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networkingOptimizing Router Firmware

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DD-WRT

DD-WRT (released in 2005) was a Linux-based firmware project to enhance the performance of SOHO wireless routers. DD-WRT firmware was used as a replacement for the primitive stock firmware. It transformed supported home routers into an enterprise-level servers with advanced functionality.

Benefits were enormous and included opportunity to install thousands of packages, originally developed within OpenWRT (released in 2004), Optware (released in 2004) and its modern alternative Entware projects. These packages allowed to add new functionality to a home router turning it into a powerful enterprise-level gateway and file server. Users appreciated peace of mind that came from an open-source firmware that was consistently tested, updated and upgraded.

Feature Upgrades of DD-WRT Firmware

  • Firmware bug fixes in Linksys, Asus, Netgear, TP-LINK, D-Link, Belkin etc.
  • OpenVPN, PPTP, & L2TP VPN Client/Server Integration
  • Improved Network Stability & Network Status Information
  • Access Restrictions - Time, website, app & user-based
  • VLAN (Virtual LAN) Support - Manage segmented wireless networks on the same router
  • WPS (WiFi Protected Setup) Disabled by Default
  • Bandwidth Graphs/Statistics - Real-time, daily & monthly
  • Advanced Wireless Modes - Access Point (AP), wireless client bridge & repeater modes
  • DHCP Server - Using DNSmasq with dynamic and static DHCP leases
  • Advanced Port Forwarding - Create port forwards, redirects, & triggers with included UPnP
  • 3G/4G Cellular USB WAN Support
  • DNS forwarder - DNSmasq with local hostnames, domain names, and internet address caching
  • Samba file-share/CIFS client
  • Dynamic DNS (DDNS) service integration
  • IPV6 Support
  • Logging Capabilities
  • SPI Firewall / IP Tables Access
  • Integrated Wireless Survey Page - View other wireless networks in your area
  • Radius Authentication - Enterprise level wireless security
  • Wi-Fi Hotspot Integrations - For business or neighbors with a verification page using the integrated Chillispot or NOCATSPLASH
  • Telnet/SSH Support
  • Wake-on-LAN - Remote network access
  • NAT (Network Address Translation) support
  • WDS (Wireless distribution system aka wireless bridging) support
  • JFFS2 Support
  • Processor Overclocking (limited to certain devices)
  • TCP BIC Congestion Algorithm
  • Adjustable Antenna Transmission Settings - To increase WiFi strength
  • Milkfish SIP
  • MMC/SD Card Support
  • Xlink Kaid - Free Online Gaming for multiple gaming consoles like Xbox, Xbox360, and PS3.
  • FTP Server
  • Multiple BSSID (different MACs for virtual interfaces)
  • Multicast Forwarding/Filtering

TomatoUSB

Tomato (initially released in 2008) and later known as TomatoUSB is the open-source project that finally turned SOHO router into enterprise-level server. It boosted functionality of routers to levels that users might not dream possible. Tomato is all factory firmware features + all upgrades of DD-WRT + extra stuff + any Entware packages you may install.

Also check out AdvancedTomato - a GUI modification fork of TomatoUSB

Features of TomatoUSB Firmware

  • Major bug fixes in Broadcom-based Linksys, Netgear and Asus firmware
  • Improved Network Stability and Network Status Information
  • Interactive Ajax based GUI using SVG and CSS-based color schemes (allowing GUI look and feel changes)
  • CLI access (BusyBox) via Telnet or SSH (using Dropbear)
  • DHCP server (using Dnsmasq with dynamic and static allocation of IP addresses)
  • DNS forwarder (using Dnsmasq) with local hostnames, domain names, and internet address caching
  • IPSec, OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP VPN Client Integration - OpenVPN and PPTP Servers
  • VLAN Support - Creation of segmented wireless networks
  • Supports DNSCrypt
  • Netfilter/iptables with customizable settings, IPP2P and l7-filter
  • Wake-on-LAN
  • Static ARP support
  • Advanced QoS: 10 unique QoS classes defined, real-time graphs display prioritized traffic with traffic class details
  • Client bandwidth control via QoS classes
  • Bandwidth real-time, daily, monthly statistics and graphing per IP address or user
  • LED Stealth Mode - Turn off the flashing lights on router
  • Integrated Bittorrent and Tor client
  • Captive Portal integration for displaying WiFi terms of service
  • Advanced USB Support - Print, NAS, Media, FTP, 3G and 4G LTE USB Modem, UPS Monitor
  • Wireless modes:
    • Access point (AP)
    • Wireless client station (STA)
    • Wireless Ethernet (WET) bridge
    • Wireless distribution system (WDS also known as wireless bridging)
    • Simultaneous AP and WDS (also known as wireless repeating)
  • Dynamic DNS service with ezUpdate and services extended for more providers
  • Syslog viewable through the GUI (also downloadable)
  • SES button control
  • JFFS2
  • CIFS client
  • Wireless LAN Adjustment of radio transmit power, antenna selection, and 14 wireless channels
  • 'Boot wait' protection (increase the time slot for uploading firmware via the boot loader)
  • NAT, advanced port forwarding, redirection, and triggering with UPnP and NAT-PMP
  • Advanced user access restrictions - Time, Website, Program and User-based
  • Scripting: Init, shutdown, firewall, and WAN Up
  • Uptime, load average, and free memory status
  • Minimal reboots - Very few configuration changes require a reboot
  • Wireless survey page to view other networks in your neighborhood
  • More comprehensive dashboard than stock firmware: displays signal strengths of wireless client devices, reveals UPnP mappings
  • Configuration persistence during a firmware upgrade
  • SFTP support
  • SNMP support
  • SD-card support
  • IPv6 support
  • 5GHz support
  • NFS server support
  • Guest SSID support (without password)
  • PPPoE server support
  • CPU overclocking support
  • Multi WAN support
  • Siproxd VoIP support
  • Web server support
  • Tomato Theme Base support
  • P2Partisan support

TomatoUSB strong points

  • Better OpenVPN functionality
  • Better and more consistent GUI
  • Visual graphs of connected Ethernet devices
  • Integrated Tor and BitTorrent clients
  • Better USB and media sharing functionality

DD-WRT strong points

  • Support of a larger array of chipsets, such as Atheros and Ralink, which means support of manufacturers such as Netgear, D-Link, TP-Link

Install TomatoUSB Firmware

  1. Check if your router is supported and determine your Kerner version
  2. Download TomatoUSB firmware for your Kernel version
  3. Verify the MD5 checksum of the downloaded image file before attempting to flash your router
  4. Connect your Router to your computer with a LAN cable
  5. Update router to the manufacturer's latest firmware version
  6. Navigate to the Router webpage 192.168.0.1 and log in with admin/admin
  7. Go to Configuration page. Backup your current configuration to HDD
  8. Select Default Settings. Router will return to default settings and reboot
  9. Login with admin/admin
  10. Go to Firmware Update page, browse for downloaded Firmware and click on "Upgrade"

After router reboots, you should will be able to access the interface using https://192.168.1.1/ or https://192.168.0.1/

Change default admin access password to a secure 8-16 characters password

NAS

Slow read/write speed of a USB Drive attached to a Router is a well-known problem. However newer Routers have significantly improved in this. If you have a newer Router with high speed of USB read/write - Like Tenda W1800R - you may use it as a full-fledged NAS. You can attach a spacious USB to the Router and use it as a file server.

There are estimates that while Tomato firmware produces 100% of read and write average speed, DD-WRT produces 80% and ASUS stock firmware produces 25%.

Here is my test of read/write speed of a USB 16 Gb SanDisk Cruzer Fit Drive attached to Tenda W1800R Router done with free LAN Speed Test (Lite). This speed is absolutely enough to stream video from Router USB drive to my computer or a TV set.


Version 1.3.2
OS Version: Windows 8
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6700K CPU @ 4.00GHz
Date: 08/09/2017
Time: 13:36:42
Program Parameters: 0
High Performance Timer: 0.0000002555

Test File: \\Tomato\usb\NW_SpeedTest.dat
 Write Time = 11.8507290 Seconds
 Write Speed = 13.5012800 Mbps
 Read Time = 13.2030428 Seconds
 Read Speed = 12.1184160 Mbps

Install Entware applications to your Router

Prepare a USB drive. For Soft-float (works with both soft-float & hard-float firmwares) type:

wget -O - https://old.entware.net/binaries/mipselsf/installer/entware_install.sh | sh

For Hard-float (works only with hard-float firmwares) type:

wget -O - https://old.entware.net/binaries/entware/installer/entware_install.sh | sh

A basic set of packages will be deployed. See available packages here

opkg list

Over 2000 packages are available for installation!

Install desired ones, e.g.:

opkg install mc

See other OPKG commands here.

Cogratulations! Great day!

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About Us

Optimiware is dedicated to delivering guidance in choosing optimized hardware and software solutions to users of Linux, Windows and Android desktops, laptops, phones, tablets, TVs and routers in SOHO LANs, who strive to get better productivity from their equipment.


Page last modified on Nov 12 2018 11:19am