Update 20120520: I’ve flashed the router back to the stock Belkin firmware because I was having stability issues with the DD-WRT firmware. The internet connection would regularly drop out a few times throughout the day even though the router stayed up and running. I also noticed the WiFi power in the DD-WRT firmware was significantly lower. The DD-WRT port for the Belkin F5D8235-4 v2 needs to mature a little more and have more bugs worked out but I thank the team and the developers for all their hard work.
The Belkin N+ router (model number F5D8235-4 v2) is a pretty decent router as far as consumer equipment goes. I’ve usually built my own Linux based routers to use, but in a pinch nothing beats the simplicity and ease of setup of a commercial embedded router.
Some notable features of the router:
- Powerful 802.11n wireless (unfortunately single-band)
- Guest WiFi access
- Integrated file server (not a good one, but usable)
- Blinky lights that show you how much bandwidth you’re using
The router does run a form of Linux – they have a GPL page called the Belkin Open Source Code Center that has relatively good archives of the GPL software they use in the router. People have had pretty good success sticking telnet into the build and reflashing the router to get remote access and dig around. The hardware is relatively well documented as well.
It was only a matter of time before the guys behind DD-WRT ported over their powerful firmware over to the Belkin N+ – over at the DD-WRT forums is a rather long thread about the work and the porting process.
To save you some time reading the entire 20+ (as of May 23rd, 2012) thread, I’ve posted the instructions and necessary links here
This is how to go from STOCK BELKIN FIRMWARE to DD-WRT FIRMWARE:
- Hop to DD-WRT developer BrainSlayer’s FTP dump to get the mini-image. You need the mini-image to get a base firmware of DD-WRT on there before you can flash the full image. The Belkin firmware does not allow you to go to the full DD-WRT firmware directly. Go this this FTP link, pick the year, then the most recent build, then the router (Belkin-F5D8235-4_v2), the pick “original-to-dd-wrt.bin”. Download that file.
- Then download the other file, the latest build of DD-WRT. It’s in the same directory and is called “Belkin-F5D8235-4v2-webflash.bin”
- Flash the router by logging into the Belkin interface via the web browser. Go do a firmware upgrade and use the “original-to-dd-wrt.bin” file. Try to flash it over wired ethernet, not wifi and give it lots of time to finish. The last thing you want to do is yank the power cord or force a reset in the middle of an upgrade.
- After that file is flashed, you may need to refresh and renew your DHCP lease. Then log into the new router page via the web browser. Find your local IP address (example: 192.168.1.102) and replace the last digit (102) with 1. In this example, put “192.168.1.1” in the address bar.
- Set your password, log in, then reflash the the router again using “Belkin-F5D8235-4v2-webflash.bin”.
- Off you go, now enjoy your router with the power of DD-WRT!
This is how to go from DD-WRT FIRMWARE to STOCK BELKIN FIRMWARE:
- Go to this forum post by BrainSlayer and download the modified stock firmware. You need to be registered at the DD-WRT forums to be able to see the file that he posted. You can register here. For convenience, I have mirror the file and you can download it by clicking here.
- Once this firmware is loaded in the DD-WRT page, it will reboot into the Belkin firmware. For me, the Belkin firmware retained all of it’s prior settings. All I had to do was upgrade again to the latest Belkin firmware, double check my settings, and it was good to go again. You can find the Belkin firmware at this page.
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