Free Your Wireless Router

Published: March 6th, 2022

Because I'm the type of weirdo that flashes LineageOS to my phone and runs Linux on my laptop, I figured why not flash a FOSS firmware replacement to my wireless router? OpenWrt ("Wireless Freedom" being their slogan) is free and open-source project for embedded operating systems based on Linux, primarily used on wireless routers and other embedded devices to route network traffic. Getting OpenWrt installed is far more easier than flashing LineageOS to an Android device or installing Arch Linux, assuming the stock firmware allows for manual firmware upgrades.

Why would you want to do this?

Here's the steps I took to flash OpenWrt to a Linksys WRT1200AC, but this should apply to many wireless routers as well. If your router doesn't support manually installing firmware from the web UI, there are four total installation methods available. The OpenWrt website also has a pre-installation checklist which may be worth checking out.

Installation Process & Basic Setup

An important note here is that I had been troubleshooting for 45 minutes trying to figure out why I didn't have an internet connection on both WiFi and Ethernet. It turned out that I simply had to power off my modem and power back on.

Although I'll likely never use all the capabilities, it's nice to have the freedom to do so should I choose. There's a ton of features to explore.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to send comments, questions, or recommendations to hey@chuck.is