Good router for torrenting

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by Twinnie, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. Twinnie

    Twinnie Addicted to LI Member

    I need a new router since I'm currently on a WGR614v9 and I'd like to use Tomato which can't be done on this. I initially thought of a WRT54GL but it seems to be getting on a bit now and the last router I had before this was some WRT54XX thing and I remember it struggled under torrenting as well as the fact that I remember reading it was known to be not that great for it. Right now it's mostly just me torrenting over a 10MB connection but that could rise to possibly 5 or more over a 50MB connection. I was looking at the WRT54G2 but I can't find much to read about it. And I would kinda like one that's good looking since it's gonna be sitting on a bookshelf in our dining room and me longer being a student I'm kinda done with the whole geek fantasy look that the regular WRTs provide (not that I particularly liked the 54G2 but I figure the internal aerials mean I could carve out a book and put it in that). My current Netgear looks alright and I liked the WAG200G as well, they look abstract like they're not trying to be cool, they just mean business.

    I've been trying to figure this out myself for hours but it all seems to be old posts that I'm reading dating back to around 2006, I'd really prefer a modern opinion. A lot of the older posts recommended Buffaloes for torrenting but they're a little less common here in the UK.
  2. TVTV

    TVTV LI Guru Member

    MB or Mb? The most i can get out of my GL OCed @ 250 MHz is ~4 MB/s with QoS enabled and ~5 MB/s with QoS disabled.
  3. ifican

    ifican Network Guru Member

    If you are really going to have a 50Mb connection, then you are going to need more than your standard consumer grade router. I do not remember what the last number was but i want to say most start to have issues at right around 25Mbps. Verizon FIOS customers were the first to start to witness this and i dont think the market has gotten any better because that would mean the cost to manufacturer would go up and then that would get passed on 2 or 3 fold to the end user. Again if your are going to really have a 50Mb connection then you are going to need to buy hardware that will support it and thats probably going to run you more than you care to spend.
  4. Twinnie

    Twinnie Addicted to LI Member

    The 50 megabit connection's optimistic to be honest. Most likely it's gonna stay at 10 with up to 3 people on it.
  5. tomten

    tomten Addicted to LI Member

    If you mean 50 megabit, then the WRT54's won't do, since they all (AFAIK) max out on WAN-LAN (NAT) speed at ~30-~70 megabit. And the AP will NAT to every client. The WAN-LAN (NAT) speed is hard to find information about, but sites like Tom's Hardware always measure it when they test routers.
  6. az2008

    az2008 Addicted to LI Member

    What about a standalone Linux box acting as a router? Multiple network interface cards. How modern/fast of a motherboard/CPU would be required for that speed?

    Also, what about the hardware DD-WRT sells. ( I don't understand what that stuff is. But, I wonder how much throughput you could get from something like that.

  7. Twinnie

    Twinnie Addicted to LI Member

    Forget I said 50, I was just trying to highlight why I was looking for a good performing torrent router. Really I'm just after suggestions of suitable routers if there aren't any ones that are going to give me a significant improvement. What should I know or be looking out for?
  8. phuque99

    phuque99 LI Guru Member

    Well, most router might max out over 20MB connection, so if you're really ambitious about your WAN link, get a commercial router and that wouldn't have any problems.

    With 50MB forgotten, I think you may wanna consider WRT54GL or the latest Buffalo model that will run Tomato. Otherwise, ddwrt maybe a better bet if you're looking for router with a faster CPU.
  9. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    Definitely the WRT54GL - it's cheap, efficient, and well proven... ot the buffalo - I agree with phuque99
  10. wasp87

    wasp87 Network Guru Member

    WRT350N, faster CPU, USB, N support, more range, newer.
  11. tomten

    tomten Addicted to LI Member

    I agree, it just feels wrong to get a crappy old 11g router these days. Get an 11n series router. But that limits your choice of custom firmware...

    Not very modern. But here, too, the choice of custom firmware is limited. And most OOTB Linux router/AP solutions are hard to configure, aren't they?

    Since this is the Tomato forum, I guess it's allowed to advice to against ever going near ddwrt if you haven't used it.
  12. phuque99

    phuque99 LI Guru Member

    I don't think "buying" ddwrt is a good idea. If a modern router is important to you, ddwrt is the right firmware though you'll have to work hard in getting exact QoS working. But if QoS is important, Tomato is right up your alley.

    However, you could still use Tomato as the WAN router to manage your QoS and ddwrt on the wifi N AP in the backend.
  13. Planiwa

    Planiwa Network Guru Member

    It might be useful to know what specific characteristics of a router make it suitable for heavy torrent use. What makes a router torrent-proof?

    Similarly, what makes a torrent client (-configuration) router-friendly?
  14. tomten

    tomten Addicted to LI Member

    It's the firmware, not the hardware. Compared to surfing porn and reading mail, torrenting is much heavier on the number of active connections and the tempo in which they are opened and closed. Old firmwares will track connections for too long, for example, making torrenting eat up the resources. Old firmwares might also not keep up with the rapid opening of new connections. There's also the issue of maxing out your bandwidth for long periods, which torrenting is good at (but surfing porn and reading mail is bad at). That requires a little more QoS in the firmware, but not as much as the full-fledged QoS Tomato can offer. But I daresay that any router capable of running Tomato is perfectly capable of torrenting.
  15. szfong

    szfong Network Guru Member

    I think for very high speed torrenting, an embedded board would be your best bet, and install a good mini-pci wireless card+antennas if you need wireless or connect a couple cheap APs to the pc or embedded board for great wireless performance.

    Some newer 802.11n are quite good at handling torrents, you may just be choking your connection, hence a good modem may be even more important.

    Also Tomato, the fastest I have, a whr-g125, had great difficulty handling even a couple hundred simultaneous connections blasting data in both directions. It'll track a couple thousand connections, but once you saturate the line, it's where problems become apparent. dd-wrt will more "gracefully" slow everything down once you saturate the router's cpu.

    Tomato is excellent for for residential broadband, but trying to d/l many well seeded torrents at once is very difficult.
  16. tomten

    tomten Addicted to LI Member

    Interesting; I have the opposite experience - with Tomato, the network never lags, even with everything maxed out. With ddwrt (I tried every beta for a few years), I had to cap clients to avoid that. QoS in ddwrt never worked.

    "Couple thousand connections" is your problem, I think. That sounds like way too much to make any sense. My Tomato@WRT54GS can easily download ~25 torrents simultaneously at a total of ~10 megabytes per second (maxing the line), but it wouldn't if I had *thousands* of connections open. That just sounds like wrong settings in your torrent client. Why do you need so many? Are yours peers really that slow?
  17. az2008

    az2008 Addicted to LI Member

    I don't know much about it. But, the topic of "modern" raises another question I've had. If Linksys is increasingly changing to newer routers not supported by Tomato, what is the future of Tomato? The way Linksys is moving up to new hardware, and wireless N is gaining popularity, it seems like it's just a matter of time until the GL is terminated.

    This gets back to my question about using a dedicated, standalone computer as a router. Why not create a version of Tomato that runs on something like an HP thin client? You can get those things with 1.2ghz CPUs for about $80. (800mhz for $40). Isn't that about 5 times faster than consumer-grade routers? And, they have about 5 times more ram and flash memory?

    Or, an old laptop with a flash drive?

    It wouldn't have a built-in wireless access point. But, just add a separate one via a hub?

  18. phuque99

    phuque99 LI Guru Member

    Is there any public information on Tomato development or timelines about future hardware support? I searched hard and found none. Emails to the author were not answered about N routers.
  19. Mastec

    Mastec Network Guru Member

    I have used
    • WRT54GL v1.1 (dead)
    • WRT54G v3.0
    • Buffalo WHR-HP-G54
    • Asus WL-500gP V2 (Current)

    Each router was loaded with the current version of Tomato at the time of ownership. They all performed very well and as expected. I didn't use QoS on any of them. I used the torrent client (uTorrent) to set the speed limit for upload and download. My two sons and myself have active torrents going at the same time and the Asus has not shown any signs of slowing down.
  20. spliff

    spliff LI Guru Member

  21. bripab007

    bripab007 Network Guru Member

    Off topic: WTF can you get HP thin clients for $40-80?! I work for a government agency, and our state contract quotes for ~1Ghz/512MB RAM/1GB flash memory thin clients (the T5730, to be precise) were about $499 a year ago, and I see they're still at ~$399.

    What kinda connections do you have that you're getting them for 1/10th the cost? :biggrin:
  22. az2008

    az2008 Addicted to LI Member

    eBay and search for "Thin Client" and limit the result to HP. I haven't bought one, but some people report getting T5700 and T5710 in the 800mhz to 1.2ghz range with 192m to 256m memory for $20 to $80.

    Personally, I'd like to try an old laptop with an IDE-to-CF flash adulator.

    I'm just curious whether there would be much demand for a low-energy, high performance Tomato-based router like this. Using Puppy Linux, it's designed for use with flash drives (to prolong the life of the limited-write flash). You don't even need a flash drive, it will boot from a USB thumb drive (if the BIOS is capable).

    Smoothwall ( has a software package for this sort of thing. But, I don't think it has QoS. It would be cool if Tomato could be used like this.

    I'm not a big wireless person. So, maybe I'm overlooking how important Tomato's wireless features are to people. I'm just thinking of a full-featured router and QoS.

  23. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    Let's be realistic - this is a simple request for a cheap router. N support is almost nonexistent, making it pointless buying an N class router and DD-WRT is useless for this application. WRT54GL can run many alternative firmwares. It's faster and cheaper than the WL500GP v2 which I've been testing for the last few weeks. And you can run it at 250MHz. However, the extra memory does make the ASUS less prone to connection overloads. And the Buffalo apparently isn't available in the UK... ?
  24. az2008

    az2008 Addicted to LI Member

    But, there are speeds being offered to average consumers which sound like they exceed the capability of common consumer-grade routers. (See

    The OP posted speeds like that, although he later said it was just an example. But, it's going to be an increasingly legitimate question about the future of Tomato (doesn't support newer modems with newer wireless N, faster speed capabilities).

    Personally, I think a Tomato that runs on a native Intel processor with Puppy Linux capabilities (to preserve the lifepsan of flash memory) would be cool. It could run on a $80 HP Thin Client or old $200 laptop, either of which would consume about 5 watts (after the laptop's drive is removed, and the OS booted from thumb drive or an IDE-to-CF flash adaptor) and be 5-10 times faster than average consumer routers.

    It seems like something like this would eliminate dependence on router manufacturers changing things, providing support for an infinite number of routers.

    I still haven't heard what the downside would be. The only thing I can think of is that the wireless access point would have to be external, connected with a switch or hub. Maybe there's something else I haven't thought of?

  25. spliff

    spliff LI Guru Member

    If you want to use x86 hardware then use M0n0wall or PFSense. Tomato is a firmware replacement for routers.

    I think we all would like to see Tomato ported to the newer N routers, though.
  26. az2008

    az2008 Addicted to LI Member

    Do those have QoS?

    Is there anything that would prevent (or make it unfeasible) for Tomato to compete in that space?

  27. tomten

    tomten Addicted to LI Member

    My point exactly. 60mbit? Good luck getting that out of a WRT54*. Where I live 100/1000mbit is a common consumer speed, the former of which can be matched by the gigabit/N-routers but not the megabit/G-ones. The latter is just not possible with wifi.
  28. spliff

    spliff LI Guru Member

    Yes they have QOS. Competition? This is all open source and done by volunteers.
  29. az2008

    az2008 Addicted to LI Member

    I think you know what I meant. There's a reason you said you'd like Tomato to support newer wireless-N routers -- instead of switching to DD-WRT. So, there is some "competition" in that space.

    I'm just applying the same rationale. I haven't looked at those other two dedicated-host products. But, I like Tomato. It would be nice if it was *available* in that space.

    It seems like that would be a desireable solution to increasing ISP speeds. A thin client or laptop (with the harddrive removed) doesn't use much electricity. 5-10 times faster. 5-10 times more RAM. Tons more NVRAM. Not chasing router manufacturers' changes.

  30. Twinnie

    Twinnie Addicted to LI Member

    Actually, I do have an old Dell D600 that isn't working but I think it might just be the HD. So if I pull the HD out and boot Puppy Linux from a flash drive what other hardware would be necessary (other than the flash drive which I don't actually have)? And how would it compare in terms of power usage? I'd like to keep the bills low.
  31. az2008

    az2008 Addicted to LI Member

    Puppy Linux doesn't require a hard drive of any kind (not even a SSD or IDE-to-CF flash adapter). It will run fine booting just from a USB flash drive. Some computers don't boot easily from such drives. In that case you have to use a CD-ROM to bootstrap it. And, in that case, I'd probably get the IDE-to-CF flash adapter[1]. And then install Puppy there as if it is installing to a USB flash drive, not a hard drive (so you take advantage of Puppy's ability to conserve writes to the flash drive, prolonging its life).

    It will run really fast compared to what you think for a flash drive. That's because of the way Puppy runs from memory. It's also secure due to the fact that the system is never written back to flash. When you reboot, it loses whatever happened on the RAM disk that it was running from.

    Regarding power use. I'm not sure how to measure that without buying one of those gadgets that goes between an electrical device's plug, and the wall plug. With the LCD off (due to inactivity, or being closed), and no floppy or CD drive drawing power, it should be extremely energy efficient. Especially considering how laptop CPUs were designed for low-energy consumption (for longer battery life).

    I've been told HP thin clients are in the 5w range. I would think that a solid-state laptop would be in the same range.

    Sorry if that was off-topic. I just keep thinking something like this would be an ideal platform for Tomato, either leveraging Puppy's capability to run from flash (squashfs and ram disks), or incorporating that capability into Tomato.



    See also:

    PS: I don't know why I'm making so much of this. I'm nowhere near exceeding my GL's capacity (I have 256kbs/1500kbs u/d, and I don't use the wireless feature, so I have no need to upgrade to wireless N). It just seems like it would be cool.

  32. phuque99

    phuque99 LI Guru Member

    Is there any development thread about this, confirming/denying future support for N routers? I'll be happy to contribute by testing beta on the development for N routers.
  33. occamsrazor

    occamsrazor Network Guru Member

    While only having Buffalo WHR-G54s myself, and very happy with it, I figured I'd chip in... It does seem to me that as time goes on, the currently Tomato-compatible routers are going to slowly become out-of-date in terms of both features (N-wireless) and cpu speed.
    Personally I only have relatively slow adsl speeds available (2Mbps) so the cpu isn't much of an issue for me, but I would like to see development of Tomato for at least one model of the newer generation N routers...
  34. Sidrack

    Sidrack Guest

    That one:

    Forget about WRT54G 8.0 if you are planning to use torrent. It's always frozing the hardware when I use with 3-4 machines. RAM is 8 MB, flash memory 2 MB, insufficient for P2P usage.

    WRT54G-TM have 32 MB RAM, 8 MB Flash, and it's the best choice as said by many users.
  35. rizsher

    rizsher Network Guru Member

    Currently, the WRT54G-TM does seem to be the best router for Tomato, 8MB/32MB, same as the original WRT54GS v1.1 I bought 4+ years ago. Not that expensive though, you can get one for around $45 on Ebay and I suppose even better with be a WRT610N, with 64MB ram, but sadly, not yet supported by Tomatao.

    I believe you need to a special firmware available from DD-WRT for initially flashing the TM router, once done, its possible to switch to Tomato or any other firmware. I haven't received mine yet so can't really confirm that though.
  36. kramed

    kramed Network Guru Member

    I decided that none of the routers would be good enough for torrenting so I got a Dlink DNS 323 NAS. It will run Debain Lenny in a chroot or you can install Tranmission \ rTorrent packages directly to the NAS OS. Runs decently well so far, Tranmission 1.71 seems to have fixed alot of bugs.

    EDIT: My post refers to running a torrent client on the actual router itself.
  37. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    Reading this thread, I just thought I'd add a little enlightenment. I use WRT54GL's in apartment blocks with up to 87 users, many of these are P2P enthusiasts, myself included. Even the GL actually has no problem with torrents and mixed traffic, it's rare that the maximum conntrack values are even approached if the QOS and conntrack timeouts are set properly. However, it's true to say that a router with 32MB appears more stable (I also have several WL500gP v2's - my only gripe about these is they are somewhat sluggish). For a standalone user I can't see any problem even with the GL. So all your BT'ers don't overreact!
  38. ymm123

    ymm123 Addicted to LI Member

    hmm, maybe NETGEAR

    According to your requests of a high WAN to LAN throughput, i suggest you to consider NETGEAR's WNR3500v1 or WNR3500v2.
    OK, both of them are at the moment not supporting 3rd party firmware but they both have an awesome WAN to LAN throughput.
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