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Top five 802.11ac routers that can run DD-WRT

The top 802.11ac Wi-Fi routers on the market on which you can install open-source third-party firmware DD-WRT.

Now Playing: Watch this: Top DD-WRT-compatible 802.11ac routers

Regular home users need not apply but if you want to customize your network to the extreme, this is the list of top routers you want to check out. All of these routers can be used with DD-WRT instead of their stock firmware.

Running DD-WRT, which is free, on a router is very much like using Linux on your computer instead of Windows or Mac OS. However, in this case, the experience is a lot more consistent, since stock firmware of different networking vendors are vastly different from one another. On top of that, DD-WRT generally provides a lot more features and much more in-depth customization and configuration compared with most, if not all, stock firmware in home routers.

(In case you are wondering where the name DD-WRT comes from: while WRT is a common term that stands for wireless receiver/transmitter, DD is actually the automobile license-plate code for Dresden, a region in Germany that's home to DD-WRT project's founder and main developer Sebastian Gottschall.)

Following are the top five 802.11ac home routers on the market, which support DD-WRT. Note that this list is sorted based on review order with the most recent review on top.

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Buffalo AirStation Extreme AC1750 Gigabit Dual Band DD-WRT Router

As the name suggests, the WZR-1750DHPD actually uses DD-WRT as its stock firmware and is the first 802.11ac router on the market that does. Buffalo has a few other routers that are also equipped with DD-WRT out of the box, and has been one of the the earliest DD-WRT adopters. This means if you get this new router, you won't need to download and install the open source firmware yourself. Read the full review of the Buffalo AirStation AC1750 DD-WRT Router.

Dong Ngo/CNET

Trendnet TEW-818DRU Dual Band Wireless Router

The TEW-818DRU is one of the best AC1900 routers on the market thanks to its great performance and friendly pricing. The router, however, is rather frills-free when used with the stock firmware. DD-WRT will change that. Read the full review of the Trendnet TEW-818DRU Dual Band Wireless Router.

Dong Ngo/CNET

Asus RT-AC68U Dual-band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router

The AC1900 RT-AC68U is one of the best all-round routers on the market. Its stock firmware is also one that offers a lot of features, including VPN server and dual-WAN. Most users might just be happy with what the router has right out of the box, but DD-WRT will help you get even more out of this router's hardware. Read the full review of the Asus RT-AC68U Dual-band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router.

Dong Ngo/CNET

Trendnet TEW-812DRU AC1750 Dual Band Wireless Router

The TEW-812DRU is the first 802.11ac router (AC1750) from Trendnet and currently one of the most affordable high-end routers, costing around $120. This is a straightforward, simple router that offers very fast Wi-Fi speeds and great coverage. Version 2.0 supports DD-WRT, and will make a great upgrade in place of the router's stock firmware. Read the full review of the Trendnet TEW-812DRU AC1750 Dual Band Wireless Router.

Dong Ngo/CNET

Asus RT-AC66U 802.11ac Dual-Band Wireless-AC1750 Gigabit Router

The RT-AC66U is the first router from Asus that supports 802.11ac. While no longer the fastest, it's still easily one of the best AC1750 routers you can get. The router shares exactly the same stock firmware as the RT-AC68U above, and this means you will get equally more from it if you switch to DD-WRT. Read the full review of the Asus RT-AC66U 802.11ac Dual-Band Wireless-AC1750 Gigabit Router.

Router name
Router type Current
Street price
DD-WRT download

Buffalo WZR-1750DHPD

AC1750 $150 Included

Trendnet TEW-818DRU


Build 23804

Asus RT-AC68U


Build 23940

Trendnet TEW-812DRU (version 2)


Build 23804

Asus RT-AC66U


Build 21061

Note that the process of installing the firmware on a router, called flashing, needs to be done properly since if not it can cause permanent damage to the router. If you've never done this before, make sure you follow the instructions closely.