June 18, 2012
About a year and a half ago, I researched the state of routers: about as unsexy as it gets but essential to the stability, reliability, and security of your Internet connection. My conclusion?
This is boring old plain vanilla commodity router hardware, but when combined with an open source firmware, it is a massive improvement over my three year old, proprietary high(ish) end router. The magic router formula these days is a combination of commodity hardware and open-source firmware. I'm so enamored of this one-two punch combo, in fact, I might even say it represents the future. Not just of the everyday workhorse routers we all need to access the Internet – but the future of all commodity hardware.
I felt a little bad about that post, because I quickly migrated from the DD-WRT open source firmware to OpenWRT and then finally settled on Tomato. I guess that's open source, too many choices with nobody to really tell you what's going to work reliably on your particular hardware. But the good news is that I've been running Tomato quite happily with total stability for about a year now – primarily because it is gloriously simple, but also because it has the most functional quality of service (QoS) implementation.
Why does functional Quality of Service matter so very much in a router? Unless you have an Internet connection that's only used by your grandmother to visit her church's website on Sundays, QoS is the difference between a responsive Internet and one that's brutally dog slow.
Ever sat in an internet shop, a hotel room or lobby, a local hotspot, and wondered why you can't access your email? Unknown to you, the guy in the next room or at the next table is hogging the internet bandwidth to download the Lord Of The Rings Special Extended Edition in 1080p HDTV format. You're screwed - because the hotspot router does not have an effective QoS system. In fact, I haven't come across a shop or an apartment block locally that has any QoS system in use at all. Most residents are not particularly happy with the service they [usually] pay for.
When I switched from DD-WRT and OpenWRT to Tomato, I had to buy a different router, because Tomato only supports certain router hardware, primarily Broadcom. The almost universal recommendation was the Asus RT-N16, so that's what I went with.
And it is still an excellent choice. If you just want a modern, workhorse single band wireless N router that won't break the bank, but has plenty of power and memory to run Tomato, definitely try the Asus RT-N16. It's currently available for under $80 (after $10 rebate). Once you get Tomato on there, you've got a fine combination of hardware and software. Take it from this SmallNetBuilder user review:
I'm a semigeek. Some of the stuff on this site confuses me. But I figured out enough to get this router and install Tomato USB. Great combination. Have not had any problems with the router. Love all the features that Tomato gives me. Like blocking my son's iPod after 7 PM. Blocking certain websites. Yeah, I know you can do that with other routers but Tomato made it easy. Also love the QoS features. Netflix devices get highest bandwidth while my wife's bittorrent gets low.
Review was too heavily slanted against the Asus software, which I agree is crap. I bought the router for its hardware specs. Large memory. Fast processor. Gigabyte lan. 2 USB ports.
What's not to love? Well, the dual band thing, mainly. If you want a truly top of the line router with incredible range, and simultaneous dual band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz performance bragging rights, fortunately there's the Asus RT-N66U.
This is, currently at least, the state of the art in routers. It has a faster CPU and twice the memory (256 MB) of the RT-N16. But at $190 it is also over twice the price. Judge for yourself in the SmallNetBuilder review:
As good as the RT-66U is, our wireless performance results once again show that no router is good in every mode that we test. But that said, the Dark Knight clearly outperformed both the NETGEAR WNDR4500 and Cisco Linksys E4200V2 in most of our two and three-stream tests. And it's the only router in recent memory able to reach to our worst-case/lowest-signal test location on the 5 GHz band, albeit with barely-usable throughput. Still, this is an accomplishment in itself.
If you're going to spend close to $200 for a wireless router, you should get a lot for your money. The Dark Knight seems to deliver wireless performance to justify its high price and has routing speed fast enough to handle any service a consumer is likely to have, even our friends in Europe and Asia.
Its only weakness? Take a guess. Oh wait, no need to guess, it's the same "weakness" the RT-N16 shared, the sketchy Asus firmware it ships with out of the box. That's why we get our Tomato on, people! There is complete and mature support for the RT-N66U in Tomato; for a walkthrough on how to get it installed (don't be shy, it's not hard) Check out Shadow Andy's TomatoUSB firmware flashing guide.
Does having nice router hardware with a current open source firmware matter? Well, if your livelihood depends on the Internet like mine does, then I certainly think so.
At the very least, if you or someone you love is also an Internet fan and hasn't given any particular thought to what router they use, maybe it's time to start checking into that. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go donate to the Tomato project.
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Posted by Jeff Atwood
Broadcom drivers have always given me issues which is why when I was buying a new router I looked for one that had an Atheros chipset that would be supported by OpenWRT with the Ath9K driver, no weird proprietary firmware/drivers (kernel age dependent) issues.
Thanks for this, I didnt realize Tomato had an updated fork. I just bought a RT-N66U last month b/c my WRT54GL with Tomato finally took a crap.
According to the Amazon spec page, it doesn't support IPv6 out of the box (on a "premium" product in 2012)? For real, or is the spec page mistaken?
Love reading your hardware posts. Great insight. Now I'm really considering replacing my aging WRT54GL (with Tomato, of course!) with RT-66U.
Jeebus, Tomato might be the most awesome thing ever, but that page about functional QOS is one of the worst-written I've ever encountered. It seems that they took a major teaching opportunity and wasted it behind snipes, obtuse examples, and dense writing.
Easily the best deal on a router currently is the Belkin Share Max N300 for $22 at Expansys: http://www.expansys-usa.com/belkin-share-max-n300-wireless-n+router-231205
It runs Tomato (see here) perfectly, has two USB ports (!!!), N300 wireless, amazingly good specs for a commodity router (enough flash-ram to run the largest distro of DD-WRT!).... and it's only 22 freakin' bucks.
I've been running it for several weeks now with no issues - for the first time, I can play games and download stuff while my wife watches Netflix, without negatively affecting my ping or her video-quality.
The current Tomato firmware does not support any IPv6 at all and the code has been dead for two years. Now you have to figure out which mod you want to use, which can be tough since there's 10 known versions which are in various states of development or abandonment. As much as I love Tomato firmware, it's just not usable anymore for modern routers.
Though I should mention that, according to reviews, that router is a piece of crap when running the stock-firmware, so this deal is for geeks-who-can-flash-router-firmware only :)
Does anyone know of any Open Source firmware that is compatible with the Virgin Media Super Hub?
Just to add another option to your list, take a look at pfsense - http://www.pfsense.org - quite a complete and interesting solution not only for routing, but as a complete firewall/security solution.
Why is more memory a good thing? Doesn't it just make the buffer-bloat problem worse?
Good read, I'd like to see a follow up post talking on the new AC routers... there a few out already, and AC cards (at least usb) are starting to come out too. I wonder how open sourced projects like DD/Tomato/Open will handle that.
Great write-up, like others in the comments, I am also still chugging along on my WRT54GL (with Tomato/MLPPP), although it has not shown signs of quitting anytime soon.
Really funny you use custom Linux in your router. I started with Freesco, a single floppy Linux distribution. But I'm really happy with my SpeedTouch ST780 router, which served me well. But then again: I don't need QoS, since I'm the sole user of my internet.
I started using the Toastman variant of Tomato on my Cisco Linksys WRT610N router (dual-band) about a month ago. It runs a dream, with about 15 different devices connected at various times. Toastman has some great QoS rules set up by default, so I didn't need to do much tweaking - just prioritizing the Apple TV and adding rules for FaceTime. It also includes per-IP statistics, so you can quickly see what devices are causing bottlenecks. Simple-to-setup VPN is yet another bonus!
The only downside to this hardware is you have to put DD-WRT on it first, and then upgrade to the toastman build. Just one more hurdle, but the payoff is definitely worth it.
I had a situation where I needed a WAP in the living room that could get my xbox, ps3, htpc, and roku box all online. I solved it with Tomato and a pair of $25 Netgear WRN2000v2 routers. WDS+Access-point mode is magic.
I blogged out the how-to here: http://cl.ly/HTPd
I'm currently using an E4000 with Tomato, and I've never been happier. My provider doesn't offer IPv6 for now, so I set up a tunnel with Hurricane Electric, configured it on the router, and every device in my local network gets IPv6 for free :) That, plus NAS (Samba, FTP and AFS) and printer sharing!
I bought my Linksys WRT54GL in December 2006 and flashed it with DD-WRT. It was $66.99 from Newegg (now $50). This thing is going on six years, and still works reliably, despite occasional power outages, high summer temperatures, and busy network traffic. I often have 5-9 devices connected to the router (laptops, iPhones, Roku, printers, HTPC, Wii, etc).
I thought about upgrading to something new, but wondered, why bother? It's a damn trooper.
What $50 device can you think of that you use every day for six years that hasn't broken down yet, or needs replacing?
I'm afraid to say that Tomato firmware QoS will not help you as you expect, Jeff. It only restricts your outbound traffic. If someone else is downloading an HD movie then your connection will be dog-slow, QoS or not.
AFAIK there's no solution to this available with any home router, although it's sorely needed.
Isn't this concept, QoS and network priority for certain types of traffic, more or less exactly the argument that opponents of net neutrality are trying to make?
I get that we're talking about optimizing it at a local level and not at a vendor / ISP level. But still - the analogy holds, right?
I've been running an RT-N16 with DD-WRT for a while. It's a great piece of hardware. Open source firmware tends to take more effort to setup (like running Linux) but once configured it's far better.
I do have to say that Asus' stock firmware QoS is really, really good. It's the best I've seen on the consumer routers I've used and super simple to setup. In a house with 4+ computers, a few torrents, and other downloads running simultaneously had no impact on web browsing. Everyone got their fair share.
@Matt: Respectfully, the answer is actually "no" to both your questions.
When we speak of Net Neutrality, we're talking about not prioritizing different services offering the same kind of content; for example, making sure Comcast doesn't give XFINITY the full pipe while heavily throttling Hulu, or give EA's Origin a "pardon" on the bandwidth cap but not to Steam.
Net Neutrality is supposed to protect competition; it doesn't really mean I should be able to fuck up your VoIP call with my Bittorrent seeding.
Besides, that type of QoS doesn't usually affect the speed negatively; it mainly just reorders the packets by putting the ones that require low latency on front of the queue.
And of course, none of this applies to personal connections. Protecting your freedom as a consumer to freely prioritize (and even outright exclude) certain services - whether that's done by your router or by just not subscribing to them - is the goal!
Instead of the regular QOS (screenshot) try TCP Vegas, 1:1:3. Hellova' improvement.
By the time you're spending upwards of $200 on a router, just get a good wifi card and two good network cards, throw them in an older machine, and put pfSense on it. Done.
Another open-source firmware, Gargoyle-router, also has an excellent QoS implementation and adds quotas and really easy-to-use access restriction features. Very handy if your ISP traffic is not unlimited and various family members keep blowing it.
@Anon anon, Gargoyle's QoS does work for inbound traffic, so you can stop the kid's downloads from lagging your games (for example!).
Nowadays, Cisco PnP routers for home or small business have QoS implemented already, giving priority to voice and video applications by default. You can even use the GUI to tweak it to your own liking, allowing specific applications to be given higher priority, such as MMORPG's (Yes, killing Diablo is more important than downloading sappy Korean dramas).
But at the end of the day, a higher end router is still going to allow you to control the traffic shaping, traffic policing, and unless you have a switch which you can configure, you won't have much control over the network :/
@Dave Reid: That's what I found as well when looking at Tomato distros a while back, it's reasonably decent stuff but all of it seems to be abandonware or near-abandonware, lots of updates until a certain point and then nothing apart from plaintive queries from users for solutions for problems they're having.
There are actually some vendors out there who are pretty good with updating firmware. At one end of the scale is Linksys (a.k.a.Cisco), whose firmware is a legacy product the minute the hardware ships, and at the other end are the likes of Draytek, who actively update their firmware for years and years, and who have a high-quality product (unfortunately you also pay a bit of a premium for it).
Rant: To post the above comment, I had to sign in using TypePad. I don't have a TypePad account, so I tried to register one. Clicking past the commercial accounts that they desperately want to sell you, I got to the free-account registration page. To sign up for that you need a Facebook account. I don't have a Facebook account, and never will. Another option is OpenID, but I don't have an OpenID account and the last time I tried to navigate through that kafkaesque nightmare it took me two hours. OK, so I'll try Wordpress, where I maintain a throwaway account for sites that make me jump through these third-party sign-on hoops. Oh, that's been suspended without explanation, and the procedure for getting it reset is opaque to say the least. OK, I'll sign up for a new Wordpress account. Except that I can't because my email address is already associated with my previous suspended account. OK, so I'll add a "+blah" modifier to my email address and try signing up again. Except that the mail system here doesn't know about that and bounces the confirmation email. So I'll sign up for a throwaway Gmail account and use that to get the conf.email for Wordpress, because I know Gmail handles the "+whatever" correctly. Using my new Gmail account I can sign up for the Wordpress account that I need to post a comment to Coding Horror. When I try that, I get a terse one-line error message "You do not own that identity".
YOU'VE GOT TO BE SHITTING ME!
I'm now about half an hour into trying to post a message to Coding Horror, and the "Horror" part of the name is really starting to sink in. What else can I try here? How about Livejournal? Finally, after more dicking around with email confirmation and captchas and whatnot, I can post a comment.
Jeff, ever considered doing a post about the utter, total braindamage and suckage of proxied authentication systems? There's no way that any non-geek user could (or would have the OCD) to get past something like this.
The Problem with Tomato is it is no longer being updated. It is two years old and Software not keeping up with Hardware would soon be a problem.
Router is such an important piece of the Internet and yet not a single company has invested enough to produce half a decent routers.
My Buffalo Router would not work with Synlogy DNS or some other function. uPnP doesn't seems to work. 9/10 router i used would crash once every 3 months for no reason. UI would crash while the router still working, requiring you to restart the router. No option to auto restart the router at specific time to clean up states. QoS never worked much and requires too much user input. USB File Sharing is an half baked option. WAN Speed are never concern of those Company because 99.9% of them are from US and they do not realize there is a World outside which you get cheap internet faster then your WAN Port. Heck even the current economic crisis in Spain they could get 200Mbps Internet for affordable price.
Hopefully with the latest Broadcom SoC based on ARM Cortex A9 software would be much easier to deal with compare to current MIPS solutions. And therefore better Router OS.
"I don't have an OpenID account and the last time I tried to navigate through that kafkaesque nightmare it took me two hours."
It seems you have a slight missconception what openid is. There is no one definitve provider you have to navigate through.
You may create a throwaway account on the fly without any registration through services like this http://openid.anonymity.com/ (although some site maintainer may find that rude), completely without the need to click for two hours.
Also, you mention you have a gmail account. Afaik, your google accout allows for OpenID authentification. Just use https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id as your OpenID-url
@Dave Reid: http://tomatousb.org/forum/t-501331 is all you need to know. I have yet to get it working on my RT-N16, largely because Comcast has yet to provide IPv6 support in my area and seems to be unwilling to allow business class customers in on the trial rollout, but there's nothing wrong with Toastman-Tomato.
>It seems you have a slight missconception what openid is.
>There is no one definitve provider you have to navigate through.
And this is a major part of the problem. Unless you know in advance that openid.anonymity.com exists (which I didn't until about 30 seconds ago, thanks for the info!), you end up having to Google for a provider and trying a whole string of them to find one that actually lets you do what you want.
Another part of the problem is that unless you know exactly how OpenID works and what to expect, you're in for a truly hellish experience as you try and guess, from a bunch of incomplete, erroneous, and often simply absent, documentation, what it is you're supposed to be doing. I treated it as a learning exercise and was really trying to make it work, but the closest analogy I have to the resulting experience was that of bringing up an X.25 link in the 1990s. In other words it was one of the most painful IT experiences I've ever had, and if I hadn't been consciously treating it as a learning exercise I'd have given up long before I managed to post about it here.
I wonder how many other users have simply given up when faced with the effort required to post a message here, and to other sites that use proxied sign-on mechanisms?
I have a RT-N16 with Tomato that has been running at home for 2 years now. I just purchased a 2nd RT-N16 about a month ago and I found out the new ASUS firmware (v3) which is WAY MORE better than the v1.0 that shipped with the box. It even has QOS and I would say all of what Tomato supports. It is simpler and sexyier to use than Tomato (for instance in Tomato finding out which eth1,eth0 or whatever is which lan can be difficult).
In fact, I did keep the ASUS v3 firmware on that 2nd device and so far I like it.
> Another part of the problem is that unless you know exactly
> how OpenID works and what to expect, you're in for a truly
> hellish experience
By sheer luck, i guess, I never had this experience.
I use openid for my own web services, because until now, it seemed easy and elegant to me.
As someone who had to suffer, do you have any suggestions on how to improve the exeprience?
I never had that problem either, mainly because there's a dropdown in the login page that tells you you can log in using your facebook, twitter, google etc. accounts
I've been using pfSense as a gateway (on a spare x86/x64 machine)... as an open source solution, it's capabilities (both with or without package support) often exceed commercial implementations.
I personally would never buy a device which is just a router. I think it's very pointless to have a modem and a router sitting next to each other while you can buy a single device which does the same. Sure, finding a proper modem with gigabit ethernet can be a bit tricky, but they're there.
Like Sandy McArthur just indicated, there is a problem with Buffer Bloat, and QOS alone won't solve it for you. It looks like Tomato doesn't have any AQM options, which would mitigate some of the problems. OpenWRT on the other hand does. For me, this is a dealbreaker on Tomato.
I'm using Victek's Tomato RAF (mod) and I highly recommend it:
I've been happily using Tomato since v1.25 (2009) but after upgrading to v1.28 I started experiencing a higher rate of errors and connection drops. As a result I had to reboot the router almost every day. That's when I found Victek's RAF mod and after installing it all the problems were gone - after using it for about an year now I never had to reboot the router due to a bad performance yet.
The advantages of the Victek's mod over the original Tomato firmware are:
- updated more frequently;
- various performance optimizations (on WRT54GL runs noticeably better than the original one);
- contains some additional features.
$200 for a router? Ok, maybe. Unfortunately they're asking nearly $300 for it in Australia... what the shit?
Consider that 1AUD = 1USD for more than half a year now.
>do you have any suggestions on how to improve the exeprience?
Sure. To fix it, you need to look at what the intent of all these hurdles are. I'd say with about 99.9% probability it's to prevent blog spam. Unfortunately the way it's implemented it's also going to exclude most users who aren't hardcore geeks from making any comments.
As a general response to authentication, http://www.scs.carleton.ca/%7Epaulv/papers/Persistence-authorcopy.pdf is hard to beat.
Power usage! On my kill-a-watt, the ASUS RT-N66U takes 5w at boot, ramps up to 7w, then stabilizes at 9w/10w while running.
That is the latest and greatest state of the art though so I expect older routers or lower end routers would pull less.
update: I also took out the old routers (yes, I still have them...) and tested them as well to full boot, but nothing connected:
ASUS RT-N16 -- 5w
Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH -- 3w
They weren't actually doing anything, so I'd add 1 or 2 watts to account for actual load in use.
So yes, there are some surprisingly big power consumption jumps as we move into more capable (better CPU, more memory, more wireless bands) routers!
I've just picked up an RT-N16, installed Tomato, and am comparing it to an Air Port Extreme.
My experiences with the RT-N16 so far:
Numerous advanced features (netmasq is amazing!)
Better UI for somethings they both have (static IPs suck to setup on Apple's router)
Slightly slower 5 Ghz wireless
MUCH slower 2.4 Ghz wireless (1.2 Mb down versus 11 Mb down)
No way to dual band 2.4 and 5 Ghz.
On the airport, you can enable both 2.4 and 5Ghz for a single wireless network and clients auto-pick whichever they think is faster. In my house that varies based on distance for most devices.
Is there any way for Tomato on the RT-N16 to use that kind of dual band instead of two separate networks and making me pick between the two?
Thanks for letting me and your other readers know your power consumption results. I wonder how efficient the power supply is? Manufacturers often incorporate cheap, less efficient power supplies to save on costs. I guess they feel that not many people would be concerned about the power consumption of appliances. I'm looking forward to seeing if your 2014 HTPC can use less power than this router... :)
@Anon anon: The latest Tomato builds from "Toastman" DO have inbound rating limiting; I'm no really happy with my QoS setup, apart from the fact that the L7 filters are utterly incapable of recognizing Youtube videos.
I have to add a note here to say that Draytek ( http://www.draytek.com/ ) make (IMHO) the best routers currently available for an "affordable" price. You do pay something of a premium - a quick poke around the internet tells me the 2820n I am running is 20-30% more expensive than the ASUS box Jeff is singing the praises of (here in the UK, at least) but I think it's worth it.
You get all the stuff you'd expect from a premium-ish product like this (QoS, VPN server and client, extremely granular firewall etc) plus, depending on the model, a couple you maybe wouldn't - multiple WAN ports (ethernet, DSL and/or a mix thereof), and a USB port to which you can connect a 3G modem for additional WAN failover or a HDD for network storage.
In terms of reliability, I have now in my professional capacity installed 70-80 Draytek boxes, only one of which has ever been properly bricked and that was entirely my own fault.
Draytek are a German company and the firmware is closed source - very much nicht für der fingerpoken - but they maintain updates well with regular firmware updates, sometimes until long after the product has been retired from the market.
I know many of you here will be avid SO/SF/SU members and will like the idea of using open source firmware because it gives you the option to... well, let's be honest, bugger about with it and find new and interesting ways to break it. While you can't pull the firmware source itself apart, you can bugger about with all sorts of don't-touch-me-or-you'll-break-stuff type settings through the (admittedly not very intuitive) telnet/SSH interface.
All-in-all I love these things, but here is a more or less complete list of stuff I don't like, just so no-one can say I didn't warn them.
- The web interface can be very slow. This is just the built in web server being a little bit crap, the routing functions themselves leave nothing to be desired.
- The wireless on some of the older (b/g) models could be a bit flaky. I have not had any problems with anything since they started supporting 802.11n. Personally I use separate APs as I don't like to give my routers too much to think about - I'd rather they just be left to get on with the job of routing.
- Similarly VLANing on some of the older models was flaky. Again, no complaints in this respect on recent devices.
- You can't configure a full set of custom DHCP options. There aren't many (any?) SOHO routers on which you can do this, I just remember the good old days when everyone (I) used Netgear DG834s and you could just hack them and configure them however you wanted because they were running dhcpd underneath.
OK, gush over. Now go save up your pocket money for a few weeks and buy a Draytek!
On a side note, @Dummyacctforsso I'm willing to bet that at least 50% of new arrivals to codinghorror are either coming from StackExchange or at least have an account with SE. And since SE is an OpenID provider ( http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/05/stack-exchange-is-an-openid-provider/ ), I had no problems whatsoever signing in for the first time within about 20 seconds. I am sorry to hear you are so disenchanted with OpenID and I agree that there are currently far too many providers and not enough consumers, and a lot of those consumers are making life a lot more complex than it needs to be for their users. Still, I hope you'll get on board with the OpenID idea, it certainly can work and I think the biggest challenge is probably education rather than implementation.
Thanks for knowing me and your other readers know your power consumption results.I would never buy a what is only a router. I think it's very unnecessary to have a modem and router sitting to you can buy a single device which many be the same. Sure,so find the modem with gigabit ethernet can be a bit tricky.mmorpg
I would have to totally agree that Tomato firmware is the way to go. I am in the process of attempting to replicate the same speed DrayTech achieved for their auto wan failover features. Does anyone have any experience with this. Objective is to maintain an SIP connection/call if the primary WAN connection goes offline. Thanks, Chris
You're screwed - because the hotspot router does not have an effective QoS system. In fact, I haven't come across a shop or an apartment block locally that has any QoS system in use at all. Most residents are not particularly happy with the service flats in london
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an open source firmware, it is a massive improvement over my three year old, proprietary high(ish) end router. The magic router formula these days is a combination of commodity hardware and open-source firmware. I'm so enamored of this one-two punch combo, in fact, I might even say it represents the future. Not just of the everyday workhorse routers we all need to access the Internet – but the future of all commodity hardware. tread mills
Thank you so very much for this post. I've had a flaky router for a while and was looking for a replacement. My RT-N16 arrived this evening and I had it flashed with tomato and up and running in less than an hour.
The QoS has been a dream (I've been looking for this for a while) -- my Roku didn't miss a beat tonight watching Sherlock on Netflix while I was downloading something on my desktop in the background.
Tomorrow I'll try getting my OpenVPN stuff moved off my desktop and onto the router (I flashed the ASUS it with the VPN version of Tomato). I've already verified that my dyndns.org account is being correctly set by the router, and the rest looks straightforward.
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Interesting post. It's funny reading how much of an impact the hardware setup can have on everything. Last year I went to a router review site (http://www.bestwirelessrouter.com) and ended up getting one of the most expensive routers available (noob mistake) only to have to be disappointed with performance.
I wish that your approach to increasing performance was more of a priority for the companies selling this hardware since most people don't have the tech savvy to do what you were able to.
Anyone who has an Asus RT-N16 should check out EasyTomato (www.easytomato.org). It makes the install process a breeze and is a great way to ease into running Tomato (plus it has all of the advanced features of regular Tomato)