I thought I had the router thing all figured out and then I decided I wanted 5GHz wifi so I bought an ASUS RT-AC66U. At $180 ASUS still isn’t managing to ship working firmware, although it is better than it used to be. Seems to be based on a reskinned Tomato version that’s not entirely awful. I did have a few problems though; unreasonable sluggishness if I’m running BitTorrent, and the DNS server seemed to simply block occasionally until some unrelated TCP download on my network completed. Stupid.
I thought I’d try something new so I went with the Merlin’s Tower firmware. It’s a lightly patched stock ASUS firmware, fixing a few bugs and adding a few features. It kind of worked, but I still had the sluggishness and DNS problems and it made me sad. For some reason I’ve never liked DD-WRT. So today I’m going back to my favorite, Tomato.
Except Tomato is a mess. The original release is no longer updated, without any notice on the site. Tomato-USB is also abandoned, as is Toastman’s versions. The best bet seems to be Tomato Shibby. Don’t be put off by the Polish language and awful site design, the guy’s serious and is doing a good job on firmware development.
In the end I found this guide to firmware updating helpful, along with these instructions for using tftp instead of ASUS’ proprietary firmware flasher. Once I found the right firmware version it mostly worked. Although man it takes a long time to boot, like 60+ seconds.
Had to choose yet another DDNS service. I used dyndns for years, sad they finally left the valuable free market. Hover still has no DDNS support either. And couldn’t figure out how to use ASUS’ own service from Tomato. I used this guide (possibly spam) to find my way to freedns.afraid.org which is kind of neat and has thousands of hostnames to choose from. I settled on us.to. There’s a bit of magic where you have to grab the “token” out of freedns’ wget script to configure Tomato.
I should give up on this consumer stuff entirely and buy a serious router. At $180 for the ASUS gear it’s not exactly a bargain. Next project is to add a second access point upstairs, fortunately I have lots of ethernet drops.