Eventually, I want to wire certain rooms of my new home with ethernet to get more consistent connections without having to use wi-fi (and as a fun project to learn how to do it). Until then, however, I’m going to bridge that gap wirelessly with a media bridge. I recently purchased a refurbished Netgear AC1450, after learning that it can easily be firmware upgraded to an AC1750 (R6300v2). My intention was to use it as an 802.11ac media bridge, and the latter theoretically gets better 5GHz speeds (1300 Mb/s vs. 975 Mb/s). Actually, that’s just me rationalizing; I really just wanted to do it because I could. For a very well-explained background on the why and how of upgrading this router, as well as instructions on how to do this in Windows, see Upgrade a Netgear AC1450 Router to AC1750 over at Advanced Home Server.
Since those detailed instruction are for Windows, and I didn’t feel like rebooting into Windows via Bootcamp, I did it from my Mac. By the way, most of the instructions here are going to be done in Terminal (which you can find in the Applications/Utilities folder). If you’re not comfortable with that, then find a Windows box and follow those instructions. Actually, I recommend you read them anyway because the process is mostly the same, and he has excellent screenshots of what the feedback looks like. I’m not going into all of the explicit details for everything here, just the general procedure to help those who might want to do this on a Mac. The process goes something like this:
What you need:
- the Netgear AC1750 firmware
- the python crypto package
- the MAC address of your router
First, download the first two from the links above and extract the zips. (I like to put eveything into the same working folder, which I can later satisfyingly trash).
Then, we need python and its crypto package. OSX has python built-in (Personally, I like having the latest so I use the homebrew package manager to install a newer python, but for simplicity we’ll skip that and just use the built-in for this guide). We’ll install pycrypto with the python package manager pip, and we’ll install pip with easy_install.
$ sudo easy_install pip
$ sudo pip install pycrypto
We also need the MAC address of the router. It’s printed on the bottom of the router. (Pro-tip: snap a picture of it with your phone for easy reference, or just write it down by hand if you are a cave man.) While you’re at it, connect the router to your Mac via ethernet, disable any other network connections on your Mac, and power-on the router. The default router IP address is 192.168.1.1. Once you’re connected, you can then send the command to unlock the router (make sure you’re in the same folder where you unzipped telnetenable.py, and substitute the actual MAC address in the command):
$ python telnetenable.py 192.168.1.1 <router MAC address> Gearguy Geardog
That should send the magic juice to the router. (edit: This is how I did it, but if you can’t get python to work, you can also try this pre-compiled standalone OSX/linux version of telnetenable.) You should be able to telnet into the router now:
$ telnet 192.168.1.1
You will get a BusyBox shell and prompt. Once we’re in, we just have to convince the underachieving Mr. AC1450 that he’s actually the awesome Mr. AC1750 by giving him a new Board ID with the following command:
# burnboardid U12H240T00_NETGEAR
You should get some positive feedback that the command succeeded. Now power cycle the router (unplug it, wait 10 seconds, plug back in). When it’s booted, go to its web interface in your browser (http://192.168.1.1) and log in. Navigate to Advanced > Administration > Router Update. Use the AC1750 firmware that you downloaded to update the router, let it reboot, and voila! You have a shiny AC1750 router!
If you ever want to revert back to AC1450, repeat this procedure, but substitute this Board ID:
and of course download and install the latest AC1450 firmware instead.