Difference between some firmwares

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by xtacydima, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. xtacydima

    xtacydima LI Guru Member

    I got a second ASUS rt-n16 to play with, and want experiment with different Tomato firmwares.

    I noticed that the dominant three I am stuck choosing between is the original teddy bear build, Victek, and Toastman versions.

    I read the wiki (which in my opinion is a bit outdated, doesn't even mention toastman or ability to do VPN for victek builds athough he does have a vpn build..etc..) so I was hoping to get some simple answers here.... sorry if I missed these in any faq or they sound noobish but I did poke around to look for answers myself first.

    What is the underlying difference between these three (biggie question)?

    As I see it, TB made the first big advancement and the other two have a few extra features added on (sorry if I am wrong here).
    For example, Victek has the bandwidth Limiter, which is amazing btw, a feature long sought after, however, I do not see what else there is in Victek's build that looks too different. Can anyone add?
    In Toastman's I also see the bandwidth limiter, but a nice simplified Qos terminology in place for those unfamiliar on how to classify, very nifty and nice feature I think its also great. There is also mention of 200 users (I have no idea what this means), can someone explain?

    Also TB & Victek show ver. 1.28 but Toastman shows 1.27 - why is that I thought all were 1.28?

    I find myself unable to choose between these three, all three are such quirky amazing builds, each with its own unique cool features. Kudos to all three developers btw, amazing job, I really do mean it.

    Also, are all three known to be equally stable? I would like to assume more of less yes because the original source is the same, but is there anything I should know?

    Sorry fot the bombardment of questions, but if anyoen has answers, I am sure the devs def do... please shed some light!!!
  2. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    I believe Teddy Bears TomatoUSB is the basis for all. As I understand it, besides running on the R2 chipsets with a 2.6 kernel, IPv6 support, raising max connections to 10240, speedmod, OpenVPN, SFTP and USB print/drive support it's named after, this was the firmware that ushered in support for wireless-N. It also included newer wireless drivers of course, SIP conntrack module, Samba 3, MiniDLNA Media Server. It's hard to briefly sum up this amazing firmware and all of Teddy Bears hard work but I took a shot. So that is the common stuff.

    Victek RAF adds to TomatoUSB - bandwidth IP/MAC limiter, extra themes, CPU Frequency, overclocking via GUI, and recent betas include a bitorrent client.

    Toastman adds to TomatoUSB - 250 entry Static DHCP, 500 entry Access Restrictions, QOS class labels, Toastman QOS rules, fast conntrack timeout, fast auto refresh, tools/system refresh timer, safe CPU frequency selector, loads upnpconfig.custom from JFFS, for VPN UPnP support. Oh and I think that although Toastman did produce some 1.27 based versions, he long since moved to 1.28. I don't know where you are getting it from but you might want to click on the link in his signature and have a look at the versions available there.

    I'm sure that I missed features of all of them but took a shot. I haven't run all of them on my N router so can't really comment on stability but it's all good as far as my testing as gone. The only problem I had was basically that WDS which I'd used for years became unstable. Although Teddy Bear tried to help me, I eventually gave up on it and went to wireless bridges instead, as Teddy Bear had recommended.
  3. wasp87

    wasp87 Network Guru Member

    I hear of "beta" TomatoUSB releases....... is there somewhere to find those?

    Or at least anything newer than Build 54 found on the site....
  4. mau108

    mau108 Addicted to LI Member

  5. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    All the TomatoUSB builds are labeled beta up to and including build 54. There are Beta Tomato RAF builds here. mau108 posted the link to Toastmans builds above.

    Attached Files:

  6. xtacydima

    xtacydima LI Guru Member


    Thats actually the type of answer I was looking for. Obviously, not every single point of each of the three can be cross compared in 5min (would probably take a few hours of work in an extensive Excel spreadsheet for this) to truly see every difference & advantage cross compared. I thank you much for you response.

    Like I said before I got the second router to mess with, and see which I like the most. Even this statement is broad because what I like or what my needs are, of course are not that of another individual. Right now I am on the latest TB + VPN version, but am very closely looking at Victek for the Qos limiter (every family has that one member...lol). As much as I like Toastman's there are just some features that are overkill for me personally, or that I simply would never use, however, I can see how they would definitely be fitting for others.

    Some last questions.
    Is it safe to flash between these (ie: I have A LOT of fwd ports, static addresses, etc..) yes I did a backup but is it really necessary, in other words, is it more or less failsafe?

    What is the default static DHCP entry limit (since you mention Toastman bumped it to 250 wondering what it is before that)? Same Q for Access rules, what was the limit before 500?
  7. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    I consider them different builds and as such always make a backup of my config before flashing then do a thorough NVRAM reset and either manually reconfigure or restore a backup from that build if I have one. Is it required? In my opinion yes if you want to be safe and not worry about weird NVRAM related problems. You might well get away with not doing this so make up your own mind, just offering my opinion based on experience and my interpretation of the official Tomato FAQ guidance. You can always move over specific settings using Toastmans method described here which doesn't carry the same "baggage" as a full backup/restore.

    As far as the limit on static entries, I thought it was 100 for TomatoUSB, 140 for RAF and 250 for Toastman. Note though that I'm not 100% sure of anything I've said here, just giving my understanding based on what I've read. Please correct me if anyone notices errors in what I posted. Most of it's probably correct so good as general guidance but I'm sure I got some of it wrong as I simply don't have time to keep up with the feature sets. Ultimately I think you're going to need to make an educated guess of which one to start with but play with them and decide which works best for you.
  8. wasp87

    wasp87 Network Guru Member

    IMO TomatoUSB is a great base, but both Victek and Toastman have taken it and made improvements to it.

    Therefore, I would first try out one of theirs first. Right now I'm running DD-WRT as I was having some problems and wanted to try something else, but if I go back to Tomato on my RT-N16, my next flash will probably be a Toastman build.

    With regards to safety of flashing, I would call it near fail-safe as long as you do everything that is recommended. I've done tons and tons of flashes on both my RT-N16 and WRT54GL and have never had a serious issue.
  9. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    I've always considered Tomato, and it's variants perhaps to a -slightly- lesser degree, very stable firmware. DD-WRT has more features and runs on more devices with more frequent releases than any other firmware I'm aware of and as a result stability can suffer. Following DD-WRT recommendations on stable versions will minimize the risk.

    The further away you get from official Tomato, and the newer the release, I think there is some added risk of instability. Tomato is still in general more stable than DD-WRT. I think it just boils down to how many features and platforms are supported and how frequent the releases are. Official Tomato gets the stability edge here due to a narrower list of supported platform, a smaller (although well chosen IMHO) feature set and less frequent releases. When you move to the Tomato mods, some or all of these factors increase so the risk increases in my mind anyway, but not to the level of DD-WRT. Loading a bleeding edge version of anything increases risk. Easiest way to identify pioneers is by the number of arrows in their backs, :biggrin:.

    Do MAKE SURE you get an appropriate build for your hardware. And be VERY careful with overclock setting setting unless you know what you're doing. These are some leading cause of problems. And if you want to be conservative on a new build wait until at least a couple of the more pioneering folks have loaded it and reported success. Not everyone is comfortable with the sort of recovery steps required to recover a "bricked" router.

    Follow these and the other recommendations such as with regard to clearing NVRAM and not loading config backups from other builds (see the official Tomato FAQ and stickies/threads here regarding mod builds and other web sites for specific mods like TomatoUSB and Victek's RAF builds. If you do so, switching builds is pretty safe and unlikely to "brick" your router. I also have yet to try a Toastman build so will probably be doing that soon. I consider this to be essentially no risk. I'll backup my config before doing so, reset my config, load a Toastman build appropriate for my router, reset again and reconfigure either manually or by loading selected NVRAM variables back in. If I have any problems I can fall back to my previous firmware & config in just a few minutes.
  10. fubdap

    fubdap LI Guru Member

    @TexasFlood or anybody:
    I am currently on Victek's 8902 and the current version is 8903. If I do upgrade, can I restore my configuration from backup or do I need to enter everything manually?
  11. tongyang

    tongyang Network Guru Member

    I also have a question about the Toastman builds that I'm sure has been answered a million times... I searched and didn't find anything.

    What is OCN? I understand that this stands for Old Class Names, but what does that mean? How is OCN builds different from non-OCN builds?

    I've been running teddybear's standard TomatoUSB builds on an RT-N16 router, and it reboots itself every 2 to 3 days, so I'm going to try one of these newer firmwares to see if they fixed the rebooting issues.
  12. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    Although -sometimes- (rarely in my experience) the firmware author will specifically advise to reset and reconfigure manually when doing this, in general I believe upgrading versions within the same build is fine with no resetting and reconfiguring - as described here in the official Tomato FAQ.

    I'd still advise making a configuration backup prior to upgrading just in case and having a copy of the old firmware on hand for ease of falling back.

    I'm pretty sure I've seen Victek state the same, that in general you just upgrade the firmware and are done. But I do seem to recall one specific case where he advised a reset and reconfigure a long time ago because the changes were more major than usual. I'm sure you can verify this by searching the forum or simply PMing Victek.
  13. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    So correcting myself.... After loading a Toastmans build, it clearly looks to be based on Tomato RAF which is in turn based on Teddy Bears TomatoUSB. Think I previously stated that both RAF and Toastman were based on TomatoUSB, which I mean, they are, but, oh I think you know what I mean...

    Looking at the "about" page of Toastmans build actually has a pretty good comparative feature list:

    Tomato Firmware v1.28.7459 MIPSR2-Toastman K26 USB VPN
    - Linux kernel and Broadcom Wireless Driver updates
    - Support for additional router models, dual-band and Wireless-N mode.
    - USB support integration and GUI, IPv6 support,
    Copyright (C) 2008-2011 Fedor Kozhevnikov, Ray Van Tassle, Wes Campaigne

    VPN integration and GUI Copyright (C) 2010 Keith Moyer,

    This compilation by Toastman, Bangkok, may also include:

    "Teddy Bear" current features, notably:
    - USB Support, Samba, FTP, Media Servers
    - Web Monitor, Per-connection transfer rates
    - Byte counter, QOS rule ID added to QOS/Details
    - Additional ipv6 support in GUI, QOS, Conntrack

    "Victek RAF" features:
    - Flash Size Info | CPU Info & Freq | Previous WAN IP | Additional Themes
    - Revised Static ARP Binding | Revised IP/MAC/Range QOS/Bandwidth Limiter

    "Toastman" Features:
    - 250 entry limit in Static DHCP | 500 entry limit in Access Restrictions
    - QOS class labels | Toastman QOS rules | Fast conntrack timeout
    - CPU frequency selector | Faster page refresh settings
    - VLAN Support for UPnP - if exists, loads upnpconfig.custom from JFFS

    Developments by Victek/PrinceAMD/Phykris/Shibby/Toastman

    Based on Tomato Firmware v1.28
    Copyright (C) 2006-2010 Jonathan Zarate

    Built on Thu, 24 Mar 2011 11:12:27 +0700

    Thanks to everyone who risked their routers, tested, reported bugs, made suggestions and contributed to this project. ^ _ ^
  14. alexo

    alexo Network Guru Member

    A slightly different question but still in the same ballpark:
    Which version is recommended on a WRT54G (v2.2)?

    Thank you.
  15. xtacydima

    xtacydima LI Guru Member


    I think its the same answer based something I stated before. Simply, first you need to ask yourself, "What are my needs?"

    Then you can dwell into which features fit your needs most.

    I for example have the TB build now, but as of lately need BW Limiter, now I am opting for Victek build. Toasman build has way more features than I need or would use.
  16. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    Well, generically speaking, you're looking for something that runs on R1 hardware with Linux kernel 2.4, a "standard" (non-USB non-VPN etc) version that will fit in the available 4MB of flash memory. Depending on what build you're looking for, there are a number of answers to that. So, deep breath, I'll answer for the builds primarily being discussed here, official Tomato, Teddy Bear TomatoUSB, Victeks Tomato RAF and Toastmans.

    With regard to official Tomtao, I think that is a corerev 7 model. You can check it by telnet/sshing to the router and and typeing "nvram show | grep wl0_corerev". The reason that's important is it indicates that you should run the "ND" (new driver) version if there is a choice. If memory serves you can also run the older driver with a corerev 7 model but why would you want to? Having said that, you'll find official Tomato builds here that will run on your router. For the builds listed below this isn't a choice so not an issue

    For TomatoUSB, you can look it up on this chart. So I think your choices are Kernel 2.4 (stable), either Lite, "No CIFS", or Std builds from this page.

    Same for Victek RAF here, looks like the right one should be "Tomato RAF 1.28.8515 ND" - Standard version for WRT54GL and non USB routers.

    For Toastman's builds, I -think- if you go to Toastmans reposity, go to the "MIPS32R1 Kernel 2.4 (WRT etc) Builds" directory, then "Tomato-RAF-Std-8025.2 with Toastman mods", the "WRT54G_WRT54GL.bin" file should work, but there are a number of builds in that "MIPS32R1 Kernel 2.4 (WRT etc) Builds" directory so you might want to ping Toastman to verify the best one for you.

    As for which of these builds to choose, as xtacydima says above, refer to the lists of features in this thread and pick what you think you need or would like to play with and try it out, only you can decide.

    Please anyone correct me if I have any of the obove wrong.
  17. alexo

    alexo Network Guru Member

    1. Stability (won't crap on me under load - p2p etc.)
    2. Speed
  18. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    As far as I know, all of these are reasonably stable. You'll find out soon enough if the build you select is not and can switch. Assuming everything is equal there, perhaps you'd benefit from Toastmans QOS improvements and fast conntrack timeouts which should help keep the number of active connections down and conserve memory. I'd encourage you to hit up Toastman for advice on a build and QOS configuration advice.
  19. valerima

    valerima LI Guru Member

    victek vs toastman for e3000

    Anybody can compare?
    Actually I use Victek's build 8501. Looks that did not see no problems. Only my qnap 210 ts screams that router cannot be configured for UPNP. However I m anot aware how to check it...Appreciate for advice. I have seen several builds at Toastman's repository, but did not see any changelog there.
  20. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    Just wanted to correct some strange beliefs that appear to be around.

    Let us imagine someone prints a book. The first publishing has an empty page 3. The second printing has an index to the book on page 3. Does that mean the book suddenly has "more features than anyone would need? ". Forgive me for being confused here.

    It's exactly the same book !

    One tried to help you with an index. The other did not :biggrin: Sometimes you may need to use the index, most times you can just read the book....

    The Toastman builds give you every option that is commonly compiled, with both the Original Class Names or with Toastman's own Class Names. If you don't know what they are, just read the QOS thread. Better still why not just flash and see? Most of the listed mods are actually setup details, changes in some configuration, there are very few "features" that involve significantly more code, more "bloat". There's no Bit Torrent or any other application that may make the router become unstable or consume resources, all my builds are intended to ROUTE. Any mods are intended to make that and the monitoring and administration of the router more efficient and informative. So sorry, no bells and whistles, Photoshop plugins, or the like. You have to do that yourself, do feel free to use the code in the git repository.

    Each time TomatoUSB code changes in the repository, I evaluate, recompile, and test if it seems to be useful to do so. Then I share the result with a new version number. So these builds are very up-to-date.

    There are some K24 and K26 builds, but my main interest these days is not with the older routers which are rapidly becoming heirlooms.

    There is only one true "changelog" - http://repo.or.cz/w/tomato.git/shortlog/refs/heads/Toastman-RT but there's a "Readme" text file on my download site showing any new features or big changes.

    Just one more comment - the "official" Tomato by Jon Zarate has been dormant for some time now. The present-day versions have progressed a very long way since that time, so if you're using it still, you might consider a change.
  21. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    So I sort of rushed through the Toastman part of my post yesterday. Doesn't look like there are all that many versions there. As Toastman says above, they are intended to route, to perform.

    So I guess what you want is the latest version fitting the need, which is an R1 kernel 2.4 ND build that will fit in 4MB flash. So having said that, it appears the "Tomato-RAF-Std-8025.2 with Toastman mods" build I referenced above is a 1.25 based build and not the latest. The latest 1.28 builds in the "MIPS32R1 Kernel 2.4 (WRT etc) Builds" directory appear to be the "tomato-ND-1.28.7616-Toastman" and "tomato-ND-1.28.7617-Toastman-K24" builds. The non-USB Mini, Std, and VPN all look like they'd fit in 4MB unless my math is wrong.
  22. valerima

    valerima LI Guru Member

    toastman build for e3000

    Sorry, I am dumb, but I would be happy if you could recommend to me build as alternative to Victek's one for my e3000, please.
    I would like to compare by my own. This makes a difference.
  23. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    There are two ("E3000 Ext" and "E3000 VPN") TomatoUSB E3000 special builds here.
    I'm not aware of any other Tomato builds for the E3000 nor do I have one to test anything on.
  24. alexo

    alexo Network Guru Member

    So, according to this table, I can use K26/R1 firmware for my 54G.

    I'm thinking to flash tomato-K26-1.28.7816MIPSR1-Toastman-VPN.trx
    Will it fit in the 4MB flash?

  25. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    Well..., a few things.

    First of all I've read that on older hardware there is no performance advantage to 2.6 builds and it may in fact suffer due to having less available RAM.

    Second, I see nothing in that table which states K26/R1 firmware will run on a WRT54G 2.2, maybe I missed it.

    OK, wait, I stand corrected, sort of...

    Under kernels, there is a generic statement:
    "Since January 2010, Tomato USB also supports Kernel 2.6, in addition to the stable Kernel 2.4 builds. The K26 support is required for newer routers where Broadcom never released a 2.4 wifi driver. For older routers, you can choose between the K24 builds or the K26 builds. K26 builds are of two different types: MIPSR2 builds (for newer CPUs) and MIPSR1 (for older CPUs). You must download the correct version given your router."
    This implies, in a general way, that it will work.

    Down in the compatibility table below, under "builds based on kernel 2.4 are known to work on these" the Linksys WRT54G v1-v4 are listed but not mentioned specifically in the table below as being 2.6 compatible. I usually like specific statements of support cause I'm cautious about stuff like this.

    So maybe you're right, guess I'm not really sure. Maybe someone else knows. Either way I'd still go with 2.4 myself on that hardware, based on what I've read. I should also point out that this table refers to TomatoUSB builds but the build you referenced is Toastmans. That's probably a bit picky as this is more likely a general issues that applies to both. But since it IS a Toastman build, he should be able tell you if it will work or not.

    Third, I have in my notes that the largest firmware you can fit on a 4MB router is 3801088 bytes as some space is used for the loader and NVRAM. The firmware you referenced is 4165632 bytes therefore too large.
  26. alexo

    alexo Network Guru Member

    Hmmm... A link would be appreciated!

    It mentions: Linksys WRT54-GL,-GS v1-v4
    According to this, it's the same HW as the -GS v1.1 and same amount of memory as the -GL.

    Toastman's is based on TomatoUSB but you're right, it's better to hear it directly from him. He did post on this thread before...

    OK. A VPN sounds nice though.

    I guess that even though I learned some new things, I'm back at the starting point.
  27. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    I was just going from memory so don't have any links in my grey matter. These days I'm lucky to have anything in there, :smile:. Learn to use the forum search tool, there is a gold mine of historical info out that which you can often locate faster than asking a question and waiting for an answer here. Here are a couple I found searching just now - search result 1, search result 2.
    Very similar chips, does bolster your case. For all I know you're right.
    Well, if you look at my post above... Look in Toastmans reposity under "MIPS32R1 Kernel 2.4 (WRT etc) Builds". There you will find a directory named "Tomato-1.28.7617- ND -Toastman-K24 MIPSR1 builds" that contains the build "tomato-ND-1.28.7617-Toastman-K24-VPN.trx" which is only 3,224 KB. And in directory "Tomato-K24-USB-1.28.7616-ND - with Toastman Mods - wireless connection rates - Webmon - QOS rules", you will find the build
    "tomato-ND-1.28.7616-Toastman-VPN.trx" which is only 3,172 KB.

    So if you're willing to load a 2.4 based kernel version, there are VPN builds out there already pointed to above which you can try.
  28. alexo

    alexo Network Guru Member

    Thanks for the info, TexasFlood.
    Just one minor thing: I thought that I should use the non-ND version. Was I mistaken?
  29. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    Per my previous post, I think a WRT54G 2.2 is corerev 7 so should be able to run either. So run the one that works better for you which my guess would be the ND or "new driver". Again pointing out the value of searching the forum here, see this thread for more information.
  30. Morac

    Morac Network Guru Member

    Do the version number actually mean anything between the different firmwares?
    It looks like the version numbers are actually lower for newer versions.

    For example, for the E3000:

    TomatoUSB: 1.28.9054 (2010-11-20)
    Victek: 1.28.8501 (2011-03-18)
    Toastman: 1.28.7462 (2011-04-06)

    So the newest firmware, has the oldest firmware number. Does that mean Toastman's and Victek's latest versions are based off older versions of TomatoUSB?
  31. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    I think the "1.28" portion means it's based on official Tomato 1.28. As far as I know, the next number is an arbitrary build number for that particular firmware and does not relate to the others but I could be wrong. And, of course the date is the date the firmware was compiled and/or released.
  32. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    AsTexasFlood says, each developer chooses his own series of numbers, and tries to avoid previously used series.

    The "1.28" really is quite meaningless, it's there because the last "official" release of Tomato by Jon Zarate was 1.28 and therefore developers have kept this as their "base". It's remained there for a long time because Jon appears to be no longer releasing updates.

    But actually the code we all use these days, based on TomatoUSB, bears little relation to 1.28 any more :biggrin:

    So the compile date is the best guide. However, this still does not give you any information on how recent the code was that was actually used by that particular developer to produce that compile. You can find out by looking at the firmware repository. Developers who uses that depository will usually be labeling their releases with version tags. Once you look at the source code it is also easy to see which ones are clear and well documented in a single commit.

    Version Tags

    To see exactly how up to date it is, you can look at the .git repository and check the "version tag" for that compile.

    For example, follow this link and you will see the tag for 1.28.7462 (yellow highlight) which was my last compile. Below that you will see the continuous "changelog" of every change made leading up to that version. You can then compare a few of the last commits from the Tomato-RT branch with it, this will show you if it includes the latest git commits from Teddy Bear. If you do this you will see, for example, that this version includes ALL the latest commits up to today, except for this one - "BCM CTF: use the same conditions to disable CTF as used for BCM fast NAT" posted on April 2nd.

    If you are more technically inclined and want to browse the code used for a particular version, just click on that line. Select "tree" and you can browse though the directories and see all the files used in that version.

    This is the ONLY changelog that is thoroughly informative and comprehensive, because nobody is going to write *ALL* of this in a changelog every time they issue a new release. You'll just get the main changes.

    As for my own builds, they may incorporate features or code from ANY source (with due acknowledgement to the author of course) that I think will improve Tomato's ability to ROUTE. And secondly, for the ease of use, the ease of diagnosing problems in my networks, and the monitoring of clients (again to assist in diagnosing problems). You will NOT see my builds with bloat, PhotoShop plugins or P2P clients. Lastly, I don't like things that aren't built into the firmware. Very few normal clients can get optware and the like working. So if it doesn't integrate into Tomato, then either I will integrate it, or it goes in the bin until such time as I can twist someone's arm to help me to do it. :tongue:

    Hope this is useful.
  33. Morac

    Morac Network Guru Member

    Just for clarification, this is what you build off of?

    So would that make the difference between the ToastMan version, the Victek version and the TomatoUSB version basically:

    Toastman - http://repo.or.cz/w/tomato.git/shortlog/refs/heads/Toastman-RT
    Victek - http://repo.or.cz/w/tomato.git/shortlog/refs/heads/Tomato-RAF
    TomatoUSB - http://repo.or.cz/w/tomato.git/shortlog/refs/heads/tomato-ND-USBmod

    With the base of all being - http://repo.or.cz/w/tomato.git/shortlog/refs/heads/tomato-RT

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