Tomato – another wireless router firmware alternative

We have a ton of articles on DD-WRT and have used the firmware for a ton of different routers.   Recently we looked into Tomato another free firmware upgrade for the older Linksys WRT54G routers.

Tomato like DD-WRT offers a ton of features more than the factory firmware that came on the older Linksys (802.11g) routers.

My curiosity got the most of me when my father-in-law George brought me an older Linksys to tinker with.

I had initially had upgraded the WRT54G (Version 3.0) with DD-WRT and decided to give Tomato a try.  Navigating to Administration in the DD-WRT GUI, I followed the instructions of Tomato and upgraded the firmware.  I immediately noticed that the power light began to flash and fearing the worst, I thought I had ‘bricked’ the router.  The router would only respond to pings and I could not navigate to the Administration page or telnet into the router.

In order to try to get the router to function properly, I decided to use TFTP and upload the firmware again.  In order to do this, I entered the router’s IP and pointed to the firmware file. I manually set my ip address on my LAN NIC card to one number above the routers (last octet) and plugged a CAT5 cable into the router from my laptop.

tftp

I then unplugged the router and plugged in the router immediately clicked the upgraded button on TFTP.   This forced the firmware on the router as it rebooted.  I waited a good two minutes and unplugged the router to reboot it.

Tomato was successfully installed.

  • Status (Overview, Device List, Logs)
  • Bandwidth (Real-Time, Last 24 Hours, Daily, Weekly and Monthly)
  • Tools (Ping, Tracert, Wireless Security and WOL)
  • Basic Configuration (Network, Identification, Time, DDNS, Static DHCP and Wireless Filter)
  • Advanced Configuration (TCP, UDP Timeouts, NAT Helpers, DHCP, DNS, Firewall, Routing and Wireless)
  • Port Forwarding
  • Advanced QoS with live charts
  • Administration (Scripts, Schedules and more)

Bandwidth

Bandwidth

Device List \ Logs Network Noise Floor Overview

 

 

QoS

Tomato is a very stable firmware for several older routers and offers an alternative to factory firmware which often is unstable.

Full list of features-Tomato Firmware

Add a system information page to DD-WRT

Want to have fun with an older router that is virtually ‘unbrickable’ .  The Airlink 101 670w can be purchased for under $25.00 and if you do brick it, you can unplug it and hold down the reset for 30 seconds when powering it on.  This will bring up an emergency web server under 192.168.1.10.   You can upload your standard DD-WRT and bring it back to life.

This tweak is called MyPage and the code is credited to the talented folks at DD-WRT.   For a list of routers you that are DD-WRT compatible, visit DD-WRT.com.   DD-WRT is an opensource firmware designed for dozens of routers (flash on your own) allowing routers to be really tweaked out.

MyPage offers system information and can be customized by editing the pages (add links etc).   This will work with other routers and not just the Airlink 101.

How do you install MyPage?  You’ll need to add telnet to your computer, download WinSCP and the code from here.

Enable SSH and Telnet on your router

Download the file from here (note the instructions are not the same as in the forum)

http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=385006#385006

Extract the contents using winrar to a folder on your desktop

Enable Telnet Client on Windows 7 under program (features)

Download WinSCP (Change to SSH when connecting – port 22) install and connect.  You should then transfer the files and folders to a www folder under the tmp directory using WinSCP.

Open a command prompt and type telnet yourrouter’s ip
enter the user name and password and type in the commands below that are in bold

DD-WRT v24-sp2 std (c) 2010 NewMedia-NET GmbH
Release: 12/24/10 (SVN revision: 15962)

DD-WRT login: root
Password:
==========================================================

DD-WRT v24-sp2

http://www.dd-wrt.com

==========================================================
BusyBox v1.13.4 (2010-12-24 11:29:14 CET) built-in shell (ash)
Enter ‘help’ for a list of built-in commands.

The command below is one line

nvram set mypage_scripts=”/opt/www/mypage1.sh /opt/www/mypage2.sh /opt/www/mypage3.sh /opt/www/mypage4.sh /opt/www/mypage5.sh /opt/www/mypage6.sh /opt/www/mypage7.sh /opt/www/mypage8.sh
/opt/www/mypage9.sh /opt/www/mypage10.sh /opt/www/mypage11.sh /opt/www/mypage12.sh”

nvram commit

root@DD-WRT:~# chdir /tmp
root@DD-WRT:/tmp# chdir www
root@DD-WRT:/tmp/www# chdir setup
root@DD-WRT:/tmp/www/setup# chmod 755 *.sh
root@DD-WRT:/tmp/www/setup# chmod 755 *.asp
root@DD-WRT:/tmp/www/setup# ./mypage_setup.sh

root@DD-WRT:/tmp/www/setup# ./mypage_setup.sh /tmp/www n y y n y y n n

This will complete the setup.

Login to your router and enjoy!

You can also add an external drive to DD-WRT

Improve your wireless signal

Hacking your wireless router

There are tons of ways to hack your router.   It doesn’t always mean upgrading your firmware (although this is the best way).

DD-WRT has so many options as a free firmware for dozens of routers that you can do so much more than the average manufacturer’s firmware. You can increase your router’s power, EoIP, VPN, VOIP, manage it as a Firewall, use as a repeater/bridge/AP, install Radius and dozens of other features.

The Cisco E2500 along with several other Cisco routers allow you to put in a hidden webpage setting  that opens up several settings you can tweak- Here’s a post Dawn put up that describes her problem router and what she found -

I recently bought a Linksys E2500 router and wanted to tweak my network settings but was unable to find the settings for things like Beacon Interval, RTS and Fragmentation Threshold. I was a little frustrated and I’ll replace it. Well, for those interested, there is a hidden management page! Open Internet Explorer (or the browser of your choice), type the IP Address of your router into the address bar and add this to the end: /Wireless_Advanced.asp
and tweak away!

Here’s a few more that may and may not be available on your router-

/SysInfo.htm
/SysInfo1.htm
(either) /Site_Suvey.asp  or /Site_Survey.asp
/WL_ActiveTable.asp
/Cysaja.asp

(Oh, don’t tweak if you don’t have the information on HOW to tweak!!) ;)

Screenshot for the /Wireless_Advanced.asp

Linksys/Cisco WRT  Routers – These routers are some of the most hackable routers on the market.  Dawn found an excellent site that shows comparison charts, hacks and how-to’s on these home routers.

I recently flashed my WRT54GS with DD-WRT firmware.  This firmware unlocks your router and allows you to tweak settings such as output power from 1mw to 251mw of power.  It allows for site surveys and has hundreds of hidden tweaks. One of the most impressive screens is the site survey that shows the connections and their connection strength.

Tutorial page for DD-WRT firmware

MyOpenRouter is  a one-stop resource for tools and a list of the latest firmware including dd-wrtopenwrt,tomato and others.

Emulators

D-Link

Linksys

Netgear

V22-DD-WRT interface

V23-DD-WRT interface

V24beta-DD-WRT interface

Recently Jared L. wanted to extend his wireless from his home to his shop.  He flashed his older WRT router and bridged it to his home router and now it goes over 360′ into the metal shop.   Here’s what you do to bridge it.  Thanks Jared.

Note: This 360′ mark was a test to see how the connection was after bridging… he was able to stream Youtube videos.

Open source firmware can result in a ‘bricked’ router.  You must read the instructions.  Here’s a revival guidefor some linksys routers.

Ryan’s mod (DD-WRT) to keep his new E3000 cool.

Hey, on the way to work this morning i picked up a E3000 from Wal-mart. I flashed it with DD-WRT, and did some mods on it.  I put a CPU fan on it, and also put some feet under neath to give it some more clearance for the air to flow, here are some pics
Don’t forget you can manage your router with Router Commander.

The Anatomy and Autopsy of a Linksys Router

Here’s an excellent article and breakdown of Linksys (now Cisco) routers.

Powerful small access point

Need a powerful access point to cover your entire house or business?  The Ubiquiti picostation2 is an excellent choice for wide coverage at a very affordable price.   With three models that cover between 700,000 square feet to 8,000,000 square feet (under $100 for each model), the picostations also offer open source software that accept OpenWRT or DD-WRT.  Each of the picostations can be configured as an access point, repeater or bridge to connect buildings.    What makes these access points so powerful?   100mw to 1000mw output.

Specs-

Processor Specs Atheros MIPS 4KC
180MHzMemory Information 32MB SDRAM, 8MB Flash
Networking Interface 1 x 10/100 BASE-TX (Cat. 5, RJ-45) Ethernet Interface
Antenna RP-SMA omni antenna
Power Supply12V, 1A DC, Supply and injector
Passive Power over Ethernet (pairs 4,5+; 7,8 return)
Operating Temperature -4F to +158F   Weight 3.5 oz

WAP54Gs end of life? Saving money with opensource

Opensource is not always the solution.   Many opensource software is dropped or no longer support.  Most people who get involved with opensource drop from a project or a project they support after they become busy or during some life changing event.

It is not always the case with all forms of opensource software.  Some software has been well documented, continues to grow and has very well received by business and industry.

When Computerworld interviewed us on lean IT and education;  we confessed to using a lot of open source software in order to meet the demands of technological growth on a limited budget.

Here’s a recent example of where opensource software can be used to save money and breath life into older devices.  While we have focused on DD-WRT in the last week, we were facing upgrading 12 smaller training rooms with $150-$400 wireless devices.   Our current older technology in these rooms were Linksys WAP54Gs.

Before we flashed the WAP54Gs,  it often took 5-45 seconds to get an IP address and the device would sometimes drop the wireless connection.   The wireless signal was not consistent with the older firmware.   When monitoring the wireless signal we would see -90db to -30db (Amplitude) .   Once we upgraded the access point, obtaining an ip address is almost instantaneous and the signal is clean and much stronger.

DD-WRT has grown and the software has became very stable along with performance that is excellent.

While DD-WRT is designed for routers, someone has taken the time to make the software work with many wireless access points.

When flashing the WAP54G, I took the access point off of the local network and hooked it up to a laptop with a small CAT5 cable.   Here’s the steps for an access point.

  • Reset the Access Point using the reset button
  • Disable the wireless card on your laptop
  • Enable the LAN card
  • Set a static ip address of 192.168.1.20
  • Open IE and enter 192.168.1.245  (The default ip for WAP54Gs)
  • Enter the username and password (default for the access point)
  • Click on Administration
  • Click on upgrade firmware
  • Browse to the micro bin firmware you downloaded from DD-WRT
  • Click on upgrade (If you get an error, which I did on 4 access points simply perform the upgrade again)
  • Once it says complete, close your browser
  • Wait two or three minutes
  • Unplug the Access Point
  • Wait 1 minute
  • Plug the Access Point
  • Wait two minutes
  • Open IE and browse to 192.168.1.1
  • Enter a new username and password
  • Click on Setup
  • Enter the new password and username if necessary
  • Disable DHCP
  • Enter your new IP address for your Access Point
  • Apply the settings (Save and Apply)
  • Close your browser
  • Enter a new static ip address (LAN card) on the same network as your Access Point
  • Open your browser and enter the new ip address of the Access Point
  • Enter your username and password
  • Click on Wireless
  • Select a Channel for your wireless (it is good to use inSSIDer before doing this to find an open channel)
  • Apply the changes
  • Click on Wireless Security and enter a WPA or WPA2 passphrase (complex passphrase)   – Save your settings
  • Disconnect your wireless access point and plug it into your network
  • Remove the static ip address from your LAN card
  • Enable your wireless
In our case recycling older hardware saved $2400.
Note:  The default 71mw should be left the same.   There is no real reason to increase the power.  If you elect to do so, you should modify your WAP with a cooling fan.
From DD-WRT’s website:
WARNING – DD-WRT was not originally intended to be loaded on a WAP unit. It was found that it will run but it is a tricky unit to load and have function correctly. Below are a compilation of methods/instructions to assist you with creating a DD-WRT-loaded WAP unit.

Hard reset does not work on this device so it is not possible to clear the NVRAM using the reset button. This can be problematic if you need to reset the device in order to access it. If this happens you can reinstall the linksys firmware using the tftp method and then reset it.

LOAD AT YOUR OWN RISK.

RTS, DTIM and other settings that can further tweak your router.