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Installing DD-WRT on my TRENDnet TEW-812DRU wireless router turned an increasingly undependable router into a more reliable, speedier device.

The wireless connection through my TRENDnet TEW-812DRU router was getting slower and slower. Wired, my Internet connection offers speeds of 50–60 Mbps. However, the wireless connection from my TEW-812DRU would degrade to 2–3 Mbps, especially on the 2.4 GHz band.

Resetting the router early each morning with a router reset timer wasn’t helping anymore to improve those speeds. TRENDnet customer support was useless when I contacted them about the issue, and upgrading to the latest TRENDnet firmware did not improve things.

I was so frustrated, I decided it was the worth the risk of breaking (or bricking, in tech speak) the router by replacing the TEW-812DRU’s firmware with the open-source DD-WRT software. If I did ruin the router, it would not be much of a loss. I would buy a new one—and not another TEW-812DRU.

Relying on the information in this Lifehacker article and a DD-WRT thread, I was able to successfully install a version of DD-WRT (v24-sp2) compatible with the TEW-812DRU. (I did not bother with the open-source package TRENDnet has on its web site.) It took me about an hour to read everything, figure out what to do, and then install the software. And I am so glad I did.

The difference in performance was shocking: the TEW-812DRU with DD-WRT was serving up reliable wireless connections with speeds of 30–50 Mbps. And I tinkered very little with the settings in DD-WRT beyond setting up SSIDs and passwords and then changing the wireless channels (as explained in that Lifehacker article).

It’s been three months since I installed DD-WRT, and I’m still getting solid wireless speeds:

52.71 Mbps download, 5.89 Mbps upload

5GHz band after DD-WRT: 50+ Mbps

35.44 Mbps down, 5.96 Mbps up

2.4GHz band after DD-WRT: 30+ Mbps

Although DD-WRT offers a feature for scheduling router resets, I do not recommend using it with the TEW-812DRU. After I turned that feature on, my router immediately stopped working. I turned the feature off, and the stable connections returned. I am sticking with my electronic timer to reset the modem daily.

Installing DD-WRT on my TEW-812DRU saved it from going into the trash. I can’t guarantee you will have the same results if you install DD-WRT, but it’s worth a shot if your router is barely functioning and you are willing to risk bricking it.

Please read the resources I’ve linked above for help. I can’t offer tech support via comments.