Everyone wants the best equipment when it comes to accessing the internet, but often the routers available can only do so much. Enter tomato routers. They are the solution to your wireless dead spots, sudden glitches in your router, buffering problems and more. Most routers come with factory standard firmware, but if you want to be ahead of the game and want more out of your router, its time you upgraded and bought the best tomato router available so that you can do more.
A Tomato router is one that has the tomato firmware installed in it, allowing you to access advanced configurations and settings.
Tomato firmware is software that is embedded to your router’s hardware, an open source alternative firmware that boosts your router’s functionality, and allows you to boost your coverage, be able to monitor your bandwidth and improve security of your network. Tomato firmware remains one of the most popular open source replacement firmware.
Originally released in 2008, there have been several forks developed by others, with Tomato by Shibby being the most popular. This is a Linux core firmware distribution that is based partially on HyperWRT, relying heavily on an Ajax based interface. The user interface is what makes it stand out from the other open source firmware available.
It is very compatible with Broadcom based firmware, found primarily on Linksys, Asus and Netgear routers and this helps the user to tap the full potential of what their router can really achieve. Not only can you now access multiple options that will boost your wireless network, but you can also tweak settings to make your wireless signal strength even better.
Not only can you now monitor your bandwidth in real time, you can check out other wireless networks in your area to understand what you can tweak in your own best tomato router to get the best performance. If that was not enough, these features tip the scales in a tomato router’s favour.
These are just some of the features that you can access. Tomato and other open source alternate firmware have become popular over the years, with competition coming from DD-WRT. However, Tomato remains a popular choice for many due to the user friendliness, allowing the average Joe to get more out of their router rather than being a tech wizard.
1. Linksys WRT1900ACS
4 Ethernet Ports
2. Netgear R7000
4 Ethernet Ports
1. Tenda AC18
4 Ethernet Ports
The Linksys WRT1900ACS is considered by many, including the BlueGadgetTooth team, to be amongst the best in top performance routers and the multiple features it has keeps this as a constant favourite, especially for those who are on the lookout for the best tomato router.
Design wise, the standard black and blue colour scheme is reminiscent of how a router should look and Linksys hasn’t deviated from this combo that seems to have worked for ages. It can be wall mounted or can stand alone, which is good news for those who are looking to hide it in a corner or to keep it out of the way.
This is a dual band router and offers a combined speed of 1.9Gbps in the 2.4GHz band and the 5GHz band. However, what gives the router an exceptional wireless signal is the Beamforming technology it uses, a feature that makes a huge difference in terms of performance. Though it may lack many features available in routers that have been released recently, this is still a powerhouse of performance.
When tested at a close range, the speed was an impressive 622Mbps at the 5GHz band, with the speed dropping to 562Mbps at a range of 30 feet, and the speed going down to 421Mbps when tested at a distance of 75 feet. The 2.4GHz band also performed well, reaching speeds of 112Mbps at close range falling to 72.5Mbps at 75 feet.
The Linksys WRT1900ACS is one of the best routers we’ve seen in its class, and is also one of the best routers for tomato. We could connect multiple devices, all doing their own thing from playing HD online games which take up a lot of bandwidth, to streaming movies and videos and transferring heavy files. Even though this big baby does not support MU-MIMO capabilities, we don’t miss it because this is the device to handle all your data hungry devices for your network.
This is easy to customize via your browser or Linksys iOS or Android Smart wifi app, allowing you to make many changes, prioritizing devices and channels. You can use Open source firmware like Tomato to tinker with the interface ad features.
The name itself is reminiscent of something deadly, something that will swoop down at night to get the job done mysteriously. Well, there’s nothing so mysterious about the Nighthawk R7000, at least it won’t be once the BlueGadgetTooth team is done with this review.
Netgear is known for having superior feature sets and the Nighthawk R7000 definitely does not disappoint, which is why it is featured on our guide for best Tomato router.
Design wise, it is a stable structure that has all the trappings of a fancier, newer model. The Led lights indicate what is wrong and what is working and the angular design with large antenna size do make it look very much like how we perceive a router to look like. This may have been released many years ago, but it still holds relevance in today’s world and continues to be the favourite, even though newer models of the Nighthawk have been released since.
The Nighthawk as a series of routers has created quite a reputation for itself, and anyone who knows their stuff will tell it all started with the R7000. This Tomato router offers so many features that you can tweak if you wish to.
The speeds on this Nighthawk were comparable to many routers available on the market today. When the BlueGadgetTooth team tested the Nighthawk R7000, the results amazed us. Our testing space had many obstacles like multiple walls, as we wanted to see how it would fare in a home with many rooms. Even though the signal had to travel through multiple walls, we still received speeds of 414Mbps at a distance of 75 feet. Of course, the closer our device was to the router, the better the performance. The 2.4GHz band also performed very well, reaching speeds of 212Mbps at a distance of 75 feet.
The Tenda AC18 is definitely not an eye sore, but neither is it the most attractive. But looks don’t matter that much when the device does the job, and the Tenda AC18 certainly does, which makes it the third option on our list for best Tomato router guide. The installation process was really simple, which is great news for the average user who may not be a tech brainiac.
The design itself looks like someone peeled it off a padded wall, but the sleek black colour does make it stand out.
When we tested the Tenda AC18, we thought that due to the very affordable price, some features may be missing and that the performance would be average at best. We couldn’t be more wrong. The 5GHz tests showed that in close range, we achieved speeds of 362Mbps, and the speed dropped to 227Mbps at a distance of 75 feet. Even through a few walls. The 2.4GHz was admittedly not the best, delivering speeds of 68Mbps at close range, with the speed averaging to 32Mbps at 75 feet.
The transfer performance is excellent, averaging at 45MBps writing and 39MBps in reading.
The average router available today is limited in terms of functionality and the stock firmware can sometimes be unreliable. With so many cyber threats targeting online users, it has become more important than ever to secure your home from possible threats. Standard market routers can often lack the security levels needed to ensure a problem free online experience, and that is one big reason why many people choose to use Open Source firmware.
A router like the best Tomato router mentioned as our Editor’s choice has all the necessary features required for dealing with networking issues that most of us face. Routers with open source firmware provide advanced security features as well as allow you to tweak many advanced settings to get an optimal online experience.
If you check out reviews and forums, you’ll see that many people who use open source firmware state that their routers enjoy a longer shelf life, which is music to anybody’s ears. Routers with open source firmware allow you to control your bandwidth allocation; your signal controls and gives your network more stability.
When it comes to the safety of your network, and in turn, to the safety of all users connected to your network, it is important to always have the best security possible. With most routers having stock firmware that just about covers the basics; you don’t want basic security coverage for your home network.
We’ve tested and found that open source firmware boosts functionality as well as security for your home network, and we highly recommend the best Tomato router in this guide. Whether you want to ensure your young ones don’t stumble upon malicious or adult sites, or want to make sure that your devices get priority in your network, controlling and managing these settings is all an easy process. With a wealth of management and advanced features, you will find that having a Tomato router is the way to go to enjoying a better online experience.
Hey, it's Tomas here! I'm the founder and chief editor here at BlueGadgetTooth. After spending hours explaining my parents how to hook up their Internet, why it's being so slow etc. I decided to start this blog to help people with their gadgets and questions about technology.