Use a DSL Modem Router with a DD-WRT Router
Looking to get the most out of your Cable or DSL modem router?

Our best ideas always start with you, our readers and customers. One recently sent us a question that we receive pretty frequently. So we figured we’d publish the latest in our series of popular FlashRouter FAQs.

Open Source Firmware on DSL Modem Routers

I have a DSL modem from my ISP. Can I flash my DSL modem/router with DD-WRT so I can use VPN on it?

– Chip in Chattanooga, TN

Thanks for the question Chip! The simple answer is no. DD-WRT firmware is not compatible with DSL, VDSL or ADSL modem combinations.

A common issue for many users looking to integrate DD-WRT within their setup is the fact that modems and, with this, modem routers cannot be flashed with Open Source firmware. As these devices do not use Broadcom or Atheros chips and the drivers for these products have not been made public or released to open source development teams, modem routers simply have not developed with and cannot be flashed with alternative/non-ISP firmware.

There are two major reasons we see this as the case.

1. DSL Modem/Routers Are Usually Outdated, Cheap Throw Ins – Usually DSL modem router combo devices are offered with outdated technology to minimize bandwidth use which cost providers more. So basically, the more powerful the router, the more bandwidth you will use. Therefore, they offer you a free device that gives you just enough to keep you somewhat happy without maximizing the capabilities of your network.

Even the best DSL modem router, being a combination of a modem and a router, is a less powerful device when compared to a standalone router or FlashRouter, as the specs of the device need to be lessened to host an actual modem.

They usually force you to rent this underpowered device which also adds to their profits. Generally, the router part of these modems are basic single band wireless-N devices with a 300-400 MHz processor with max wireless transmission at 300 Mbps with older generation fast Ethernet ports. If you upgrade to a higher plan, they might throw you a bone and double that wireless speed to up to 600 Mbps transmission power with average range.

You will not see a Wireless-AC device with max range for transmitting streaming video signal through you home or 1 GHz processors of up to 2400 Mbps. We are talking a minimum of 3-4 times as powerful devices when it comes to standalone Wireless-AC DD-WRT options.

2. ISPs Want To See Your Traffic Usage & Data – The average customer just wants their router to work so an ISP has limited impetus for improved, enterprise-level firmware.

Open-source firmware is developed to be used on standalone routers and the modems complicate the firmware part. Plus these modem routers are usually an under-powered combination.

Using VPN with a DSL modem router combo network-wide is not a built-in option that most ISPs do or will ever offer. ISPs are in the business of monitoring and managing traffic so to offer built-in protection for privacy protocols like VPN is antithetical to their business model, meaning it will not make them money.

Using VPN with a DSL Modem Router

The best option for users having this dilemma is to use a VPN FlashRouter in tandem with their DSL modem/router combination. Add a DD-WRT router behind it to router and manage your traffic as your main network gateway using the FlashRouters Dual Router Setup.

Use a FlashRouter in a Two Router Setup - Local & VPN
How To Use a FlashRouter in a Two Router Setup

Within a Dual Router Setup, the modem router maintains a connection to your ISP passing that connectivity to a DD-WRT FlashRouter alongside it, creating a second network more powerful network with limited setup or frustration. If you choose to use your FlashRouter as a VPN (Virtual Private Network) router, your second network will be a VPN-dedicated device network so you can add any devices connected to the network will be encrypted by a VPN. Take a look at some of our most popular providers.

  • Access 5000+ servers worldwide
  • No logs policy
  • Servers in 70+ countries
  • Port Forwarding, DDoS protection, and Dedicated IP Available as Add-ons
  • 1,500+ VPN servers in 75+ locations
  • Owns and operates its own servers

Most Popular/Best DSL Modem Router Combos By Region

Telmex Technicolor Modem Router
Telmex Technicolor Modem Router

As the world is covered by a diverse list of Internet Service Providers, there are many modem routers that may have found their way into your home, such as the:

  • Telmex (Mexico, Brazil, and the rest of Latin America) – Technicolor Tg582n Nuevo Daa
  • Movistar (Spain and Latin America) – Huawei Echolife HG520V FTTH
  • Orange (UK, France, Kenya, Poland, Switzerland, etc.) – Livebox
  • Virgin Media (UK) – Super Hub
  • Bell (Canada) – Wi-Fi Pod
  • Sky (UK) – Sky Hub
  • Foxtel (Australia) – iQHD
  • FRITZ!Box (Germany) – Fon WLAN 7490
  • Etisalat (Middle East) – D-Link Wireless N 300 Router
  • Verizon (United States) – FiOS Actiontec Modem Router
  • …and any other DSL/Cable/Fiber-Optic modem router from any provider around the world!

A FlashRouter can work alongside any of these popular modem/router combinations. The process is as simple as connecting a FlashRouter to a modem router via Ethernet cable. Once this connection is established, you have will have two networks, one for your ISP and one, if you so choose, for your VPN connection.

If you are using a modem router from any provider, we can support it. Want to be sure? Contact our networking specialists and we can look into it and add it to this list for other potential users.

DD-WRT Router To Use VPN with a DSL Modem Router Combo

Whether you are a Telmex customer in Brazil, a FusionGOL subscriber in Japan, or a Comcast user in the United States, a FlashRouter will comfortably slip right into your setup behind a modem router combo. Here’s just a few of our enhanced router favorites FlashRouters ready to overhaul your DSL, ADSL, or VDSL network connection!

AX3000 WiFi 6 VPN FlashRouter

AX3000 WiFi 6 VPN FlashRouter
  • Perfect for Medium Homes
  • Perfect for 20-30 Devices

Asus RT-AX88U PRO Merlin FlashRouter

Introducing the Asus RT-AX88U FlashRouter - With Wi-Fi 6 + Merlin Customization
  • Perfect for Max Wi-Fi Coverage
  • Recommended for 15+ Devices

Asus AX1800S FlashRouter

Asus AX1800S FlashRouter - Front View
  • Easy Router Setup via Asus App
  • Blazing-fast Wi-Fi 6 (Wireless-AX) Speeds

Need more info? Don’t hesitate to shoot us a message and our team will be more than happy to walk you through the process.