Tomato

What router should I use to run a VPN?

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Episode 1487

Al from California

Al wants to get a router that can run Tomato or DD-WRT, so he can run VPNs through it because mesh routers aren't open source. Leo says a better option is to use an old computer as his router. pfSense is a good open source router app that can do that. It'll give him far more powerful hardware that can do what he would want it to do. He can even use a Raspberry Pi for it.

What is wrong with my router?

Asus AC3200

Episode 1308

Tony from San Diego, CA

Tony's router is starting to get flakey. Leo says that we've become used to using cheap routers. However, the cheaper the router, the faster it will wear out. If Tony buys a better quality router, it'll be more consistent and last longer. Netgear makes good routers.

The problem could also be Tony's modem. He'll want a DOCSIS III modem. For that, Leo likes the Arris Surfboard SB6141 which is $70 on Amazon.

Do I need firewalls if I have a router?

Episode 1175

Joe from Canton, OH

Joe just got a router and wants to know if he really needs firewalls anymore. Leo says no. Joe could turn on the Windows firewall, but any third party firewall isn't really needed because the router is essentially a "dumb box" that prevents attacks from incoming traffic.

Routers, though, aren't impervious to attack, so he'll need to keep the firmware up to date, or even use a third party firmware like Tomato or DDWRT.

How can I make my router work better?

ASUS 3-In-1 Wireless Router (RT-N12)

Episode 1156

Aaron from Tuscon, AZ

Aaron just bought a Belkin router and he wants to know what he can do to make it work better. Leo says that he can make it more secure by turning off WAN administration and Universal Plug and Play. Both allow for holes in the router to let in traffic like gaming.

Another option is to get a router that can use open source firmware like DDWRT or Tomato. Asus is one such manufacturer.

Install More Secure and Reliable Firmware On Your Router

The default firmware that comes pre-installed in a lot of new routers can be insecure and problematic. For instance, a lot of new routers use something called "WPS" (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) which is enabled by default and is supposed to allow users to easily secure their network. Unfortunately, this is flawed and can give a remote attacker access to the network. In some cases, it's not even possible to disable this insecure feature.

How will DD-WRT improve my router's performance? (Part 2)

Episode 1057

Brett from New Jersey

Leo says the problem with new routers is that the software has all sorts of security issues. Since this is the first thing on the network, it's important that it be a secure line of defense.

DD-WRT and Tomato are more secure firmware alternatives to what comes on the router by default. These are both open source, very well written, and are kept up to date. So it is a good idea to replace the router's firmware with DD-WRT, if his router supports it.