Sunday, July 3, 2011

Flash between DD-WRT, OpenWRT and Buffalo's stock firmware on the G300NH


Flashing DD-WRT on this router is extremely easy - thanks to the hard work of DD-WRT developers and the official partnership with Buffalo. The official Buffalo DD-WRT version has a few bugs, and lacks support for a media sharing program that I use (minidlna - I will add a tutorial for it later), so I recommend downloading the latest stable snapshot from DD-WRT.

Flashing from stock to OpenWRT, or DD-WRT/OpenWRT to stock, is not as easy, but still very possible. Let's get started:


Flash from the stock firmware to DD-WRT
Go to the DD-WRT Router Database and type WZR-HP-G300NH in the search box.
You can also download a much more current snapshot from the Other Downloads section. Just select the desired snapshot (format: mm-dd-yy-revision) and then select the buffalo_wzr-hp-g300nh. I recommend flashing a more current update as they are more stable and have more features enabled in the kernel.
There are two files listed:
  • buffalo_to_ddwrt_webflash-MULTI.bin
    This is used to upgrade from stock firmware to dd-wrt, which includes an encrypted file header to make it compatible with Buffalo's official web upgrade page. Use it when flashing from stock firmware to dd-wrt.
  • wzr-hp-g300nh-dd-wrt-webupgrade-MULTI.bin
    This is for future update from a DD-WRT loaded router.
The upgrade process is very straightforward and there is really nothing to elaborate here. Just load buffalo_to_ddwrt_webflash-MULTI.bin on the firmware upgrade page then wait patiently. Note: the router's IP will change from 192.168.11.1(Buffalo's stock firmware) to 192.168.1.1(DD-WRT).

Flash from DD-WRT to stock firmware
DD-WRT for this router isn't completely stable, so you might want to revert back to the stock firmware. We can always use the bulletproof TFTP route but if you just need to revert from DD-WRT, there is a shortcut.
  1. Download this modified Buffalo firmware(mirror download)
    Its a stock 1.65 firmware and has been modified to work with DD-WRT web upgrade interface. The firmware is on DD-WRT forum and you'll need to register to download it. Or you can download from the mirror link without registration.
  2. Load the file wzrg300nh_original.bin within DD-WRT web upgrade page to do the conversion. Be patient, it longer than usual and will take like 5-10 minutes.
  3. After reboot, router's IP will change from 192.168.1.1 -- if you're using DD-WRT's default -- to 192.168.11.1.
  4. The router will now have firmware 1.65 loaded and you can upgrade it to newer release from this point. Save wzrg300nh_original.bin for future use if you're about to try DD-WRT(again)
Flash from DD-WRT or stock to OpenWRT
OpenWRT has many advantages over DD-WRT. The main advantage being that OpenWRT uses the ath9k drivers for the G300NH's atheros chip. DD-WRT decided to use the MadWiFi atheros drivers that lack the stability and throughput of the former ath9k drivers. They made this choice in ~2006, nad haven't decided to switch. DD-WRT also has many other bugs, like DHCP crashing when using static IPs.

Flashing from DD-WRT to OpenWRT is pretty easy. Just load the desired .bin file into the web upgrade page and wait. Occasionally this will fail. If that is the case, then you’ll have to use the TFTP method, which is described in the next post.

Unfortunately flashing directly from stock to OpenWRT isn’t possible, so you must either flash to DD-WRT first, or flash by TFTP.

I always flash between types with TFTP, just to be safe. Also, the version of OpenWRT from openwrt.org is very barebones. Changing the web interface to x-wrt will make things prettier and easier. To install it, connect to your router via ssh and use the command ‘opkg install webif’.

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