How to Install Toastman’s Tomato Build on the Asus RT-N16 Router

For those who need a low-cost router with the power and stability to run mid to large Wi-Fi installations, the Linux based Tomato router firmware paired with the Asus RT-N16 router is an excellent choice. This combination has been deployed successfully by the build author Toastman and has monitoring and QoS capabilities built in.

Unfortunately, an easy layout of instructions to install this build is not readily available so I’ve decided to put one up myself. Please leave feedback if anything further needs to be clarified.


1. Unpack your RT-N16 Router.

2. Boot into Windows and download the Toastman Tomato build you wish to install:
a. Click
b. Go into the most recent version folder ending with STD (e.g. 1.28.7501 STD)
c. Choose the Tomato-K26 version you need. (NVRAM60K builds do not work, I recommend the full USB/VPN build: tomato-K26USB-1.28.7501MIPSR2Toastman-RT-VPN.trx)
STD – Normal build
USB – USB Support (printers, external drives)
Ext – STD + Extra Utilities + NTFS
VPN – STD + Extra Utilities + NTFS

3. Download the Asus Firmware Restoration Utility on your PC. (Updating firmware directly from the Asus router menu doesn’t work) You can download it from this link: (free registration required):

4. Set a manual IP address ( on your ethernet/LAN port on the install computer and connect your computer to one of the router LAN ports with an ethernet cable.

5. Press the black reset (restore) button on the back of the router and plug in the power. Keep the reset button pressed until the power LED blinks slowly. (this puts the router into recovery mode)

Now you’re ready to flash.

6. Run the Firmware Restoration Utility on your PC or laptop and select the downloaded .trx firmware and upload.

7. Firmware should load completely. Connect to to confirm the flash update. Change your computer’s manual IP address back to DHCP and enjoy! [Note: If router’s DHCP setting is set to “off” this needs to be changed to “on” in the router menu as commented below. (login as admin/admin)]

Note: If unable to get into the admin menu, try a hardware reset to bring back default settings.
a. Press black reset button for 5-10 seconds.
b. After settings have been reset, power off the router for 5 seconds and turn back on.
c. Connect to and confirm restore.

3 Responses to How to Install Toastman’s Tomato Build on the Asus RT-N16 Router

  1. dave says:

    Thanks for posting the helpful directions. But there are some errata:
    – on my RT-N16, the black button on the back is labeled RESTORE, not RESET.
    – after flashing with Toastman’s Tomato, his default configuration is with the DHCP server turned OFF. Therefore, step 7 of your recipe won’t work. You have to leave computer with a manual address (, log in to Tomato at (the default credentials are admin/admin) and enable the DHCP Server under Basic/Network. Save the new settings, using the button at the bottom of the web page (which may not be visible on a small screen). Only then can you change your PC back to using DHCP.

  2. David says:

    Thanks for the feedback! I just assumed any single button behind a router is a “reset” button but if it is labelled as “RESTORE”, that should be the right one.

    As for the DHCP settings in router, I believe it worked at the time I wrote the article as I based it off a fresh install for a different location, but if DHCP is defaulted to off, yes, it should be set to on as you described.

    Article updated to clarify any confusions.

    Note: Links seem to have changed so I will update that accordingly.

  3. Cachapa says:

    Thanks for the information.

    I had trouble getting the router in recovery mode. The power light would blink slowly for a few seconds but would then stop and I could never get the windows restore utility to find the router.

    In my investigation I came across another option which turned out to be a lot simpler and is also cross-platform: upgrade to a version of DD-WRT using the router’s configuration web interface. Unlike with Tomato, the ASUS firmware recognizes the DD-WRT firmware as valid, so the update will run without problems.

    Once you have DD-WRT installed, you can then use the new admin interface to install Tomato.

    I followed the instructions in the following site. A link to a working DD-WRT firmware image is on step 2:

    For the rest I followed the instructions here and everything is working just fine.

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