There’s nothing that bugs us more than seeing the power of perfectly good router weighed down by insufficient firmware. That pet peeve is the basis of the FlashRouters mantra if we had an official one. Something like: “Better Routers, Better Firmware, Better Networks, Better Safety, Better Support.” (That might be a bit long.) That’s why all of the routers we offer are flashed with upgraded and better featured firmware.
After digging into the specs and benefits of ever-popular DD-WRT firmware ad nauseam, we felt it was time to delve into the tremendous performance power of Tomato, a different, closely related, alternative firmware that has been recently been introduced into our alternative firmware router offerings.
What Is Tomato Firmware?
Tomato Firmware is open source Linux-based, open-source alternative firmware option designed as a replacement for stock (or standard issue) firmware on select wireless router hardware. The intention of a firmware upgrade is to provide the router extensive feature upgrades via advanced programming and integration.
Open source firmware is not limited by manufacturer restrictions or desires to segment there products so consumers pay more for less or buy additional product when a more affordable option can be purchased. Tomato is a popular option for those looking for improved integration for OpenVPN modes, utilizing Captive Portal options to create a WiFi hotspot.
Tomato firmware is meant to boost the functionality of your router in ways the stock firmware simply cannot achieve. To some, it may seem like a lot of fuss over nothing, but upgrading to Tomato Firmware (or buying a router pre-flashed with Tomato firmware, wink, wink) unlocks router capabilities that you may not have dreamed possible.
Within the world of Tomato firmware, there are a variety of popular modifications such as Toastman, Shibby, Victek, TB, all of which offer slight, but important, alterations to traditional Tomato Firmware. Choosing which one suits you will depend on what you need (E.G. Shibby should be applied for more traditional home usage, Toastman can offer coverage for up to 250 users, etc.).
Increase your wireless coverage, monitor your bandwidth allocation, and get a kung-fu grip on your network security options. Using Tomato’s Advanced QoS (Quality of Service), prioritize online activities by allocating more bandwidth to preferred activities (gaming and movie streaming can take top priority in order to avoid annoying freezes, stalls, etc.) Tired of a roommate busting out your Internet connection with World of Warcraft all day? Tweak the network QoS settings to stop the madness!
What Are the Detailed Benefits of Tomato Firmware?
The benefits of upgrading to the alternative Tomato Firmware are too numerous to list here, but we’ll going to give it a shot anyway. (You can also find them under the Tomato tab on any FlashRouter Tomato Router.)They include:
- Known bug fixes in Broadcom-based Linksys & Asus firmware.
- A user-friendly router Ajax-based GUI (Graphical User Interface).
- Improved Network Stability & Network Status Information.
- Advanced Wireless modes: Access Point (AP), wireless client station (STA), wireless Ethernet (WET) bridge, wireless distribution system (WDS aka wireless bridging), simultaneous AP and WDS (aka wireless repeating)
- Informative Bandwidth graphing/statistics: real-time, daily, monthly.
- A user-friendly router Ajax-based GUI (Graphical User Interface).
- Adjustable Antenna Transmission Settings for more powerful WiFi strength.
- OpenVPN & PPTP VPN client connection integration.
- Advanced access restrictions capabilities for increased network security.
- DHCP server: Using DNSmasq with dynamic and static DHCP leases.
- Advanced QoS: 10 unique QoS classes defined, real-time pie graph display of prioritized traffic with drill down into class details.
- Integrated Wireless Survey page: View other wireless networks in your area to inform you how to adjust your network accordingly.
- Advanced port forwarding: Create port forwards, redirects, & triggers with included UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) page to view and delete UPnP forwarded port mapping.
- NAT (Network Address Translation) support.
- Wake-on-LAN remote network access.
- DNS forwarder: Using DNSmasq with local hostnames, local domain names, and caching of internet addresses.
- JFFS2 / CIFS client.
- Dynamic DNS service integration.
Some of these features are tremendously technical, but they all contribute to the overall health and well-being of your network plus any future expansion needs/desires you may contemplate in the future.
Additionally, any of our FlashRouters can be utilized as a Wireless Access Point/secondary router, to allow for any Tomato modifications to permeate through your entire network. If you are frustrated with your ISP provided router’s speed (Verizon Fios, AT&T, Comcast Xfinity among many others) and configuration limitations, adding a Tomato FlashRouter can improve wired and wireless performance instantly by the improved handling of your traffic.
Why Should I Buy a Tomato Router from FlashRouters?
Tomato is a great option for experienced firmware upgraders and those looking for a solution to help their router become infinitely more stable and powerful. However, there are two major issues when trying to find the right Tomato firmware options.
- Tomato is limited to Broadcom chip devices only, limiting the number of supported devices.
- The project often creates great solutions but not well centralized with its information.
Many developers are working on different forks for various projects. Since different users may be looking for different niches for use this is helpful but hurts the average looking for consistency and information. Oftentimes, this information is spread across various message boards, inside the DD-WRT message boards and other various site that router tweakers love to hang around.
You can go the route of buying a router and attempting to flash it with the correct, working Tomato firmware, or you can leave it to FlashRouters. Buying a Tomato FlashRouter saves you the time, trouble, and possibly the expense of needing to replace your new device when the Tomato installation goes haywire and improper installation leads to a malfunctioning unit that might not be easily or ever repaired.
Our Tomato firmware router offerings include some of the most desirable router models on the market today:
- The Best Performing: Asus RT-N66U Dark Knight N900
- The Best Selling: Linksys E4200 N750
- The Tweaker Classic: Asus RT-N16 N300
- The Best Dual Band Under $150: Cisco Linksys E3200
Our Tomato specialists flash and test every Tomato router to ensure that the firmware has been properly installed, making the device more than ready to revolutionize your home network. Additionally, once you’ve purchased a Tomato router, our experts are available to assist you in the set-up, or even walk you through the process of utilizing Tomato’s advanced functionality and settings.
And there are plenty more Tomato router options on the way!
Using VPN Service with a Tomato Router
Interested in the safest online experience possible? Using a Tomato router to integrate the VPN service provider of your choice will go a long way. A VPN Service is a subscription-based service designed to protect your online identity by encrypting your data flow by tunneling your information through servers set up all over the world.
Popular VPN service providers for US IP addresses include:
Using a VPN service, you can change your IP address, unblocking geo-restricted content to access regionally restricted material from wherever you are. Use Google from China or Netflix in Africa just by logging in to your VPN and choosing an American-based server.
With a VPN-client based in a router, any device connected to the router will be connected to the VPN service of your choice. One setup instead of figuring out connections for each device you use. It also allows for simple VPN integration for a Roku or an AppleTV.
Have any questions about Tomato routers or VPN service support? You can find us in about a million different ways. Just contact our friendly support team, tweet @flashrouters or “Like Us” on Facebook! Or leave a comment down below.