If you are using the default firmware on your Asus router, more than likely you are getting only a portion of the features that you can have. Imagine if that router was able to serve as a print server? Or imagine the security features were far superior than the out of the box default. You can have these things (and more) by simply flashing a new firmware to your router. One of the best firmwares out there is Tomato, which I recently reviewed.

In this article, I am going to walk you through the steps of flashing your Asus router with the Tomato firmware. This process is not necessarily for the weak at heart and could possibly land you with a paper weight. But if you are willing to take the risks, the benefits of the Tomato firmware will most certainly be worth the trouble.

Step 1: Download the necessary files.

You will need to download both the DD-WRT firmware as well as the Tomato firmware for your specific router. Download these files to a centralized location. NOTE: Be 100% sure you are downloading the correct files for your model of router.

Step 2: Install the Asus Firmware Restoration Utility. You will want to use the tool that was supplied on the CD that came with your router. If you no longer have that CD you can download the tool from the Asus download page. Make sure you download the tool for the correct model of router you have.
Step 3: Connect the machine you have installed the Firmware Restoration Utility on directly to the router. Set this computer up to have a static IP address because a dynamic address can cause problems during the flashing. Make sure the IP address is in the same scheme as the router or you will not be able to connect. Do a hard reset of your router to put it back to factory defaults. Once the router has rebooted, fire up the Firmware Restoration Utility (see Figure A) and follow these steps:

  1. Click the browse button.
  2. Navigate to the DD-WRT file you downloaded.
  3. Select the file.
  4. Click Open.
  5. Click Upload.

Figure A

The restore utility is incredibly simple to use and is only necessary to flash DD-WRT to the router.

Once the router has rebooted you have DD-WRT installed. Test it by logging into the router. The credentials should be admin/admin.

Step 4: Untar the file you downloaded for the Tomato firmware. If the file has the extension .trx rename it to .bin.
Step 5: Telnet into the DD-WRT router (using the username root and the password admin) and issue the command nvram get http_passwd this command will reveal the password you will need to log into the Tomato firmware. Write this down.
Step 6: From the DD-WRT setup page, navigate to the Administration section and then to Firmware Upgrade. Browse to locate the Tomato firmware you downloaded, select it, and upgrade. Once the router finally reboots again, log back into the router (using the username admin and the password you discovered with the nvram command) and the firmware should now be Tomato. Congratulations! You now have a Tomato router.
Final thoughts

If you want to gain more power and control of your router, you want this firmware installed. Not only will you gain more power, you will also gain a lot of new features that should come standard on all routers.