You can brick your router (make it unusable), try out on your own risk. Do your own research before trying this out.
To unleash the full potential of a router custom firmware can be used.
There are several options to chose from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wireless_router_firmware_projects
I deided to try out the DD-WRT firmware for which exists a compatible beta version. At the time of writing a final version was not available.
Compatibility of the router can be checked:
To get a feeling how the GUI of DD-WRT looks like exists this demo site.
Beta versions can be found on ftp server: ftp://ftp.dd-wrt.com/betas/2015/ they are sorted by release date.
Version which was available at time of posting 28.05.2015 was this one ftp://ftp.dd-wrt.com/betas/2015/05-27-2015-r27086/tplink_tl-wr1043nd-v2/
For first time flashing from tp-link firmware to DD-WRT chose “factory-to-ddwrt.bin“, otherwise from dd-wrt firmware upgrading to another dd-wrt version use”tplink_tl-wr1043nd-v2.bin“.
It’s advised to reset your router configuration before flashing with DD-WRT. Holding the reset button for 10 seconds till the router reboots.
The guides usually recommend the 30/30/30 rule, which means hold it for 30 while it’s on, hold it for 30 while it’s off, and continue holding it for another 30 while you turn it on again.
- Connect your router to a pc with an ethernet cable.
- Log into the router admin page at via web browser 192.168.0.1 (default) and then go in menu to System Tools > Firmware Upgrade.
- Select the custom firmware file you downloaded earlier. (In my case I was flashing for the first time so I chosed the “factory-to-ddwrt.bin” file.)
- Click upgrade
- Wait for it to finish, it will inform you about successful upgrade
- The page refresh will fail, because the IP of the router will have changed to 192.168.1.1.
- Change the address in your browser to http://192.168.1.1
- Set up the admin username/password and you can start to configure the router.
Tutorials for configuration can be found on ddwrt wiki.
Revert back to stock firmware
If for whatever reason you would like to revert back to the latest stock firmware version of tp-link, you can do so following instructions from http://www.friedzombie.com/tplink-stripped-firmware/