and capabilities. And if you’ve checked out our store and are still confused about what you’re looking for, our router finder located on our home page will help you narrow down your search by seeking your specific needs.

Additionally, using an Open Source FlashRouter will allow you to integrate a VPN into your router network.

Without further ado, here are FlashRouters favorite routers for Nintendo Switch:

  1. Netgear Nighthawk R9000 X10 AD7200 DD-WRT – Everyone loves the Nighthawk (we’ve even got another version further down the list), and this latest version leaves its predecessors in the dust. And that’s saying something.
  2. Linksys WRT3200ACM AC3200 DD-WRT – You want fast gaming speeds from your wireless router? Well, this beauty has our fastest processor, part of what makes it so perfect for wireless coverage in large homes.
  3. Asus AC5300 DD-WRT – Our most high-end Asus model with 8 external antennas for maximum WiFi range.
  4. Netgear Nighthawk R7000 Tomato – Our most popular Netgear router, and preferred as a top router for online console gaming. Also available in a Tomato version with a Selective VPN option.

Using a VPN with Nintendo Switch

Like most game consoles, the Nintendo Switch has no native Virtual Private Network support. Using a FlashRouter alongside your Nintendo Switch will allow you to encrypt all of your gaming by changing the geo-location of your network.

Furthermore, with a FlashRouter all connected devices will go through the VPN tunnel. Looking to secure your entire network with NordVPN or the China specialists in ExpressVPN? A FlashRouter is a one-stop-shop for total network encryption.

Have More Questions about Nintendo Switch, WiFi or VPN?

Still not sure what you need or what is best for you? Just ask us and we’re more than happy to assist!

Router of the Day: Netgear R9000 X10 Nighthawk AD7200 DD-WRT

Introducing the Netgear R9000 X10 DD-WRT

Netgear continues to produce innovative premium WiFi routers to exceed consumers expectations while living on the cutting edge of technology and performance. The latest addition to the FlashRouters Family, the Netgear Nighthawk R9000 X10, is an especially impressive device. The R7000, the original Nighthawk, is one of the most popular FlashRouters. However, the R9000 blows it out of the water takes where that started and lifts off.

Top Features:

  • Wireless-AD7200 Gigabit WiFi
  • 7.2 Gbps WiFi Speeds
  • 1.7 Ghz Dual Core Processor
  • 10GB Ethernet Port
  • Two USB 3.0 Ports, Seven Gigabit Ethernet Ports
  • QuadStream Wave2 WiFi (MU-MIMO)

What is Wireless-AD?

The defining feature of the Nighthawk R9000 AD7200 DD-WRT is the introduction of Wireless-AD. Wireless-AD is the latest wireless standard. Before Wireless-AD, there was Wireless AC (the current standard), Wireless-N and Wireless-G, all of which improved greatly on the previous standard. Wireless-AD is the next step. While most WiFi connections use the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands, the Wireless-AD in the R9000 takes advantage of the 60 GHz spectrum.

At any rate, using the 60 GHz spectrum allows for a maximum wireless speed of 7 Gbps. This is 4 Gbps higher than the max speeds of Wireless-AC. However, Wireless-AD is not backwards compatible. If you have a Wireless-AC or Wireless-N device, you will not be able to use it on the 60 GHz Wireless-AD spectrum. On the other hand, there are not many Wireless-AD devices currently available on the market. If you have a slew of Wireless-AC and N devices, do not fret.

Additionally, using Wireless-AD is future-proofing your setup. While there may not be many devices currently on the market which utilize Wireless-AD, the future will be a different story. Taking advantage of Wireless-AD now will save headaches later.

Wireless-AD Spectrum in DD-WRT

The R9000 is a Tri-Band router. The 60 GHz 802.11ad spectrum is only one of the three bands. The 802.11ac bands are 5GHz and 2.4GHz. At any rate, the two 802.11ac bands on the R9000 can be used with Wireless-AC and earlier.

Nighthawk R9000 DD-WRT Hardware Upgrades

Besides the advancements of Wireless-AD, the Nighthawk R9000 is still a very impressive router. The R9000 uses 4 CPU cores in a 1.7 GHz Broadcom processor. This is the most powerful processor currently available in a FlashRouter.

Looking to integrate a Virtual Private Network on the router level? As the Netgear Nighthawk R9000 FlashRouter is flashed with Open Source DD-WRT firmware, this is certainly possible. However, tunneling your connection between a VPN server and back will always cause a level of slowdown. Using a high-end 1.7 GHz processor will offer a solid defense any slowdowns caused by tunneling.

The R9000 also uses four very powerful external antennas. These antennas utilize MU-MIMO. MU-MIMO allows for simultaneous streaming on multiple devices. Taking advantage of this feature provides each connected device with a straight-ahead path to the router: no more wars of interference between devices.

Additionally, the Netgear Nighthawk R9000 takes advantage of a 10 Gigabit Fiber port alongside 6 Gigabit ports. The 10Gb SFP+ Fiber LAN port allows for fast Network Attached Storage. Looking to take advantage of Plex or Kodi? HQ streaming starts here.

However, we must note that if you are planning to use the Netgear R9000 outside of the USA, then you must add on the international power supply for 100-240V worldwide power compatibility.

Nighthawk R9000 Firmware Upgrades

As mentioned above, the Netgear Nighthawk R9000 takes the original Netgear firmware and replaces it with DD-WRT firmware. Netgear firmware is frequently filled with bugs and factory installed backdoors. This is something we report often hear at FlashRouters.

Besides omitting the flaws of default firmware, some of the features you can take advantage of with the Netgear Nighthawk R9000 include:

  • Removes firmware flaws major security holes, backdoors like WPS functionality.
  • Complete OpenVPN & PPTP Client/Server Setup Configuration Options.
  • Stabilize Overall WiFi Performance & Boost Antenna Strength with wireless transmission power options.
  • Integrated Captive Portal/ WiFi Hotspot System Capabilities
  • Advanced Networking Modes: Access Points, Wireless Extender, Wireless Client & Repeater Bridge.

The FlashRouters Guarantee

Here at FlashRouters, it is a priority that our users get as much out of their routers as possible.

Visit the FlashRouters Support Plan Center for information on support for your router.

Have a question?

Check out our just relaunched FlashRouters Help Center!

FlashRouters FAQ: What Is A VPN Kill Switch?

vpn-kill-switch

People are known to idealize the past. It is not uncommon to hear an older person wax poetic about the “safer” world of their youth. In such conversations, one can usually hear some variation of the adage “we didn’t have to lock our doors at night.” Well, apparently only 7% of Americans still keep to that premise. We have grown used to locking our doors at night. Perhaps, we should begin to apply security to our Internet usage as well. Enter Virtual Private Networks and the importance of a VPN Kill Switch.

What Is a Virtual Private Network?

As your average person remembers to lock their door at night, it would be advisable they learn to do the same for their Internet connection. In a world of snooping governments and sneaking invaders, one must take the necessary precautions for a safe home network.

Subscribing to a Virtual Private Network provider like ExpressVPN or NordVPN will allow you to tunnel your traffic through a secure server. One can select a server from anywhere in the world. After selecting a server, your connection will appear as if it is in the location of the server. If one selects a server in Toronto, despite their physical location, they will appear as if they are in Toronto.

Getting The Most Out of a VPN

Subscribing to a VPN will allow you access to a VPN Client. Using VPN Service’s standard software allows you to tunnel your connection only on the devices which have the software installed. However, some devices do not have native VPN capabilities. The only way to use a VPN on these devices is to use a DD-WRT or Tomato FlashRouter. Devices that cannot use VPN without a VPN FlashRouter include Roku, AppleTV, Xbox, PS4, SmartTVs, Kodi Players among many more.

Linksys
Linksys WRT3200ACM AC3200 R7000 NighthawkLinksys WRT1900ACS/AC v2 AC1900
Wireless-AC3200 Mbps
1.8 GHz Marvell Processor
4 Ext Antennas
Top Gaming Router
Wireless-AC1900 Mbps
1 Ghz Broadcom Processor
3 Ext Antennas
One of our Most-Popular Routers
Wireless-AC1900 Mbps
1.6 GHz Marvell Processor
4 Ext Antennas
Use in Small-Medium Homes
$349.99$299.99$299.99

Using a DD-WRT or Tomato FlashRouter will allow you to integrate a VPN into your home network. Once you have a VPN network from a FlashRouter, any connected device will be encrypted by the VPN.

What If My Connection Drops?

If you are connected to a VPN network, there is the possibility your VPN connection will drop. Once this happens, the network will revert from the VPN to the ISP, leaving the network exposed. The way to combat this possibility is the installation of a VPN Kill Switch.

Securing A VPN Network With a VPN Router Kill Switch

A router with a VPN Kill Switch installed offers a strong defense against VPN drops. Concerning a VPN Kill Switch, if the connection to the VPN is lost, the router will cut off its Internet and block your network from being exposed to insecure standard Internet traffic. Moreover, a VPN Kill Switch removes any unwanted fear in regards to an exposed network.

How Do I Get a VPN Kill Switch on a Router?

To clarify, using a VPN Kill Switch will allow for added protection. If your VPN drops, the Internet connection cuts off. To put it another way, without a Kill Switch, if the VPN drops, you are unprotected.

Each VPN provider or network setup has a varied configuration so if you do not have a question we recommend you ask your router vendor. It is also highly possible that your device does not have this capability. This functionality is available our of the box with open-source up

Part of the white glove service and support of a FlashRouter is a free Kill Switch. Simply request for a Kill Switch in the comments section of your order and FlashRouters will install it for free.

You may wonder why we don’t do it by default. The reason for this is that if a user doesn’t know their Internet will go out when the VPN goes out they might get confused and think it is broken instead of it being a security measure. FlashRouters’ policy on the VPN Kill Switch is that a user must opt-in and request this setup in order to be fully aware of what they are getting. Just like you should be fully aware of EVERYTHING and EVERYONE that has access to your online activities.

Installing a VPN Kill Switch

If you would like to install a VPN Kill Switch in a DD-WRT or Tomato router on your own, you can do so by following these instructions from the newly updated FlashRouters Help Center:

Activating the VPN Kill Switch in DD-WRT firmware:

Go to the Administration > Commands section and paste in the following script:

iptables -I FORWARD -i br0 -o vlan2 -j DROP

Click Save Firewall and then reboot your router.

Activating the VPN Kill Switch in TomatoUSB firmware:

Go to the Administration > Scripts > Firewall section and paste in the following script:

iptables -I FORWARD -i br0 -o vlan2 -j DROP

Click Save and then reboot your router.