Reprise: Which routers work / which is the best choice?

Note:
I have already read the relevant information in the “sticky” posts on this topic.

Issue:
Looking over Shibby’s router list for routers that are compatible with the VyprVPN app, I notice two problems - or at least this is what I see here in Moscow Russia while I am abroad.

  1. It is virtually impossible to find routers that are on the list and are of a type that will accept firmware that will work with VyprVPN
  2. Of those routers that I can find, the firmware/hardware versions marked as supported are long since gone from the market.

An example of item #2 is the ASUS RT-N12 router. Shibby’s site mentions that his firmware supports H/W versions “B1”, “C1”, and “D1”. However, the only version of the ASUS RT-N12 router here have the hardware version “VP”.

I can find the ASUS RT-AC66U, though I don’t know if the current H/W version will work with Shibby’s firmware. With a list price at most every electronic store here in Moscow on the wrong side of $300, I hesitate to buy it just to risk bricking it. Not to mention the fact that this particular router does everything but wash dishes and make breakfast - and I don’t need that.

Most of the routers here are either ASUS routers that are not “approved” - or have hardware versions that are later than the listed ones - or are T-Link / Zyrtech routers - none of which appear on the list anywhere.

Question #1:
Does anyone know of a more current list of routers that do work with either Shibby’s firmware flash, or can work with VyprVPN out-of-the-box?

Question #2:
Can anyone recommend which router - assuming I can get it, either retail or on-line - is the best choice - i.e. which works with the least hassle and/or the greatest chance of success?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

Jim (JR)

1 Like

Hello @jharris1993,

After discussing with our router developer @kmata- I can confirm that the ASUS RT-AC66U would be an optimal router choice for using with Shibby/VyprVPN Router. The ASUS RT-N66U would also be an optimal choice, and is somewhat more reasonably priced, without access to the ac band for wi-fi. The ac band offers high speed and a more optimal type of band wavelength in “beamforming” that has been shown to exhibit better reception to devices than the traditional “ripple”, however your computer’s hardware wireless adapter would still have to be ac compatible, and ac only operates on the 5ghz channels.

I find ASUS routers to be easy-to-use and high quality in spite of being somewhat more expensive than your typical consumer router. That’s not to say that flashing doesn’t come without risks, but you should find these ASUS routers to be user-friendly. I personally use the ASUS RT-AC68U at home.

Our support article here could help you or others in this regard as well. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Thanks,
Keegan
Golden Frog Support Supervisor

Keegan,

First of all, I agree that ASUS routers are well built and generally lack the “quirkiness” of other router brands, including many of the Linksys/Cisco brand of consumer routers. I had also read the article you pointed out to me prior to beginning this journey.

That being said, the AC68U would be drastic overkill for me, (not to mention being way, way outside my budget), since I do not need the AC band to jump about 10 yards from one building to another. I am currently using two G-Band devices and they are working wonderfully in this application.

All of that being said, what I need to know is how strict the firmware version requirements are.

If Shibby’s site says version A1/B1, as it says for the RT-N66U, would I be OK if the hardware revision was later than that? (H/W version C or F for example, or the revision “VP” as shown on the RT-N12?)

If I can use the specified H/W version - or later, then I should be in good shape. However if the H/W requirement is strict, I could be in big trouble trying to find something I can afford that has the older hardware versions.

Thanks again for your help!

Jim (JR)

Jim,

To answer your question, yes, for the most part, the hardware revision numbers that are compatible are strict for that specific router hardware only unless it says ‘v XXX and/or newer’ under the Notes column. Suffice it to say that certain older models will occasionally go on sale, the speed (frequency) of the CPU and power of the wireless radios will be better at the higher end. One thing to note is that higher clock speed single core (x1) CPUs tend to run best, for the price, when using the VPN versus the dual core (x2) options.

Another good option for the VPN specifically would be the Asus RT-N18U, although it is 2.4Ghz only

As noted, this is the complete list of officially supported hardware: http://tomato.groov.pl/?page_id=69

Regards,

Josh

Hello keegan,

you wrote that ASUS RT-N66U would be an optimal choice for TOMATO firmware and VyprVPN app. That’s curious. I have ASUS RT-N66U, right now I’m on DD-WRT and it works wonderfully, except the fact that I don’t have VyprVPN Router app useful and cool features. I tried three times (flashing 3 different versions of TOMATO Shibby firmware compatible with my router) to flash TOMATO, but without success, unfortunately… With TOMATO/Shibby and VyprVPN app everything is great, cool and useful features, I liked it very much, but for some reason my router after few hours won’t respond anymore, it hangs, the connection drops and I have to reboot it with the power button. I’ve the basic VyprVPN plan, so I can use only PPTP protocol, I connect to the Russian server.
If someone can help me solve the problem or maybe someone is using the same router with SUCCESS, please let me know.

THANK YOU!!!

Josh,

Here in Moscow, I can find it on-line for about 11,000 Rubles, (about $200) which is a considerable improvement over what I have seen in stores.

Interestingly enough, many of the reviews on this device, (admittedly the Russian version), claim extreme quirkiness, it runs boiling hot, and is generally a bad idea, even when flashed with non-stock firmware by Merlin. One reviewer went so far as to claim it was better as a hot-plate than as a router!

(p.s. Even though I greatly prefer Firefox as a browser, the “automagic translation” feature in Chrome makes it very useful when browsing sites here in Russia. . . .)

Any ideas? Maybe a hardware version change? (Unfortunately none of the reviewers mentioned either the as-purchased hardware or firmware versions.

Jim (JR)

Update:
Here is the “disadvantages” review from someone on Yandex. I read this and had to laugh!

Price high, but it justifies itself. Many “well-wishers” write that heats “right up to 80 degrees,” - this is a lie. Warm, like other devices. By the way, for such “writers - liars” is already at 50 degrees plastic begins to melt, and at 80 is a smoke column. So this nonsense do not believe buy safely!

:grinning:

Here is the link to all of the reviews on Yandex.

View in Chrome with automagic translation turned on.

Jim (JR)

I was able to get VyprVPN Router App setup on a Asus RT-N16 with Tomato package tomato-K26USB-1.28.RT-N5x-MIPSR2-131-AIO.zip without any problems - its working great - I would suggest this for sure!

@dieskim

What were the hardware/firmware versions of the device you configured?

Thanks!

Jim (JR)

@jharris1993
I just purchased an older Asus RT-N16 - not sure what hardware/firmware version it has - I dont think it matters with the Asus RT-N16, I think they are all supported by Tomato - and as you flash from the recovery side the firmware does not matter ether…

@dieskim

. . . And that’s the problem. All of the “newer” (make that read "commercially available from stores like Micro Center, Best Buy et al), all have firmware versions that are later than what is specified on Tomato’s list. (I printed it and check available routers against it when I go shopping.)

Thanks for the update!

Jim (JR)

p.s. You find the original hardware/firmware version listed on the label on the bottom of the case,

@sasha310813

What version (hardware version) are you using? It should be marked both on the box, and on the router’s nameplate where the model and serial numbers are located.

On Shibby’s list, the ASUS RT-N66U is followed by “A1/B1” which I am assuming are hardware versions. If your hardware version is not one of these two, then that might explain why you’re experiencing weird problems.

@josh_gf
@keegan
@anyone else. . . .

Can someone confirm the acceptable hardware versions for the ASUS RT-N66U? Am I correct in assuming that the “A1/B1” designations are indeed hardware versions?

Thanks!

Jim (JR)

Hello @jharris1993 and @sasha310813,

I would like to preference this by stating, any information on routers by Golden Frogs support may not be 100% accurate as we are not the manufacturers of these routers. For accurate information you will want to contact you router manufacturer directly.

It took a bit of searching but you are correct the “A1/B1” designations are hardware differences, to be more precise a single fan on the board. Checking the router box or contacting your manufacturer is still recommended, but from the information I located A1 never made it to the shelves.

To answer your other question it appears that ASUS RT-N66U (A1 or B1) would use the version K26RT-N or K26RT-AC of Tomato by Shibby. Both these version are acceptable to use with our service as listed on our hardware requirements Topic here:

https://support.goldenfrog.com/hc/en-us/articles/205229587-Hardware-requirements-for-the-VyprVPN-Router-App

Hope this helps!

Cody
Golden Frog Support

@keegan
@kmata
@josh_gf

I have noticed an interesting and disquieting thing:

I have been lurking Shibby’s Tomato site for a while now and it seems that development - or at least router qualification - has stopped. This is bad because this list is rapidly becoming stale as I had explained before. (i.e. I can still find some of the routers on the list, but finding the correct hardware version remains problematic.)

My experience shopping, both in the U.S. and abroad in Moscow, demonstrates the need to get this list updated to the most current crop of routers.

Of course, since I also do computer consulting, I understand full well that it is not reasonably possible for either Shibby, or yourselves, to always have the Latest and Greatest routers, as the on-going expense would be non-trivial. I would like nothing better than to be able to afford sending you folks a whole S-load of the latest and greatest routers. And if I had just won the twenty-gazillion-dollar Powerball lottery, I would do it.

All that being said, there really needs to be a way to expand and extend the list of routers that are “known good” for the VyprVPN application, otherwise you risk having the router version of VyprVPN become increasingly irrelevant.

Perhaps you can convince The Powers That Be at Golden Frog to allocate some money in their budget for new routers?

Perhaps you can migrate to a version of the Tomato software that is still under active development? (And has a more current router list?)

It would be a real shame to see the VyprVPN router app fade away as the known-good routers become more and more difficult to find.

What say ye?

Jim (JR)

1 Like

@sasha310813

I just thought of something.

You mentioned in your posting that, when flashed with Shibby’s Tomato software, your router would die, seemingly at random.

Back in 2009 I documented a similar problem on my own web site: http://www.qatechtips.com, in the article The Case of the Vanishing Internet located at: http://www.qatechtips.com/2009/12/qa-tech-tip-holiday-edition-case-of.html

In that article I mention how having the IPv6 protocol enabled can cause some routers/modems to fail, seemingly at random.

IPv6 may well be the Wave Of The Future, but even now, support for it can be spotty. Even if your router supports IPv6, there’s a very good possibility that your modem may not. Or vice-versa.

Go take a peek, try it again, and let us know what you find.

Jim (JR)

@cody

I’ve read the topic you noted at https://support.goldenfrog.com/hc/en-us/articles/205229587-Hardware-requirements-for-the-VyprVPN-Router-App

One of the things mentioned is that we should flash the “VPN” or the “AIO” (All In One) versions.

Assuming that we have a choice, is one preferred over the other?

Thanks!

Jim (JR)

@keegan
@kmata

Update:

I attempted to purchase an ASUS RT-N66U from Best Buy; however it appears to have been superseded by the RT-N66R version. People at the Best Buy I visited said that the RT-N66U was a “way old” version and had not been seen by them for a long time.

Notes:

  • Shibby’s firmware for the RT-N66U does not work on this router. Attempts to flash either the “VPN” or the “AIO” firmware fail with a message saying that either the firmware file is corrupt, or it’s the wrong firmware.

  • I’m not sure that the folks over at ASUS know what’s happening here. When I go to their web-site at http://www.asus.com, their support search function returns the RT-N66W and N66U versions. If you actually search the support site, you eventually find the place where the N66R documents and firmware are located. http://www.asus.com/us/supportonly/RT-N66R/HelpDesk_Download/

  • The firmware downloaded from this site for the RT-N66R has a filename that actually contains a reference to the RT-N66U router.
    Viz.: The downloaded zip file for the RT-N66R (FW_RT_N66R_30043763861.zip) contains an image file named RT-N66U_3.0.0.4_376_3861-g11c21b3.trx. Note the “RT-N66U” in the filename.

  • Noting the similarity above, I also downloaded the latest firmware ZIP file for the N66U, (which had identical filenames for the embedded firmware files). I compared the two files, extracted from the two downloaded ZIP files using the Windows utility Hashcalc, generating both MD5 and SHA-1 check-hashes. The two firmware files appear to be exactly identical based on a match of both the MD5 and SHA-1 hashes, however the web based configuration page correctly identifies the router as a RT-N66R and not the N66U after an upgrade using this firmware. So, obviously, there is something going on here that is not dependent on the firmware file itself.

I don’t know what this all means, but it is a data-point that you may find interesting.

Another point is that, though this router will not load the Shibby version of the Tomato firmware, it does have the ability of creating a client-side VPN connection, which is better than nothing.

Jim (JR)

This question raises my question. I read the H/W requirements and bought the Asus N12. Once I was in the details of flashing it I discovered a paragraph in the VYPRVPN router app instructions which says 64 MB RAM recommended with 40 MB Free. That is impossible on the Asus N12 as it has only 32 MB RAM, and after flashing with the Tomato VPN Mini distribution, 20 MB RAM free. I have two questions:

  1. Will Goldenfrog please update the H/W pre-requisites to include this recommendation about RAM size? Otherwise more people will buy routers that don’t meet the recommendations for RAM size.
  2. Has anyone been able to run the VYPRVPN router app reliably with the non-recommended amount of RAM in the Asus N12?
    Thank you,
    Matthew

@jharris1993 I remember viewing a YouTube video in which the presenter was emphatic (in that the information came from Asus, allegedly) that the U and R models are absolutely identical; the R stands for Retail and was released to either conform or subvert some US retail marketing law. FWIW.

I’d LOVE to see that video. Do you have a link to it?

Thanks!

Jim (JR)

@jharris1993 Well, I don’t sign in to YouTube now after heeding Tim Berners Lee’s exhortation that, if it is free, you are the product. So there is no history to check. But I thought I would give it a quick search and something caught my eye… came across it by accident…

Sadly, further proof if ever there was needed, the Uploader does NOT claim the info came from Asus… there you go… memory is a construct, and I remain as fallible as I have always been :smile: … I hope this guy mentions something that might solve your problems… I intend to Tomato’ise my N66U in due course… after I finish the plumbing :smile:

All the best