The NETGEAR WNR1000V2/VC was one of the most widely-distributed "free" routers from Comcast and was given to hundreds of thousands of customers in the United States. I've also built images for the WNR612v2, WPN824N, WNR2000v3 which are very similar to the WNR1000V2. These are old 4/32 wireless N routers that are still capable of basic networking tasks and also work very well as a dumb access point. I've been running OpenWRT on a WNR1000v2-VC for the past three years (300Mbps WAN connection with 10 wireless clients) and it is very reliable and stable. Note: The LAN/WAN speed will not exceed 100Mbps.
You can buy a used WNR1000v2 on eBay for as little as $9.00 US. My motivation for this project is to reduce electronic waste by continuing to use viable products - with current, secure software.
Download Firmware (Updated Links 07/06/21)
I've compiled new builds for 19.07.7 that include LuCi, IPV6, Relayd, PPP, no opkg. Build manifests, config.seed and sha256sums files are in the download folder.
Download 19.07.7 for WNR1000v2, WNR1000v2-VC, WNR612v2, WNR2000v3, WPN824N.
Download Older Builds of 19.07.4, 18.06.8, 17.01.7 for WNR1000v2, WNR1000v2-VC, WNR612v2, WNR2000v3, WPN824N.
(Some older 17.x and 18.x builds include PPP, SQM - check the build manifest or config files in your model folder to confirm the configured options before flashing. This router can run SQM but the relatively slow CPU will reduce your WAN speed on fast WAN connections and could cause instability.)
Why Not Use the Official OpenWRT Firmware?
The standard, auto-generated official OpenWRT firmware images are too large. You will likely be able to install these official images, but the settings will not be retained upon reboot due to a lack of flash space.
How to Install for WNR1000V2/VC
(If you're using a WNR612v2, WPN824N, WNR2000v3 model the directions below are very similar, just use the included .img file for your model to flash from the original NETGEAR firmware before upgrading to OpenWRT firmware.)
Identify whether you have a v2 or v2-VC hardware version of the router. The product label alone will not identify it as a v2-VC. If the router was provided by Comcast or another ISP is is likely a VC version. If the router is running original Netgear firmware, you can see the "Hardware Version" on the Router Status page via a web browser. You can also open a serial console and view the boot log the first line of output identifies the model. Still can't tell? Try flashing the v2 and v2-vc .img files ending and see which one works. It will be safely rejected by U-boot if it is the wrong file.
If the router is running original Netgear firmware you will need to flash the included "factory" image (.img) of OpenWRT 14.07 Breaker Barrier first - or if flashing 19.07.XX you can directly flash the included factory .img file for your model from the same folder but read the important note below in the Notes section first! (If it is already running OpenWRT, skip to Step 6.)
Manually configure the ethernet interface on your computer with a 192.168.1.X IP address. I use 192.168.1.2 with netmask 255.255.255.0 and set the gateway to 192.168.1.1. Make sure an ethernet cable is connected to your computer and one of the 4 LAN ports on the router.
Boot your router into failsafe mode by turning off the router, depress and hold the reset button with a pin and then turn on the router while still depressing reset button. The power LED should light up with an amber color. Keep holding the reset button until it is starting to flash green. (It starts to flash green after it flashes the amber LED six times).
The device is now in failsafe mode and can accepting a firmware via its TFTP server. To flash via TFTP, open Terminal, cd to the directory with the appropriate .img file you identified in Step 2, then type the commands below. The initial flash is successful if you see "Sent XXXXXX bytes in X seconds" as the last line terminal.
> tftp 192.168.1.1 (hit enter/return) binary (hit enter/return) rexmt 1 (hit enter/return) timeout 60 (hit enter/return) put openwrt-xxx-x.x-xxx.img (hit enter/return)
- Once the router is running Openwrt 14.07 Breaker Barrier (or higher) you can then upgrade to 17.01, 18.06, or 19.07 via the sysupgrade .bin file using the "Backup / Flash Firmware" menu within the GUI. I do suggest upgrading one major version at a time (Ex. not skipping from 17 to 19). Make sure whenever you flash to verify the sha256sums to ensure it isn't corrupted. Uncheck "Keep settings" for maximum reliability when upgrading between versions.
I recently flashed a v2-VC model running original Netgear firmware with the 19.07.4 "squashfs-factory.img" file instead of using the 14.07 Breaker Barrier factory.img file (traditional method). The flash with 19.07.4 was successful, but the settings were not saved upon reboot. The solution was to then flash the "sysupgrade.bin" file to router while it is running Openwrt before you reboot it again. After this second flash with the "sysupgrade.bin" file the settings were retained upon reboot.
If you're flashing from original Netgear factory firmware and can't find the correct openwrt factory.img file in the included folder, download the .img file for OpenWrt Breaker Barrier 14.07 for your model from here. Then upgrade to OpenWrt 17/18/19 using the sysupgrade.bin file from these customized builds.
Performance tip for devices running 19.07.XX: Enable Software Flow Offloading in the Network/Firewall preferences. I’m noticing slightly higher download speeds, lower latency, and a 25% or more reduction in sirq calls when monitoring router CPU use via top. Given how limited the CPU is in these routers, any reduction in load is notable and beneficial for all users.
The TFTP flashing method works, but it can be inconsistent. Keep trying, it seems to work best on Linux. Be patient after flashing as the green light can blink for a few minutes before the router successfully restarts after a flash. When in doubt, do not unplug for at least 5 minutes after a flash attempt. (Credit to SaltwaterC - see his thread for troubleshooting.)
Some v2-VC models running original Netgear firmware may have a fixed IP address of 172.16.12.1 - or a different address that is not 192.168.1.1. You need to change this to "192.168.1.1" in the original Netgear firmware before you can flash to Openwrt. Login to the router via a webrowser, click "LAN Setup" under the "Advanced" section and change the address to 192.168.1.1.
Once running 18.06 or 19.07 it can sometimes be difficult to flash reliably from the "Backup / Flash Firmware" menu to upgrade/downgrade if low on free memory. I suggest you drop caches or reboot to make more RAM available immediately before flashing. The drop cache command is "sync && echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches". The 17.01.7 builds do not have this issue.
Performance improvement tip for devices running 19.07.XX: Enable Software Flow Offloading in the Network/Firewall preferences.
Customization and Building Your Own
I won't be providing customization for these builds, as there is very little flash space for any additional packages. If you create your own build any firmware file much greater than 3.31MB (as reported/measured by OpenWRT immediately before flash) is likely too large and will cause a bootloop and/or will not preserve settings upon reboot.
I've placed the original Netgear firmware for the v2 and VC (North America Models only) in the same folder as the builds above in the event your brick your router.
Recovery for the VC Model
If you brick your router trying to upgrade to OpenWRT and need to revert your WNR1000v2-VC back to stock Netgear firmware via a TFTP flash, use the “WNR1000v2-VC-V126.96.36.199NA.img” file. It is likely the only firmware that will be accepted via TFTP flash.
Recovery for the v2 Model
It should be similiar to the VC model method described above. Start with the earliest version NETGEAR firmware when reflashing via TFTP.
Additional information on flashing these routers courtesy of mPratt14.