I just purchased a Netgear Wireless N-300 Gigabit Router (WNR3500L) from Best Buy after our 6 year old Linksys router died. It was the least expensive router I could find locally that supported Gigabit transfer rates and, while I could have saved around $20 buying through Amazon, the price was still acceptable.
I later found out that I hit the jackpot with this one. This router is AMAZING! Netgear routers are built with the open source community in mind and they didn't hold back with the hardware on the WNR3500L. This beast has a decent CPU, 8 mb of flash, 64 MB of RAM, and a USB 2.0 port. Out of the box, the router lets you connect and share external storage devices through your router, but with a little open source loving, you can turn your Netgear WNR3500L into a print server so all your wireless devices can print without being plugged in. Note that this may void your warranty and if you're not careful, you could very well brick your router.
That said, here's how I did it:
- What to read:
- Netgear WNR3500L DDWRT Wiki Page
- How to perform a Hard or 30/30/30 Reset
- Configure your printer in Windows
- What you'll need:
The steps I took:
- First, read and download all necessary pages/files because you might be without internet for a little while. After downloading the files above, connect to your router (192.168.1.1 by default) and go to the firmware page. Select the dd-wrt.v24-14896_NEWD-2_K2.6_mini-WNR3500L.chk file and update your firmware.
- Give the firmware a few minutes to install. After the firmware has successfully installed, reload your router's web interface (which should now be the dd-wrt interface) and then go to Administration > Firmware Upgrade.
- Before you can flash the TomatoUSB firmware on your router, you'll need to rename the TomatoUSB *.trx file to *.bin. Once you've renamed the file, select it by clicking the Browse... button on the Firmware Upgrade page and click the Upgrade button below.
- Again, give the firmware a few minutes after it completes installation so you're not interrupting anything important. Then use the 30/30/30 reset to clear the NVRAM (hold the reset button for 30 seconds while the router is on, then unplug the router while continuing to hold for another 30 seconds, then finally plug the router back in while continuing to hold the reset button for a final 30 seconds).
- Reconnect to your router's web interface (192.168.1.1 by default). At this time TomatoUSB should be installed.
- The username and password to connect to Tomato are both admin. Now is a good time to change your password from the default.
- Plug your printer into the USB port on your router and power it on.
- In Tomato, go to USB and NAS > USB Support, enable Core USB Support and USB 1.1 support (assuming your printer is as old as mine). Click the Save button at the bottom and your printer should soon appear under the Attached Devices list.
- To add the printer to your Windows Machine, do the following:
- Open Devices and Printers
- Add new Printer.
- Select Local Printer, but uncheck Automatically detect and install my printer
- Create a new port: Standard TCP/IP port
- Give it your router's IP address (default 192.168.1.1)
- Choose Finish
- Manually select your printer from the list of installed drivers
- Hopefully, instead of bricking your router, you now have a router and print server in one!