I decided I was tired of waiting around for the next version of DD-WRT to come out (v24) which, as of this writing, was at RC7, I believe. I twittered today that I was tired of waiting and got a tweet back saying that I should check out Tomato and that people were saying some good things about it. I quickly Googled “DD-WRT vs. Tomato” and found this post which pretty much convinced me I should do it. I also watched a few of the videos on the Tomato site. It looks pretty nice.
My only issue was that I wanted to do OpenVPN on the router. A few days ago, my Linksys decided to reset itself back to factory settings (guess it was getting a bit tired of DD-WRT as well) and I lost all of my OpenVPN settings (grrr). So, instead of trying to figure it out, I decided to install a modified version of Tomato that has OpenVPN built in. I’m not going to go into how I configured my OpenVPN. That would probably be better as another stand-alone post.
However, here are the steps that I took to migrate from DD-WRT (“Firmware: DD-WRT v23 SP2 (09/15/06) vpn”) to Tomato (“TomatoMod 1.16.1374 – Binary” with OpenVPN). These steps might not apply to you. There are instructions within the ReadMe of the Tomato firmware files that tell you how to do things for different types of routers and firmwares. Be sure to read it.
- Save Config – Save your existing DD-WRT configuration by going to Administration > Backup. That way you can always try to go back and restore your settings. (Note: this is NOT the firmware itself, just the settings you have made).
- Print Config – I took screenshots of my important configuration pages on my existing DD-WRT setup. You can print these as well.
- Downloads – Download the various firmwares. I would recommend getting the DD-WRT firmware as well so that if you have to, you can try to roll back to it.
- Documentation – if you are working on your one and only router, I would also recommend getting all of the documentation printed (or PDFed as I did) because you might be caught offline until you get things configured. This is part of the reason why you might want to download all of the backup firmwares as well. Since I have a few extra routers and a cellular card, I am a bit lazy when it comes to that. I also downloaded the regular Tomato firmware (version 1.19). READ THROUGH THE DOCUMENTATION!
- DD-WRT password – the documentation states that you can get locked out because of a chage in DD-WRT’s use of the nvram password variable. They give you steps on how to get that password. Essentially, you have to telnet into the router and type “nvram get http_passwd” and save that result (it’s cryptic).
- Choose the right Tomato firmware version – there are a bunch of files within both the Tomato and the TomatoMod compressed file. Since I have a Linksys WRT54GL, I chose the one called “WRT54G_WRT54GL.bin”
- Apply the firmware – within the DD-WRT admin GUI, go to Administration > Firmware Upgrade and navigate and select the firmware .bin file you want to apply. I selected “No Reset” as the option there. Then cross your fingers. You should see an “Upgrade Successful. Unit Rebooting now” in the old DD-WRT format.
- Logging in – If all goes well, you should get a User/Password prompt. For User, enter “root” and for the password, enter the password that you wrote down from step 5 above. (I had a bit of trouble with this because I had a lower case L that looked like a number 1…but I got in.)
- Checking your configuration – Now you can take time to peruse the new Tomato GUI. Since I did not “reset” my router, most of my configs stayed put.
- Change your Password – don’t forget to change your password from the cryptic one in step #5 to something you can remember.
- Test it all out – mine seemed to be a bit faster after enabling QoS. I need to read up on that a bit more to fully understand the best settings.
- Enable OpenVPN – Go to this thread and work through it. For configuring your server keys and certs, look here. I haven’t gotten it working yet but may write a post once I do.
So far, the UI is clean and understandable. I will be playing with some of the feature later. I like the realtime graphs of the QoS stuff. Ooooh shiny! Pretty colors!
HTD says: Tomato router firmware is the next black!