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Netgear launches open source router

Netgear launches open source router

The WGR614L comes ready to run any one of a range of third-party open source firmware packages.

If you've read the guide to building your own router but want something a little lighter on the juice, you might be interested in the latest product to leave Netgear's factories.

Last week saw the launch of Netgear's Open Source Wireless-G Router, the WGR614L. Based around a 240MHz MIPS-based 32-bit CPU with 16MB RAM and 4MB of flash memory for storage, the router is designed to be as friendly as possible to people hoping to try out Linux-based firmware like Tomato, DD-WRT, and OpenWrt. Far from the usual 'see no evil, hear no evil' approach taken by companies with regards to third-party firmware running on their devices, Netgear is actively encouraging development around their latest router – to the point of endorsing a website containing all the hints and tips you would need to get the firmware of your choice up and running.

The launch of the product hasn't been without its little hiccoughs, however: members on the official website have been complaining that their supposed open source router has been a standard closed source unit. Netgear has admitted that packing errors at a distributor resulted in the wrong routers being shipped out to certain US stores, and has issued a recall for the affected units. With any luck, that problem should be a thing of the past.

The routers, while being underpowered when compared to a fully-fledged PC-based homebrew model, offer a great deal of flexibility compared to traditional closed-source models; further, the ability to choose the firmware that best suits your needs means this could finally be a 'one-size-fits-all' hardware solution.

Whether sales of the open source approved router will exceed – or even come close to – that of its more traditional brethren remains to be seen: it's nice to see a mainstream manufacturer dipping its toes in the hacking market, however.

Would you be tempted by a router that runs DD-WRT with no hacking required, or is stock firmware more than enough for you? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

18 Comments

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Krikkit 30th June 2008, 09:22 Quote
What a brilliant idea. That'll probably be my next router. :)
Omertron 30th June 2008, 10:20 Quote
Shame it's "G" and not "N" capable, otherwise it'd be a certainty, but I guess they don't want to cannibalise their newest products.
Krikkit 30th June 2008, 10:23 Quote
I'm totally un-fussed about N-abilities. As far as I'm concerned wireless is for low-bandwidth comms only, not file transfer... That's why I have flash drives. :D
p3n 30th June 2008, 10:27 Quote
Nice idea, gotta hate their styling department though - whatever happened to the distinictive blue?
Flibblebot 30th June 2008, 10:36 Quote
I already have one of my Linksys routers running DD-WRT because the original firmware only supported the 192.168.x.x subnet.
It's nice to see a major company supporting alternative firmwares, though. Maybe this'll help Netgear routers become more stable?
Paradigm Shifter 30th June 2008, 10:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by p3n
Nice idea, gotta hate their styling department though - whatever happened to the distinictive blue?
Whatever happened to the full metal cases that bled heat really well? The Netgear router I got from my ADSL provider is in that horrible new white plastic... and it gets really hot. :(
Cobalt 30th June 2008, 11:12 Quote
The problem with the netgear design is that it doesn't have enough ventilation. Link-sys routers are made of plastic but are full of holes so they don't get as hot. I still prefer the old metal netgear boxes though. They stack better and look more professional.
Bluephoenix 30th June 2008, 13:03 Quote
I like it.

hopefully more companies will get into this sector.
Sp! 30th June 2008, 13:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobalt
I still prefer the old metal netgear boxes though. They stack better and look more professional.

They still do have the blue metal cases if you buy the prossesional range rather than the cheap "home" kit...
Timmy_the_tortoise 30th June 2008, 14:24 Quote
I wish my Netgear had a FULL METAL JACKET!
knuck 30th June 2008, 14:27 Quote
does it have the ever blinking blue LED that illuminates the whole room and gives you seizures ?
Firehed 30th June 2008, 14:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krikkit
I'm totally un-fussed about N-abilities. As far as I'm concerned wireless is for low-bandwidth comms only, not file transfer... That's why I have flash drives. :D

The speed still sucks, but the extra range is a godsend.
Redbeaver 30th June 2008, 15:37 Quote
hmmmmmmmmmm now thats a novel idea :)

i might grab it just for the sake of its being open source n see what can be screwed around in it...
Cthippo 30th June 2008, 23:27 Quote
I agree this is a good thing, but I'm having a hard time seeing any real advatage for a pretty basic setup such as mine. Maybe when my current one dies (if ever) I'll get one of these.
DXR_13KE 30th June 2008, 23:29 Quote
everyone is going open source these days.... swweeettt!!!!
ParaHelix.org 30th June 2008, 23:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krikkit
I'm totally un-fussed about N-abilities. As far as I'm concerned wireless is for low-bandwidth comms only, not file transfer... That's why I have flash drives. :D

I see waht you mean, however, even surfing the web is technically file transferring.
Woodstock 30th June 2008, 23:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ParaHelix.org
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krikkit
I'm totally un-fussed about N-abilities. As far as I'm concerned wireless is for low-bandwidth comms only, not file transfer... That's why I have flash drives. :D

I see waht you mean, however, even surfing the web is technically file transferring.

but most peoples internet speed is slower then wireless g, speeds and surfing the web is generally small files as well
pendragon 1st July 2008, 01:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krikkit
I'm totally un-fussed about N-abilities. As far as I'm concerned wireless is for low-bandwidth comms only, not file transfer... That's why I have flash drives. :D

heh.. the only reason to not adopt N-routers as far as I'm concerned is that they're just based off a Draft specification that hasn't been ratified by the standards body. It's already changed once, with possible compatibility issues for early-adopters. Best get a G-router until they finalize it - my humble opinion :) ... and I'm VERY intrigued with this. Hopefully they come with a hefty amount of Flash RAM .. some of DDRT distributions needs 8-16mb's
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