About Toastman Firmware

(last updated April 22 2016)

Long ago I was asked to look at a wifi system in a large apartment block where the existing system crashed every few hours and was unusable. It crashed for many reasons, but primarily because there was no QOS in use and the router could not cope with the demand. The previous installer had flashed the router with DD-WRT and I quickly determined that it also repeatedly crashed under load.

I located Tomato with the aid of Google, and flashed it on the existing WRT54GL router, and started experimenting. I found Tomato to be massively stable. Within an hour the system was up and running, and has been ever since. Using the QOS I was able to prevent uncontrolled P2P users from bringing down the router every few hours, and for the first time since they had wifi, the people in the building had internet access for more than a few hours a day!

I was so taken with this firmware I began to try to extend it to cover larger numbers of users, because it was originally too limited for use in large apartment blocks. Looking on the forums for help, I was advised by most people that it was "ridiculous" to try to support up to 250 or so users on a little SOHO WRT54GL router!  However, I could see that assumption was not based on any real knowledge. Why should the router care how many people have access to the router, as long as it still had sufficient resources to handle the load and configuration settings?

With the help of Jonathan Zarate and my good friend Vicente (Victek) I changed things to suit my needs, and now a great many users can easily share a single internet gateway. Most of the time they are not even aware that they are sharing it!  Most of the changes have since made it into the other developers versions too, and people have now gotten used to these routers supporting many users.

Since those early days I have further extended "Toastman" Tomato's capabilities, mostly in the areas of administration and client monitoring. A real milestone was reached when Fedor (Teddy Bear) ported tomato over to Kernel 2.6 and added support for many new routers with the TomatoUSB branch. Another great step forward was when the ASUS RT-N16 with faster processor and more resources was launched.

Unfortunately Jonathan, Fedor, Teaman, and others, have ceased working on Tomato, but the project is now being continued by several other developers. Now there are builds available from mainly Toastman, Shibby, and Victek. We all "borrow" each other's code if we feel it's appropriate for our own version.

The Toastman version of Tomato, like all current mods,  is based on TomatoUSB from Fedor (Teddy Bear) which is no longer maintained. However, although it bears the same version number for many years (Tomato 1.28) it has changed so much that we will probably drop that "1.28" shortly as it no longer means anything.

By careful extension, Toastman firmware allows the use of Tomato with up to 250+ users. I was forced to use it in environments where we have no control at all over those users' PC's or what applications they may be using. Therefore, the QOS had to be very effective so that they could all share the same internet gateway without problems.

The original QOS system has been greatly improved by the addition of a proper IMQ based ingress mechanism, and an incoming bandwidth pie chart added.  Recently (May 2015) on ARM versions, IFB has replaced IMQ for the QOS ingress.

A large number of example QOS classification rules are included by default and should be adjusted to suit your own network, look upon them as examples. The addition of IP Traffic client monitoring by Augusto Bott (Teaman) was the icing on the cake. Unfortunately, Teaman has since stopped working on Tomato also.

The VPN version now has OpenVPN and PPTP client and servers.

As I progressed, I found that there were many other people with similar needs to mine, so I made these builds available for anyone to try. In general, they are close to 100% stable on my systems which use Asus RT-N16's.

Please note that I'm not a programmer and while I do occasionally manage to create something that works, mostly Toastman Tomato is a compilation of whatever open-source features I regard as important. These are taken from many GPL sources, and credit is given to those who deserve it. See the "About" page for information. On the MIPS platform I use a simplified "STD" build which closely resembles Teddy's original builds. There's also an experimental "VLAN" version, which includes Augusto's VLAN-GUI and Multi-SSID for those brave people who need more :-) 

For those who keep mailing me to ask if I can add their favourite "feature", I probably won't. I believe a router is for routing packets. I do not wish to see it turn into another DD-WRT with the addition of bloatware and unnecessary junk that few people ever use.  If you want a router to be fast and responsive, just let it route. My firmware will never have torrent clients or photoshop running on it. The more junk we add, the more people insist on running it all at the same time, and the more these routers fail in their primary function of ROUTING PACKETS.

Also, I want to say something - I'm really not interested in pissing contests with the other developers. If some of them want to add dozens of resource-intensive mods or addons to Tomato, that's their decision.  BUT - I want to say, It's against the very concept of Tomato as envisioned by Jon Zarate, and we've all previously tried to prevent Tomato being hijacked and turned into a convoluted mess. Also, I respect Jon's wishes and try to keep the QOS system, the graphs, and the GUI "look and feel" as it was when Jon supported it. You'll notice that Teaman added IPTraffic per-IP client monitoring and also used the same graphing code to make it comply.

Please remember that this is a HOBBY for all of the developers, so please keep down the amount of requests, also please try to use the Linksysinfo forums to get help as the tomatousb.org forum is pretty much dead and hijacked by spammers and trolls, we don't give it much thought these days. If a developer doesn't respond, or doesn't post anything for several weeks, just be patient. We all have lives outside of Tomato. The modders firmware is all shared with you for free, and constant nagging, bumping, and criticism will only serve to piss off the developers and they will stop working on the project. I've come very close to doing that on several occasions. You may have noticed that most of the developers have gone missing? Can you guess why? Did you notice what just happened to Kong (of DD-WRT fame) ?

To those who keep asking for new routers and features to be added, please note that all the developers do this out of love. We don't have the resources to purchase every router that comes on the market, even if we were so inclined, and we don't have a use for them anyway. 

If you want to use Tomato, it makes sense to purchase a router that is already supported, and one that is known to work faultlessly. Search the forum for help if you are new to this. It's really stupid to buy an unsupported router and then pester developers to support it. Some routers on the market are not worth buying, but I won't get into that here. Also, try to remember that the purpose of a router is to ROUTE. It has very few and poor resources compared to a PC, don't expect it to behave like one.

Lastly, don't ask me to recommend routers, you can all see that I use RT-N16's and I have just a few others for testing, but the vast majority I have no personal interest in and I have no real idea of how good they are. The best place to find out is Linksysinfo.org - there are many people who will answer your questions.

New ARM Development

Up until May 2015 I didn't consider the ARM versions of Tomato to be suitable for general release, although I have posted a couple of BETA test releases. Some parts of the firmware that I considered to be essential haven't worked properly, and there have been other issues such as slow response and long ping times, etc. In particular, the incoming QOS hasn't worked because IMQ is not supported in this kernel.

I'm happy to say that these bugs have mostly been fixed!

Recently, Kyle Sanderson has replaced IMQ with IFB, and sorted out a few remaining problems. As a result, we now have a fully functional Tomato for ARM (I refer mostly to the R7000 version as I have this router, I have not tested other builds, but they are mostly working fine).

Toastman Versions

When the firmware is compiled I let it run through and create many different versions of the same build, there is therefore much more choice than the other developers, but you will have to sort out which one you need by yourself. Due to the continual updating of packages by developers, many have now increased dramatically in size. Therefore, some builds are now too big to fit onto a particular model. If so, then your best bet is to use a smaller build if available, or get hold of the source code and build your own version, removing anything you don't use, to make the image smaller. I can not always be whittling these things down, there are simply too many variants. Use older versions rather than chasing the latest ... they are usually fine!

My stuff is uploaded to 4shared.com. It is the only site I have found that allows me to upload gigabytes of information without needing to jump through hoops. There is a simple-to-use desktop client available for all major platforms, and it works. Many people complain about 4shared, and send abusive posts and mails complaining they can't download stuff. Sorry, even the 10 year old kids here in a third-world country can download files, most of them have an account for their school projects.  Nobody forces you to use it. It's free, I share it, if you cannot be bothered to learn how to download it please go elsewhere. Use 4shared properly and register an email address. 

For best performance use the 4shared Desktop. 

Please do not spam the Linksysinfo site with complaints about 4shared.

This firmware is provided as-is, without any warranty. I will not be responsible for damages that occur due to the use of this firmware. If it works for you, great!  If it doesn't - I'll try to fix it, but no guarantee is given or implied.

Please note that none of these modifications will transmit or leak any personal information about your device, computer, software, user name or password, public IP, country where you live, or any other data. It just does its job quietly and without fuss. Anything I don't consider to be a function of a router I may have been removed or omitted. The router isn't a PC and it's processor is pretty feeble, there are some things that it can't do properly.

Have fun !


Common Tomato Topics - Information and Links

Source Code




http://www.mediafire.com/?88t1vzzcgrphx  (occasional use only - takes far too long to upload)




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