Hack your Linksys Router with Tomato Firmware

So earlier this week I was in need of a simple wireless router to provide wired, and wireless networking to 3 devices. I set myself a budget of $70 to ensure that I wouldn’t buy something that would be excessive for the usage I was looking for. After shopping around online and reading reviews for devices under $70 I came across a familiar face. The Linksys WRT54GL.

I remember stumbling across some articles in the past about hacking this router, and really making it a powerful device. So naturally my inner-geek told me to buy this router and hack it.

Once I got home I started to research the best way to hack this device, and 2 dominant choices came across; DD-WRT and Tomato.

The more and more I read about both of these hacks, Tomato seems to be the easiest and most user-friendly hack available. Some of the additional features that Tomato allows you to do are things such as:

  • Schedule when the Internet can be on during certain times of the day
  • Throttle bandwidth for specific applications
  • Setup QoS (Quality of Service) for certain applications so that it will receive bandwidth priority
  • Increase the transmit power of the router
  • Enable WPA, WPA2 encryption
  • Turning the router into a bridge
  • much more…

Now before upgrading your Linksys WRT54G, please ensure that your router is compatible. According to the Tomato website the following devices are compatible:

  • Linksys WRT54G v1-v4, WRT54GS v1-v4, WRT54GL v1.x, WRTSL54GS (no USB support)
  • Buffalo WHR-G54S, WHR-HP-G54, WZR-G54, WBR2-G54
  • Asus WL500G Premium (no USB support)
  • Untested but apparently works without changes: SparkLAN WX-6615GT
  • Note: Most WRT54G and WRT54GS (not WRT54GL) sold in stores right now are the v5.0+ variety and will not work with Tomato. So if you are buying a new one ensure that it is the WRT54GL model.

So your router is supported, lets get started! Just as a disclaimer I am not responsible for anything that you do to your device. This is just a guide, so use it at your own risk!

  1. Make sure you have a compatible router. I can’t stress this enough, because if it is not compatible you can end up permanently damaging your device.
  2. Download the latest version of the Tomato firmware from here. Since you will most likely be downloading a .7z file, you will need to have the freeware file extractor 7-Zip. You can get 7-Zip from here for free.
  3. Once you have the Tomato firmware downloaded, and 7-Zip installed just extract the package to a folder that you will be able to find. I usually just extract temporary files to my desktop.
  4. Now we are going to log into your router. Open up your browser and type “” in the address bar. This will prompt you with a username and password. Unless you have changed this information, by default the login will be “admin”, and the password will be “admin”

    Default user/pass is admin/admin

    Default user/pass is admin/admin

  5. Once you have successfully logged in, click on the “Administration” tab and then on “Firmware Upgrade”

    Click on "Firmware Upgrade"

    Click on "Firmware Upgrade"

  6. Click on the “Browse” button

    "Click on "Browse"

    "Click on "Browse"

  7. Now you must navigate tot he folder where you extracted your Tomato firmware files and select the correct firmware file for your router. Because I am using a WRT54GL I selected “WRT54G_WRT54GL.bin”

    Select the correct firmware file

    Select the correct firmware file for your router

  8. Now click on the upgrade button on the bottom, and you will see the progress meter start to move.

    Click "Upgrade" and the firmware will begin updating

    Click "Upgrade" and the firmware will begin updating

  9. Once the upgrade is complete (which may take a few minutes), the router will automatically reboot. After the reboot it should take you to the Tomato interface.
    If your router doesn’t automatically log you in to the new firmware, then you need to point your browser to “” and login with your new credentials. Username is now “root” and Password is now “admin”

    Your router's new interface!

    Your router's new interface!

  10. Congrats! You have successfully hacked your Linksys Router!
    Be sure to read further details on how to modify settings on your router at Tomato’s FAQ Site

Be sure to post any comments on how you made your configuration settings better after upgrading to Tomato. So far I haven’t had a chance to play with too many settings but I am loving the reliability, and the real-time Bandwidth graphs.


  1. cris October 6th

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    after upgrading your user name is root but the password is not admin its the old password u had before upgrading

  2. Bobby September 2nd

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    Thank you Chris! Everywhere else I looked said nothing about root and your original password. You saved me a lot of time and headaches!

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I am a web developer that works in the IT field for the Government with an interest in design and technology and how it effects us on a daily basis.