Friday, November 15, 2013

D-Link DIR-601 Client Bridge with a Broadcom AP

I wanted a client bridge for a D-Link DIR-601 hardware rev. A1 to a ASUS RT-N16 AP running Tomato USB firmware. Is that so much to ask? Apparently, yes. The DD-WRT forums are full of people having trouble getting Atheros and Broadcom based routers to play nice with one another, especially in settings like a client bridge. The official response: Too bad. Maybe if you're lucky, but don't look at us for help.

Thanks.

So instead I try OpenWRT for the DIR-601. They suggest a pseudobridge. Maybe it works but I couldn't get it working. Then I stumble upon Gargoyle firmware. After finding out the hard way that version 1.5.11 is too big, I flashed version 1.5.10. Once I did that it was super easy to set up and worked the first time. Nice.

The easiest way to do it is this:
  1. No matter what firmware the DIR-601 is running right now, D-Link put in an emergency firmware loader that can be accessed in the following way:
    1. Unplug the router
    2. Push and hold the reset button while unplugged
    3. Plug in the router while holding the reset button
    4. Keep holding the button for about 10 seconds until the power light slowly blinks orange
    5. Manually configure your wired connection to 192.168.0.100, subnet 255.255.255.0.
    6. From a web browser, go to 192.168.0.1
    7. If nothing comes up, repeat steps 1-4 and try again.
    8. From here you can upload the original D-Link firmware or DD-WRT or OpenWRT or Gargoyle. Upload the "factory" firmware, that is, the firmware designed to be uploaded when the router is using D-Link's firmware. Don't upload the firmware designed to be uploaded from a third-party firmware. I used Gargoyle 1.5.10. Download it here. For the DIR-601 choose the AR71XX architecture. Search on the page to find 601-a1, choose factory.
  2. Reset your wired connection to accept DHCP.
  3. Log into your now Gargoyle router at 192.168.1.1. The default password is password.
  4. Set it up. It was pretty straight forward from here to get a client bridge going. What a breath of fresh air.
It works great with my Broadcom based access point (RT-N16). So far I've streamed an hour of Netflix with no problems.

A summary of what didn't work (at least for me):

  • DD-WRT (r16214 or r22118)
    • Client Bridge
    • WDS Station
  • OpenWRT (12.09-beta2 or 12.09)
    • pseudobridge (relayd)
    • WDS Station
  • Flashing anything from D-Link's firmware's GUI (not emergency) except DD-WRT r16214
  • Flashing anything from DD-WRT's GUI except DD-WRT
  • Gargoyle 1.5.11. It's too big. Nice to know it's still offered as a download for people who don't check before assuming a firmware is safe (me).