Simple Tomato Firmware Install On Asus RT-N16 Router

The Asus RT-N16 router is one of the most powerful routers currently available. The RT-N16 has 802.11n, gigabit network ports, a fast processor, lots of memory and flash, and two USB ports for running a printer and external hard drive at the same time.

The stock Asus firmware is not that great, people have reported a lot of problems with it. So a great way to improve this router is to install a third party firmware. The two most popular are Tomato and DD-WRT. Tomato seems to have all the advanced features plus it is easier to use than DD-WRT so I decided to install Tomato. The standard version of Tomato does not support USB. Luckily there is another project called TomatoUSB that allows the use of the USB ports on the RT-N16.

The only problem with the alternate firmwares is that the documentation is severely lacking. There doesn’t seem to be a single, easy to follow guide on how to install the firmware. You have to spend many hours reading forum posts that are sometimes contradictory.

In reality installing Tomato is actually pretty simple once you figure it out. There is a lot of confusing information online, but if you follow the steps below you will have a working Tomato install:

  1. Download the latest version of TomatoUSB from here: http://tomatousb.org/download.  For the Asus RT-N16 you need to use the “Ext” build for Kernel 2.6 MIPSR2. The Ext build has the most features and it will fit in the RT-N16’s flash space. I used Build 47, but use whatever the latest version is.
  2. Install the Firmware Restoration Utility from the CD that came with the router. Run \Utility\setup.exe from the CD to install it. If you no longer have the CD you can also download it from the Asus website.
  3. Disable the firewall on your computer. This is required, the Restoration Utility refuses to run unless it is disabled. To disable it on Vista or Windows 7, hit the Start key then type firewall to get to the firewall control panel. On XP you should be able to go to the Control Panel and find the Firewall icon.
  4. Using an ethernet cable plug your computer into one of the 4 LAN ports on the router.
  5. Open a web browser and go to http://192.168.1.1. Verify that the router login page loads. If nothing loads then your computer is not able to reach the router. You’ll need to fix this problem before continuing.
  6. Run the Asus Firmware Restoration Utility from the Start menu. If it gives you an error about the firewall then your firewall isn’t disabled. You need to disable it before continuing.
  7. Click the Browse button and select the file that you downloaded in step #1. Don’t click the upload button yet.
  8. Put the router in recovery mode: Unplug the router. Hold down the Reset button. Plug the router back in. Once the power light starts slowly flashing release the reset button. The power light should continue to flash. The flashing light means the router is ready to accept the new firmware.
  9. Click the upload button in the Restoration utility. The firmware will now start uploading into the router. Don’t touch anything while the firmware is being uploaded. After the upload is complete wait five minutes or so just to be sure everything is done.
  10. Now reset the settings to default: Unplug the router. Hold the WPS button on the back of the router. Plug the router back in. Hold the button for about 30 seconds and release it.
  11. Open a browser and go to http://192.168.1.1. Login with user “admin” and password “admin”. You should be logged into Tomato. Now you can configure your router using the Tomato GUI.

I’ve used the above steps to successfully install Tomato on my Rt-N16. If you have any suggestions or improvements to this guide let me know by leaving a comment.

This page is ad free as a service for RT-N16 users. The only thing I ask is that if you found this page useful and happen to be ordering something from Amazon.com, that you click on this link before placing your order: Amazon Link. It doesn’t cost you anything, it is completely anonymous, and I get a small referral fee that pays for the hosting of this site. If you never order anything from Amazon then don’t worry about it, enjoy the site for free.

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96 Responses to Simple Tomato Firmware Install On Asus RT-N16 Router

  1. geff kanton says:

    i would like to install a tomato dual wan firmware on Asus N16.I can’t discern which one is dual wan or newer.Please help…

  2. T Y Yang says:

    Are there any blocs/notes on Port Forwarding one can read and learn from ?

  3. T Y Yang says:

    I’ve tries installing Tomato-USB on my Asus Rt-N16 router successfully,but cant get the Port Forwarding settings to work. How do i revert back to the Asus stock software ? from the Asus disc ?
    Will appreciate your help on this, I’m not computer savy,but your notes are GREAT.

  4. Jaro Gress says:

    Some versions of Tomato firmware are set as no DHCP by default. You have to set up the PC’s TCP/IP manually. That can be changed later in the router.

  5. Michael says:

    Does anybody know if installing tomato on Asus RT-N16 will add a modem functionality. I understand that it isn’t a modem out of the box.

    thanks.

  6. Prime says:

    @duFo

    You bricked your routers using the NVRAM60K builds, these are for Linksys routers only.

    You may be able to use a serial cable to repair, research this on the DD-WRT website/forum.

  7. duFo says:

    Hi, I have same problem with two RT-N16,

    It just can’t boot.

    I have toastman tomato build: tomato-K26USB-NVRAM60K-1.28.7495.2MIPSR2-Toastman-RT-VPN.trx

    If i turn on router, LED’s just blink for 2 seconds and thats all. Restore button and WPS button doesn’t work.

    I used this toastmat build for 2 weeks WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS. But now…

    I’m greatful for every help

  8. Kernel Sanders says:

    The most features you can get are from the shibby version of tomato.

    Enter into your web address, ” tomato.groov.pl/index.php?dir=K26%2Fbuild5x-083V “.

    Control f search for ” tomato-K26USB-1.28.RT5x-MIPSR2-083V-AIO.trx “.

    Right click and “save target as” in internet explorer or right click and “save link as” in firefox.

  9. Boozer says:

    I was halfway through the firmware update when my cat walked on my powerstrip and shut everything down. Ive gone back through the process numerous times and everything seems to work but when i pull up 192.168.1.1 its a blank page but the tomato icon is next to the ip…..it also seems to hang on system recovery succeeds! Please wait for system reboot….tia

  10. BigGayAl says:

    Thanks. Worked with no problems. I’m glad I found this page after going through hundreds of useless, confusing forums and wikis.

  11. DAG says:

    OOPs The correct URL [192.168.2.1] is on last line, earlier value is a typo

  12. DAG says:

    I bought RT N-16 wireless router for its specs. Using it with WIN7 Ultimate operating system and connecting to Verizon dsl. ASUS tech support is very good, their documentation is in many languages but with limited helpful information, Documentation states URL for the router is 192.168.1.1, this is not correct it is 198.162.2.1.

    Verizon is very poor. With help of ASUS support managed to access using both direct wire, and wirelessly. Verizon do not support ASUS, and tech support could only suggest using “DHCP”, which is not a type option, and pushing hard to sign up for expensive “premium” tech support (with no indication they have people who know ASUS routers). Could not say what type of isp services was being provided (e.g. PPPoE, dynamic, static etc.) One ‘Tech’ suggested Dynamic, the next Static.

    Have several times managed to access internet, but it is not reliable, often dropping. I suspect this may be due to conflicts between ASUS expected connection protocol and Verizon actual.
    The main reason for this post is to provide correct URL address 192.168.2.1

  13. Dan says:

    bbmak :
    What happen if you DDWRT installed? How do you switch from DDWRT to TomatoUSB?

    Easy. Go to the administration tab, firmware upgrade, and point it to the tomato file. Check the box that says to erase NVRAM or reset to default, and click upgrade. When you upgrade, it will flash and then reboot into tomato. In order to install tomato on my rt-n16 I first flashed it with dd-wrt and then tomato, and didn’t have to mess with the firmware recovery or tftp

  14. Fábio Prado says:

    For me, it only worked by installing the latest version of the Ext build TomatoUSB via tftp. I downloaded a tftp client for windows and downloaded the firmware restoration mode of the router.

  15. Ken says:

    Just unpacked and re downloaded the software to the router and it works fine.

  16. Ken says:

    OK so I forgot to unzip the file. Is it possible to re-install after you unzip?

  17. Ken says:

    Help – I have tried but the power light keeps flashing and I can not access the router? Anybody have any ideas?

  18. Kok Fong says:

    Great write up…I’ve successfully flashed the tomato and my Asus RT-N16 is rocking now 🙂

  19. Nick says:

    I ended up flashing it to it and the orginal write up worked with zero problems for me. (it did get stuck at 99, but as everyone mentioned that didn’t affect anything) All the problems I had for the most part vanished. No more constand drops of connections. Wired speed is great, wireless speed is still spotty raning from 2mb – 16bm. (wired connections test at 20mb 90% of time)

  20. Jeff says:

    Thanks for this hugely helpful write up. I used it to flash an ASUS RT-N12 with the NOUSB STD firmware. After about 3 hours of frustration I found this–Worked great, thank you! If the PC cannot find the IP address in step 11, unplug the router again, wait 10 seconds, re-plug. It’s all tomato goodness 🙂

  21. Nick says:

    Does changing the firmware from stock to tomato possibly help fix loss of connections? By brand new RT-n16 loses connection with the modem about once a day and the wi-fi goes up and down by the 15 minutes. I replaced a netgear router than went dead but worked fine until it did. The modem connected direct to a device works great. So figuring the router has the issues. Im techie enough to do this install, but don’t want to wast the time if different firmware can fix disconnect issues.

  22. Bicot says:

    Hello, Just a few words to confirm that the original method listed still works. Using K26USB-1.28.9054MIPSR2 on Win 7 x64 all went fine. The infamous uploading stuck at 99% appeared so router was shut down and rest of procedure went fine. Thanks a TON as Tomato ironed out all the bugs and instabiliies I experienced with the Asus firmware. Open source rocks!!!

  23. Dave says:

    Great instructions. Unfortunately the Asus Firmware Restoration Utility wouldn’t connect/upload for me. I even went so far as to hardcode my notebook’s ethernet port to 192.168.1.2. I tried tftp after a few tries and it worked well.

    In WinXP command line I used (after putting router in recovery mode):

    tftp -i 192.168.1.1 put e:\Downloads\tomato-K26US
    B-1.28.9054MIPSR2-beta-vpn3.6\tomato-K26USB-1.28.9054MIPSR2-beta-vpn3.6.trx

    Response was:
    Transfer successful: 6823936 bytes in 21 seconds, 324949 bytes/s

    The power light didn’t come back on. The unit just sat there, so I walked away and came back later (well over 10 mintutes). Same thing. So I unplugged and replugged and tomato booted right up.

  24. David GS says:

    I bought the ASUS router about 3 weeks ago and it was incredibly glitchy … HUGE issues with it having a hard time finding a dynamic IP addresses and, for whatever reason, it had huge issues with facebook (havent figured that one out). Was about to return it when I read all the reviews on the firmware issues and thought I would give tomatoUSB a shot.

    For what its worth I totally bricked my ASUS router doing this the 1st time … for whatever reason I forgot to UNZIP the RAR file when I uploaded the firmware and the unit was toast. Luckily it was still pretty new so the computer shop simply exchanged units.

    I tried again and similar to Crystal (post 10) the upload stalled @ 99% but after resetting the WPS we had success (and of course uploading the trf file not the rar file).

    Let this be a lesson! Dont forget the EVER so important step of unzipping the RAR!

  25. Anonymous says:

    DebWrt now supports the asus rt-n16, full debian on the device http://dev.debwrt.net/wiki/AsusRT-N16

  26. Rio says:

    My RT-N16 router can detect MFC-7340 printer only if I enabled both USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 OHCI. You may have a try.

    For scanner feature, you can follow the link below:
    http://www.shcherbyna.com/?p=983

  27. Pingback: Asus RT-N16 (router) Tomato USB and PPTP via iPad. « Jojo Kahanding’s Blog

  28. pv says:

    does any body has steps to set up brother MFC-7340 printer/scanner/fax on tamoto firm ware. I have problems scanner and fax setup.

    Thanks,

  29. pv says:

    I am able to fix my router stuck in recovery mode. It is my mistake. i tried to loading tamotousb firmware *.rar file rather unzip and load the file. once i did it using the steps it worked. I am sure above steps should also works.

    http://www.yourbts.com/blog/installing-tomato-and-optware-on-an-asus-rt-n16-router/

    Thanks,

  30. jimmy says:

    I had windows 7 64-bit. the firmware restoration utility didn’t work for me either. I downloaded wintftp client which is freeware. picked the tomato trx file to upload. put my router in recovery mode. set wintftp client to push to 192.168.1.1. It said it pushed the file (lights blinked fast on router). Waited 5 minutes. unplugged router. the plugged it back in. After about 1 minute, the router came up with tomato usb installed at 192.168.1.1 admin/admin.

  31. pv says:

    I used the above steps and it went fine. But router stuck in reboot and it never comes out of it. How to resolve this.

    Thanks,

  32. Burnso says:

    This worked for me.

    I just wanted to know though, what exactly is the purpose of step 10 (“Now reset the settings to default…”)?

  33. Peter says:

    This was a *huge* pain for me, and it may happen for other people. I had to manually set my IP as 192.168.1.2 in order for the Firmware recovery tool to work, but then I had to set it back to automatically obtain in order to see 192.168.1.1 in the browser. If you are having trouble, try that.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Joe Cohn :
    I followed the instruction installed tomato on my RT-N16 router. But I cannt connect the internet due to no valid IP, and I cannot browse http://192.168.1.1.
    Please give some suggestions.
    Thanks

    I’m having the same issue… I flashed according to procedure. It said it succeeded.. waited 5 minutes. Then held the WPS just like instructions. Now when i try and access the 192.168.1.1 address it doesn’t load?!?!

  35. Crystal says:

    Hey this tutorial works for Asus RT-N16. I just used this and http://tomatousb.org/forum/t-251656/installing-on-rt-n16 and I had no problems. I used the NVRAM command to clear, which is the same as unplugging the router and pressing VPS.

    The upgrade got stopped at 99% but that was due to Asus trying to verify the stuff, which isn’t able to since it’s all difference and such, but it works. If anyone else gets stuck at 99%, just go to IE and type in 192.168.1.1 and you should log in just fine.

    If anyone follows this tutorial, he/she will be fine.

  36. bbmak says:

    What happen if you DDWRT installed? How do you switch from DDWRT to TomatoUSB?

  37. Rob Jobnes says:

    Excellent writeup!! Worked perfectly. Thank you!

  38. Scott says:

    Thanks much! Installation went flawlessly.

  39. Joe Cohn says:

    I followed the instruction installed tomato on my RT-N16 router. But I cannt connect the internet due to no valid IP, and I cannot browse http://192.168.1.1.
    Please give some suggestions.
    Thanks 🙂

  40. sam says:

    thank you for your write up. I’m going to try it out tonight for I’ve just bought a new asus rt-n16 router – hope that I’ll come back with some good news.

  41. bc says:

    Excellent – thank you for this. I was getting more and more frustrated with the ASUS firmware and tomato resolved all my problems. Your write-up worked very well.

  42. anon says:

    the windows tool also didnt work for my win7 64bit.
    i googled and used a tftp app to upload the file, and that worked… thanks for the write-up though.

  43. fubar says:

    For linux users, there’s no need for the ASUS recovery utility (windoze only!). I just flashed my new rt-n16 with the latest tomato usb k26 by holding reset while powering up (power led is flashing), then (I’m using linux and I had the stock router attached to my laptop) do

    tftp 192.168.1.1
    binary
    put [firmware file]

    Once it’s done uploading, the prompt returns and the router just sits – no more blinkenlights – but be patient – wait at least 5′ then power down and you should be able to power up into tomato.

  44. fubar says:

    A quicker method for those who can’t be bothered with the ASUS recovery utility (windoze only!) which appears to just be providing tftp connectivity – I just flashed my new rt-n16 with the latest tomato usb k26 – if you hold reset while you power up until the power led is flashing, you can (I’m using linux and I had the stock router attached to my laptop) do
    tftp 192.168.1.1
    bin
    put [firmware file]

    Once it’s done uploading, the prompt returns and the router just sits – no more blinkenlights – but be patient – wait at least 5′ then power down and you should be able to power up into tomato.

  45. Mario says:

    I am on exactly same boat as Paul, I can get to the Tomato page but I have no internet connectivity on any of my laptops, I am literally pulling my hair at this point.

    HELP PLEASE!

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