If your reading this guide, I commend you for wanting to unlock your router’s potential with Tomato. The problem is that flashing your router isn’t an easy feat. Tomato is a lot easier to configure than DD-WRT, but you still need to pay attention to which files you download to use during the process.
For the non-IT personnel who still want to flash their routers with Tomato, this guide’s for you.
What is Tomato?
Tomato is an open-source firmware you can use to turn your router into a highly efficient and super configurable router. After you’ve flashed your router with Tomato, you’ll be able to:
- Monitor your bandwidth.
- Secure your network.
- Segment your wireless network via VLAN support.
- Increase your wireless coverage.
- Integrate BitTorrent & Tor Client on your router.
- And so much more.
In other words, you’ll get way more control over your internet connection and network. Simply put, Tomato enhances your internet capabilities.
List of Supported Routers for Tomato
Check this list for any updates on supported routers.
- Linksys Routers
- WRT54G (versions 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, 3.0, 3.1, 4.0, TM)
- WRT54GS (versions 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 4.0)
- WRT54GL (versions 1.0 and 1.1)
- WRTSL54GS (versions 1.0 and 1.1)
- WRT54G- TM (version 1.0)
- WRTU54G-TM (version 2.0)
- Asus Routers
- WL-500gP Premium (V1 and V2)
- Buffalo Routers
- Dell Routers
- Microsoft Routers
- Netgear Routers
- Sparklan Routers
- D-Link Routers
- Motorola Routers
How to Download Tomato Firmware
You need to be careful when downloading the Tomato firmware you’re going to be using. Make sure that the firmware matches your device’s model. If you download the incorrect firmware, you could brick (break) your router. In order to make sure that the firmware you downloaded is correct, always download directly from Tomato Shibby’s website. Here’s the list of downloadable firmware. The firmware will usually be downloaded in a zip file, so use an unarchiver to easily extract the content of the file.
If your router is in the supported router list but you can’t find the firmware that’s specific to it, google “Tomato firmware for EnterRouterModelHere”. Remember, only download from a trusted source.
How to Setup your Hardware
Once you have the file you need, you should set up your hardware. You’re going to need:
- Your supported router.
- A PC or a laptop.
- An Ethernet Cable.
- A stable power supply.
Connect your computer to the router via the Ethernet cable. Turn your computer’s wireless network off. You should only flash your router using LAN.
Once you’ve set up everything, proceed with the installation guide below.
How to Install Tomato on your Router
For this guide, I’ll be showing you how to flash an Asus router, a Linksys router, a Buffalo router and a Netgear router with Tomato, as they are the most popular routers available.
How to Flash your Asus Router with Tomato
Flashing your Asus router with Tomato firmware is an easy and straightforward process. Make sure you have an Asus router that can support Tomato before you start this process.
- Go to Asus’s website and download the ASUS Recovery Software for your model. This is what you’ll use to upload the Tomato firmware on your router.
- Download the proper firmware from for your router.
- Open the ASUS Recovery Software. Click on browse and find the firmware file you downloaded in step 2. DO NOT click upload just yet.
- Manually put your router into recovery mode.
- Unplug the router.
- Press and hold the reset button on the back of the router (count to 30 seconds).
- Plug the power cord back into the router while still holding down the reset button.
- When the power LED starts blinking, release the reset button.
- Click Upload in the ASUS Recovery software. Wait for the upload to complete. Do not interrupt the upload process.
- Repeat the process in step 4, but this time press and hold the WPS button. After you plug the power cord back on the router, only hold the WPS button for an additional 10 seconds.
- Wait 5 minutes before doing anything else.
Your router should be flashed after this process. You can check by visiting your router’s configuration page (enter the router IP into a browser’s address bar). If the default interface changed to Tomato’s interface, you’ve completed the process!
How to Flash your Linksys Router with Tomato
To flash your Linksys router, you should:
- Download the Tomato firmware that works on your Linksys router’s model.
- Log into your router’s configuration page by entering the router’s IP into your browser’s address page.
- Go to Admin section and choose Firmware Upgrade.
- choose Select File and select the Tomato firmware.
- Click on Upload. Do not unplug your router or interrupt the uploading process in any way.
How to Flash your Netgear Router with Tomato
Flashing your Netgear router is a little more complicated than flashing a Linksys or Asus router. Here’s how you can do it:
- Access your router’s configuration page by typing the router’s IP into your browser’s address page.
- Restore your router to its default settings. Go to Advanced Settings and click on the Administration tab on the left side of the router. Click on Backup Settings below the Admin tab. Go to Restore Factory Default Settings and click on Erase.
- In the Administration tab, click on Router Update. Browse for the firmware you downloaded earlier and open the file that has the word “initial” in it. Wait for the upload to finish.
- Log in to the Router control panel again. Go to the Administration tab. Click on Upgrade firmware.
- Browse for the firmware you downloaded earlier. This time, upload the file that has AIO in it. Click on Upgrade.
- Wait for the process to finish.
- On the bottom left side of the panel, click on Reboot. Wait for the process to finish.
How to Flash your Buffalo Router with Tomato
Before you start flashing your Buffalo router, you need to unbox the router to check the model. Buffalo router boxes do not have the model written on them. Download the appropriate firmware based on the model you see on the back of the router itself.
The firmware will download in a 7zip file format, so use an unarchiver (7zip works) to extract the files.
Flashing Tomato on a Buffalo router is complicated, so follow the steps closely:
- In the extracted files, located the trx folder. Move it to your desktop for better access.
- Plug in your router. Then, plug one end of the ethernet cable into the LAN port of the router and the other to your computer.
- Disable all wireless networks on your computer.
- Go to Network System Preferences > Network. Select Built-in Ethernet.
- Click on TCP/IP tab. Set Configure IPv4 to manual.
- In the IP Address field, put in 192.168.11.2. In the Subnet Mask field, put in 255.255.255.0. In the Router IP field, put in 192.168.11.1.
- Go to your computer’s Command Prompt. Open the directory where the code.trx file is located (in this case, your desktop).
- In the correct directory, type tftp 192.168.11.1
- You’ll see the command line start with tftp>. Type in these commands:
- rexmt 1
- Type put code.trx. Do not press enter.
- Unplug your router from the power supply. Hold down the INIT button on the bottom of your router (the button that needs a pen tip or sharp object to press). Countdown 30 seconds. While still holding down the button, re-plug your router. Countdown 10 seconds.
- Go back to the where you left off on step 10 and press enter. You should see a bunch of code flashing. Once you see Transmission Completed, leave your router alone for about 5 minutes. Do not remove the power supply.
- Your router will have rebooted. After you’ve waited the appropriate time, Go back to where you were in step 4. Set the Configure IPv4 setting to Using DHCP (or fil in your network information).
Your router is now flashed with Tomato.
How to Flash your Router with Tomato – Final Thoughts
There you have it, how to flash your Linksys, Asus, Buffalo, or Netgear router with Tomato. If you have another brand of supported routers, check the Tomato wiki page for any updated installation guides. I do suggest sticking with these routers for Tomato, as the configuration process is a lot easier for non-tech oriented people. To super-charge your newly configured Tomato router, why not install a VPN client onto it? Give it a shot and let me know how things go for you in the comment section.