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Wireless Networking Linux

Netgear WNR3500L Open Source Router Announced 300

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:5, Insightful)

      by binarylarry ( 1338699 ) on Monday October 05, 2009 @07:46PM (#29651771)

      The OEM appears to be driving this themselves. They didn't have to be sued to enable this and no one had to figure out how to load their own software on it.

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

        by mrcaseyj ( 902945 ) on Monday October 05, 2009 @08:06PM (#29651953)

        If you can settle for G instead of N then you might want to look at the Asus WL-520GU for only $45. Asus is also friendly to dd-wrt and other firmwares. Unlike the Linksys WRT54GL, the 520GU also has a USB port you could plug a hard drive into and do your backups or download torrents or share a printer. Another advantage of getting one with a USB port is that your router's operating system can be any size and isn't limited to the router's 4MByte flash. I've had my 520GU for a few months now and haven't had any problems. I've had uptimes of more than a month, limited only by how long I've been able to go without somebody mistakenly unplugging it.

        • by Hatta ( 162192 ) *

          Yep, that's the one I have too. Real nice piece of gear.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by AvitarX ( 172628 )

          I have an Asus 500 something or other (USB, and N, or Draft-N at least), and it is great to be able to torrent on it, and to grab nzb's of TV shows from my phone, but it only accesses the HD at 2 MB/sec, which can lead to streaming issues sometimes (tested using DD from the command line), and certainly limiting its usefulness as a file server for backups.

        • "If you can settle for G instead of N then you might want to look at the Asus WL-520GU for only $45."

          Why are so many routers now 2 1/2 times the previous prices?

          I bought 4 of the Netgear WGR614NAR 802.11b/g [newegg.com] for $15 each, delivered. They seem fine.
          • I meant to say, $140? Why are so many routers now 2 1/2 times the previous prices?
            • by Bught_42 ( 1012499 ) on Monday October 05, 2009 @09:50PM (#29652663)
              Wireless N and gigabit Ethernet aren't cheap like b/g with 100Mb Ethernet, also the one you linked is a refurb. The ones where they allow you to load on your own firmware are usually a bit more expensive because the throw in more memory and a few other things.
            • 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.

              • by Dibblah ( 645750 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @06:55AM (#29655003)

                Interestingly, these routers (specifically the WNR854T) when they die are not completely dead.

                The symptom I have seen on both of the units I had is loss of functionality, followed by "dim" blinking lights.

                This is caused in my case by the on-PCB 5v supply failing - It outputs about 4v. Since the 3.3v is derived from the 5v line, the CPU is also affected. It appears to be the SMPSU chip itsself that fails - Paralleling a working 5v supply onto the 5v line works.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by klui ( 457783 )
          Unless the driver situation has changed, the USB port on the 520GU is only good for USB1.1 speeds and is really made for printer connectivity. USB2 and HDs will cause problems. http://wiki.openwrt.org/oldwiki/openwrtdocs/hardware/asus/wl520gu [openwrt.org]
    • You can trust it to work for YOU.

    • 802.11n? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Monday October 05, 2009 @07:50PM (#29651805) Homepage
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward


        dd-wrt supported 802.11n list [dd-wrt.com]

        20ish models there?

        • ...and how many have gigabit? I only see one with it listed, most of the others don't list port speed at all.

          • by schon ( 31600 )

            and how many have gigabit? I only see one with it listed

            Funny - when I look at it, it shows the Linksys 310N, 320N, 350N, 500N, as well as the Buffalo WZR-G144NH all have gigabit.

            Last time I checked, that makes 5, not 1.

            • and how many have gigabit? I only see one with it listed

              Funny - when I look at it, it shows the Linksys 310N, 320N, 350N, 500N, as well as the Buffalo WZR-G144NH all have gigabit.

              Last time I checked, that makes 5, not 1.

              Actually, upon second look, there's six. I didn't expect to find that information in the "notes" column when the first place I found it was in the "Ethernet port count" column in one of the first rows there.

              I was going to fix the page, but can't be bothered to create an account I'll never use again.

        • Some of those are explicitly "not supported yet" or "device needed for port" or other works-in-progress. Some of the trickier ones have multiple revisions and only one revision works, usually the earlier one. Some of those are out of production and difficult to find. They don't all have gigabit and USB, either.

          Earth-shattering? No. Convenient? Yes.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by dotancohen ( 1015143 )

          20ish models there?

          Please rephrase that when referring to ROUTER MODELS. I click on that link so fast the mouse button cracked, and there was not a single hottie on that page.

    • It's N, and has USB (Score:5, Informative)

      by langelgjm ( 860756 ) on Monday October 05, 2009 @07:50PM (#29651807) Journal
      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.
      • Or a print server, for those of us that have older (but reliable) non-network printers.
        • Or both with a mythical USB hub.

          I've got a WRT54G and a SheevaPlug, combining the two seems would be awesome.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bcrowell ( 177657 )

        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 compu

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by chriso11 ( 254041 )

          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.

      • by chill ( 34294 )

        So does by Linksys WRT600N, which I've been using for over a year now with DD-WRT.

        A/B/G/N, gigabit ethernet, USB for printing or storage, I'm still looking for what is really different. Maybe it is just a product refresh now that "N" is "official". But, they also have the 300N, 310N, 320N and 610N, all of which pretty much meet those specs.

      • 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.

        And 64 MiB of RAM. The possible applications of many of the other routers on the market are limited by their having only 16 or 32 MiB of RAM.

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

      by TopSpin ( 753 ) * on Monday October 05, 2009 @07:57PM (#29651861) Journal

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

      You can help to convince other OEMs to embrace open platforms, as Netgear has, by buying this product instead of hacking some other box.

    • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Monday October 05, 2009 @08:11PM (#29652001)

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

      For starters, find it in a store. When my old 802.11g AP died, I had a hell of a time trying to do a JOIN between "StoreShelf" and "open source firmware compatibility list." I wanted to just go to the store, not order online. 95% of the stuff on the lists for DD-WRT, Tomato-whatever, and OpenWRT hasn't been sold in at least a year, or can only be found in one or two countries.

      Second, it's well equipped: you get N radios, a decent amount of RAM (64MB is top of the market, many devices have 8-16) and a full set of gigabit ports; I didn't notice whether or not they're handled by the CPU or an actual switch chip (the latter is better, if I remember correctly.) The list of 802.11n routers supported by the open source firmwares is pretty small. It becomes scarce when you limit yourself to gigabit ports and more than 16MB of ram. The only shame I see with this is that there's only 8MB of flash; that's stingy, but not the end of the world, as they include USB and DD-WRT and company are capable of using external storage for the OS. USB flashkeys, and 30MB/sec ones at that, are pretty damn cheap these days.

      Then: have it work, without spending an hour reading through scattered documentation, wikis, FAQs, and forum pages trying to figure out if you'll brick the device you just spent $50-100 on.

      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. All of which I have had repeated problems with. On my N router, I could only get about 8MB/sec with DDWRT; on the stock firmware, I got 12.

      I love DD-WRT, it's amazingly, amazingly configurable- but finding supported N hardware that works reliably is a royal pita. I'm pleased to see that someone is going to release hardware that plays nice with the open source community and has a better chance of working properly. It's an extra bonus that it is pretty decently spec'd out.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Mr. DOS ( 1276020 )

        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

      • by LordKronos ( 470910 ) on Monday October 05, 2009 @09:34PM (#29652569)

        Good summary, but you forgot the part where you not only need to know the model number, but often the revision number, too. Sometimes only certain revisions are supported, and the flashing method is different for the various revisions that are supported.

      • by maugle ( 1369813 )
        Mmmmmm.... royal pita.
      • by dch24 ( 904899 )
        I agree with you on finding them in the stores.

        I have two linksys wrt610n [dd-wrt.com] routers. 8M flash, 64M ram, two draft-N radios (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz), 5 10/100/1000 ports on a dedicated switch chip. That pretty much matches the specs of this WNR3500L. You can't find them anywhere anymore.

        And, although they use broadcom radios (binary blob driver), if you're careful you can even get high uptimes. Note that the WNR3500L uses a BCM4718 [myopenrouter.com] too -- too bad, I'd rather not use a binary blob, thanks.
    • by snaz555 ( 903274 )

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

      3-4X CPU; 2-4X RAM; Gigabit ethernet; USB port for printers, hard drives, card readers, thumb drives, etc. And, of course, the 802.11n radio. Basically a much better hardware platform for experimentation. It probably has enough CPU and RAM to run python, which will make a lot of people happy.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      Actually you cant do a lot with this that you CAN with the more popular cracked routers. they were ragingly stupid and made the antennas inside only. No external antennas and no connectors.

      I'll pass on this overpriced under designed and under powered router.

    • by node 3 ( 115640 )

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

      You're absolutely right. There should only be a handful of open source routers, and no more. Any new open source routers must be actively discouraged.

      Perhaps you can add something like "choice is tyranny", or "nothing new for me, thanks", or "we've got all the open source we need" to your sig?

  • Fool me once.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by idiotnot ( 302133 ) <sean@757.org> on Monday October 05, 2009 @07:50PM (#29651803) Homepage Journal

    ....shame on you. But you're not going to fool me again, certainly to for $140. I have a Netgear "open source" 802.11g router sitting in a closet somewhere. It never worked worth a damn. Netgear replaced it with another similarly-named model (with a completely different design). OpenWRT doesn't support the old one fully, and DD-WRT has some things I don't particularly like (and I'm not sure support is there, either).

    I'd just assume get an Airport if I was going to use a commercial router. Am currently using an old notebook running Debian, which does everything I need with a lot less pain.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05, 2009 @08:26PM (#29652113)

      So because a third party open source application doesn't fully support your router, and another does but has features you don't like you are going to flat out stay away from any "open" routers in favour of closed ones?

      Who do you work for? Apple?

    • Re:Fool me once.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by wasabioss ( 1196799 ) on Monday October 05, 2009 @08:28PM (#29652123) Journal

      That was what happened with me too. Being impressed by DD-WRT and successfully hacked a bunch of Linksys before, I bought the previous version of the Netgear "opensource" router although it was more expensive with the intention to put dd-wrt or tomato on it (and to promote companies that actually support opensource). Guess what? The standard dd-wrt didn't work on their router! You have to download their own dd-wrt or tomato firmware "distro". And that's not all. After flashing the thing with their provided tomato distro, it totally bricked the router (and I was not the only one [myopenrouter.com]). And there is no way to recover the thing, unless you have a 3.3v serial cable to do the JTAG (and they say that's hacker-friendly?).

      Ultimately I returned to Newegg, for a restocking and shipping fee. Nice lesson anyway. Don't. Be. Fooled. By. That. Crap. Period. Buy something like an ASUS or a Linksys. FYI Two days ago I was able to put DD-WRT on my friend's Linksys WRT54GS even v7.2 with full SSH + PPPoE support.

      • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Monday October 05, 2009 @09:09PM (#29652411) Homepage Journal

        I think this brings up a crucial point. We should not be relying on any equipment in any serious network infrastructure that can be bricked by even the most colossally broken firmware update. A proper router would either:

        1. have two sets of firmware with a physical button to force booting from the backup firmware to allow reflashing, or
        2. have a flash card slot and a user-removable flash card for the firmware image.

        The latter would be far preferable, as it would make the amount of soldered-in flash a moot point. Instead of sticking in flash chips, stick in an SD or CF card reader and a low end flash card that's just big enough to hold the stock firmware. Want to use firmware that's bigger? Copy it onto a bigger flash card and swap them out. Doesn't work? Swap back to the previous flash card.

        The idea of firmware flashers makes sense for a device that is not critical and is not updated often, nor typically updated with custom firmware. Network infrastructure fails all of those tests, however.

    • Re:Fool me once.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by monkeySauce ( 562927 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @02:30AM (#29654027) Journal

      I'd just assume get an Airport if I was going to use a commercial router

      Ugh, no...

      Airports have no web interface. You HAVE to use a mac or windows binary app in order to configure an Airport. Could they be any more anti-open source? They also have no support for static routes. And for that you pay 3x the price of devices that don't suffer these limitations. I generally like Apple but their access points are overpriced crap.

  • 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.
  • 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 Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Monday October 05, 2009 @08:30PM (#29652131)

      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.

      Lucky for the rest of us their major marketing strategy wasn't "what does sherl0k have at home, we shouldn't build anything that isn't useful to him!"

      And the WRT310N lists for $130, not $70. So the MSRP of the WNR3500L is only $10 more. And for that $10 you get a USB port, which is a great addition for an open source project, as it provides the potential to work with all sorts of tons of USB devices.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I think they're just trying to capitalize on the face the code is open-source

      What the hell is wrong with that? Better than trying to make a profit from stomping bunnies! Think of the children!
  • Price (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    $140 is damn expensive for a $30 hunk of plastic easily gotten from the local S-Mart. It'll sell like submarine screen doors!

    I paid $40 for my WRT54G, and since I (or *anyone* I know) don't have any equipment that speaks 802.11n, I'm not going to lay down $140 for a new router when my current one finally dies. I'll go out and get another of the exact same.

    This product is pretty much doomed to fail, which seriously sucks because this is something us GNU folks have been clamoring for since wifi was wifi.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yep, instead of $140 for this, I'd find an old laptop with a broken screen. More power and expandability for cheaper.

    • You think $140 is expensive? Take a look at these bad boys from Cisco: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps10092/index.html [cisco.com]

      We have been buying them in ten-packs (reduces packaging) which offers a small price break. I think these APs list for around $1100 each.
    • by cptdondo ( 59460 )

      But... It's got a powerful CPU and a gob of ram. The only other thing they could have done was to bring out some GPIO.

      Then you'd have a pretty cool general purpose computer. Heck, I repurpose Asus APs (or used to, until they changed) as samba clients for backup and vpn gateways. This thing could make a killer vpn box.

      So yes, for an AP it's pricey. For a general purpose computer that probably runs on 1A @ 5VDC, not so bad.

  • 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.
    • i use mikrotik routerboards with ubiquity cards.

      i dislike the company and i'm pretty sure they are GPL violators but in general you can get their product to meet your needs for cheap

      • Personally, I think Mikrotik is in the same boat as Tivo. They may not be violating the letter of the law, but they are certainly violating the spirit of the law. Of course, I could be wrong...but I've looked into it and they will provide source code if you order it on a CD or something. And I think they only provide source for packages that they modify. And it is a little pricey if you ask me.

        I work in a business which is involved in a WISP and they use Mikrotik fairly heavily. On one hand, I think it is a

    • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

      From what I can tell a routerstation plus an N radio card and MIMO antennas is over $200. And you don't get Gb Ethernet ports or a case. Sure, it's a cool platform for hackers/developers, but most tomato, openwrt, etc users are not developers. So why is it a better deal?

      And of course, if you don't want wireless N or Gb Ethernet ports, you shouldn't spend extra money for an N router, whether you want the open source support or not. I don't see how that is in any way a negative for this product, though.

      • And of course, if you don't want wireless N or Gb Ethernet ports, you shouldn't spend extra money for an N router

        Actually, 802.11n access points will give 802.11g clients better coverage than an 802.11g access point will. So, buying the 802.11n router even when you have 100% 802.11g clients today is not a total waste.
    • 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.

  • by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Monday October 05, 2009 @08:02PM (#29651903) Homepage

    It's great if "open source" is seen by a company like Netgear as a positive marketing tool. However, it's a bit of a stretch to list DD-WRT, OpenWRT. and Tomato as all being open-source. Tomato has a nonproprietary back end plus a proprietary web interface. DD-WRT has a history [bitsum.com] of GPL violations, and tries to charge people more money for a version with more functionality. If you take "open source" totally literally, then yeah, maybe these are open source, in the sense that you probably are allowed to read the source code freely. But I don't think that's what most people in the open-source world really mean by open source. OpenWRT is the only one on this list that is really totally free and nonproprietary. I run OpenWRT on my router, with a web-based front-end called Gargoyle, which is also (really) open source. Gargoyle is pretty bare bones, but it is good enough for a lot of quick, simple stuff. It would be nice if the developer could include just a tad more functionality in it, though, because I do end up having to ssh in and do certain things from the command line.

    What I would really like is a cheap router that wouldn't crash and hang up all the time. For my home network, I picked up a wrt54g v.4 on ebay, because it has more memory than the current models, and is reputed to be more stable. I also bought a (cheap) UPS, because a lot of people say it's power surges that tend to cause routers to lock up. Well, I still have to reboot the router fairly frequently. It doesn't seem to be correlated with what firmware and software I run, either. I don't understand why I should have to reboot such a simple, single-purpose device more than once a year. The netgear box referred to in TFA is $130. I might consider paying that much for a router for my home network if I had some reason to believe it would need less frequent rebooting. The problem is that I have never seen reliable data that measured frequency of lockups in routers and correlated it with specific variables that I have control over. I'm perfectly willing to believe that a $1000 router designed for medium-sized businesses would not lock up. I just don't want to pay $1000.

    • I've got a newish WRT54GL running Tomato, and after the initial reflash and setup it hasn't been rebooted yet. Current uptime is... ~170 days. This one is on UPS because it's convenient, so I won't be surprised if it hits a couple years uptime without breaking a sweat.

      Before that I had a BEFW11S4 which I've never once needed to reboot, aside from physically moving it from one home to another a few times, and I've had that router a good 4 or 5 years. It wasn't on UPS most of the time, but that was never a pr

    • I also bought a (cheap) UPS, because a lot of people say it's power surges that tend to cause routers to lock up.

      Many cheaper UPSes do little or nothing to help with surges or brief drop-outs in power.
      You might try another a.c. adapter on your router. Sometimes the electrolytic capacitors start to dry out, causing the output to fall sooner than it otherwise would during a brief disruption. Most surges/spikes of over-voltage are smoothed by the capacitors and regulator circuitry.

      My earlier 54G had one of t

  • I've had an open source wireless-N router for a while now. I installed dd-wrt on it first day. Linksys makes WRT310N.
    It's much cheaper than that on amazon.

  • 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.
  • What's innovative here is they seem to be letting partners develop software packages to run on it... an iPhone-style "App store" for home router software addons, anyone (?)

    Does this mean the warranty isn't void if you flash it with custom firmware?

    Are they providing cool things like serial ports for debugging, and an external JTAG header, so you can easily fix it if your custom patched firmware breaks or something (?)

    How about a fully vlan-able switch, POE capabilities, and enough RAM to run some mi

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Monday October 05, 2009 @08:28PM (#29652127) Homepage

    These router makers have been constantly resisting people "hacking" into their routers to make them do much more than they did "off the shelf." Why? Why do they care? Why did they ever care? Is it because they think their Linux based router OS is in need of protection? Are they believing that the software is really the "product" that people are interested in? I never really understood it. The people who do the modifications just wanted the router for the conveniently arranged hardware.

    Linksys put out their "L" series routers already, but they are slightly more expensive and in limited supply everywhere I have looked.

    This approach from Netgear seems to appeal exactly where these users live -- getting a device they can work with, collaborate on and grow. And by doing this, they are actually building a a fan-base rather than restricting their user-base.

    • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Monday October 05, 2009 @09:35PM (#29652581)

      They care because a lot of them also make fancier more expensive routers (Linksys is owned by Cisco for example) and they dont like that open source hackers are adding features to their cheap consumer routers normally only found in big iron routers at 4x the price.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by erroneus ( 253617 )

        Of course you are correct and I knew this. However, that's not "free market capitalism" that people speak so highly of. What you describe, however, are failing attempts to manipulate the market and to keep prices needlessly high.

        Every time I hear arguments about free markets and "prices the market will bear" I am reminded of things like this and the fact that nearly EVERY business on this scale engages in such practices.

        This move represents a departure from immorality.

  • Though the wrt54gl is a nice little unit and there are alternatives that are compatible and have a usb port like the asus wl-520g, this router has a few pluses.

    This has:
    a very nice 480Mhz CPU.
    USB 2.0 while other devices have USB 1.1
    Wireless N and Gigabit (which is available in other routers)
    8MB Flash/64MB Ram

    What this really means is that you can actually get gigabit across the switch ports and you can really get N speeds out of the unit. You can also turn on QoS without overworking your router, actually s

  • This looks like a great device to replace my old WRV54G router (which has hardware IPSec support). When I bought the WRV54G, there were a couple projects to create an linux firmware, but none ever panned out.

    Do any of the OSS firmware options support IPSec? I know it won't be fast on an embedded processor like are in these routers. But, it should be okay for a home router.

  • 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.

  • I have a WNDR3300 running dd-wrt and an Asus WL-520GU as a print server. I am not impressed with the range of the 5GHz WNDR3300 in N mode. In a room where I receive decent G coverage, I get almost no N coverage. My old router used to reach up to the third floor, but the Netgear fails to do so (hence the Asus as a print server and G repeater).

    DD-WRT, however, is one of the coolest things I've seen in a long time. I remember manually editing IPTABLES back in the day to make my computer be a router, and I neve

  • If it supports both, I'm in!

    • by alexandre ( 53 ) *

      Actually, that and everything being FOSS
      Drivers, hello?! What the hell are they thinking..
      I don't get the proprietary drivers for chip OEMs, wtf!

  • by viking80 ( 697716 ) on Monday October 05, 2009 @10:13PM (#29652805) Journal

    OpenWRT is a great project, but unfortunately unusable in its current state.
    I have tried to use it on the Linksys WRT54GL, which is the default box, (hence 'WRT' in the name)

    It is stable, feature rich, and *unusable*. I have for example not been able to configure the box as a client. It will work just fine as an AP

    Looking for a solution, I installed an older version of OpenWRT, and this would only work as a client, not as an AP.

    Expect the default setup to not rout packets at all. You have to configure the router carefully before it will work at all.

    I have set up wireless networks with many configurations using other boxes and software, and never had this kind of trouble. It can certainly not be used by an average user.

    It appears all resources are beeing spend to making it run on your casio wrist watch and other exotic targets while the old focus is lost. Seems like the 99%vs1% rule backwards:
    Target 99% of development resources to resolve issues faces by 1% of the users.

  • If you're doing VPN or tunneling, you need the RAM and CPU performance a device like this offers. I've crushed Linksys routers with low VPN loading and tunneling use. Something like this would possibly be useful for caching or lite server duty with an external drive.
  • by chappel ( 1069900 ) on Monday October 05, 2009 @11:50PM (#29653321) Homepage

    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.

  • Worthless (Score:5, Informative)

    by paul248 ( 536459 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @01:43AM (#29653833) Homepage

    This device uses a Broadcom chipset, and needs a Linux 2.4 kernel with a binary blob to work properly.

    Linux 2.6 was released in 2003. That's *six years* ago. What kind of bizarro-world are we living in where modern hardware still requires 2.4?

  • by psydeshow ( 154300 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @01:51PM (#29659927) Homepage

    Yeah, like others I bought one of these based on Slashdot hype the last time around. And got burned.

    In a nutshell:

      - That router used a proprietary firmware format, and there were no obvious tools or shell scripts posted that would convert, say, current Tomato source to a package that would install on the Netgear.
      - There wasn't even a freekin' howto!!!
      - Community support is "provided" by the commercial MyOpenRouter site, which doesn't seem to be affiliated with, sponsored by, or in any other way connected to Netgear. It's some kind of back-alley licensing deal.

    The result was that I found myself relying on untrusted third parties with no accountability to compile firmware for my router, and the firmware they offered was six months out of date and missing important fixes.

    That's not support for Open Source, it's a twisted perversion of it. It smacks of carelessness and greed on Netgear's part, and a foolish attempt to stay relevant while their high-end sales are devoured by Linkysys and their excellent WRT-54GLS.

    Before you buy one of these, take a look at the MyOpenRouter site and see if they've provided decent documentation, tools, and up-to-date firmware since last year.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson