For those R9000 owners who are Linux buffs, router enthusiasts, or simply want to try open source firmware -- developer Tathagata Das has provided the community with an updated OpenWRT for R9000 release. The new release, out December 2016, is based on OpenWRT "Barrier Breaker" and offers WPA2 encryption and uPnP functionality to get you up and running quickly and securely.
If you're familiar with DD-WRT, there are some differences with OpenWRT in terms of installation and setup. Here's how to get started.
Step 1: Reset the R9000 to factory defaults
This can be done easily, either in the Admin section of the stock NETGEAR firmware, or via the reset button on the back of the router.
Step 2: Install OpenWRT
Head over to the Administration section of the stock firmware and browse to the Update Firmware section. Manually select the OpenWRT firmware file (.IMG extension). The firmware will alert you that the version is "older" than what is currently installed; disregard the message and continue forward with installation. After installation, allow the router to reboot and settle for a few minutes while OpenWRT initializes.
Step 3: Verify OpenWRT Login
In your browser, navigate to your router directly (192.168.1.1) and verify that the OpenWRT screen pops up, indicating a successful installation. At this point, it's advised to perform a "hard reset" on the router using the button on the back of the unit, holding it in for 30 seconds.
Step 4: Login and change your admin password
After the reset is complete, login using the router address as noted in step 3. The default credentials for this version of OpenWRT are "root:" and "admin" respectively. After this is complete, follow the prompts to change to a secure password, and click "Save & Apply." You can see the status of the change while it is processing; wait until it is complete before proceeding.
Step 5: Configure basic settings
At this point, the R9000 is ready to run with OpenWRT, but some basic settings should be modified. First, begin with the wireless settings. This is one place where configuration is a bit different than DD-WRT. To begin, click on "Network," then "Interfaces," then "WiFi." The available connections are listed as shown; note the 802.11ad hotspot is not supported in this version.
Click "Edit" next to each wireless connection, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. From these screens, the wireless channel can be selected, as well as the SSID, via the "General Setup" tab in the bottom section. You can either make changes on the fly by clicking "Save & Apply," or queue the changes to be applied later.
Then, head to the "Wireless Security" tab to configure the desired security method as well as the password, and save and apply.
If you are using custom DNS servers, these can be set up via Network -> Interfaces -> LAN as shown above.
uPnP can be enabled via Services -> uPnP. Again, as with the other settings noted above, save & apply will process the changes immediately. If you've queued any changes, make sure to apply them. (Note that the above screenshot is utilizing a different OpenWRT theme: this firmware comes with two available to start.)