July 9, 2016

Turn Your Ordinary Router into a High-Functionality Router, Here’s How?

Currently, people are completely depending on the internet in order to handle their day-to-day chores. It is not an exaggeration that Wi-Fi has become a part of an individual’s life due to the rapid usage of internet sources. Router is the primary device through which you can connect multiple devices over a single internet connection. It is well-known that Wi-Fi needs a router, but the main thing is, how best a router should you purchase?

There are a bounteous number of best branded Wi-Fi routers available in the current market. But, if you are planning to purchase a high-functionality router at an expensive price range, but the problem is you might not be able to afford such a huge price range.

Upgrade ordinary Router to expensive router using Tomato Firmware

Although you need a router that has high-end functionalities keeping the price issue apart. Have you ever thought of a router that could simply improve your router’s functionalities just by using some software alteration. Well, it is possible to turn a low-cost router into an expensive router comprising of high functionalities. You might be aware of the price variations of the routers that some of them cost around $15 and some at an expensive range of hundreds of dollars. This is because there are some hardware and software differences and so the price contrasts.

If you wish to choose the best router that has the capability to protect from hacking Wi-Fi network, obviously, you need to spend pretty high cost to purchase such type of router. Instead of spending high for an expensive router, you can simply turn your ordinary router into a high functionality one using a custom firmware (only if it is supported by the router). This firmware offers lot more options/features available on the much more expensive hardware.

Such a firmware is Tomato USB which is an open source firmware for Broadcom based routers. I have come up with a detailed tutorial on how to turn an ordinary router into an expensive router having high functionalities using Tomato firmware. Check it out!

What is Tomato USB?

Tomato USB is an alternative Linux-based firmware that can be used in powering Broadcom-based ethernet routers. It is an alteration of the popular Tomato firmware, which comes with additional functionalities that includes built-in support for USB port, support for several newer router models, wireless-N mode support and many other several enhancements. It does everything like boosting your Wi-Fi signal, allocating Quality of Service bandwidth. In addition to these functionalities, it offers a simplified interface chock-full of excellent charts and graphs.

Supported Routers

The very first step is to install this firmware so as to check whether your router is supported by Tomato.  Before heading to the upgrading process, make sure that your device is included in the supported devices list if Tomato. If your device is supported by this firmware, get the newest version and shoot it on the administration interface.

Several Linksys WRT54G series routers support this upgrade but, they aren’t all, so make sure you check your model number.  Check out the list of devices supported by the Tomato firmware. Tomato USB supports many Broadcom-based routers from the following manufacturers:

  • Asus
  • Linksys
  • Buffalo
  • Netgear
  • Microsoft

Features of Tomato USB Firmware

  • Firmware replacement with full LAN/WAN/WiFi support.
  • It can be used for Wi-Fi signal boosting. Just click on Advanced >>Wireless in the Tomato sidebar>> Entry labeled Transmit Power. The default transmitting power is 42mW, and it is capable of transmitting at up to 251mW.
  • It is pretty much easy to use with good Graphical User Interface.
  • Wi-Fi, 802.11a/b/g/n, Dual-Band, LAN up to Gigabit.
  • Advanced QOS configuration.
  • There are some flavors like AIO (All in One) or VPN which is smaller in size and perfect for some users.

How to Upgrade Your Router to the Tomato Firmware

Once you ensure that your router supports this firmware, you can head over to the upgrading process. You can now upgrade your ordinary router into an expensive router using this Tomato firmware. Check out the step-by-step procedure for upgrading your normal router into a high-functionality router.

Step 1: Initially, download the latest Tomato firmware.

Step 2: Once you install it on your device, you need to set up all the usual settings on Tomato like Wi-Fi, LAN etc.

Step 3: You can now go further by installing some programs like a web server with PHP support. The most important thing is that the router must have USB ports.

Step 4: Just download a 7zip archive and extract the contents to an easy-to-find folder on your desktop. Then, log into your current router to initiate the upgrade process.

Step 5: This process may differ depending on what router you’re using and the firmware it’s running, but, most of the times, it’s pretty simple.

Step 6: Simply point your browser to, which is the default admin page for your router.  If your router has a default username and password set, you’ll need to simply hit Enter to continue.

Step 7: Just navigate to the firmware upgrade section of your router’s admin panel.

Tomato Firmware

Step 8: Click the Browse button and direct your router to the relevant firmware file for your router in the folder you unzipped in Step 4.

Step 9: Look at the README file which is included in the Tomato_1_13 folder so as to determine the version that you’ll need to choose.

Step 10: If you use this WRT54GL router, you can choose the file named WRT54G_WRT54GL.bin. Now, simply click the upgrade button. Make sure that you must not turn off your router during this upgrade process.

Step 11: Once you finish the upgrade process, you can now start using Tomato.

Step 12: You can now point your browser back to and log with “admin” using your username and password. That’s it! You can now start using your ordinary router as a high-end router with large functionalities.

You can now enjoy the features and high-end functionalities on your budget router.

About the author 

Imran Uddin

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