Tomato is IN – GoodBye DD-WRT

I have been a DD-WRT user for more than 2 years. For those who do not know, DD-WRT is a firmware for the Linksys and other WiFi routers. There are couples of open-source firmware available for Linksys routers (based on Linux 2.4 kernel and Linksys drivers) and I chose DD-WRT due to the number of features it offered.

There are few minor technical problems with DD-WRT as reported in various forums, however not serious ones and I have been a satisfied DD-WRT user so far. The key reason for me to move from Linksys stock firmware to WRT was due to the fact that latter being an open-source software. A little bit of my background, I was a key architect for Lucent’s Next Generation WiFi Access Point (till it became Agere and later Proxim) and a Linux kernel developer – so anything related to WiFi and Linux takes my attention. I was able to download and compile the source code of DD-WRT v23 SP1 long time back. So far so good!

So what made me switch to Tomato from DD-WRT? Let me explain.

When DD-WRT SP2 was released, suddenly the source code was no longer available on DD-WRT website. I was not alone, there were number of DD-WRT users who were looking for the source code and it was missing mysteriously. Instead of few MB of tarball, now they wanted users to download few gigs of SVN repository, obviously the motive was questionable, at least IMO. Someone may argue that they are offering SVN, however if the motive was good I can’t understand the logic behind not releasing the tar bundle, especially when so many users are requesting for it. As I can see, it is a ‘clever’ way to get passes GPL. I came across a similar story here (worth reading, very detailed) and also some users comments here. I have not verified everything which is written in that article; however readers are welcome to analyze and leave comments here. For me, source code reason was sufficient enough to move away from DD-WRT.

I hoped that source will be release with V24 but that did not happen either. So, I decided to give up DD-WRT and started evaluating other WRT variants and finally chose to try Tomato, a HyperWRT based firmware – turned out to be a right decision.

Moving to Tomato was smooth. If you are moving from DD-WRT to Tomato, ensure that you note down the encrypted password for web interface. It’s not the same password which you used to login to DD-WRT web interface but an encrypted one stored in NVRAM. To obtain the encrypted web password, login to DD-WRT telnet console and issue command “nvram get http_passwd”. When you install Tomato and reboot, it will ask you for the password. Use encrypted password obtained in previous step to login into the Tomato web interface.

Although, Tomato recommends resetting the NVRAM if you are upgrading from other firmware, I was amazed to see that Tomato was able to retain most of the DD-WRT configurations. QoS is disabled by default and I strongly suggest you to enable and configure based on your internet usage pattern.

Interface is very clean and AJAX based. It offers all the features of DD-WRT though it may take a little to get accustomed to the new interface since the menu hierarchy is different from DD-WRT. There is a minor problem – ‘Save’ button is not visible unless you scroll down. More convenient location of the ‘save’ button would have been at the top rather than on the bottom.

I haven’t tried to compile Tomato yet, may be I will do it once I find some free time and post results here.

Overall, a nice upgrade! Give it a try, you may find Tomato a worth upgrade.

11 Comments

MilanJuly 12th, 2008 at 8:42 am

USB support miss. :-(

Edsel CrakeAugust 25th, 2008 at 7:35 pm

Hi Yousef,
The main reason I want to change the firmware is to increase the power of transmission and get some log, I have seen the logging and am quite impressed with it, even though I want it for personal use.
But can I increase the strength of transmission from the router side and will it be able to receive my nootbook signal.
Ta, Edsel Crake

Edsel CrakeAugust 25th, 2008 at 7:55 pm

Hi Yousef,
Can I install this on a netgear wgr614 router, because there is no metion of this router on the tomato website. What is the procedure, can you please help me out on this one.
Ta, Edsel.

FasstboyJanuary 12th, 2009 at 2:07 am

Hey thanks for the comments about dd-wrt. …A good heads up. I loved dd-wrt and I am going to try Tomato keep us updated… I am sure google will bring me back

-Fasstboy

btw what kind of blogging software do you use?

Joe ShmoeFebruary 10th, 2009 at 4:27 pm

So the only reason you switched from DD-WRT to Tomato is because obtaining the source code isn’t as easy as it previously was? Is it really that a big a deal, after all you didn’t even compile Tomato!

What about the features of Tomato vs. DD-WRT? Any motivation for running Tomato instead of DD-WRT (which is what would sway normal people…)?

EndolithFebruary 20th, 2009 at 11:49 pm

“It offers all the features of DD-WRT”

except Virtual Access Points? As far as I know, this is not supported in Tomato. Of course, they don’t work correctly in DD-WRT for me, either, so I guess there is no reason I should not switch. :)

TarrApril 12th, 2009 at 4:34 am

Just made this move myself and its like night and day. Highly recommended for people who use file sharing with lots of connections and still want to be able to do something else. Tomato QoS is ace.

[...] case of the DD-WRT the source was hidden inside GB’s of data and in this case the official NCover website removed all the forums and added nag screens asking [...]

ricardowecMay 10th, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Does TOMATO offer the following features (allof which I use that I can remember))?.

1) Wireless Repeater Bridge??
2) VoIP Proxy
3) 2MB Footprint for WRT54G2?
4) DNSMASq for DNS
5) Programmed WiFi on-off?

ArefDecember 9th, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Salam Yousef,
I have been using dd-wrt firmware in my wrt54g 2m flash router for the past 2 years until recently, where I upgraded to asus wl-500g p V2 with 8m flash

I have tried open-wrt first and then switched to tomato which I found cool and fast

The main difference that I found in tomato is that you don’t need to reboot the system when you change settings

But unlike dd-wrt , tomato ,openwrt require at least a 4M flash router.

My next step is to get a build of tomato for x86 to try on my pc

Rf

[...] case of the DD-WRT the source was hidden inside GB’s of data and in this case the official NCover website removed all the forums and added nag screens asking [...]

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