Should I defect from DD-WRT for Netgear r8000?

First post. Please be gentle. :blush:

I'm a long time DD-WRT user. So far all of my routers have been Broadcom based. WRT54G, e1200, e4200, r8000. Previously I had stuck strictly to kongac builds for one reason. They worked. Don't ask me why but I recently tried some of the newer BS (that's brainslayer) builds and quite frankly, I'm not happy with ANYTHING starting with the number 4! It appears their access to BCM proprietary drivers has ended. They've introduced an experimental driver variety that apparently is using a newer open source driver but that too has it's share of problems. And so I have again reverted back to using older kongac builds exclusively. That's no BS!

After doing a bit of reading here, do I understand correctly that OpenWRT builds as of 19.07.x now work correctly on BCM based devices like my r8000? Potentially my others too? If so, I am ready to defect. I am SO ready!

What I need to know is, must I revert back to stock firmware first or can I flash directly from the DD-WRT web interface to the OpenWRT .chk file? The only reason I ask is because every example I have seen so far that requires reverting back to stock only involve Atheros devices.

Thanks in advance.

The standard procedure is to go from DD-WRT back to stock, and then from stock to OpenWrt.

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Keep in mind DD-Wrt will have access to more recent/better blobs due to NDAs and whatnot. OpenWrt is limited to what Broadcom cares to share with the FOSS community. You can always give OpenWrt a try and see if it lives up to your expectations, but make sure your hardware (especially wireless) is supported if you need it.

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ACTUALLY, as I understand it, their NDA has expired and they no longer have access to the proprietary drivers, which is why they are relegated to using an open source driver in their "experimental driver" builds. They're, how shall I say this, less than perfect? Which is why I'm hopeful 19.07.x can come to my rescue. https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=327935

I've also researched reverting to the initial release factory firmware. Fairly simple as long as one uses the initial release as a starting point.

Most Broadcom routers have a CFE web recovery page (boot up with reset button held down, static IP your PC at 192.168.1.10/24, enter 192.168.1.1 in browser) which is the preferred way to debrick or revert.

Broadcom chipsets with large CPU can run OpenWrt well as a wired router, but don't expect wireless to do anything.

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Hmm. Well that's disappointing. So I guess I'm back to using older kongac builds until I purge my assortment of Broadcom based hardware in favor of Atheros?

I don't see anything wireless related for bcm4908. Guess that means no wifi...

Read the Status and Extras sections here. This is what gave me hope.

The r8000 with BCM43602 wireless uses the mainline brcmfmac driver, which is supported by OpenWrt. As a fullmac design, the feature set is determined by the (closed source-) firmware provided by Broadcom/ Cypress, it's a bit more limited than other chipsets, but it should work (well) for 'normal' (AP-) uses (but might bail out with multiple AP interfaces, WDS/ 4addr or other specialties). Routing- and general performance should be quite decent (~200 MBit/s, maybe a little more), but less than achievable with the OEM firmware and its proprietary hardware acceleration (ctf.ko).

Personally I don't see any reason not to run OpenWrt on this device, while it might perhaps not meet your expectations (and I wouldn't quite recommend buying it in 2021, unless you find a cheap second hand offer), it should work reasonably well with OpenWrt.

--
Disclaimer: I've never had this particular device (a couple of years ago I was considering to buy it, but waited long enough to go with something else/ 'better' instead), nor any other using the brcmfmac driver myself.

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Don't know why you've had problems with bs firmware.

I've used it on many routers and always top notch.

There are numerous features I wish to use and none of them have come together in one place in any of the recent builds the way they did in long builds. Others are very broken. I just don't have the time or patience to be messing around anymore.

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Buy a gl-b1300 and move on with your more useful projects. Or a RPi4 and run stock firmware on your R8000 in AP mode if it does that.

I came from Tomato to OpenWRT.

I run OpenWRT on my R8000. My setup isn't fancy. I have a guest wireless network setup on the 2.4GHz radio. I have a separate VLAN for IoT devices like my son's XBox, the TVs and DVD player. I use AdBlock and I have Samba installed with a 1TB USB drive so I can auto-backup our various computers.

If there's something you would like me to test, and it's within my abilities to do so, let me know what you're interested in and I'll give it a shot.

I do have a hot spare R8000, so I'm not too worried about screwing up my router. Both are currently on 19.07.05 (soon to be .06 with dsnmasq patches)

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What you say seems promising. My setup isn't really all that fancy either. Problems I had with BS std builds are

  • 2.4GHz throughput is horrible, ~1.2Mbps,
  • VAP did not work at all,
  • 5GHz only 1 of two radios worked at all and only at 40MHz BW, with 80MHz selected.

Beyond that I stopped testing. The open source experimental driver flavors could be made to work with reasonable performance but it still had issues. VAP worked but was not bridgable. There were no beam forming options. I find I get 6db+ easily when I use it in the kong builds. That's one feature I do not want to be without. I also use afraid.org DDNS, port forwarding and static IP leases to access various hardware remotely.

I have two other access points configured as client bridges. My intent was to move away from CB mode and subnet the remote AP's instead. That's when I started tinkering with updated dd-wrt firmware. That's how I ended up in this rabbit hole. If you think I can get there from here, I'm all for it.