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Introduction to Tomato Open Source Firmware

What Is Tomato Firmware?

There's nothing that bugs us more than seeing a perfectly good router weighed down by insufficient firmware. This pet peeve is, for all intents and purposes, the basis of FlashRouters. That's why all of the routers we offer are flashed with upgraded and feature-heavy firmware.

Tomato firmware is designed as an open-source option to replace the stock firmware on select wireless router hardware. It is meant to boost the functionality of your router in ways that your average router's stock firmware simply cannot achieve. It may seem like a lot of fuss over nothing, but upgrading to Tomato Firmware unlocks router capabilities that you may not have dreamed possible.

Tomato Shibby, or TomatoUSB open source firmware, allows users to increase your wireless coverage, monitor your bandwidth allocation, and keep your network as secure as humanly possible. Using Tomato's Advanced QoS (Quality of Service), you can even determine which of your online activities is given the most bandwidth (gaming and movie streaming can take top priority in order to avoid annoying freezes, stalls, etc). 

Best Features & Advantages of Tomato Firmware

  • Major bug fixes in Broadcom-based Linksys, Netgear & Asus firmware
  • Access restrictions - Time, Website, Program, & User- based
  • Advanced QoS (Quality of Service) Bandwidth Controls - 10 unique QoS classes define. Real-time graphs display prioritized traffic with client level control
  • Per IP address or user traffic stats
  • OpenVPN, PPTP, & L2TP VPN Client Integration - OpenVPN & PPTP Server options as well
  • Advanced Wireless Modes - Access Point (AP), wireless client station (STA), wireless Ethernet (WET) bridge, wireless distribution system (WDS aka wireless bridging), simultaneous AP & WDS (aka wireless repeating)
  • Advanced USB Support - Print, NAS, Media, FTP, 3G and 4G LTE USB Modem, UPS Monitor
  • User-friendly Ajax-based Interface
  • Advanced scripting options: Init, shutdown, firewall, and WAN Up
  • VLAN (Virtual LAN) Support - Create segmented wireless networks from the same router
  • Improved Network Stability & Network Status Information
  • Dynamic DNS service integration
  • JFFS2 / CIFS client
  • DHCP Server - Using Dnsmasq with dynamic and static DHCP leases
  • LED Stealth Mode - Turn off the flashing lights on router
  • Bandwidth Graphing/Statistics - Real-time, daily, & monthly
  • Integrated Bittorrent & Tor client
  • Captive Portal integration for displaying WiFi terms of service
  • Integrated Wireless Survey Page - View other wireless networks in your area to inform you how to adjust your network accordingly
  • Adjustable Antenna Transmission Settings - To increase WiFi strength
  • Advanced Port Forwarding - Create port forwards, redirects, & triggers with included UPnP (Universal Plug and Play)
  • NAT (Network Address Translation) support
  • Wake-on-LAN - Remote network access
  • Static ARP (Address Resolution Protocol)
  • DNS forwarder - DNSMasq with local hostnames, domain names, and internet address caching
  • Supports DNSCrypt 
  • Configuration persists when firmware is upgraded
  • SFTP support

Our focus at FlashRouters is utilizing a build that will cater to the needs of most of our customers with working OpenVPN & PPTP server/client options, as well as those with the highest functioning setups, so that we may be optimally useful to the largest cross-section of users. Some of the included Tomato advanced features are tremendously technical, but believe us, they can all contribute to the overall health and well-being of your network. And as soon as you receive your FlashRouter, our specialists are available whenever you may need them, readily offering any assistance you might need in getting your router up and running.

Tomato vs. DD-WRT

Tomato and DD-WRT are the two most popular and sought-after alternative firmwares. As for many networking devices, usage and results may vary based on conditions and users. Here is where we see the most difference between DD-WRT & Tomato:

  • TomatoUSB has more consistent support and functionality with OpenVPN, specifically using it as an OpenVPN client and for use with the most popular VPN service providers.
  • Tomato has an alternate graphical user interface (GUI) that many find more user-friendly. Setup for some advanced tasks like USB integration are simpler.
  • Some nice visual add-ons such as a visual map of connected Ethernet devices and a wireless survey for finding the best channel to use for a wireless network.
  • Integrated Tor and BitTorrent clients.
  • Simpler setup for USB and media sharing connections.

DD-WRT Advantages

  • DD-WRT supports a much larger swath of devices due to its support of some Atheros-based and Ralink-based chipsets. That means manufacturers such as Netgear, D-Link, TP-Link, and more are available with DD-WRT.
  • More supported functionality for wireless modes such as use of repeaters on alternate subnets. Tomato only has the repeater bridge/WDS.
  • More built-in options for more advanced features like WiFi Hotspots such as WifiDog, Sputnik (Tomato uses its own Captive Portal setup), among many others.

How To Choose Between DD-WRT & Tomato on a Router?

We recommend that if you need a specific feature outside the ones mentioned that you try to confirm which firmware integrates that feature or lacks that feature prior to purchasing. However, if your goal is OpenVPN connectivity, Tomato is the way to go. Check out our Supported VPN Services List for which providers work with which VPN protocols and firmwares.

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