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Linksys resurrects classic blue router, with open source and $300 price (arstechnica.com)
55 points by chaostheory 1238 days ago | hide | past | web | 25 comments | favorite

The magic wasn't just the hack-ability, it was the $69 price. In a world dominated by $1000 desktop pcs, having a $69 linux minion as your home router was appealing.

There's just no place for it today at $300! The market is full of $25 TP-Links and Ubiquiti's that can do the same. Even full-on netbooks are cheaper.

I've owned nine WRT-54Gs since 2003 (a couple were WRT-54GLs) - If I had some assurance that this $300 Wireless router actually went through some ALT/HALT procedures, and was designed to last for five years (Maybe include a five year warrantee), I would buy it in a heartbeat.

I'm not expecting Cisco Aironet quality (though, the ones we installed in 2007/2008 have been serving several hundred people day without a hiccup) - but is it too much to ask for a solid state appliance that gives me 5 good years of service?

A decent AC router is still around ~$150-200, so prices will fall as AC becomes more popular. That being said, there is no way to justify spending an extra ~$100-150 on this over various other models for most people.

This is true. As a broke-ass college student, I would never have picked up my little WRT54 if it wasn't cheap. Leave it to Cisco to completely misunderstand the low end of the market...

As an aside, where are you finding Ubiquiti APs for under $50? Craigslist?

Belkin bought Linksys, so they're the ones to blame, not Cisco.

I'm wondering if there's still marketability in stackable form. Do they even have switches of compatible footprint? Although I always dreamed of the day I'd stack my router on a switch from the same line to create a beautiful networking statue on my desk, I always deferred to price and other features when making purchasing decisions.

You guys are comparing apples to oranges.

I would rather have a $300 fully open source, hackable device than a $50 locked down box, which is what recent WRT models were. Belkin's price is off, but they inherently get "it", they aren't afraid of letting their devices go and this is awesome.

I agree that most anything is better than an underpowered $50 locked down box. However, I suspect that the thing that Belkin gets is that they can charge a substantial premium for a Linux-compatible router/AP.

Belkin seems to be charging a 2 to 3x premium when compared to comparable dual-band 802.11ac routers. If this work results in wider 802.11ac support in OpenWRT et al., then this will be awesome. If not, then Belkin is selling a decent bit of kit, but you'd probably be better off hanging up a Ubiquiti AP and using a tiny PC for routing.

I wasn't making any comparisons. But since you brought it up, I'd rather have a $50- open source router than a $300 one. Just me.

Ironically, Belkin has a decent line of routers that are already flashable. I bought a dual band one new through their eBay store a couple years ago for $35. Threw Tomato (firmware of choice since it was released) on it and have been happy ever since: very fast, never locks up and supports dnsmasq.

A lot of TP-Link routers work with the OpenWRT firmware.

Oh, I was unaware of the second changing of hands. Thanks for correcting me! Do you know if Belkin caused old router firmwares to vanish from linksys.com, or did that happen during Cisco's watch?

Also, did you ever stack the WRT54s? I got the impression from random forum posts that that would overheat the stack when under serious load.

I prefer this article http://semiaccurate.com/2014/01/06/linksys-wrt1900ac-spritua... since it give some hints about why this thing costs $300 — if it has an Avoton Atom and 4GB of RAM it's more of a home server being sold as a router.

I have been pretty disappointed by the hackability of routers since they usually come with hardly enough RAM and flash to even perform basic duties, so even though alternate firmwares exist you probably have to strip them down to almost no features which negates the point. This router should be one of the few exceptions, being designed with extra hardware resources that can be used by hackers.

I'm not sure where they got the idea that it has 4GB of RAM or an Atom CPU. The press release (http://www.linksys.com/en-us/press/releases/2014-01-06_Links...) says it has 256MB of RAM, and every other site says the CPU is ARM based.

The press release itself even says "1.2GHz dual-core ARM-based processor"

I guess directly from the linked article: "[..] RAM is a generous 4Gb so it shouldn’t choke on lots of open sockets like lesser devices. [..]"

It doesn't take GBs of RAM to handle boatloads of open sockets. My 54GS with 32MB of RAM would handle multiple wired machines running torrent clients without any slowdown (when running a 2.4.x kernel).

There's an 8x difference between 4GB of ram vs 4Gb of ram.

My dream of owning a reasonably affordable ADSL router (with support for custom firmwares) is never going to be fulfilled.

I'd recommend you decouple the ADSL requirement, shunt that into a bridged modem. It's not a native router function and if you move to VDSL or DOCSIS then you'll need a separate modem anyhow.

Then you've much more choice as the market offers many capable routers ( like the one we're discussing ) that can terminate PPPoE.

+1 to that concept. I decoupled my equipment so now ADSL is run by a cheap but stable 1-port Zyxel modem and home routing is handled by time capsule. As for LinkSys, their adsl routers haven't been the best for me lately. Whenever I connected about 3 wireless clients to WAG320N, it started to freak out and show serious lags and sometimes it just hangs. No more same device ADSL+routing for me.

WDR3600 + HG612

It's funny to read about peoples' experience with the WRT54GL in the past-tense.

I bought mine for $65 in 2006, and it's still running great in 2014!

the WRT54 was awesome, i loved mine running tomato firmware. For $300, i would never have considered it though.

linksys routers are piece of shit; cant believe this people are still in biz with all the crap they sell...

You must never have used the WRT54GS or WRT54G. Or, if you did, perhaps you stuck with the stock firmware? Oh well. The reputation of those models is not undeserved.

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