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Need Travel Router - Smallest Router which runs Tomato?

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by mraneri, May 9, 2013.

  1. mraneri

    mraneri LI Guru Member

    I need a good travel router which will run Tomato.
    Preferably with 8MB of flash.

    I need to be able to run OpenVPN Versions of Tomato (Toastman's, probably) on a router I can put in my pocket. I want to use this when I travel to establish a secure connection to my home network. and basically tunnel all traffic through my home connection.

    This is mostly for overseas travel.
    It doesn't have to be the most powerful thing out there since the connection is going to be slow. Overall, I'm looking for a physically small solution. (by whole solution, I mean the router, the power brick, and the antenna.)

    I have this setup on an old Buffalo WRT-G54S, and it works very well, but I'd like "N" for some of the protocol benefits of "N"... Of course, I don't need "N" on this router for bandwidth. Also, something a little smaller would be good.

    Any thoughts?

    - Mike

    P.S. The OpenVPN implementation works flawlessly. Just connect the router to the hotel's Wired connection.. Connect with any laptop/phone, get past the hotel's sign-in page, and within 30 seconds the tunnel is established and all traffic is going through it. If there's no sign-in page, just plug it in, and 60-90 seconds later, the tunnel is established automatically.
  2. occamsrazor

    occamsrazor Network Guru Member

    Sorry I can't help you with the smallest Tomato router, though I would also be very interested to hear about this. I also have a WHR-G54S ad it's pretty small, but also fairly old now.

    Going off-topic because it does NOT run Tomato as you require, but just thought I'd mention it anyway, I have one of these:


    For about $35 it does ethernet > wifi, 3G > wifi, wifi > ethernet, etc and most usefully is battery powered. I even use it occasionally to charge my iPhone from its USB port.

    Going back to the subject, do you actually need to have a hardware OpenVPN client router? Could you not just use a software OpenVPN client on your device?
  3. mraneri

    mraneri LI Guru Member

    OpenVPN on the router is more about convenience AND security. I want "plug and go" capability.
    The Buffalo I setup uses the same SSID and WPA-PSK passphrase, so, plug it in, and everything just works. My devices all think I'm home, and I'm done.

    I could setup OpenVPN on each device, but specifically for the phone, enabling and disabling as I hop on and off the Wifi is the problem. I have found the data overhead for OpenVPN on a 3G connection can be expensive. I don't use OpenVPN on 3G unless absolutely necessary as the data roaming is painful. (I have not done an exhaustive study on this, but the one day I had OpenVPN running all day on my phone, I used 30MB more 3G data than usual.)

    This hardware solution is really a set and forget thing.. Plug it in, it just works...
    I can use it anywhere, and all of my devices just work...
    It's a beautiful thing...
  4. occamsrazor

    occamsrazor Network Guru Member

    Makes sense, I hear you. I'd love to see Tomato on a small portable device. Battery-powered would be even better...
  5. xtacydima

    xtacydima LI Guru Member

  6. Bird333

    Bird333 Network Guru Member

    I use a wrtsl54gs. I don't know if it's the smallest but it's pretty slim. It doesn't do N though.
  7. fubdap

    fubdap Addicted to LI Member

    OP - you mentioned plugging the router to the hotel's wired connection. I don't do much travelling, but the few that I have done (in the US), I have not seen any wired connection. Most hotels provide wireless connection.
  8. jerrm

    jerrm Network Guru Member

    It is not uncommon at all to have a wired connection, granted not at prevalent as wireless (which is virtually 100% now), but still very common. I don't d a lot of travelling anymore, but had something of a road trip a couple weeks ago, and I think all three hotels had ethernet ports in the room.
  9. Malitiacurt

    Malitiacurt Networkin' Nut Member

    I like the Linksys ones with internal antennas for this kind of use, since it's less likely they'll snap off and you don't have to screw/unscrew em each time.

    The E3200 or E2500, or even the older shaped ones like the E3000, M10 Valet, etc.
  10. gfunkdave

    gfunkdave LI Guru Member

    Shibby supports the Asus wl-330ge and I think the newer N version mentioned a couple posts ago.
  11. Elfew

    Elfew Addicted to LI Member

    It is really powerful device - Asus wl-330n - I use it in hotel during my travels over the Europe...

    Anyway, I am just curious - is there something similar with better range and more antennas? I need to extend my wireless network, but I need a little device with good range...
  12. maurer

    maurer LI Guru Member

  13. M_ars

    M_ars LI Guru Member

    the 330n/330n3g is a Ralink chipset and not supportet by tomato
  14. quihong

    quihong Serious Server Member

    I've been on the lookout for a compact nano TomatoUSB router for a while now. Got a little excited when the Asus WL-330N was mentioned, but as others have pointed out that its based on the Ralink chipset and isn't support by TomatoUSB. Simply put, I don't think there's such a thing as a compact nano TomatoUSB router.

    For your specific needs, if you're willing to sacrifice the simplicity of Tomato for (ultra) compactness, I second the recommendation on the TP-Link TL-WR703N (or its slightly bigger cousin TP-Link TL-MR3020) running OpenWRT. Not sure if OpenVPN can fit on 4MB of flash (even with a custom build) so you will probably need a SanDisk Cruzer Fit flash drive (to keep everything as compact as possible).
  15. maurer

    maurer LI Guru Member

    you can fit openvpn in 4mb flash but you need to skip the web interface in openwrt and most probably need to build the firmware by yourself
  16. gfunkdave

    gfunkdave LI Guru Member

    Check out the Asus WL-330ge. It's 802.11g, but if you're just hanging out in a hotel room that probably shouldn't matter. Supported by Shibby and DD-WRT.
    quihong likes this.
  17. quihong

    quihong Serious Server Member

    Thanks gfunkdave for be persistent and posting this recommendation twice.

    Asus WL-330ge (different from WL-330N) is broadcom based and supported by Shibby since build 102.


    [Edit] - too bad the 330ge is fairly dated hardware - 240Mhz CPU/16MB RAM. The search continues...
  18. molnart

    molnart Networkin' Nut Member

    sure it would need a lot of tinkering, but i think a raspberry pi device could be used for the purpose as well. but indeed the WL-330ge seems to be a more straightforward solution
  19. mraneri

    mraneri LI Guru Member

    A few notes from the OP...
    Generally, where I've ended up staying lately, I've found a few places don't have wireless except in public areas. All have wired connections.

    I'm interested in N support mostly to support low-power modes on mobile devices... Obviously don't need the data rate since I'm setting up a tunnel which has a bandwidth of about 200-500kbps... (it's a 16,000 mile round trip.) I clearly don't need a "powerful" router.

    Range also isn't too critical, although, when I use it at companies I visit, it'd be nice to be able to reach it from the whole floor, instead of just the office I have it plugged into.

    Great comments here... Unfortunately, looks like what I'm looking for isn't quite out there just yet.
    Internal antennas sound great (but range... of course.)
    But Really, I'm wanting tomato support...

    Thanks for all the info guys. I didn't know there would be so much interest in this topic.
  20. Malitiacurt

    Malitiacurt Networkin' Nut Member

    Internal antennas aren't that bad like everyone thinks they are. As long as the distance of the antenna is a certain? multiple of the wavelength of the signal sent so that it doesn't reflect most of the energy at the endpoint, it can be extremely powerful (from my 3rd year Electrical Eng course in Electromagnetic fields years ago).

    Plus under the same power setting under Tomato, my WRT160N has a longer range than my WRT54GL, and my E4200 range is even farther thanks to the built-in power-amps.
  21. Derek Chew

    Derek Chew New Member Member

    Out of curiosity, what did you guys settle with in the end? I'm currently using a Asus wl-330n3g but it can't run any of the alternative ROMs and it hangs under load. I suspect the original ROM has a memory leak too. So I'm looking for alternatives too
  22. Grimson

    Grimson Networkin' Nut Member

    It doesn't run Tomato, but IMHO a Raspberry Pie 2 is the perfect solution for something like this. It's small, cheap and more powerful than any of the current routers.
  23. remlei

    remlei Networkin' Nut Member

    nope,. CPU and RAM might be the case but all of things, specially the IO run on single USB BUS, so yeah, performance still sucks best throughput you can get is around 12MB/s can get as 18MB/s if you use a gigabit lan card, Banana Pi is much better in this case if you compare it to RPi 2.

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