DD-WRT and Tomato Advanced firmwares on the D-Link DIR868L

The D-Link DIR868L is a relatively powerful 802.11ac wi-fi router, with support for Advanced Tomato and DD-WRT, for just A$99. Sounds great, but there’s a few gotchas.

After playing around with DD-WRT on the Netgear EX6200 I wanted to try out Advanced Tomato, which has quite a nice interface and is pretty full featured. It looks designed by someone with a modicum of taste! I saw that the D-Link DIR868L is supported, noticed it’s on sale at MSY for just $99 and decided to grab one.

Inside there’s decent 256MB of RAM, a relatively powerful Broadcom BCM4708X dual core 1GHz SoC, a spacious 128MB of flash and a fast 3×3 802.11ac radio. For $99 is was too good to pass up.

I should have done more research, as unfortunately, the DIR868L build of Tomato isn’t the “full” version of Tomato due to the DIR868L’s low amount of NVRAM, which doesn’t allow VPN client support! That’s the whole reason I wanted one! Grrr.

DD-WRT is also a bit of a bust on the DIR868L, as the build has been broken since about August, with version r30432 of DD-WRT the only one currently working. Whilst that version is okay, it lacks the DNScrypt support I also wanted. Also it seems like the DD-WRT devs (there’s only like, 2 or 3 of them, I think) have little interest in updating the current build for the DIR868 – because they don’t have one to test on, hah. The issue is still open in their bug tracker.

So what turned out to be a $99 impulse buy has ended up as a $99 white elephant. I’ve got no use for it now really and MSY won’t take it back opened and working, so it’s off to Gumtree for this thing. If you chuck Advanced Tomato on it though, it’s a very capable unit (all it lacks is VPN support) with a nice looking firmware that’s regularly updated.

Instructions to install Advanced Tomato are here. In a nutshell, install DD-WRT (flash factory-to-ddwrt.bin from the default firmware first), then install Advanced Tomato once you’ve got DD-WRT on. Pretty easy.

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