Monday, February 21, 2011


For my first I wanted to take a few minutes and post about Tomato Firmware which I’ve installed on my Linksys wireless router. Since my router much like some of the Linksys routers uses open source technology these things are able to be hacked with better software, all which is totally legal. Of course this voids any warranty one might have but when you pay £40 for a router I don’t think you’re worrying too much about a warranty. With the Tomato Firmware installed my £40 wireless router turns into a £400 wireless router. It provides things like VPN capability, DDNS, bandwidth monitoring/Usage Graphs, QoS, various wireless and general LAN tools, and enterprise grade wireless security. I’ve also found it to be much more stable than the DD-WRT firmware most people, myself included, have been putting on their routers.
I’ll touch on a few of the things I like most. Like I said before it’s stable. The DD-WRT firmware just seemed to lock up all the time on me, it also was kicking my parents computer off the network all the time. Since adding the new firmware to the router I’ve to have a complaint from them in that department. The wireless security features are top notch. It allows everything from WEP (why?) to WPA 1 and 2, using Pre-Shared-Keys or a radius server if you really need that kind of security. It also allows for mixed modes, as in allowing WPA clients and WPA 2 clients, with the highest of encryption schemes for you to choose from. My current setup is in WPA/WPA2 Personal mode using TKIP /AES encryption. This way I can connect to the network with WPA 2 using AES encryption and my parents, who’s wireless card is lacking in the security features, to connect with WPA using TKIP encryption. I’ve been outside most of the day and haven’t dropped a connection yet with the router all the way on the other side of the house. Even using the highest encryption doesn’t seem to effect anything. If range was the problem I could always increase the power to the antenna, another feature provided by the Tomato firmware.
One more thing before I go. I wanted to mention the bandwidth monitor/graphs provided by the router. This feature allows one to view current, daily, monthly, yearly graphs and charts of all bandwidth used. The downside to this feature is that if you reboot the router for any reason, power loss, your parents think unplugging and plugging the machine back in will make their Internet work, whatever the reason, you’ll lose all your logs. Word to the wise, backup your current logs via the handy backup feature on the router before changing your logs to be stored on a share. Luckily I thought to do this, because current logs aren’t transferred when changing where they are stored. In addition, there’s a check box under where you select where to store your logs, make sure that is checked to create a new storage file on your share. Once that is done just restore the backup you made previously and you’re good to go.
A great piece of firmware!


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