Flashed to dd-wrt...now what

I just bought a new router for home (Linksys E2500) and flashed it to dd-wrt because...well it seemed neat. It all worked but now what should I do with it? I am actually a quite light user with a wired PS3, PC, wireless Wii U, laptop, Nexus 10 and a couple phones. Mostly I did it, as I said because it seemed neat but I didn't have any specific plans.

One thing I would like is to try to boost the signal. Up on our top floor the signal is kind of weak so that might be nice. There are boat loads of options on this thing though so how would I do that?


One thing I would like is to try to boost the signal.

That's usually "transmit power", in milliwatts. Be careful with that, as it was pretty common, in the early days of the WRT54s, to overheat and burn up the router by driving it too hard.

That's stuff's all on log scale, so you need to increase power by ten times to double the apparent signal strength. Boosting by ten times was what killed all those WRT54s, going from the default 20mw to the maximum 200mw. Most hardware seems to be okay if you double the transmit power, which adds about 3db of signal to noise; if the connection was marginal, that can often fix it right up. But be warned, you are treading on dangerous ground, and you could wreck your AP if the cooling is inadequate. The more you raise that number, the more heat is being generated.

Usually, the solution to poor reception is better antennas, not more power. Directional antennas, and maintaining correct polarization between transmit and receive, can both help a great deal. (polarization = antennas pointed the same direction, so that they're parallel to each other, at least if they're the same type.) Antennas aren't magic: they can boost the signal in a given direction by weakening it in others. That can actually be useful, letting you aim your signal at your own clients, and reducing leakage to the neighbors'.

But all that's radio, not software: it has nothing to do with DD-WRT itself.

Basically, I think of a DD-WRT as a small Linux box. You can do basically anything with it you want, you just have to know what you need. Some uses that come to mind: you can run local DNS on one trivially, put a torrent client on it, build a custom firewall ruleset, serve files to the local network (if it supports USB storage, anyway), put a web server on it, or use it as a VPN server, though it may not have enough grunt to do that well. The more recent consumer routers are starting to get quite powerful, with lots of RAM and fast processors, so the list of server duties they can handle expands almost with each month that passes.