Replacing wireless router firmware
May 8, 2005 11:13 AM   Subscribe

I have a Linksys WRT54G router that has some third party firmware installed on it. It no longer works, so I want to replace it with the original Linksys firmware or something better.

I know I have to do this via TFTP (the auto-update utility from Linksys doesn't work) but I don't really know how to do it. I've found this TFTP program, but that's where I'm stuck. Can someone give me (or guide me to) a step-by-step instruction of how to do this? I'm pretty good with computers, just haven't played around with router firmware before...
posted by bering to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
I just went through this process. It was kind of error prone and I had to repeat many steps 3-4 times to get it to work.

Some or all versions of the WRT54G (I have v2.0 hardware) will not take a new flash image via TFTP over 3MB in size. The updater provided by linksys has a 3.3MB image, so you will have to go with an earlier version. I used this version, which supported v2 hardware. You'll want to use an earlier version depending on the hardware version you have.

With a working firmware in place, you can use the web interface to load a later version or 3rd party version.

Once you have the .bin of an appropriate firmware image, you need to get ready to TFTP it.

First, you'll need a TFTP client (the solarwinds product you linked to looks like a server only) that supports authentication. (I used one with the filename tftp2.exe, but at this point, I don't know where I got it).

Connect the wrt54g and the computer you are running the TFTP client on to the same hub or switch. The WRT54G will default to an IP address of, so you'll want to give the PC an IP address in the same subnet (, for example).

Once you have the IP addressing assigned, start the TFTP CLIENT, give it the address of the WRT54G fill in the default password ("admin") point it to the flash image and choose binary mode if given the option. The goal is to get it already to make the connection with the push of a button.

Next is to do a hard reset on the linksys. Hold down the reset button on the back for 30 seconds. While still holding it down, unplug the unit from another 30 seconds. Plug it back in. Immediately release the reset button and start the TFTP upload.

It should show progress pretty quickly. If it fails, try starting it again. If that fails, try the reset cycle again and try adjusting your timing ( both shorter and longer) between restoring the power and starting the upload.

Once you have a successful upload, the box should reboot. Try accessing the web interface. It may take a while (30+ seconds) the first time. If it doesn't work. Try power cycling or resetting the box.

It took me a number of tries to get the transfer to work.

And even then, I repeated the transfer and resetting the box a few times before I got in to the web interface. After that though, smooth sailing. I put on the latest beta HyperWRT firmware (which is based on the latest linksys firmware).

Things work much better now. My WDS link doesn't fail or stop passing broadcast traffic every few hours as before and the firewall doesn't stop passing https traffic arbitrarily they way it did with the released sveasoft satori firmware I was using. I may try sveasoft talisman once it becomes more stable, but i'm happy with hyperwrt for now.
posted by Good Brain at 1:12 PM on May 8, 2005

Use this TFTP application. It is really easy to use.

I've been using the sveasoft firmware since the 1.0.1 release and so far it has been pretty stable for me (recently upgraded to 1.0.2) but I've also used the HyperWRT firmware and it is pretty decent. I just wish it had DHCPd support in it.
posted by purephase at 3:08 PM on May 8, 2005

...has a guide on de-bricking.
posted by pompomtom at 8:19 PM on May 8, 2005

Response by poster: Ok, so far so good. I've tried following the instructions in Good Brain's very detailed guide (thank you!). I haven't succeeded yet, but I think I'm getting closer. I can ping the router (at but every time I try the upgrade procedure the TFTP program tells me "unable to get response from server". I've tried experimenting with the timing, but somehow I think the problem lies somewhere else... My computer has as IP-address. Any follow up suggestions?
posted by bering at 9:09 AM on May 9, 2005

Are you using the TFTP program that I linked? Usually the response error message occurred with the older versions of the software. Also, make sure you are using a smaller/older version of firmware prior to flashing the device. There is a size limitation with the TFTP software.

Try using this firmware version. Once done, you can use the web management page to upgrade to alternate firmware. Make sure that you upgrade through HTTP and not HTTPS.

If you can ping the router, then communication between your workstation and the router is not the problem.
posted by purephase at 6:26 PM on May 10, 2005

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