Tech: Polarcloud’s Tomato firmware for Linksys WRT54G router

This post is to written to remind myself and all the people out there of this – use a Linksys WRT54G series router only after applying third-party firmware on it.


Here’s what the router looks like, incase you have no idea you actually own one.
(img via spreadfon.org)

Why?

Quoted from Wikibooks:

Tomato is free open source Linux-based firmware for several Broadcom-based Wi-Fi routers, including the Linksys WRT54G. The major emphasis of Tomato is on stability, speed and efficiency..

Tomato is notable for its web-based user interface that includes several types of bandwidth usage charts, advanced QoS access restriction features , raised connection limits which enables P2P networking..

My own review: Performance skyrockets, and stability is greatly increased. Not to mention the whole bunch of nifty features that appear in the new GUI – scheduler, execution of custom scripts, traffic graphs and even skinning of the GUI via CSS, woohoo.

Story:

I signed up for Unwired recently, and had this persistent problem with my connection (cannot open bloody Google and Yahoo! Mail WTF) and kept thinking it was due to the bloody wireless WAN factor, reception being crappy and all that.

Seriously, I was on the verge of hurling the wireless modem out the window; the only things that stopped me:

  • the fact that I couldn’t get my window open wide enough to do that; the window opens to a maximum of probably 15 degrees and not much more.
  • throwing the modem out through closed window = broken window. Broken window = cold nights + big repair bill = stupid idea.

It was a last-ditch attempt to salvage the situation that resulted in upgrading the firmware, and the process was pretty straightforward.

  • RTFM mode: Read the fcuking FAQ
  • Download the firmware at Polarcloud, and unzip the file.
  • Check if your WRT54G series router (that includes WRT54G/GL/GS) to see if the firmware applies to your model. Important: choose the right firmware that applies to your model!
  • Stop all internet activities – prevent any possible disruptions to the upgrade process.
  • Login to your router’s GUI (default http://192.168.1.1 – admin/admin) and Administration – select the right firmware, and upgrade the damn firmware!
  • Cross your fingers and hope everything goes well.
  • Voila – new firmware, new GUI, bloody good router!