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Introduction and Benefits

Tomato FAQ

ntroduction to Tomato - What is Tomato Firmware?

Tomato is a Linux-based firmware project developed to upgrade and enhance wireless Internet routers. This open-source firmware was developed for specific router models and is used as a replacement for the factory default firmware. This modification lifts restrictions built-in to the default firmware, providing advanced capabilities to make your Internet and Home Network more controllable and versatile.

Manufacturers develop routers for non-technical users in mind, making them simple and easy to use, while limiting their effectiveness as a web-access gateway. Tomato transforms a personal-class router with limited functionality into a powerful, multi-use, business-class router. With Tomato, a router's enterprise potential can be unlocked at a home user's price.

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 the best functioning for the largest cross-section of users. Some of the included Tomato advanced features are tremendously technical, but believe us, they all can contribute to the overall health and well-being of your network. And, as soon as you receive your FlashRouter, our specialists will avail themselves to your needs, helping with any assistance you might need in getting your router up and running.

Benefits range from being able to create Wi-Fi hotspots in your home and increasing your antenna signal transmission strength, to encrypting your entire network by tunneling all traffic through a VPN connection in your router. You can find a more full list of Tomato benefits further down on this page.

Below you will find answers to some of the general questions you may have regarding Tomato firmware. If you have any other questions about this amazing open source project, be sure to contact us.


General Tomato FAQ Answers

What does it mean to "flash" a router?

Flashing is the process of replacing the firmware on a router. Due to the limited size of memory on a router, you cannot simply uninstall the factory firmware and then install Tomato, as you would do if you were replacing a program on your computer.

In order to alter the firmware you must first upgrade the router's control panel. If this process is done improperly your router will cease to function correctly and the router's hardware may become permanently damaged or "bricked."

Why should I buy a Tomato router from FlashRouters?

 While flashing a router with Tomato is highly beneficial to you, the risks that are involved can sometimes outweigh the benefits for the user.

Getting You On The Road to Open Source Glory

Choosing the correct router and then the correct Tomato release candidate for your firmware update can be an arduous process in itself. Then you must complete the 'flash' process correctly, which may be complicated for anyone who is inexperienced in dealing with SoC (System-on-a-Chip) devices. Flashing a router with Tomato can be risky and when done improperly, you may "brick" your router. "Bricking" a router renders it entirely useless as a networking device.

A FlashRouter always arrives flashed and tested. No need to worry about "bricking." We have chosen high-quality units with the best bang-for-your-buck to meet all levels of networking needs.

Tomato VPN Benefits 

Additionally, we can customize your router to internally run many VPN services. Using a VPN Passthrough will give you increased locational security and protection for those worried about the prying eyes of others. Additional immediate benefits for some might be a workaround for many applications that have localized-based services such as Netflix and YouTube. These services geographically restrict their videos and content based on the viewer's IP location. Using a VPN allows you to take the web on the road with you, whether it is internationally for business or on vacation for pleasure.

Instead of running a client program on your computer to access the VPN service of your choice, all you have to do is connect a device to your FlashRouter, and it will automatically tunnel all network traffic through the VPN. This process provides a layer of encryption for all wired and wireless devices you may use to access the Internet.

Tomato Tech Support Expertise

Remember we are also here for Tomato technical support after you purchase a FlashRouter. If you need help setting up your network or taking advantage of any specific Tomato benefits we will be glad to assist.

Ready to order? Head over to our selection of Best Tomato Routers List.


Benefits FAQ Answers

What are the detailed benefits of Tomato?

Tomato firmware lifts restrictions on a router by providing advanced capabilities that can improve your Internet experience. Here's a list of a few specific Tomato benefits:

  • Stability of running a Linux-based, non-proprietary firmware.
  • VPN (Virtual Private Network) passthrough capabilities.
  • Advanced QoS (Quality of Service) controls for bandwidth allocation to your various Network connections.
  • Adjustable antenna power to increase your wireless spectrum.
  • WDS wireless bridging /repeating protocol AKA the "Repeater Bridge" mode, which allows you to easily expand your network using a second wireless router.
  • Cycle your router from the Administration settings.
  • Built-in DNS (Domain Name System) caching - speeds up your connection to an array of sites.
  • Viewable performance graphs and statistics to watch your network performance and measure your bandwidth levels.Radius Authentication for additional wireless security.
  • VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) Support.
  • A functional DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server.
  • Create unique SSIDs (service set identifiers) when using multiple routers.
  • NAT (Network Address Translation) support.
  • Software support for the SD-Card hardware modification.

You may not be familiar with all of these features but that should not deter you from migrating to the Tomato platform. This added functionality is intended to give you access to a plethora of features that will make your router more useful. As soon as you receive your FlashRouter our specialists will help you with any configurations.

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.

How does Tomato compare to standard router firmware?

The Cisco/Asus/Netgear main interface gives the user limited data and limited power controls over the router. Tomato gives you more information in a sleeker, better interface, with a wide array of additional features.


Can upgrading to a Tomato router speed up my Internet?

Yes! When properly used, your Tomato has many advanced wireless settings that allow you to extend and boost your wireless signal.

You may use your FlashRouter as a main access point and utilize advanced controls to boost the antenna strength; or you may use your FlashRouter as a secondary router, to increase the signal strength of your main router.


tomato Technical FAQ Answers

What are the differences in the Tomato builds installed on each router?

The Tomato build placed on each FlashRouter is dependent on the Flash memory available on the router. Each FlashRouter has a different size, allowing for different interfaces. Routers with more Flash memory allow for Mega versions of Tomato to be installed, which offer a greater variety of router functions and features over the vpn-small version of Tomato.

Due to the increased demand and rapid rise of Tomato firmware, it can be difficult for the uninitiated to get a handle on which build or release is best for your router. We have tested many different variations (or "flavors") and chosen the most up-to-date and stable releases to accommodate a variety of customer needs.

If you are purchasing your FlashRouter for use mainly as a VPN-client router then you do not have to worry about Tomato builds. ALL of our routers offer this VPN client functionality!

Does Tomato support OpenVPN and PPTP?

Yes. OpenVPN and PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) are two different protocols for logging into VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) in order to secure your identity and encrypt your connection.

OpenVPN is a full-featured SSL VPN solution which can accommodate a wide range of configurations. Those include home, office, and campus telecommuting, Road Warrior access, WiFi security, secure branch office linking, and more.

PPTP is another a method for implementing VPNs. PPTP uses a control channel over TCP and a GRE tunnel operating to encapsulate PPP Packets. The intended use of this protocol is to provide additional levels of security and remote access for VPN products.

VPN Reminder

Remember, you need an active subscription with a VPN provider in order to encrypt the network traffic on your FlashRouter. We provide setup help and information for just about any VPN provider including NordVPNPrivateInternetAccessIPVanishPrivateInternetAccess, PureVPNVyprVPN, ExpressVPN, and many more. For a complete up to date list, see our Supported VPN Services comparison chart for more information. 

Additional setup or configuration questions?

If you have any additional questions regarding settings or configurations once you have received your FlashRouter, please open a Support Ticket and our Tomato specialists will be glad to help!

Remember to check our FAQ page for Setup Guides as they may be able to help with your issue.