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Tomato vs. DD-WRT

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by Chetstone, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. Chetstone

    Chetstone Network Newbie Member

    We are a small WISP startup about to go online in a few weeks. We will be providing our customers with a wireless router, probably a mass-market model that that is available refurbished for low cost. (We've tentatively chosen the Linksys WRT-160n.) We want to use custom firmware both for security, so we can lock the routers down so people can't use the master reset switch, and for enhanced QoS. We will be reselling VOIP and we want people to have clear phone calls so QoS is important.

    We've tested both Tomato and DD-WRT and are having a little trouble deciding. The main criteria are QoS performance and future viability of the platform. We don't want to have to change firmware a few years down the road when we decide to change routers.

    We have the following concerns about Tomato.

    1. Toastman's recent builds with named classes and predefined rules are very cool and a good way to get started learning how to configure and use QoS, but they are perhaps overkill for us and we could get by with a simpler implementation. Our QoS requirements are not as rigorous as his, because each of our customers will have a minimum of 4Mb bandwidth. Also, we will not be able to do continuous tweaking. We want to find some settings that we can configure and forget about once the router's in the customer's house.

    2. The Tomato community is very much smaller than DD-WRT's and as far as I know is not backed by a commercial company. How can we rely on having updated firmware available in the future?

    3. It is alleged that Tomato is based on "buggy original Linksys firmware" based on this FAQ entry: http://www.polarcloud.com/tomatofaq#is_tomato_based_on_linksys_sou
    Have original linksys bugs been fixed in current tomatoUSB builds?
    (And isn't dd-wrt based on the same original firmware?)

    4. Milkfish? I see no VOIP versions in the tomatoUSB builds. For most of our customers we won't need this but we will have a few business customers who will need it or something similar.

    5. Disabling the reset button. Apparently Tomato does not support this. We don't want customers monkeying with the router settings.

    6. More hassle to flash. According to the instructions I found for the WRT-160N you have to first flash dd-wrt and then upgrade to tomato. Why can't Tomato be installed directly over the factory firmware? This extra step will be significant when deploying dozens of routers.

    Thanks for any clarifications you can offer.
  2. ntest7

    ntest7 LI Guru Member

    Random thoughts...

    If you feel you need (the possibility of) commercial support, stick with dd-wrt.

    The Asus RT-N16 is probably a better long-term choice. Linksys discontinues/replaces their routers fairly frequently -- the one exception being the WRT-54GL, which is getting a little long in the tooth now (but they're reliable, cheap, and will easily handle a 4M feed).

    Both Tomato and dd-wrt started out with original Linksys firmware and grew from there. One of the original reasons for tomato was to correct long-standing Linksys bugs, so that shouldn't be a concern.

    Tomato has no gui to disable the reset button, and I don't know of a command-line way to do it. I don't suppose that's a very big change if you compile the software yourself. DANGER: if you goof up your software settings or forget your password, you'll have a hard time regaining access to your new paperweight.

    Hmm, I wonder if disabling the reset button still lets you flash via TFT at bootup...

    It's rare but not unheard of for these little routers to spontaneously revert to factory settings -- specifically why toastman builds have dhcp disabled by default. Which brings up:

    I think you should strongly consider building your own firmware with the exact features and defaults you need built-in. Or commission a custom build from a developer.
  3. jed_99

    jed_99 Networkin' Nut Member

    fyi, dd-wrt's disabled reset button can be gotten around by doing a 30/30/30.
  4. teaman

    teaman Addicted to LI Member

    Quick digging on src/router/rc revealed a few interesting things about the 'buttons' daemon ;)

    The main loop - buttons_main():
    http://repo.or.cz/w/tomato.git/blob/tomato-RT:/release/src/router/rc/buttons.c#l30

    At some point, it checks for contents of NVRAM var "btn_override":
    http://repo.or.cz/w/tomato.git/blob/tomato-RT:/release/src/router/rc/buttons.c#l56

    If so, may ask for contents of NVRAM var "btn_reset":
    http://repo.or.cz/w/tomato.git/blob/tomato-RT:/release/src/router/rc/buttons.c#l205

    This is handled by get_btn():
    http://repo.or.cz/w/tomato.git/blob/tomato-RT:/release/src/router/rc/buttons.c#l17

    Have fun experimenting and let us know how it goes!
  5. Xman

    Xman Network Newbie Member

    I have a Linksys wrt160n v3 router with tomato raf on it now. It simply works better than DD-wrt. lots of settings in DD-wrt but not all of them work properly. The linksys router works great. Hey teaman, I would like to try the toastman version (latest build) for my router but am a little confused as to which one to download for the most features for my device. could you help me please. :cool:
  6. teaman

    teaman Addicted to LI Member

    I think you might wanna take a look at these links:
    http://tomatousb.org/doc:build-features-cross-reference
    http://tomatousb.org/doc:build-types

    Have fun.
  7. gethoht

    gethoht LI Guru Member

    I think you're crazy for running third party firmware when you'll have paying customers relying on these devices for their internet access. You're twice as crazy for supplying them with refurbished retail junk. You guys must be on an absolute shoestring budget. I also think you're crazy for trying to lock down routers when the customers have a right to port forward as they please and create the firewall rules they want. I worked for a Wireless ISP in Wyoming for years and I can tell you from experience that what you're trying to do will cause more problems then it will solve. Use simple, cheap and well-proven routers and don't muck around with third party firmware unless you'll be buying support from dd-wrt or whoever provides the firwmare. Look into Ubiquiti's AirRouter for $42/per(http://www.ubnt.com/airrouter). Hell your entire WISP should be built with Ubiquiti kit. Super fast, super distance for super cheap. 1000mW bridges for $39?(http://www.ubnt.com/bullet). There is no better deal in outdoor wireless. I'm not affiliated with them in anyway, just speaking from experience.

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