OpenWrt on the DG834Gv4 modem router

First written onApril 19, 2018
Last updated onFebruary 15, 2023

Overview #

DG834Gv4 leds

The DG834Gv4 is an old Netgear WiFi modem/router and has been my first wireless access point. Years have passed and this hardware shows signs of its age. It is compliant to 802.11 b/g only and has 100 Mbps ethernet ports . Also, when using it as a DSL modem, it sometimes disconnects because of the heat it generates. It was time to decommission it.

In the meantime someone discovered a nice backdoor feature in a series of modem/routers, including the DG834Gv4. One more reason not to use it as-is.

After the router collected some dust, I evaluated some options such as installing OpenWrt or the DGTeam firmwares. I went with the DGTeam firmware at first because it had modem support. This meant I could use it as a spare modem.

A few weeks ago, however, I tried installing OpenWrt and it wasn’t so straight forward as I thought.

Steps #

Network and device configuration #

Problems #

There is not enough memory to install anything even after killing several processes.

route add default gateway netmask metric 0
echo "nameserver" > /etc/resolv.conf

root@OpenWrt:~# opkg install sshfs
  Installing sshfs (2.2-1) to root...
  Downloading http://downloads.openwrt.org/attitude_adjustment/12.09/brcm63xx/generic/packages/sshfs_2.2-1_brcm63xx.ipk.
  Collected errors:
     * gz_open: fork: Cannot allocate memory.
     * opkg_install_pkg: Failed to unpack control files from /tmp/opkg-Ry3bvT/sshfs_2.2-1_brcm63xx.ipk.
     * opkg_install_cmd: Cannot install package sshfs.

For some reason, WiFi seems less powerful (as in range) than it should be. This is quite disappointing.

Alternatives #

It would be interesting to patch the original Netgear/SerComm firmware by removing the scfgmgr file and a line in a shell script that is launched at boot.

You need a 32 bit GNU/Linux distribution with the appropriate development libraries and only then you’ll be able to run the software that rebuilds the image. Unfortunately there is only a text file describing generic instructions so it takes quite some time to track down all the necessary libraries and to have a working environment. Maybe another time…

Applications using OpenWrt #

I ended up using it for this: openwrt-leds-as-notification