26 July 2013

484. Putting Tomato (USB) on Cisco/Linksys E2500-AU 300M

Update 18/8/2014: I've since done this on a unit with a BCM5357 chip rev 2 pkg 8 as well:


Update: the more I use it, the more I like it. I really like my old WRT54G, but I'm even happier about my fancy new E2500 since it's faster and all. Flashing them are equally easy. If you prefer some else to do it for you -- or if you want to seek independent confirmation that the router can be flashed -- look at http://flashrouters.com/ . The focus on that site seems to be dd-wrt (which is an alternative to Tomato), but they do list tomato routers too, e.g. http://www.flashrouters.com/routers/cisco-linksys-e2500-tomatousb-router

Original post:
Flashing a router is always a bit unsettling, so here's a detailed how-to.

Anyway, I managed to pick up a Linksys E2500-AU for $45 (Broadcom BCM5357 chip rev 1 pkg 8), which isn't too shabby. Some cursory searching showed that people had managed to put dd-wrt and tomato on it. While my experience with dd-wrt hasn't been that good, I've been running tomato on a linksys wrt45g for a around four years now, without any issues.

There's a number of derivatives of Tomato e.g. Tomato USB, and I'm a bit confused over what sets some of them apart. However, it seems like this Polish site is the right one for me. See here for the 'about' page.

What I'm presuming:
That you are running linux, and that you can afford to brick your router. There is always a risk associated with flashing firmware, and don't make any assumptions about the validity of the warranty...

How to:
Download the firmware:
cd ~/Downloads
wget http://tomato.groov.pl/download/K26RT-N/build5x-110-EN/Linksys%20E-series/tomato-E2500-NVRAM60K-1.28.RT-N5x-MIPSR2-110-Max.bin

With the router turned off, connect it via CAT5 cable to your computer. It should be attached to one of the LAN ports (in my case Ethernet 4) on the router. Ignore what the manual says about plugging into the WAN ('Internet') port.

Plug in power cable to the router.

On my computer I've disabled network manager (sudo rcconf, then uncheck network manager and either stop it or reboot) and my /etc/network/interfaces has this in it:
auto eth1 iface eth1 inet dhcp ethernet-wol g
You probably won't have to worry about this. Just make sure that you don't have anything interfering with the 192.168.1.0/24 subnet.

Anyway, once you have been assigned an IP address, navigate to 192.168.1.1, and work your way through the annoying warnings:


leave the user name blank, and use admin as the password



 Here's where it get's interesting. Select the .bin file you downloaded and hit ok.



Use admin for both username and password
 I was then met with this, which at first scared me a little:

I unplugged the power from the router, and plugged it in again, and I could log in:

The first step is to erase the nvram, or you might end up with "Cannot proceed: two or more lan bridges have conflicting ip addresses or overlapping subnets" when configuring your network. To erase NVRAM go to Administration/Configuration/Restore Default Configuration - Erase all data in NVRAM memory(thorough).

 You are now ready to start setting up your router.

Go to Administration/Admin access.

Set up an admin password, turn off telnet and change the colour scheme to Tomato. Optional but recommended: disable ssh access via password -- it's better if you add your public keys here.

Go to Basic/Network, and set an SSID and a password for your wireless. Set up your network details -- in my case I have static IP. I also want the subnet to be 192.168.2.0/24 and I use MAC spoofing, which you can set up under Advanced/MAC address.




 And this is what it looks like if you connect to the router via ssh:
So far so good!

32 comments:

  1. Which version of the E2500 did you flash? Was it v1 or v2?

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    Replies
    1. according to the openlinksys style screenshot above it's v1.0

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    2. I'll have to put off flashing then. Seems there is no verified support yet for v2. Thanks!

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    3. A friend just updated his E2500 v2 using this method. So far so good for him.

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    4. Try it on LINKSYS N600 (E2500) a.k.a. E2500 v3. So far so good!

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    5. Thanks for the feedback!

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    6. I got a problem, my AC adapter got fried and now I'm waiting for replacement. Maybe that is why the 5GHz only working for around 20 hours since 20 April.

      I will inform you as soon I got the replacement.

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    7. It depends on the hardware version you have, a new one I bought is a V3 and for at least a number of years it appears they are all V3s (I think the way to tell is if you have the USB port).

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  2. Thanks for this guide! I just flashed my E2500 and it's running great! I wish I had read more closely as I did run into the "two or more lan bridges have conflicting ip addresses or overlapping subnets" issue before I erased the NVRAM.
    ~Scott~

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  3. Hey guys, I've got an e2500-NP. Any idea if there are any differences I should be aware of, when flashing? All guides I've seen have not listed -NP specifically.

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    Replies
    1. See if you can figure what the difference is. Does it use the same chipset? Any other differences? Or is it just a regional version (i.e. different power plug)?

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  4. I see people complaining about 5Ghz speed limited to 20-40 Mbps with Tomato on e2500. Do you have any issues with that?

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    1. I've barely used it for wifi at all, and the way I've set it up all wireless connections use Tor (I use it at work and I don't want them to snoop out of principle), so performance is dictated by that.

      I'll post here if I get around to benchmarking the wireless connection.

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  5. Sweet, it worked! Thanks for the easy walk through! I had no idea was I was doing....

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  6. After the flash can you make the E2500 broadcast country code? I have some AP in the area sending out non US country codes (SE for example) and that causes my laptop to get confused and stop working on some channels. I want my AP to broadcast US, to keep my laptop from getting into this mode. Cisco help desk says country code is not supported in E2500. If it is in firmware, even after the flash to tomatoe, it still may not be able to broadcast country code

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    Replies
    1. You can set the country under advanced/wireless, but whether this just changes the frequency and power of the radio, I don't know.

      I'd never heard of routers broadcasting country codes before, but apparently it seems to be some Apple thing -- or at least only affecting macs.
      https://discussions.apple.com/thread/5100420
      http://forums.macrumors.com/archive/index.php/t-1501016.html

      Presumably it might be easier to modify the way your mac behaves than having to deal with a router you don't have access to -- it must surely be possible to set it to ignore the router CC?

      Or is it really as bad as shown in this post: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1702871

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  7. Thank you. Excellent guide, got my E2500 flashed without any issues.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the feedback. Would you mind posting exactly what model/version you have of the router? This will help other people searching for solutions.

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  8. Dude... Where have you and your article been this entire time? Thank you!

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  9. I had a hard time because my upgrade was failing but I downloaded the last version of the tomato firmware and it works fine. I have a v3 E2500. Thank you for this guide!

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  10. i am not having success with the username as password as "admin" any other suggestions?

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    Replies
    1. You might have to reset your router to the factory setting first.

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  11. Hello, I have just installed AT and it works great. I wonder where I can see incoming traffic to router (IPs and port numbers)?

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  12. Good info because it is actually quite challenging and confusing dealing with this 2500 V3 router. You first of all need a V3 Flash, I used one from DDWRT/fractal and then tried an 11meg file for Tomato (mega) that failed but the max file worked. I wonder now if the mega would work but I'm happy as it is.

    One other tip is that 5ghz may not appear despite Tomato supporting it (it is why I switched from DDWRT), you need to clear the NVRAM as shown in your guide and then 5ghz magically appears!

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  13. I followed the instructions for an E2500 and managed to 'semi brick' the router. When powered on there is a wireless SSID of Tomato24 - AND - I connect to the 'Authentication Required' screen at 192.168.1.1 - but - User Name = admin Password = admin just loops back. Any ideas

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  14. Reset your router to factory default setting by pressing re-initilization button under your router. It would work after that.

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  15. Reset your router to factory default setting by pressing re-initilization button under your router. It would work after that.

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  16. i have linksys e2500 v3 with ->DD-WRT v24-sp2 (03/25/13) big - build 21061 .....can i upgrade firmware directly to latest Tomato Version 3.4-138 ?

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  17. I need some help...
    I have an E2500 v3 with DDWR v24-sp2(05/19/15) from Fractal. I upgraded flash with tomato-E2500v3USB-NVRAM60K-1.28.AT-RT-N5x-MIPSR2-3.4-138-MEGA-VPN.bin from https://advancedtomato.com/downloads/router/e2500v3

    The flash said it was successful and I waited approx. 5 minutes.. I then did a 30/30/30 Reset and reconnected to router Gui. Apparently it didn't take flash because it still showing DDWRT gui with same flash version v24-sp2. I've tried this multiple times and the router shows that its successful but the flash version never changes. Can someone help me with this please.

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    Replies
    1. Same EXACT problem here too, I flashed the newest one and it's still on DD-WRT...any idea ?

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  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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