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Netgear WNR3500L Open Source Router Announced

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the still-making-lemonade dept.

Wireless Networking 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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So what's new? (5, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#29651729)

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

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

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#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? (5, Informative)

mrcaseyj (902945) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:So what's new? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652223)

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

Re:So what's new? (2, Informative)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652233)

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.

Re:So what's new? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652737)

er, so, what firmware do you use to torrent?

I have a WL-320GU right here (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29652287)

Doesn't function properly after being flashed with dd-wrt.
Seems many people are having trouble with this one.

I meant a 520GC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29652431)

which i just noticed is not what you're talking about. duh.

$15 each, delivered? (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652369)

"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.

$140 seems too much. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652389)

I meant to say, $140? Why are so many routers now 2 1/2 times the previous prices?

Re:$140 seems too much. (5, Informative)

Bught_42 (1012499) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:$15 each, delivered? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652665)

Part of the problem is that you are comparing recertified boxes without print servers to new product with print servers.

Re:So what's new? (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 4 years ago | (#29651773)

You can trust it to work for YOU.

Re:So what's new? (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 4 years ago | (#29651793)

Hmm, never mind, I looked up dd-wrt.

Re:So what's new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29652597)

dd-wrt is far from the only game in town. Lots of people use tomato or openWRT. Still, dd-wrt gets a lot right. I have one running tomato and one running dd-wrt, because the bridge mode is so easy to set up on it. There's enough other stuff in the world to be political about.

Re:So what's new? (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29651779)

Write code that will allow only porn through?

So, when someone does a search behind this router, let's say for a recipe for pork and beans, a porn site comes up with people doing it covered with pork and beans. I see great potential for this.

I wonder, does someone have some sort of problem if all the applications they see for things, no matter how trivia, results in porn being involved?

Re:So what's new? (4, Funny)

tnok85 (1434319) | more than 4 years ago | (#29651791)

Boy, I'd hate to be on your network and have to do some research on irritable bowel syndrome.

Re:So what's new? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29652217)

Yeah, no kidding. The last time I ate my girlfriend's mother's cooking (see why I'm posting anonymously?) I got food poisoning and had to do a Google search for "how to stop vomiting" from my iPhone at 3:00 AM, typing with one hand, with my head over the bowl. On a restricted network, I might have been trapped there all night.

Re:So what's new? (1)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652479)

you felt the need to look up how to stop vomiting? On your iPhone? WHILE VOMITING!? Christ man heres a hint, your vomiting because your body wants to purge something, the best way to stop is to keep vomiting till it's all gone.

Re:So what's new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29652335)

Sheeat.

Re:So what's new? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29652783)

Anon 'cuz it's nasty.

So some friends and I were thinking... how would you torture someone. All of a sudden the idea comes to me - paralyze them with drugs, force their eyes open Clockwork Orange style, and have someone with cholera come shit in their eyes. For days. From three inches away. Then you wash their eyes out and ask if they'd like another three days. Who's going to say no?

Not really porn as such, but... well... two girls, one cup, some eye restraints and a bit of cholera...

Re:So what's new? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#29651897)

"pork and beans" is a sex act that doesn't involve a can of pork and beans. Think "Two guys, 1 cup", but even more disgusting.

Re:So what's new? (1, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29651785)

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

N routers pretty much kill b/g routers within range. You can't do that with an ordinary dd-wrt router.

Re:So what's new? (1)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#29651923)

N routers pretty much kill b/g routers within range. You can't do that with an ordinary dd-wrt router.

I don't understand.. are you implying that you can't run dd-wrt on an N router?

If so, you'd be wrong. [dd-wrt.com]

If you're trying to say something else, could you elaborate, because I don't understand.

Re:So what's new? (2, Interesting)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652413)

It's possible that he's implying that N routers will kill any b or g routers that are within range of its network by drowning out their signals, or something like that. I don't know whether there's any truth to that, as I have yet to experience or want an N router myself.

Re:So what's new? (2, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652607)

CRAPPY N routers kill B/G routes withing range. a real N router that has a 3rd radio that operates in the 5ghz band does not affect any of the B/G routers around at all.

The fake N equipment that splatters the 2.4Ghz band, yes those cause issues, dont buy any crap N gear that is only the 2.4ghz regular wifi band.

802.11n? (4, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29651805)

802.11n?

Re:802.11n? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29651909)

802.11n?

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

20ish models there?

Re:802.11n? (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652209)

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

Re:802.11n? (1)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652359)

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.

Re:802.11n? (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652613)

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.

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

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29651807)

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.

Re:It's N, and has USB (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29651873)

Or a print server, for those of us that have older (but reliable) non-network printers.

Re:It's N, and has USB (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652069)

Or both with a mythical USB hub.

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

Re:It's N, and has USB (2, Interesting)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652191)

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 computer also looks kind of interesting.

What would really be handy would be an $80 NAS box that ran, say, debian, with a complete set of useful apps, was easy to set up, and was officially supported. The NSLU2 comes pretty close to this, because Linksys explicitly says it's ok with them if you install linux on it -- but they don't actually support that, and it's really kind of a hassle to set up. It's also a hassle to get the apps you want. E.g., I would really like to be able to run a more recent version of the Unison file synchronizer on my NSLU2, but when I try to compile and run it, it crashes, so I'm stuck with a precompiled binary of an older version.

Re:It's N, and has USB (2, Interesting)

chriso11 (254041) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652373)

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.

Re:It's N, and has USB (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652491)

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.

I guess it's a question of the application. For what I'm doing (a music server), the NSLU2's performance is perfectly fine. Your bill was $255, which is more than triple what an NSLU2 costs. What are you using yours for? Video?

Re:It's N, and has USB (1)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652323)

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.

Re:It's N, and has USB (1)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652365)

Oh....NETGEAR, not Linksys. Duh.

Re:It's N, and has USB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29652421)

Not to talk of the nice stuff you can do by adding a USB headphone/mic and an encrypted VOIP terminal: instant secure point to multipoint intercom system. Just put one in your backpack/bike.

Re:It's N, and has USB (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652745)

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? (5, Insightful)

TopSpin (753) | more than 4 years ago | (#29651861)

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.

Re:So what's new? (4, Interesting)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652145)

what about Buffalo? Buffalo helped fund dd-wrt and encourages (or at least used to encourage) the use.of dd-wrt.

http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/wireless/?p=161 [com.com]

Re:So what's new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29652573)

And for that, they had to stop selling routers in the US... the FCC doesn't look kindly on companies that allow people to circumvent FCC regulations easily.

Re:So what's new? (4, Informative)

LtGordon (1421725) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652739)

The FCC had nothing to do with it. Buffalo was/is being sued over an alleged 802.11 patent violation and an injunction was filed that prevented the sale of applicable LAN products in the United States.

Re:So what's new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29652495)

Price it reasonably and we'll talk

it'll work and it's well equipped (5, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:it'll work and it's well equipped (2, Interesting)

Mr. DOS (1276020) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652321)

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 of the two N routers.

      --- Mr. DOS

Re:it'll work and it's well equipped (4, Informative)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:it'll work and it's well equipped (1)

maugle (1369813) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652701)

Mmmmmm.... royal pita.

Re:So what's new? (1)

snaz555 (903274) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652319)

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.

Re:So what's new? (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652345)

This router has a 480 MHz processor, 8 MB flash, 64 MB RAM, gigabit ethernet, 802.11n and USB 2.0.

I'm currently using a WGT634U with OpenWRT and if it were cheaper I'd be very tempted to upgrade. The processor is fairly fast for a low wattage device, the flash is acceptable (IMHO 16 MB would be much better), RAM's OK, but beyond that it's compatible with higher speed networks.

Personally, I've been keeping an eye out for such a device since a) my current router is seriously bottlenecking with the CPU, and b) my school has a fiber connection with Internet 2 connectivity and just installed 802.11n access points within theoretical range of my apartment.

OTOH, $140 is a little much since you can get a number of open firmware compatible routers for much cheaper that have a lesser but comparable feature set. Buying it might be a good way to increase manufacturer incentive to keep hardware open though.

Re:So what's new? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652579)

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.

Re:So what's new? (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652627)

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?

Re:So what's new? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29652733)

If you're really interested in an fiddling with your router(s) why not have a go at a Router Station or Router Station Pro? You get to play mad scientist and maybe be proud of yourself. (www.ubnt.com)

Progress? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29651795)

I feel this is a great move on Netgear's part.

Re:Progress? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29651827)

It would be better if they open sourced they N wifi adapters. Being able to fully utilize it with an open source OS would be nice.

Fool me once.... (3, Informative)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 4 years ago | (#29651803)

....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.

Re:Fool me once.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29652009)

Do you mean "I'd just as soon get an Airport"?

Re:Fool me once.... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.... (5, Informative)

wasabioss (1196799) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652123)

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.

Re:Fool me once.... (3, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652411)

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.

Nice try, late to the party (4, Interesting)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 4 years ago | (#29651813)

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.

Re:Nice try, late to the party (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#29651913)

They're not late to the party. The WRT-54GL is a wireless G router that doesn't support 802.11n

And Netgear's new offering might be the only game in town that can run DD-WRT AND support 802.11n (?)

The difference between 54 megabits and 600 megabits is extraordinary, especially when wanting to stream HD or video content across your LAN, play some games, move ISOs around, etc.

Re:Nice try, late to the party (1)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652463)

There are already plenty of N routers that run dd-wrt, as someone above posted a link to. I think for instance, the Linksys WRT610N or something like that.

That's kinda silly. (3, Interesting)

sherl0k (1215370) | more than 4 years ago | (#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?

Re:That's kinda silly. (4, Informative)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Price (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29651851)

$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:Price (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29652161)

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

Re:Price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29652423)

You must run in a cheap crowd if you don't know of anyone with 802.11n capability. I think I have six devices, including my primary laptop, which do N.

Far too pricey for what it offers. (2, Interesting)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29651901)

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.

Re:Far too pricey for what it offers. (1)

jeffstar (134407) | more than 4 years ago | (#29651989)

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

Re:Far too pricey for what it offers. (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652285)

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 saying "you'll get the same performance minus the wireless N support" (and the Gb Ethernet) makes no sense when the whole point those features is that they are much faster.

open source ... or not (4, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29651903)

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.

Re:open source ... or not (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652183)

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 problem.

Maybe you have bad luck?

Re:open source ... or not (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652231)

I've got a newish WRT54GL running Tomato,[...] Maybe you have bad luck?

I dunno. Maybe my area just has more power surges than yours? There's no way to tell, and that's the whole problem. It is a very common problem, though. Ask anyone who's done phone support for an ISP. The reason I've tried the unsuccessful solutions that I've tried is that slashdotters who'd done phone support for ISPs posted about how common the problem was, and suggested those solutions.

Re:open source ... or not (1)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652609)

I have a WRT54GL (effectively a WRT54Gv4) with DD-WRT, and when I was using it, it would often freeze. Usually when I was running a P2P client.

I found this: http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Router_Slowdown [dd-wrt.com] I'll probably try that stuff next time I set it up. And Tomato. And OpenWRT. DD-WRT has lots of unexplained errors. I've heard good things about Tomato, and I value stability and functionality over freedom (they usually come packaged, I rarely have to choose).

Another possible reason for a router to freeze is overheating.

I think the best solution is to build our own. I think regular routers are just not powerful enough to route regular traffic adequately. I bought a regular router figuring it would be higher quality and simpler to use than my Debian-based home made router, but I was wrong. The only advantage to a regular router is that it takes less electricity, but it gets less done too. I suppose it takes up less space, and is easier to move too. And it looks prettier.

WRT310N- DD-WRT (1)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 4 years ago | (#29651945)

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! (3, Interesting)

MilesNaismith (951682) | more than 4 years ago | (#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! (5, Interesting)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Tasty! (5, Informative)

jeffstar (134407) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652195)

indeed, it appears that even with openwrt you are stuck with kernel 2.4: https://forum.openwrt.org/viewtopic.php?id=22016 [openwrt.org]

The thing I understand for many of the targets that are Broadcom is that their drivers are impossible to get. You only get the binaries for the driver and they only work in 2.4.

So, if they did not release the source for the Broadcom drivers, you can't easily port it, unless you use b43 which is the reverse-engineered drivers.

and even then the product is somewhat lacking:
from http://www.myopenrouter.com/download/13853/OpenWRT-Firmware-for-NETGEAR-WNR3500L-BETA-09-18-09/ [myopenrouter.com]

* WPA and WPA2 are not working.
* SAMBA support is not present.
* NAS can be accessed only through command line using utilities such as ftp
* and No GUI support to access NAS is available till now.
The patches and the script in this release are based on

I mean, no WPA? stuck with WEP so basically a totally unsecured network. in 2009.

So they're advertising as open source (2, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#29651971)

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 minor computing loads ? :)

I love my Openwrt Kamikazi (1)

HNS-I (1119771) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652033)

Since we are with 8 people on one connection I decided I needed some extra functionality so I bought a WRT54G. My roommates got wireless and I got iptables :p No upd floods on my network !

Sudden Outbreak of Common Sense tag? (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652127)

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.

Re:Sudden Outbreak of Common Sense tag? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29652527)

They wanted to segment the market by locking out features in software for the cheaper routers, and third-party firmware throws a wrench into that.

Re:Sudden Outbreak of Common Sense tag? (4, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Sudden Outbreak of Common Sense tag? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29652659)

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?

If you can get their router do much more than it did "off the shelf," how will they ever sell you their more expensive model with those features added or the model that comes out next year?

You can open source the firmware, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29652253)

...in the end, it's still a Netgear.

It's a nice thought (1)

message144 (1246846) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652267)

It's a nice thought, but have you every actually used the Netgear open routers? They are terrible. DD-WRT and Tomato are both quite buggy on them, and the documentation is pretty poor. I suggest going with Buffalo.

powerful (1)

itzdandy (183397) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652325)

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 setup a VPN connection that doesnt drop or freeze the router, and actually put a hard disk on the USB2 port and get a reasonable transfer speed. This will be in the top class of wireless routers in performance.

I have a 15MB/1MB pipe at home and a regular wrt54g cannot handle my use on the wired ports and bogs down and freezes up when pushing the thing. I put in a cisco 881 and use the wrt54gl just for wireless access, all routing is done on the cisco.

I have over 30 wrt54gl units in production and to keep them running without a lot of reboots I limit this uplink port on my switch to 10Mb. Great unit but not for a power user or office IMHO.

A unit like this may be just what a lot of people need where a $60 router isnt powerful enough and to get serious they needed to jump up to a unit that was a couple hundred bucks.

IPSec Firmware options? (1)

tji (74570) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652391)

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.

802.11n Draft 2.0 (1)

NiteRiderXP (750309) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652465)

I would get this thing if it were certified with the final 802.11n standard.
There just isn't any point to get a draft n 2.0 product months before the final is released.
Also this thing is capable of 300mbits at 2.4ghz, while most of the new Intel cards are capable of 450mbits at 2.4ghz and 5.8ghz.

I applaud Netgear on the whole OSS thing, but the timing just isn't right.

A problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29652529)

It's interesting to say the least that it seems that every single person here is bitching about any home network gear that has been stamped open source in the past but the same people are interested in buying this unit at a premium price because it has the open source stamp on it.

Did I just miss something?

Things you can buy for about the same price (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Not impressed with Netgear 802.11N (1)

borgasm (547139) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652631)

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 never thought I'd see it on something so embedded and cheap.

MIMO ? Jumbo frames ? (1)

alexandre (53) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652681)

If it supports both, I'm in!

Re:MIMO ? Jumbo frames ? (1)

alexandre (53) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652703)

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!

Speed differences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29652785)

I have not tested the netgear WNR3500L personally, but one of the differences is often it's WAN->LAN thoroughput capability. With faster connections appearing to the broad public, network hw companies increase the speed of their cheap-o consumer equipment. Don't be fooled by the WAN port being 100mbit or even 1gbit; that's not what matters.

I connect through my 100/100 connection to friends with similar connection speeds, and we've found that often the router is a serious sink in the transfer speed. Upgrading hw have had direct, measureable effects every time. And it's not just because configs got cleared out.

OpenWRT is stable, feature rich and *unusable* (5, Informative)

viking80 (697716) | more than 4 years ago | (#29652805)

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.

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