Get More Out Of Your Home Wireless Setup With Open Source Apps

by Ostatic Staff - Oct. 07, 2010

Want better performance out of your home Wi-Fi setup? Most of us are now so dependent on Wi-Fi around the house that we do want that, but not everybody realizes that there are open source tools that can help improve your wireless experience. Since we last covered them here, dd-wrt and Tomato have both come to support for more routers and added functionality. They're open source firmware replacements for the intelligence built into routers, and they can juice your wireless performance and extend your range, in addition to other features.

As noted on the Tomato firmware site:

"Tomato is a small, lean and simple replacement firmware for Linksys' WRT54G/GL/GS, Buffalo WHR-G54S/WHR-HP-G54 and other Broadcom-based routers. It features a new easy to use GUI, a new bandwidth usage monitor, more advanced QOS and access restrictions, enables new wireless features such as WDS and wireless client modes, raises the limits on maximum connections for P2P, allows you to run your custom scripts or telnet/ssh in and do all sorts of things like re-program the SES/AOSS button, adds wireless site survey to see your wifi neighbors, and more."

Indeed, the GUI for Tomato has improved over time, and it can really add much more functionality to your router than you already have. It's Linux-based, and even small things that it's capable of--like giving you automatic reboot options--can provide convenience.

If you haven't looked into dd-wrt, get to know it. It started out as a Linux-based firmware replacement for one Linksys router, intended to add various types of authentication options. Since then, it has ballooned into many downloadable versions for over 200 common Wi-Fi routers. With dd-wrt, you get a whole lot of router options that you wouldn't otherwise have, you can increase your range substantially, and you can get better performance around your home.

If you're totally unfamiliar with these applications, the dd-wrt wiki tutorial page is a good place to get started. Some of us use multiple routers and have old routers around. If that's you, you may especially appreciate these free tools.