I recently purchased an ASUS RT-AC56U router with the intention of flashing the firmware from the stock ASUS firmware to Tomato by Shibby – I want the OpenVPN client functionality to use with my VPN provider. This router would replace my LinkSys E3000 which could barely connect me to the Internet, let alone VPN.
The whole process seemed simple enough, but of everything I found online, none was 100% complete. So, here you go:
- Some say to flash DD-WRT first, others say to go right to Tomato through the default ASUS interface. You do not need to flash DD-WRT first.
- Download whichever RT-AC56U-ARM firmware you need; for me, I did not need USB or any of the other fluff, so I avoided the All-In-One (AIO) firmware, and grabbed the latest (v123 at that time) of the VPN version: tomato-RT-AC56U-ARM–123-VPN-64K.trx
- Put the router into recovery mode: power-off with the button, holding the reset button, power back on and wait a few seconds. The power LED should start to blink. It’s now in recovery mode.
- In recovery mode, the router seems to use default to an IP of 192.168.1.1 – make sure whatever computer you’re using for this process is on that subnet. Open a web browser and open http://192.168.1.1 and you should see a pretty basic webpage. Locate the TRX file and click Upload. Now wait. Give it about 5 minutes.
- After about 5 minutes, power off the router using the power switch. Others say that once Tomato is flashed, power-off, hold the WiFi button and power back on. That is incorrect – you have to hold the WPS button until the power LED starts to pulsate, not the WiFi button. Holding the WiFi button will simply put you back in recovery mode and you will continue to repeat the process indefinitely. Hold the WPS button for 10-15 seconds and you will be 100% good to go. Now you can login to Tomato (admin/admin) and wipe the NVRAM.
- Login, go to Administration -> Configuartion -> Restore Default Configuration -> Erase All Data in NVRAM (thorough). Sit back and wait for a few minutes and you’re all done!
- Enjoy Tomato and OpenVPN (or whatever you want it for).