Until a new set of management philosophies is adopted for teaching, a large number of companies will keep doing the same thing, because in general corporate managers have a lead time associated with them, and we won't run out of the old school ones until 20+ years after philosophies change.
This is an opportunity for anyone who can do things differently, of course.
There is a faint, faint glimmer of hope that this is a peek of the far future of our techno-political-economic system. Of course with very different laws around intellectual property, company governance, customer protection, terms of participating in the market etc. We might be as far from it as the Enlightenment in 1750 (in a world built on overt serfdom and not even fully developed colonialism) was from the year 2000, but still. Makes me feel a teensy bit better about doing the right thing today, just because.
If you don't want to be part of the copyleft Free and Open Source software world, then you always have the option to not be a part of it. You can make your own competing product under a non-Free licence, or base your work on Free Software that uses a permissive 'copycenter' licence. This isn't a point against copyleft.
So who doesn't want to pay can use GPL, who wants to make money can use the commercial license.
This clearly doesn't work for companies that like Apple, are now sponsoring POSIX clones for IoT deployments to play safe.
Same thing for a lot of hardware, actually. Printers. Scanners. Etc.
An open source soldering iron, original by a Chinese company Miniware. I don't know how good their sales are, but the iron is so good it got that Louis Rossmann praised it (for the price, ofc). And it seems to be very popular (probably not nearly as much as Weller, but hey).
Since i can't edit, reply.
Oh, and i seem to have underestimated Louis's recommendation. He likes it a lot.
On the topic of open source for hardware; There's an open source software for Hantek oscilloscopes http://openhantek.org/ (not official) , which is yet another thing i'l have to get myself some day.
The hardware is fully supported by the OpenWRT project, so installing plain OpenWRT is easy.
But it’s still a relatively slow device (650 MHz MIPS 24Kc) with throughput well below 100 Mbps when encrypting. The faster GL-AR750S is still well below 100 Mbps when encrypting. That’s the tradeoff of a small and cheap device that can be powered by a USB 5V power adapter.
The more annoying part is that the 5 GHz WiFi has not been certified for DFS, and therefore DFS channels are disabled.
I also have a Linksys WRT1900ACS and it's a great piece of kit.
The point is that no matter the hardware, having the community-empowered OpenWRT at one's disposal is literally super-empowering.
Thank you the community. Thank you RMS.
Company is from Hong Kong.
What kind of modem do they have? Huawei?
Brand has value.
* Most mice on Aliexpress sell for $3 or so. I don't know the margin, but it's less than $3.
* I can't imaging anyone would hesitate to pay $5 more, and I wouldn't mind $30 more.
So yeah, off-brand could compete, and I'm sure students might buy it, but I think on-brand would do better.
And in either case, it wouldn't hurt. The $3 Aliexpress mouse vendors don't have any real IP moat. This is commodity tech.
Non-commercial open license, but the original author(s) would still retain full right including commercial.
Another interesting approach would be something like the GPL, which I don't think is often used in hardware. Allow your competitors to use your design ... they just must contribute back improvements. Probably the incentives are wrong for this, but maybe not, it sorta seems like a bunch of the "no-name" chinese consumer goods operate like this. The produces are easy enough to reverse engineer that every just copies the basic idea and produces their own variants. This of course doesn't keep the inventor in an advantaged position, but at least keeps them competitive.
I think what is a problem is that people can't use a subset of you design to make their own stuff. Maybe the solution to that is a common library of totally free design-pattern, but that still requires integration into a finished product?
> Allow your competitors to use your design ... they just must contribute back improvements.
won't this just lead to trivial improvements? perhaps a bug bounty, or similar, would be better? or even licensing the original design for either a set fee, or a %?
If you want an ecosystem, you need an ecosystem license. "Open" source has never worked for anyone that I know of, not for lack of trying.
There are plenty open drivers for proprietry hardware too.
It's working on their brand - but isn't selling for a 10X price premium.
It uses http://marlinfw.org/ with only modifications to the configuration (which, you need to do for any printer using Marlin). But the above link also includes the PCB design, mechanical design, and more.
The whole 3D printing community is a lot like this. See http://vorondesign.com/, an open set of design you can build yourself from off the shelf parts and a quality 3D printer.
Probably more likely for your average software company than hardware, but I suspect there's an inflection point in cheap hardware.
And yet Linksys (and others) still sell their closed routers as well. One can only concluded that the Open Source support, while important for a niche group, is not enough for market dominance...
Although it works fine for my simple purposes, there's a discussion of some of its issues at the end of this PR:
I've had several openwrt routers. Before this one I had a tp-link wdr4300, then an archer c7. The wrt1900acs has pretty fast, full-featured hardware.
I run firewall + adblock + privoxy + vlans. Because it has a USB port, I've added a USB GPS dongle so it does gps-based ntp time.
At first openwrt was a little daunting, but it has really grown on me.
One great thing about it is that the entire linux distribution is basically read-only, and all changes you make to your machine are in an infrequently-written overlay filesystem. If you back up /overlay/upper you will have all your config changes in a small tarball. All operations that do continuous writing like logfiles go to ramdisk, so it's easy on the flash and reliable during power failure.
Another thing is that if you follow the instructions, it's actually pretty straightforward to build openwrt for your specific configuration. I cut out the package manager and compiled everything I wanted into my image (or out of it, I turned off ipv6)
With a simple setup, you don't even have to bother with the gui. The config files are pretty simple and you can edit them directly.
I've also put openwrt on some network switches and once I got vlans going, my network got a lot more manageable.
I have a vlans:
- normal - machines can route to internet
- restricted - machines boot and have local dns - can get out (updates) only through the proxy
- test vlan - can't get to anything
the network switches are mikrotik and also running openwrt.
I have retired a rb750gl and rb2011ils, and now everything runs on a rb2011uias and a rb3011uias-rm (11 port)
I love the rb3011 - the rack mount tabs can be rotated 90 degrees and you can attach it under a shelf.
The two switches have SFP, and I can't help but think I should start messing with fiber.
So openwrt threatens their entry level and some of their mid-range devices, creating a conflict of interests.
However modern WRT routers are also affected by NXP buying Marvell.
Official support, however, was not good in my experience. Several years later I finally bought a Ubiqui Dream Machine Pro, and absolutely love it. Kinda miffed that they suffered a breach a month after I bought it, though.
Pity that Ubiquiti goes the wrong direction with their newer products.
Their software has the occasional wart if you're more used to enterprise gear like Cisco, but is generally decent and reliable. (The kinds of issues I'm talking about are like... it was really roundabout and difficult to get a single port with both VLAN tagged as well as untagged traffic flowing through it.)
I'm honestly always surprised their equipment isn't more well-known and popular in the tech crowd. While they've got some turnkey stuff, they also sell (or at least sold) devices that were pretty simply a handful of ethernet ports, a switch chip + CPU, and a mini-pcie port that you could add kinda whatever you wanted in to (they sell modules for 802.11, 3G/LTE, LoRA, etc). For a lot of models they'll also just sell you a bare board. Basically everything comes with a full software license (only real limit is max 200 vpn tunnels, max 200 hotspot users). They sell replacement parts down to bare boards to replace PSUs and things. Basically everything is powerable over PoE, most stuff has a SFP port, etc. Some of the models have had GPIO pins, and on basically all of them all the LEDs can be reprogrammed and are user-controllable. They've got equipment as cheap as $40. A lot of it is actually supported by OpenWRT.
Without having used it, if you just want something with wifi and more similar to a consumer router, looks like their hAP AC3 for $99 or something is probably decent. You're not losing anything buying the home gear, it's still licensed to the same level as all the other gear. Otherwise if you just need a router you can basically just start at the cheap end of their routers and look through the test results for something with acceptable performance for you.
Personally, I've been using a RB2011 for almost a decade as either a router or core switch and it's been great. Though the highest my connection speed's been throughout is probably 100mbps. These day's it's relegated to switching, and handles my setup where I've got all my PoE IP cams on one VLAN, main network on another, trunk running to my server where I've got the DVR and all my other stuff running, etc, etc. Hasn't had a single hiccup.
I also use the CRS326, with a little less power than the RB4011, but with 24 Lan ports instead.
The only downside, compared to the UDMP, is the missing DPI
Microtik is certainly interesting but I’m lost as to which model I should choose.
I’m in a strange place with UniFi as a whole, as my APs are limiting download speeds to about 275mbps while upload speed is line speed, as is wired speed. There is lots on forums and Reddit about strange issues like this with Ubiquiti and they could really do with some firming up of their software.
And we haven't even reached RGB LEDs with routers yet. Brace yourselves.
That's a price drop, hoss.
Unfortunately what is good for consumers in this case is bad for companies, because it reduces long term sales.
Some candidate reasons: Open source is still to different and hence risky. Or maybe arrogance and not invented here syndrome.
Imagine if they kept pumping out updated hardware supporting DD-WRT over the years, and eventually captured 80+% of the home networking market. Now consider that, during that time, a generation of future networking engineers cut their teeth on hi-po Linksys home routers, giving Linksys a segue into the lucrative enterprise market as this generation of people started gaining influence.
This ended up being one of magical events that could have been the turning point for a small, unknown company to take on a giant, and win. Instead, the opportunity was squished through a smart acquisition by Cisco.
for instance, home routers do data and control plane processing on a single CPU with no or very little NPU involved, while enterprise gear has this functionality.
not to mention the large array of technologies that are not even usable in small scale networks like VXLAN, BGP, IPVPN etc..
Some Small Business may have used Linksys but they would not have been buying cisco kit in most cases.
Because it just works and refuse do die.
The WRT54GL doesn’t have a fully open firmware—the WiFi remains closed—and has so little RAM and flash that OpenWRT, that started with the WRT54G, no longer supports it. DD-WRT is creeping in the same direction.
IPv6 support is more off than on. It’s never going to support DoT, WPA3, or other modern security measures. Most of the world is urbanized, and in an urban setting it’s a bit rude to use 54 Mbps 802.11g on the 2.4 GHz channels.
If you’re using it for an internal network on a farm, it’s fine, but if you’re in today’s world then you need to support today’s protocols.
I live in a residential neighbourhood, my router has both 5 GHz ac and 2.4 GHz. I run it in 2.4 GHz 802.11n mode.
Just because others behave badly or worse doesn’t give you the moral right to do badly.
We don’t need to be perfect. If everybody did as politely as we could, and did what we could to help others behave as politely as they could, then I think everybody would be better off. Well, “polite” is not quite a direct translation of the concept I have in mind… I’m not sure how to communicate it in English.
54Mbps vs 600Mbps for just 2.4Ghz, and using 5Ghz gets you to over 1Gbps.
Not accounting for real world losses/overhead, but that would hold true for the WRT54G.
Except that 2 times was crashed and then start with blank settings.
Sell a whizzy router with go fast blue LEDs for $150 that dies after 3 years and you make $750 in 15 years.
Advertise it with some “value add” MITM dns hijacking by default and you can even get a recurrent revenue stream on top of it. Bundle it as “Internet security” and you can charge bothe the customer and the advertiser.
I've purchase other Linksys stuff and few mine friends bought new routers because of mine recommendation.
But that was before they switch to VxWorks OS. Once they switch i didn't recommend them anymore.
(Message sent via WRT54GL)
That's what I've been doing ever since I jumped ship from ye olde WRT54G (currently I have a Zyxel Armor Z2, and I'm happy with it).
Moving to pfSense was the best decision I made for my home network.
I use this exact model + RAM + mSATA drive and its more than powerful enough to sit in front of my SMB gigabit fiber connection while running DPI/OpenVPN/zabbix/etc.
pfsense is awesome and the learning curve is pretty reasonable if you understand basic network theory. I love it.
It is pricier than low-end router, but they are high performance and are much easier to use.
You could get a rockpro64 and stick a nice network card in it's pci-e slot and probably outperform the clusterboard.
Unfortunately I can't seem to find any detailed info on the Clusterboard components/schematics on their wiki, so I don't know what more it'd entail.
The only problem is the ARMv7 hardware, which doesn't really cut it with modern Internet speeds anymore, especially with Wireguard.
That said, I can't wait for pfSense and opnSense finally support Wireguard. And pihole should finally get a FreeBSD version. I'd much more prefer the sense systems over the wrt, but the time is not yet here.
The Omnia doesn’t have great OpenWRT upstream support, and the wireless performance sucks. 2GB of RAM seems enormous for a router, but when I put a medium-size number of clients on it (100-ish), its security monitoring features overran the memory and oom-killed essential services. Fortunately, that can be turned off.
And the Turris project seems to be retreating from modern Internet speeds. The Omnia can’t keep up with 1Gb full-duplex fiber, but they’ve moved onto their next product: The MOX/Shield is even slower. (1.6 GHz CPU vs 1.0 GHz CPU)
For me the interesting part on MOX is modularity. You can have 24 switched ethernet ports, which is interesting for network admins at least.
How do you do the I/O? As I understand the MOX, it has one SGMII interface for the built-in 1G Ethernet port, SDIO and PCIe for the WiFi interfaces, and a single 2.5 Gbps SGMII interface to the rest of the Ethernet ports. To get 24 ports, you connect 8-port modules together via their 2.5 Gbps SGMII interfaces.
Seems like the I/O should be enough for 1 Gbps full-duplex, which is enough for a home router with a gigabit Internet connection, but it can’t do 2 Gbps full-duplex.
Turris Omnia can route 2.5gbps easily, via SFP cage.
I put the system now to a spot where it kind of has lots of air around, so the temps peak only around 95 degrees now, but the loads are still crazy.
Sadly, my annoying Mikrotik is the only thing I've found until now :(
But I said had, because in 2020 the company seems to have transformed into a money-grabbing shitshow. Cloud for everything, deprecating fine hardware and fine software in favor of unneeded cloud stuff. Crappy firmwares with no easy way to rollback. CEO is supposedly running the company in the ground with outsourcing, constant crunch etc. There are some disgruntled ex ubiquity employees here and on reddit, if even half is true of what they say the company really needs to turn around soon, it is probably already to late.
Same mass-market Qualcomm SOCs as the other mass-market vendors, just better packaged and marketed.
Smallnetbuilder consistently found them middling in performance.
I have one of the flying saucer shaped APs, but it's super old and only does B/G. It was under a hundred bucks and unlike my old APs it doesn't get angry at certain devices and deauth them randomly from the network. Or other APs I've used that start disconnecting users once you have more than 15 devices connected at once. The configuration software is a bloated Java daemon that I have to manually start then connect to with a client. It's not all that user friendly, but I've been around networks enough to get it working.
So it's basically the cheapest AP that isn't regularly malfunctioning consumer garbage.
Their security gateways are universally hated on, and for good reason - one major one is that enabling DPI causes a ridiculous drop in throughput rate, even on the newer machines (which also have faulty firmware). Stay away from them.
I eventually got a TP-Link WiFi 6 AX3000, and it's been super solid, significantly faster, and required almost zero manual setup. The Unifi itself required a PoE adapter and a router, and of course needs the controller application to do anything.
(The controller app with its easily-corrupted and hard-to-upgrade MongoDB database is perhaps the worst part of it. My two devices occasionally required re-"adopting" for no discernible reason. I was unable to upgrade the controller at one point because apparently (?) they stopped bundling MongoDB, and the controller refused to use the version I installed manually. Of course, this breakage happened after the software updated, so the only way to fix it was by restoring the old version and database files from backups.)
Maybe Ubiquiti products make more sense when you need dozens of access points across a big building, but definitely not in a small city apartment.
The Unifi Security Gateway is a router.
My wish is for a prosumer wireless router that's rock stable. I've burned through numerous routers that all have had weird issues. The closest I've gotten was my Microtik AC Lite, which I loved, but it doesn't have an external antenna, so its range was questionable.
AFAIK, only the 5-piece package ships without injector, the individual ones do have it.
I've purchased only nano-HDs and AC-lites, and they all came with one in the box. What didn't have any is Cloudkey 2 Plus. I had to get a third-party injector for that one (or Quickcharge USB charger with USB-C cable - I went with injector).
I have an Edgemax ER-Lite router and a UAC-AP-Pro access point, and a security camera for testing.
If you can, it's best to stick with one lineup of products. Unifi is one line, edgemax is another, amplifi is another, and so on - having one management plane is optimal. I have thought about getting a Unifi router so everything is done through one control center, but I don't need to.
tl;dr - I think they are great for the money. You can do advanced stuff with the routers as well, like VPN gateways and BGP if needed, but not always easily in the GUI.
Meraki would be nice except Cisco owns it now and they are experts at milking you with annual fees.
Why just replace them with second hand units?
Apple may no longer sell them, but they are still widely available.
I've had UniFi equipment for a while now and am generally happy with it, though I'm not doing anything terribly crazy. Well, maybe crazy for a home user, but not nearly as crazy as some of the /r/homelab folks get.
I've got multiple VLANs, firewall rules controlling traffic, multiple WiFi networks. I'm using 2 switches (8 port 150W PoE, 24 port non-PoE), a USG, and an AP AC Pro. It all works fine.
My only complaint is that the new version of the controller software rearranged all of the settings and I haven't figured out where everything lives.
There's also a search in there which has proved helpful.
you probably typed that, and everyone here will read on a macbook, which just switched from bash to zsh to avoid GPL. On a BSD kernel to avoid GPL. with browser and OS build by a compiler that had to receive tons of features to catch up with the GPL one. On browsers that were built on top of GPL (chrome) and LGPL (safari) engines but that magically become BSD along the way.
All the evidence suggest Open source is a toxic gold mine for corporations.
things like P4 will move the competitive advantages farther up the stack where they belong
Sure you can half the power draw again with an embedded device, but diminishing marginal gain.
I’m wondering whether a mini-PC can route even 1 Gbps at line rate. Lots of people are using mini-PCs as routers, but most of them have only 1×1Gbps Ethernet interface and no PCI slots. The Minisforum DMAF5 has 2×1Gbps Ethernet interfaces, but that’s an off-label use and I haven’t seen any benchmarks.
Of course, if you go all the way up to mini-ITX, then there are plenty of options for various performances of CPUs and network interfaces.
Most mini-PCs are using 2-GHz-or-lower Gemini Lake CPUs with much worse single-core performance, but much better video I/O performance. But that still doesn’t cover network I/O, and Realtek vs Intel. (And Intel i40 vs i211.)
Relatively few people have gigabit Internet, but it can happen suddenly. 3 years ago, I upgraded from 20 Mbps DSL to 1 Gbps symmetric fiber. Bye-bye to my old MIPS 24K router. But all these years later, my brother 1 mile away is still waiting.
This is, unfortunately, pretty hard to do well. 5 GHz AP support is particularly complicated, as the AP is required to take some special steps to avoid interfering with other services using the band, including weather radar. Most consumer cards don't implement these steps, limiting them to operating as a client on those frequencies.
I'm not throwing out my Asus access point yet.
I’m not sure what the device manufacturers are doing to prevent unauthorized use of DFS channels, but I have a cheap router with a QCA9887 (GL.iNet GL-AR750) and it doesn’t use DFS channels no matter what firmware you put on it.
I don't know that this proves anything one way or another, but I think it's a bit simplistic to imply that this kind of thing doesn't exist purely because it's never been tried.
This message delivered to you with its help, and I am definitely going to be looking for its descendant when the time comes to replace this one....IF it is still open-source-ready.
Seriously, keep the damn thing open.
If I were a AP manufacturer I would have like 1 software guy total, and his job would be to make sure the drivers for the hardware is always up to date on the open source software that my product ships, and to contribute bug fixes and feature improvements to that software.
Well, I like to think that anyway. I have some suspicions that chipset manufacturers like to keep their documentation behind NDA that precludes anybody who signs it from contributing to open source software.
I tried prioritizing “open.” I had a customized firmware on a fully open-source (even open-source WiFi firmware) Atheros-based router. And “open” turned out to mean, “enough rope to hang yourself.” I didn’t dare update that thing for years because I installed it in an inconvenient location and I couldn’t trust that it would continue to work if I installed upstream updates.
Now I emphasize update automation. The closed firmwares of ISP routers are not great, but the ISPs take charge of maintaining them. I don’t recommend plain OpenWRT to non-technical users because it doesn’t auto-update.
Maybe a Turris router, because they have the CZ.NIC people in charge of updates. Even there, the transition from Turris OS 3 to Turris OS 5 has been disruptive because of the upgrade from OpenWRT 15 to OpenWRT 19 and its migrations to Device Tree and Distributed Switch Architecture. At least CZ.NIC is still updating the Turris OS 3 packages.
For every person that delves into the internals who knows what they're doing, there are 10 people who delve into the internals following some incomplete and outdated online heresay...
The real reason they want this is 2 fold
1. Money. it is always money. They want to be able to advertise "Internet for only $30" but then tack on 20-30 in "other fees" to get that bill up, $5-10 for a router is an easy gain
2. Control. Companies like comcast have lots of control over the endpoints to the point where they can manipulate the firmware do do what ever they need for traffic management or even offer public wifi access to all your neighbors...
Your whole argument doesn’t hold water because even with Comcast you can bring your own equipment. They don’t go out of their way to help you... but they don’t stop you either. Don’t see how that is “control”.
Maybe you will not call tech support when your own equipment fails but you clearly have no experience in a support role if you think other people won’t!
Just spend some time on GitHub issues for more popular open source projects to get an idea, and the multiply that by at least 10 for the general public.
Hell half the time they do not even help when you do have their equipment. It took me 3 months of calling support before my current ISP agreed to send a tech to look at my ONT that was clearly resetting itself, Tech replaced the ONT has not had any problems since.
ISP, all ISP's, customer service is terrible, there is not a ISP on the planet that has good service. Or atleast in the US
There’s a reason ISPs won’t help you if you hook your own router up. It’s not malicious. Just then doing what makes sense from a financial and a training standpoint.
It’s scummy, but the Dunning-Kruger effect with tech is very real.
I guaran-fucking-tee you someone smart enough to flash a custom firmware will likely have scoured the Internet for the answer first. Most of the time, they'll find their answer somewhere on a forum / blog post. I would actually be willing to bet money that technical support spends far less time with these people than it does with older customers who "can't be bothered with reading" or younger customers who grew up in the "it just works" generation.
There seems to be a middle ground of people, I think we're called the Analog-To-Digital generation, that had to actually put effort into learning technology, because so much shit had to be manually configured, that we gained a pretty solid understanding of tech and we don't have the fear of it that I see in people even just five years older than me (I'm 40), and the lack of interest in digging around in the "guts" that I see in people far younger than me (25 and under).
BTW The dudes who worked the .COM boom/bust stuff are hitting their 50s. When you are on your 15th uber framework sometimes you just wing it and dig in only if you have to. Or as I say to my fellow devs 'what useless tech skill am I going to learn today that I did not want to know about'. For my first couple of stacks I can tell you everything you want to know for hours on end. For current ones that passion is mostly gone. Crunched out of me with endless meetings and forms to fill out.
Or they followed a "how to get free movies/tv/sports" guide which told them to follow these simple steps, and something went wrong, and they have no idea what to do next, and they're offline now too.
Connect the modem we gave you with our settings, and if it works using that it’s not our problem.
It’s not that hard.
In what country are ISPs blocking ipv6 because it makes BitTorrent effective?
For example, in Poland the router that Orange forced fiber customers to accept for 2019 came with closed-source firmware, and while there was a hack to enable IPv6, the ISP – who alone had superuser privileges on the device – issued a command to the router each night at midnight to disable IPv6, because it considered IPv6 a "beta" feature not meant for wide use (a limbo it has been stuck in for years now). The customer, without access to the router internals, had no way to permanently override it. Fortunately, if I understand correctly, EU legislation is phasing out any obligation to accept only the ISP-provided router.
Hardware with margin to support open source is available from companies like Netgate but pricing isn’t competitive with consumer products.
Broadcom made an error of judgement here, but this incident fostered a deep distrust of open source, at senior levels, that persisted for more than a decade after; perhaps to this day.
Firstly at this point Cisco was, at the time, Broadcom's largest customer by a large margin. This caused huge tension in that relationship that was totally unforseen, and was very painful for a while.
Secondly, a at a certain point it dawned on Cisco and Broadcom that the GPL lawsuit was not like a normal business dispute , because businessmen after a certain point will settle for money even if they didn't get everything they want. Sure a few people will keep going to the detriment of their own business, but most aim to make profit, not expound a principle. Many companies in the position of the FSF would have settled for a cut of the revenue. But the FSF wanted the source code released, and they were prepared to kill the business to get it. So Cisco and Broadcom had to concede. The source code was released, and OpenWRT was born.
The fallout, though was that subsequently Broadcom router ICs were designed with hardware accelerators which were separate from the main CPU. They were driven by separate CPUs on the same SoC that did not run linux and whose drivers could not be demanded under the GPL. none of the open source firmwares can run these devices efficiently unless someone spends weeks reverse engineering them.
At the end of the day, was it a good thing? I would say it was. It opened many generations of home router hardware to being modded/replaced with user controlled software. It even created a market of its own where certain consumer router hardware is advertised as being designed to run custom/third-party software and where vendors themselves ship with some heavily modified software and release the sources for it from day 1 (which are the only wifi routers I shop for these days).
Of course, OpenWRT still kills it in terms of support for standards. FRITZboxes have their own stupid mesh protocol that's only compatible with other FRITZboxes, not implementing e.g. 802.11s.
So there's a lot of non-standard tech available in those boxes and it is no huge surprise that this is kept proprietary.
The point is the manufacturers have a much higher incentive to ensure everything works than open source developers.
The ASUS firmware at least seems to support way more features than Tomato did, at least without resorting to the command line. E.g. my ISP requires the VLAN ID to be set. I doubt open source router GUIs have a nice option for that.
The sad thing is ten years later the market is still dominated by devices with half its RAM.
I don't believe they would have been in much legal issues: they'd have to make sure the copy of DD-WRT they shipped was fine, but if you get updates / flash your own, there's no reason they'd be on the hook.
https://www.gl-inet.com/ uses OpenWRT as a base for their firmware, and also provides clean images or you can install from OpenWRT images directly. Their specialty seems to be the form factor of the devices, and while they put some effort into a web frontend, and it's fine, they also make OpenWRT support a feature.
Buffalo does something similar.
legal is not about what is true or right or fair or probably it is about risk reduction/mitigation. A 20% chance to lose court case is too much. Or even chance of bad PR is something to be avoided.
Look at the longevity of this router and all the features: "it was the perfect way to turn your $60 router into a $600 router". With closed firmware, you can artificially lock features and prevent everyone from adding them to cheap devices. You can also stop updating firmware after few years so everyone trash old devices and buy a new one.
Fun fact: Open Source is good for the environment.
Routers aren't really the kind of devices that become obsolete quickly though, are they? A bulk of all users will just use they one they will get from their ISP. Since the main interest of ISPs is reduce ongoing costs for support (reduce calls to hotline and sending out technicians for the setup of a new router), they should also be motivated to provide cheap, long lived routers.
If this could be done, it would have been done already.
I only stopped using it(with some custom firmware) about a year and a half ago because it was just too slow - and had gotten this weird issue where it would cut off the internet to some devices while keeping them on the network.
It was really by luck that I had one of these in my teenage years initially to play with. I sometimes wonder what hobbies I would have developed if I hadn’t lucked out and found working computer in the trash, or my parents had bought something that wasn’t such an easily moddable desktop (AMD K6-2 was the CPU in the first computer they purchased).
Anyway - the WRT54G really was a fun piece of hardware to play with.
The WAN to LAN throughput on a wrt54g is only like 34mbits/s. It’s just too slow to handle a fast internet connection. I guess the fact that so many are still being used shows how ISP connection speeds have stagnated.
I so wished, I could get here a 6mbps connection for half the price of my current 65mps line.
I'm happy with my 1gbps connection where I can download a 50GB game in less than 10 minutes.
Your use case reminds me of the (mystical?) fellow who allegedly complained that his new graphics card didn't allow him to play his favorite 3D FPS game and watch a movie simultaneously.
I've got two monitors.
I've played an MMORPG before where I have a YouTube video playing on the other monitor.
This has been possible for probably 10 years.
Also yes. People live in homes with other people either as a family or house/flat sharing.
Who all use the internet at the same time.
What if they all want to watch 4k video in their room? Whilst their consoles (Nintendo Switch, PS5 or Xbox Series X) are downloading games/updates.
If they want to maintain 4k streaming, they're going to need a fast download speed.
Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, Nvidia GeforceNow are game streaming applications, they require good throughput in addition to low latency.
Low latency requires an uncongested connection.
What if they work on photos and videos in the cloud? They can load them up faster to work on. Rather than requiring a signifant local storage.
Especially if they have symmetric upload speeds.
100Mbps+ is clearly beneficial.
You're conflating your lack of need for fast internet with everyone else not needing it.
My next router will probably be a Ubiquity setup so I can setup 2-3 AP's for full coverage and coverage out to the (detached) garage but that setup is not cheap or simple and my current issues are so minor that it will be a while before I pull the trigger on that.
The original Fonera projects were all built on top of OpenWRT.
It was cute idea for trying to make guest-accessible wifi ubiquitous. It ran up against shifts in law in some countries making network AP owners more personally responsible for accesses to their wifi. Also, it never really hit network effects that the scale mattered. I ran a Fonera AP through a large chunk of college/grad school and can't say that I ever saw another AP in the wild to take advantage of the free roaming (and if I had it switched to the profit-sharing mode I never would have seen a dime).
Fon pivoted entirely out of the Fonera residential wifi project in 2016. It was a neat idea, but it didn't survive.
I picked up a number of these at thrift stores over the years. Occasionally I'd get lucky and get the "WRT54GL" version. I was sometimes persuaded to exceed my "$5 or less" budget for a "L" version.
They were great for having a little Linux-box to do oddball utility stuff-- ad-hoc OpenVPN endpoints, caching DNS server, captive Wi-Fi portal controller.
They were eerily solid for their built-to-a-price-point nature.
Of course I can't forget the first time I got a WRT54G. My brother in law had one just sitting around unused (around 2006 I think) and while I didn't know a lot about them, I asked him about the router. I ended up trading him a well used laptop for it. The router was the locked down version. Then it died. Oh well.
I have pfSense for the routing but now just need access points. So far I've been using an old Asus ac86u on Merlin as an AP but the reception is not great in other rooms due to the fact that walls in my apartment are concrete with rebar.
(Actually I know the internet loves to bitch about Ubiquiti but my experience has been just fine. Maybe it's because I don't have a Unifi router.)
Given the target market of their product I would expect any such attempt to be quickly found so I guess there's not that much risk to use them
I'll probably do more research into this when Wi-Fi 6E becomes more commonplace. For now, I just block outbound internet access on the management network for my Ubiquiti APs and controller.