Friday, May 7, 2010

Installing Tomato Firmware on Asus WL520GU

If you're like me having an integrated router and NAS is a big plus. Our needs at my house are somewhat tame, we don't need the fastest NAS nor do we need a full-on Cisco Firewall/Router setup. Also being constrained by US$ (aren't we all) a low cost solution that would allow us to run custom firmware such as dd-wrt and USB storage was what I was looking for.

The WL-520GU was right up our alley and the price was right at less than $40 from Newegg. After getting the unit and trying the stock firmware for less than an hour it was obvious the custom firmware was going to be installed soon. The unit kept locking up on Skype calls and it has issues with the USB drive when rebooted. It could well be user error however we had not noticed that those same behaviors with our Linksys WRT54Gs.

After reading conflicting information on the web and anecodotal testing at the house we were not able to get the USB working for the 520gu using dd-wrt. We did have dd-wrt installed however the USB was not going to work with us, much like a goat not wanting to be milked. Then we stumbled on this article, An Easy Guide to Installing Tomato on the Asus 520gu, and soon the birds were chirping and our USB drive was sharing files like it was born to. We seemed to get the same performance on the storage as indicated in this article, So How Fast Is NAS Under Tomato? You May Be Surprised!. The only changes from the installation article were the following:

1) We used a newer version of the USB hacked Tomato ND firmware which we retrieved from here. Most of the sites seem to link to this post at which has been down for an upgrade for the last two days.

2) We did not reset the router to the default settings when upgrading to the Tomato firmware. This presented the biggest problem of not being able to log into the router with the existing username & password, the default tomato username and password or any of the other 20 or so gyrations that were tried. Eventually doing multiple reset and power cycles allowed us to log in.

The tomato firmware has some nice graphs and other settings that I like more than the dd-wrt firmware and once I get familiar with everything I'm sure there will be some things I miss as well.

Good day and best wishes.