I’ve used home/home office based routers since Comcast installed my first cable internet connection.  One of my favorites was the BEFR11S4 from Linksys.  It was a very nice, simple design which had nice features like syslog.  Linksys even provided a utility to capture the syslog packets, which provided not only network management actions, but the connections being made both inbound and outbound on the network.  But alas, the Linksys routers began to lock up arbitrarily under heavy traffic load.. and I began to look elsewhere.

Currently, I use a Buffalo WHR-HP-G54 which is very nice and reliable. I’d encountered a good alternate firmware, DD-WRT, for which its users highly recommended this Buffalo router as a good solid router.  I was able to leverage Virtual LAN’s and other features with this firmware, which I had only seen in commercial-grade routers.  But DD-WRT didn’t have the connection information provided by the Linksys router, which I liked so much–and really found useful.  Since I have kids and data to protect (in that order), I needed to monitor the connection. I also wanted to keep the fine-tuning and security offered by DD-WRT.

So, enter Tomato… another alternate to your router’s firmware.  What impressed me with this firmware is that not only did it easily load using the DD-WRT’s administration page, it copied all of my settings from the configuration.  I was able to have the router fully configured and running in less than 10 minutes.  Impressive.

The management page is also very simple and easy to navigate.  I currently am working on a CSharp service to capture the syslog packets related to connections, and persist them in a SQL Server 2005 Express database.  I’ll post that code once I have it finished.

One other nice feature of Tomato: graphical representations of bandwith loading.

The site for tomato is here: http://www.polarcloud.com/tomato/