DD-WRT and Tomato are the most popular custom firmware options for network routers and the latter is preferred by many because it offers a simple experience. In order to enjoy all the advantages that custom firmware offers, you need to complete a process called flashing. Here you will find a helpful guide that will allow you to flash your router with Tomato, using a version called Shibby.
We’ll discuss what you need, the preliminary steps and the process that you need to follow to flash your router. Although flashing a router would only take a few minutes, it is advisable to take all the time you need to make sure that everything is done correctly. Don’t rush, follow the instructions at your own pace. Keep in mind that while flashing may vary according to your device and preferred configuration, once you are familiar with the process, there won’t be a significant difference.
The basic steps are the same and the most important thing is that you make sure that your router is compatible with the firmware that you want to use. In this guide we will focus on Tomato, using Shibby’s 64KB version on an ASUS RT-N66U router. Before starting, it is advisable to update the router’s factory firmware but if the manufacturer doesn’t offer firmware updates for your router, you can simply move on to flashing with Tomato.
Tomato Flashing Guide
- Since flashing has become very common, manufacturers like ASUS offer options to facilitate the process. The first thing you need to do when flashing an ASUS router is to download the Recovery Software from the manufacturer’s official website. This client will establish communication with the router and will upload the Tomato firmware.
- The second step is to download the firmware that you will use to flash the router, in this case, we are using Tomato (Shibby). Look for the version that is compatible with your router on Shibby’s website: http://tomato.groov.pl . If you have opted for DD-WRT, you can go to their official website http://www.dd-wrt.com .
- Once you have downloaded the firmware, you can open the ASUS Recovery Software and prepare to flash the router. Browse your computer to find the firmware file that you previously downloaded. Go to the folder where the file is saved, select it and click Open. Don’t click upgrade yet as first you need to get the software ready for the flashing process. This preparation will ensure that once the router is manually set to “recover mode”, you just need to press “Upload”. Once the file path to the firmware is loaded into the ASUS recovery software, it will be ready for the next step.
- Now you will need to enter recovery mode. Keep in mind that the steps tp access the recovery mode are different for each router and some routers don’t have this mode. With the ASUS RT-N66U, you need to do the following:
- Unplug the router, then press and hold the reset button located at the back of the router. Keep in mind that there are three buttons on the back of the device: Power, Reset and WPS. Make sure that you press the Reset button.
Keep the button pressed and plug back the router and keep holding down the button for about 10 seconds.
Release the button only when the power LED starts to blink slowly.
- Once the router is in recovery mode, you will be able to start a file transfer to begin the flashing process. The firmware should be ready as per the step 3 and now all you need to do is to click “Upload” in the TFTP client to flash the router. Now you will need to be patient and wait for the upgrade to be completed. Do not interrupt the process under any circumstance. Well, unless there is an emergency.
- Once the flashing process is completed, you need to clear the NVRAM to remove any settings that could be left from the previous firmware. You need to allow at least 5 minutes before clearing the NVRAM to make sure that the flashing process is fully completed to avoid any interruptions. The steps to clear the NVRAM and reset the settings are very similar to the ones we followed to access recovery mode in the router. However, instead of pressing the Reset button, you need to hold down the WPS button instead.
- Unplug the router. Press and hold the WPS button, located at the back of the router.
Keep the button pressed and plug the power cord back. Hold down the button for about 10 seconds.
Release the button and allow at least 3 minutes.
- 7. Once you have finished clearing the NVRAM, you can connect the router and change settings as required. Type the IP address of the router directly into the browser’s address bar. Now you will see a window to enter the credentials to access Tomato. You can log into Tomato using the default username and password for the firmware. The default username is “admin” and the password is the same, simply “admin”. That is all! Now you can access Tomato and enjoy the extended functionality that this firmware supports.