More information on my trials and travails with using a VPN router to access Hulu and Netflix while in Iwakuni Japan. I have successfully flashed a Buffalo WZR-600DHP that I bought at Yamada Denki and just for fun today I bought a Cisco Linksys E2500 router in the exchange ($99). The good news is it flashes easily to DD-WRT so you can 100% sure buy this router to get Hulu, Netflix, and Pandora. The bad news is that it is a dual band router (2.4ghz and 5ghz) but the 5ghz band is not currently supported in DD-WRT.

That really should not be a problem for anyone. While it is true that the 5ghz band carries more bandwidth it’s not a deal breaker to not have it. It will work fine and they’ll probably fix the 5ghz thing soon in a future upgrade. If you have to have it Tomato USB (another open source firmware) works with it so all is not lost. This router, at less than a pound with a small footprint could be perfect for carrying in a suitcase. I frequently deploy to Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand and this would be great to have Hulu and Netflix in the hotel in these countries.

Anyway here are the directions for flashing this router:

Follow them carefully or kiss your router goodbye. They are simple.

But let me give you some tips. When you open the E2500 box it has a CD/DVD. They tell you the easiest way to install the router is to run the CD. Baloney. It’s a training wheel and unnecessary.

Plug your Linksys E2500 router in DO NOT hook it to the internet. Just plug it in. Give it a minute then select the wireless network. The name is CISCO with some numbers (sorry didn’t write it down). Now open a browser in your computer and type the following:

This is what you’ll see

Screen Shot 2013-04-15 at 2.14.38 PM

Go to “Admin” on the top.

Then select “Firmware Update”. And you’ll be asked to select a file. Chose this file. Note that clicking the link automatically downloads the file.

E2500 Trailed Initial Flash Build

Screen Shot 2013-04-15 at 2.15.08 PM

Now click “Start Upgrade” And after it loads and reboots you have a functioning Operating System of DD-WRT on your router.

Screen Shot 2013-04-15 at 2.21.35 PM

Note in the upper right hand corner of the page it says “mini”. If you need additional features you’ll want to install a more comprehensive build referred to as “big” or “mega”. You’re probably fine with the mini build and connecting to your VPN service using the L2TP protocol.

Me, I wanted to use something called OpenVPN, which is another protocol which you can’t do in the mini build so I flashed to a mega build. Not necessary.

At this point you should configure your router with a password, and set your wireless security.

Then you can get your VPN service and again I use HideMyAss

Buy HideMyAss and follow the directions for setting your DD-WRT router up with L2TP. I’m finding the OpenVPN is not as stable as the L2TP but I’m still playing around.

If this seems way too daunting but you really, really want your Hulu and Netflix do this. Buy mine. I paid $99 for it today and I’ll give you the receipt. . I’ll sell it for $120 and help you set it up for another $10. Or go buy a brand new one at the exchange and I’ll set it up for $30. Or just buy one and if you get stuck email me and I’ll help if I can for free.

You’ll be glad you did this if you live in town.