Breathe new life into your old home router

A New Route

© Lead Image © donatas1205, 123RF.com

© Lead Image © donatas1205, 123RF.com

Article from Issue 253/2021
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If you have an old router lying around, you can put it to good use with a few easy projects and learn something along the way.

There are some fun and interesting projects that can be done by repurposing an old home router. If you don't have an old router lying around, you can usually find one for about $5-$25. These routers are easy to reflash, so a new programmer doesn't have to worry about messing things up too badly.

In this article, we will look at three projects to get some extra life out of an older router. The first project uses the router's USB port to connect to third-party devices. The second project collects microcontroller and internal data, and the final project displays the data on the router's web page and on a Raspberry Pi.

Selecting a Router and Firmware

A number of open source firmware solutions can breathe new life into an old router. OpenWRT [1] and DD-WRT [2] are the most popular packages, but there are other options. You need to determine if one of these firmware packages supports your old router. Keep in mind that many older routers only have 4MB of flash and 32MB of RAM. These routers may not run or only marginally run OpenWRT or DD-WRT. We recommend that you choose a router with a minimum 8MB of flash and 32MB or more of RAM.

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