Netgear DGND 3700 v1 advice please

Hi, I got a DGND 3700 dirt cheap and would appreciate a little advice...
(Why did I get an old router - well, it has a mini pci slot and you can replace the wifi card so I thought I would like to play).

It is Open WRT supported - [OpenWrt Wiki] NETGEAR DGND3700 v1 / DGND3800B

However the WiFi card (and the rest of it) is Broadcom and thus closed source drivers.
The page above suggests removing the WiFi card and replacing it with Atheros 9k card.
(Quote 'It's recommended to replace this Broadcom wifi by another well supported, like Atheros 9k.').

However, I've tried several Atheros cards and none are recognised.
I user Mikrotik R52hn (chipset AR9220), and also Wistron CM9 (Atheros 5004 chipset with the 5213 as main chip) but no luck.

Do I need to load more modules, or do I need a special OpenWRT build?


OK, I have gone through adding any module with AR or ATH in the title and the module ath9k drives the Mikrotik R52hn card at 300 meg (an speed as specified...)

Replacing mini-PCI/ mini-PCIe in a router is a gamble, at best.

  • in many cases the slot isn't quite PCI spec compatible (pins not connected, more power needed than allows - even pins misused for additional power lanes)
  • most wireless cards coming from defective routers are lacking the tiny EEPROM holding calibration data, on routers this is usually stored on the main system flash next to the firmware, but without it (and the correct data matching your exact card) the wireless card can't initialize; notebook cards do contain this EEPROM and the calibration data onboard
  • most wireless routers employ device specific tricks to extract calibration data, MAC addresses and load these into the kernel mode - plugging in a different model will require changes to DTS files and firstboot scripts.
  • many router wireless cards are oversized, more power hungry than PCI specs or your existing router allow or come with a significantly higher thermal heat dissipation requirement.

Only attempt this, if you where the hardware is coming from (in other words, you do have the correct calibration data, either on an onboard EEPROM or extracted from the donor router yourself) and know what you're doing (on the source level). Even then you need to be willing to accept that this attempt may permanently damage/ destroy both devices.

Thanks for the comments. However I don't really care if I fry the router or the card - the router was dirt cheap and I have several surplus wireless cards.

As an aside, I'm getting fairly decent performance from my R52nH card - it connects at 300 megs and has decent sensitivity. Gets a bit warm but nothing too bad...


have you tried the "wl" drivers?

Thanks, I will have a look at those...
The card works with ath9k (or is it ar9k, I can't remember)...