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OpenWRT on a Netgear DM200 ADSL Modem


Another bit of craptacular consumer tech gets the boot.

Ever since picking up a new DSL modem a ways back I'd been wanting to get OpenWRT up and running on it. That process turned out to be ... involved. Though with a bit of path-smoothing it could have gone far better.

The major pitfalls encountered were:
  • Determining the proper flashing method for installing the OpenWRT firmware. Which affects the next point:
  • Determining which OpenWRT firmware to install.
  • Determining how to recover from failed attempts and revert to Netgear's OEM firmware.
  • Properly configuring the WAN DSL interface.
  • Having the appropriate documentation available whilst offline during various experiments.
OpenWRT's documentation is excellent -- far better in detail, substance, and quantity than Netgear's DM200 offerings... show more

So, was this an off-by-eight error?

I really wonder why Netgear actually bothers writing software.
  • The first thing do before buying routers/modem/switches is to check they support OpenWRT.
  • The first thing I do after buying routers/modem/switches is to flash OpenWRT.
The preinstalled firmware only purpose is to get me connected for long enough to be able to download the OpenERT firmware - in the same way I need to use Internet Explorer/ Edge at least once to download Chrome.

Also, as a suggestion, always remember you can use your mobile phone data connection if you somehow corner yourself

@Piero FilippIN That presupposes a mobile phone data plan ;-)

As for why vendors use their own builds -- I don't know, though I strongly suspect packaged bundling has something to do with it.

@Doc Edward Morbius I didn't know not having a data plan was even an option!

Strongly recommended if you are going to mess with your router! I managed to royally brick mine once, thankfully I had a UART-to-USB cable around and a soldering iron and managed a recovery console, where I had to copy some random numbers from the internet (something about partitioning the flash)