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Wireless Networking Linux

Netgear WNR3500L Open Source Router Announced 300

Posted by kdawson
from the still-making-lemonade dept.
MyOpenRouter writes "Netgear has announced the WNR3500L, a brand new, open source, wireless-N gigabit router customizable with third party firmwares. MyOpenRouter is the dedicated source for Netgear open source routers, with the full scoop including a review with screenshots, how-to's, tutorials, firmware downloads, etc. Here's a review and the downloads page." The router can run popular open source firmware including DD-WRT, OpenWRT. and Tomato. It will list for $140.
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Netgear WNR3500L Open Source Router Announced

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  • So what's new? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hatta (162192) * on Monday October 05, 2009 @07:41PM (#29651729) Journal

    What can I do with this that I can't do with a dozen other dd-wrt routers?

  • Re:So what's new? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday October 05, 2009 @07:48PM (#29651785)

    What can I do with this that I can't do with a dozen other dd-wrt routers?

    N routers pretty much kill b/g routers within range. You can't do that with an ordinary dd-wrt router.

  • by PhrostyMcByte (589271) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Monday October 05, 2009 @07:50PM (#29651813) Homepage
    with the popularity of DD-WRT and others, i'm surprised it took wifi companies this long to try to make money on it. linksys made the WRT-54GL a long time ago but didn't try to promote custom firmwares.
  • Re:Progress? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05, 2009 @07:52PM (#29651827)

    It would be better if they open sourced they N wifi adapters. Being able to fully utilize it with an open source OS would be nice.

  • That's kinda silly. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sherl0k (1215370) on Monday October 05, 2009 @07:52PM (#29651829)
    My WRT54G is $100 less than runs custom DD-WRT just fine. If I had gigabit network cards and wireless N i might upgrade, but for a home network not doing much filesharing locally I don't see the point. I think they're just trying to capitalize on the face the code is open-source. And forcing people to pay a premium for it. The WRT310N is $70 new, has practically the same specs, and can be flashed. So what's the benefit?
  • by pwnies (1034518) * <j@jjcm.org> on Monday October 05, 2009 @08:01PM (#29651901) Homepage Journal
    If you're going to drop that much on a router, you're better off getting your own board and a custom radio. More configureable, better hardware. I'm using Ubiquity's routerstation right now with openwrt on it. Really a nice setup for essentially the same price. If you don't want to spend that much though, just get a WRT54GL and drop openwrt/ddwrt/tomato on it. You'll get essentially the same performance minus the wireless N support.
  • Tasty! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MilesNaismith (951682) on Monday October 05, 2009 @08:08PM (#29651967)
    Yum USB, 64-megs RAM, 8 megs flash. Now if only their WiFi driver is OPEN SOURCE and working reliably in all modes. This is my complaint with most Broadcom and Atheros-based products right now, the WiFi driver blobs are a PITA.
  • Re:Tasty! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Simon80 (874052) on Monday October 05, 2009 @08:30PM (#29652129)
    My first question upon seeing this article was actually whether it uses Broadcom hardware. It does. Even the ethernet driver is closed source, let alone the wifi, according to the documentation from Netgear, except that instead of closed source or proprietary, they call it "precompiled". I'm disappointed, and given this, I think I might as well get the hardware from any vendor, because one can't count on the ability to run newer kernels on hardware with so many closed source drivers.
  • Re:So what's new? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kimvette (919543) on Monday October 05, 2009 @08:32PM (#29652145) Homepage Journal

    what about Buffalo? Buffalo helped fund dd-wrt and encourages (or at least used to encourage) the use.of dd-wrt.

    http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/wireless/?p=161 [com.com]

  • by bcrowell (177657) on Monday October 05, 2009 @08:36PM (#29652191) Homepage

    Apart from it being an N router (not sure what Linksys has in the way of N offerings, I'm still using a trusty WRT54G), this thing also has a USB port that you can hook up a USB drive to and use it like a NAS, which is kind of cool.

    The Linksys NSLU2 is $80, which is a lot cheaper than $130 for the WNR3500L. I have an NSLU2, running linux, as a music server, and it works great. Considering what crap hardware most home routers are, I'd hesitate to trust one as a file server. The Marvell $99 [plugcomputer.org] wall-wart computer also looks kind of interesting.

    What would really be handy would be an $80 NAS box that ran, say, debian, with a complete set of useful apps, was easy to set up, and was officially supported. The NSLU2 comes pretty close to this, because Linksys explicitly says it's ok with them if you install linux on it -- but they don't actually support that, and it's really kind of a hassle to set up. It's also a hassle to get the apps you want. E.g., I would really like to be able to run a more recent version of the Unison file synchronizer on my NSLU2, but when I try to compile and run it, it crashes, so I'm stuck with a precompiled binary of an older version.

  • by Mr. DOS (1276020) on Monday October 05, 2009 @08:54PM (#29652321)

    Then: have it continue to work, without crappy performance, randomly rebooting itself, freezing, or slowly grinding to a halt over the course of a day or so.

    That's interesting, because I've found that all the routers I've flashed with DD-WRT (at least half-a-dozen WRT54GL's, a WRT150N, WRT300N, and five WRT54G2's, and maybe one or two others I'm forgetting) saw increased stability and reliability after flashing compared to the stock firmware. Mind you, I didn't attempt to get Wireless-N working with either of the two N routers.

          --- Mr. DOS

  • by chriso11 (254041) on Monday October 05, 2009 @09:02PM (#29652373) Journal

    The NSLU2 is too slow - no gigabit, processor too slow, too little memory. I recently dumped my NSLU2 and went with an MSI Wind nettop - only $140 for the box and $25 for 2Gig of memory. Add $90 for a 1TB drive, and you completely blow away a NSLU2 in performance.
    Ubuntu Server with webmin. Solid and quiet print server/NAS. Set it up and I haven't needed to look at it for months.

  • Re:So what's new? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by i.of.the.storm (907783) on Monday October 05, 2009 @09:09PM (#29652413) Homepage
    It's possible that he's implying that N routers will kill any b or g routers that are within range of its network by drowning out their signals, or something like that. I don't know whether there's any truth to that, as I have yet to experience or want an N router myself.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05, 2009 @09:36PM (#29652585)

    A full blown mini mainboard [pcengines.ch] with serial, parallel, video, audio and usb ports, much more RAM and processing power, compact flash, mini-pci and pci slots, etc. plus a powerful wifi mini-pci card [pcengines.ch]. It's not N, for now, but who cares? The day you need N it will just be a matter of shelling out 20-40$ to get a new mini-pci card that supports it.
    Call me when these open routers' prices drop to $25. Today everything above $50 is a complete ripoff.

    Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated in any way with that shop. I just have been a very happy customer in the past when my company needed some embedded boards and after a good search on the net we ended up purchasing some of their their old WRAP systems to develop wireless stuff and firewalls.

  • Re:So what's new? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05, 2009 @10:03PM (#29652733)

    If you're really interested in an fiddling with your router(s) why not have a go at a Router Station or Router Station Pro? You get to play mad scientist and maybe be proud of yourself. (www.ubnt.com)

  • Re:So what's new? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by scottv67 (731709) on Monday October 05, 2009 @10:21PM (#29652833)
    >CRAPPY N routers kill B/G routes withing range. a real N router that has a 3rd radio that operates in the 5ghz band does not affect any of the B/G routers around at all.

    Third radio? What the freak are you talking about? Some routers may support 802.11n in both the 2.4GHz spectrum and the 5GHz spectrum but that doesn't involve a "third radio". Also, what routers have you seen that "kill" existing 802.11b/g hardware?
  • Re:Tasty! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Simon80 (874052) on Monday October 05, 2009 @10:24PM (#29652853)
    Yay for slashvertisements that don't live up to their own hype.
  • by chappel (1069900) on Monday October 05, 2009 @11:50PM (#29653321)

    So did the last 'open source' router I bought from Netgear - then I found out it could ONLY be configured with IE6. I think I'll hold off on buying any more 'open source' netgear equipment until I can confirm they aren't still confused about this 'open source' stuff.

  • Re:So what's new? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by joel48 (103238) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @12:12AM (#29653455)

    This is a nice unit, but the CPU limits the wireless throughput. I have OpenWRT on an Asus WL-520GU, and my wireless transfer over a WPA2 link maxes out at about 6 Mbps instead of the 10 or 11 Mbps I get when connected over Ethernet cable to the box. The CPU/chipset does doesn't have enough to keep up with the encryption at the higher bitrates. I'm waiting for a good 802.11n OpenWRT supported router to be available and I'll jump right away, even though all my clients are still 802.11g only - the n routers usually have more CPU power and/or WPA2 better supported in the hardware.

  • by afidel (530433) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @12:12AM (#29653459)
    Yes, but for $140 there are plenty of solutions with dual radios and USB but generally less RAM then this unit. Personally I'm waiting for the dual radio n device with USB which supports open firmware for ~$100. I figure it will be available by late November.
  • If you only use wireless to surf the web, shut the hell up. I can't believe the number of people posting today who don't see any difference between "G" network speeds and "N" network speeds. With 802.11n, we're talking about a wireless connection that is finally about as fast as a wired 100Mb connection. Still nothing compared to a gigabit wired connection, but for anyone who needs to transfer any kind of large files or has the simplest of file servers set up at home or at the office, the speed of 802.11n makes a HUGE difference. Couple that with the gigabit ports on the router and you've got a router that is one of only a handful of 802.11n routers that isn't a bottleneck between a gigabit wired network and the 802.11n wireless clients.

    Comparing a device like this to a dirt-cheap poor performing WRT54G or even a WRT54GL as "proof" that it is overpriced is absolutely ridiculous. This device has far more RAM, far more storage, gigabit ethernet ports, and a USB port that will allow you to add more custom applications and/or host a USB storage device for local file sharing. It's not even in the same sport as 802.11g routers, and it's $40 cheaper than an Airport Extreme Base Station.

    Is everybody on crack today? What the hell is wrong with you people? Not only is this a pretty well-spec'd device, it comes from a company that is willingly cooperating with the community to get open source firmwares working on the device. And all you people can do is whine about it costing more than a cheapo router? I don't get it.

  • Re:So what's new? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @01:46AM (#29653845)

    Also, they're nearly impossible to brick having special built-in recovery options.

  • by RubberDogBone (851604) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @01:57AM (#29653901)

    If this Netgear is like other modern era Netgears, don't worry: it will be in full supply on all the refub channels in about six months, and for probably $29.

    Netgear used to make great stuff. The WGR614 is nice and cheap and just plain works, aside from being B/G only and missing some modern stuff. Some of the more advanced Netgear stuff is great out of the box but there is a spectacular failure rate on the hardware after six months or so.

    For example, check out the Netgear WNR854T reviews on Amazon or Newegg. Amazon: 169 reviews, 106 give it one star. Newgegg 232 reviews, 68% of them were one or two eggs.

    Scary stuff. The local Frys store will happily sell you a refub'd one for very few bucks. It'll work for six months and then die.

    After being a Netgear loyalist for years, I got the linux version of the WRT54GL and it at least works. Not a fan of Linksys though.

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