Build a Wi-Fi HotSpot: Install DD-WRT (X86) On a PC

Normally, when we cover DD-WRT and other firmware replacements for wireless routers, we discuss flashing (or uploading) the firmware to a router. However, DD-WRT also has an X86 version that can be installed onto just about any generic PC.

This is great if you don’t have a compatible router lying around and don’t want to track one down with the right model and version number. Plus it lets you exceed the usual 16MB of RAM and slow CPU in the off-the-shelf consumer-level routers.

In this tutorial, we’ll build and set up a DD-WRT machine.

Limitations of the X86 version

Keep in mind; if you want to go the free route, you’ll only have a wired router—but you can add separate access points. Wi-Fi support is only available in the registered version by purchasing a Professional Activation for € 20.00 ($28.36).

You also lose these features for any X86 version of DD-WRT:

  • USB Support. For example, you can’t connect USB drives or printers to share them on the network.
  • Journaling Flash File System (jffs). Normally this would let you store files directly on the router, such as for NoCatSplash hotspot captive portal pages and other custom configuration.
  • Itsy Package Management System (Ipkg). This would have let you add features from OpenWRT that aren’t already in DD-WRT.

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