Oooooh now then, unhappy with the coverage, signal drops etc of my previous router (not to mention what the wife would say 🙄😂 ) I decided it was time for a replacement, and with everyone being in doors, home schooling and remote working due to the COVID-19 lockdown, I wanted something would tell me at a glance, what the current bandwidth usage was because… why not?
Surprisingly, there aren’t many devices that have such a simple request as a feature, not without forgoing other features or costing an absolute arm and a leg and that’s where OpenWRT comes in, an open source router operating system to replace the stock manufacturer firmware, after searching for a couple of days I decided I’d go for the Linksys WRT3200ACM, a good cost-to-performance unit and a design that takes me back to the WRT54g, the first WiFi router I ever owned.
Changing to the OpenWRT firmware from stock is real easy on these units, you flash it just as you would a firmware file from the manufacturer as they activley support (to a degree) flashing OpenWRT on them and that was another part of the apeal and within a couple of minutes out of the box it was running the open source firmware
Now, earlier I mentioned the bandwidth usuage, this isn’t something that is included off straight away, you have to add it, but this is a simple task. OpenWRT includes a section for installing extra features created by the community, the simplest usage monitor to install is called luci-app-nlbw and you can find it on the software page to install.
Once installed, an extra menu item appears called “Bandwidth Monitor” (funilly enough) and allows you to see what (or who) is the main data hog in the household, could it be Junior fulfilling his addiction of Power Rangers, or perhaps it’s “The Big One” enjoying the exhilerating…. Roblox…. either wayI’m now able to get an idea.
Some of the other things I have planned include setting it up as a VPN server to perhaps retire the Raspberry Pi I have which performs this task (and also runs pi-hole) but I’ll look into that one in a week or two.