Netgear launches open source router

June 30, 2008 // 9:15 a.m.

Tags: #dd-wrt #netgear #open-source #openwrt #router #tomato #wgr614l

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.

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