Setting up remote access is one thing. Setting up remote access to login to your router is another matter entirely. No, it’s not more difficult to do. In fact, Tomato makes it super-easy. But you need to carefully think about it before you enable it. Here’s why: If you can access your router’s admin panel from outside of LAN, other people can too.
OpenVPN must be installed on both the server and the client. Tomato VPN comes prepackaged with OpenVPN. But you still need to download and install the OpenVPN software for the client computer that you will use to connect. The client computer will use either a static key or SSL/TLS for key exchange. This is necessary to validate both peers.
Your WiFi range depends heavily on the type of antenna you are using. Omnidirectional antennas radiate a full 360 degree radius. Directional antennas radiate that same amount of energy into a more focused direction. With two directional WiFi antennas (and a straight line-of-sight between them) your outdoor WiFi range can span several km/miles.
Tomato firmware enhances the capabilities of consumer rated routers. And unlike software applications that are installed onto your computers operating system, firmware is installed directly onto the flash memory chip. Tomato firmware can be uploaded directly through the admin interface or transferred using a TFTP software utility.
One reason I setup remote access to my home network is to take advantage of Windows RDC (Remote Desktop Connection). Now, I’ll admit that RDC performs better when used in a LAN environment. But in those rare cases when I really need to get into my home computer, it’s nice to know I can log into my Desktop from anywhere.
Home network security isn’t something you should take lightly. And with Tomato, securing your WiFi only takes a moment. But with various WiFi security types, which one is the best one for your home network? Furthermore, if you choose a specific security type, will your computers hardware be compatible? If not, you won’t be able to connect.
Tomato VPN has a built-in VPN server that is capable of taking full advantage of the most secure VPN protocol available, OpenVPN. OpenVPN uses two protocols (static and SSL/TLS). If this is your first shot at setting up a VPN server, I recommend starting out with this method. I think you will find that the “static key” is less difficult to manage.
Without port forwarding, remote access will not work. Why? Because when your computer sends a request for information to WAN (out to the Internet), it is initiating the request from inside your LAN. The only reason the data is allowed back into your private network is because you sent for it. Port forwarding doesn’t need an outbound request.
In this section, we’ll cover a basic home network setup for your Tomato router. We’re not doing anything fancy here. We’ll simply give the router a hostname, sync the time server, create an IP address range for DHCP and finally, setup the wireless access point and shared key. For some people, this is all they will need to setup their home network.
When you flash Tomato firmware to your router, some of the settings from the old firmware may remain. These old settings can cause conflicts and even make the router appear broken, when in fact, the router is perfectly fine. That is why it is so important to clear the flash memory before and after flashing Tomato firmware to your router.