*****More Updates on the Cisco Linksys E2500 Router available in the Iwakuni Exchange*****

I’ve experimented some more and compiled more information since my original post. My intent here is to help others set up a VPN to watch Hulu, Netflix, and various other US based only streaming services while stationed here in Japan. Let’s face it. AFN satellite is better than nothing but it needs some help.

Anyway doing this requires some tech skills that some people haven’t been exposed to. It isn’t hard but it’s daunting if you aren’t familiar with basic networking and basic computing. Still it is just a matter of following directions.

So I found a router on base that would work with this. In order for you to stream video content from the US you must reflash your router software or that is to say you are installing a new operating system on the router.

The software I was using was DD-WRT which is basically a front end for Linux. It is the software that lets you configure your router and network. BUT THERE IS A GOTCHA. THE LATEST DD-WRT SOFTWARE DOES NOT SUPPORT THE 5GHZ RADIO ON THE CISCO LINKSYS E2500. That’s like getting half of what you pay for as it is a dual band router.

If you only use the 2.4 ghz wireless network it will work but why not squeeze the best performance out of it and use the higher bandwidth wireless network. Theoretically you should be able to stream content at higher resolutions and I’ve noticed that Hulu.com seems to autocorrect. It will throttle resolution down to try to keep it from choking or stuttering.

I found a solution to get your 5ghz wireless channel back.

INSTEAD OF DD-WRT SOFTWARE USE TOMATO! Another Open Source Solution. Tomato is just as free as DD-WRT and once you install and configure it your router is a “set and forget” appliance anyway.

So you want Netflix and Hulu? Do this. Go buy the router in the exchange.

Then go to this website:

http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Linksys_E2500

Download the firmware file under “Flashing Instructions for the E2500” on number 5 be sure to follow all those other steps. And use my guide for just a little more hand holding if you need it.

http://www.hagensieker.com/styled-7/index.html

Once that is done you will have DD-WRT mini build installed. To get Tomato (and your 5 ghz wireless channel back) go here:

NOTE THAT CLICKING THIS LINK IMMEDIATELY STARTS THE DOWNLOAD

tomato-E2500-NVRAM60K-1.28.RT-N5x-MIPSR2-108-Max.bin2013-03-09 15:086.6 MB

DO NOT, DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT TRY TO FLASH THE ROUTER DIRECTLY WITH TOMATO FIRMWARE. I’M NOT SURE IF IT WILL WORK OR NOT BUT I KNOW FOR A FACT IF YOU PUT MINI DD-WRT IN FIRST IT WILL WORK.

Now go to your DD-WRT “Administration” page then click on “Firmware Update” Select the file you just downloaded and then flash your router. It takes a few minutes and seemingly nothing is happening or it looks like it froze. It didn’t. Leave it alone. When you are done and your router restarts you can type in 192.168.1.1 in your browser and you will see the Tomato Administration page. (Note that my address in the browser line is 10.0.2.1 because I configured it that way, yours will be 192.168.1.1) A password box will pop up:

User Name : admin
Password : admin

Then follow the directions from your VPN service to set up your router with either OpenVPN, PPTP, or L2TP protocol.

The is my administration page and you can see in the upper right hand corner I have both channels configured and I’m using the 5 ghz wireless channel.
tomato copy

You can see it worked with the Cisco Linksys E2500 router!!!

Now for the bad news. I’m in the Westpac Inn in Okinawa. They took the cable TV out of the rooms. I have my E2500 here and the VPN services are blocked by the network administrators here. I sent an ICE comment in (a nice one) asking if they can unblock the ports. We’ll see if I get a response. My guess is the answer will be “no” but it doesn’t hurt to ask.