Forgive me for not blogging sooner. Hurricane Ike put a real monkey wrench in the works. I still have some fence, inside the house cleanup, and roof repairs to do.  Fortunately none of the computer systems were affected I think.  That will keep me busy for sure and even less time for blogging for a bit maybe.

Anyway with a certain isp (the company that supplies you internet services) demanding bandwidth limitations (how much internet you can use in a month) on users, I decided to upgrade my router(gateway (the box I use to go between the (cable)modem and my computer to add another level of protection from the internet) to what is called Tomato firmware (the instructions that manage the unit), Not all routers will allow you do this unless you use the firmware from the people who make it. Tomato is a special verion of linux that is intended for routers to replace the firmware normally installed on them. One neat advantage of Tomato is that will will add up all the internet usage for you to keep your isp honest.  I do not want to get caught with usage above the cap so I to have to pay extra.

Other firmwares are DD-WRT, FreeWRT, OpenWRT, and others.  Router(gateways) made by Linksys a Division of Cisco are probably the most used to do firmware installs. IT people talk about Cisco when talking about hooking computers together especially when talking about the internet. Cisco has kind of set the standard for the industry when connecting computers together.   The firmware will actually add other features that the standard firmware will not. In fact, to purchase specialized routers with the same features can cost you up to several hundred dollars. That is for another time to discuss. DD-WRT and OpendWRT will even work on old computers as replacements for off the shelf router(gateways).  Here we go again, using old computers to be taught new tricks to save money.

In most cases installing firmware is not hard, but it is better that maybe a more experienced user or computer technician try to tackle such projects. If whoever does the install is not careful, the unit can be rendered useless real quick and not repairable.  I would expect that most retail computer stores might not do this for you. If you can find an independent computer store with excellent computer techs, they can tell you if your setup can be done or recommend equipment that will. I have seen sites on the internet that sell already modified units. (caveat emptor = let the buyer beware).

Till next time!

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