Netgear announced a new wireless router on Monday that will tap into the power of the open source community to create customized firmware and applications. The Open Source Wireless-G Router (WGR614L) provides Linux and open source developers with an appliance platform that can be extended and highly-customized.
To encourage open source programmers top embrace the new platform, Netgear also launched myopenrouter.com, a set of forums, articles, and downloads to support "Netgear's open source router community."
Netgear has also priced the product at a reasonable $69.00.
Som Pal Choudhury, senior product manager for wireless at Netgear, stated:
"The launch of the WGR614L is significant to the open source community as there has been a growing demand for more powerful platforms to support a rapidly growing segment of open source enthusiasts that are seeking to create more robust, commercial-grade applications for their wireless routers."
"In addition to adding a more powerful processor and additional memory to the proven Broadcom platform, the most popular open source firmware, Tomato and DD-WRT, are available on WGR614L making it easier for users to develop a wide variety of applications. An important feature of our offering is the dedicated and responsive open source community which enables users to easily exchange ideas and troubleshoot issues. New applications currently being developed by this community include traffic shaping applications, redirections to captive portals for hotspots, guest access via a separate SSID, upstream and downstream QOS, and intelligent bandwidth monitoring."
Other specs for the router include:
- 240 MHz MIPS32 CPU core
- 16 MB of RAM
- 4 MB of flash memory
- One 10/100 Internet WAN port
- Four-port 10/100 LAN switch
- 802.11g access point
- Supports static and dynamic TCP/IP routing
- VPN pass-through
- Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) firewall
- Supports WEP, WPA, WPA2-PSK, and WPS encryption
Netgear continues to innovate in the SMB wireless router market. Earlier this year, I was very impressed with Netgear's RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N Router (WNDR3300), which packs eight antennas into a standard router and offers the innovative "Push N Connect" technology to simplify the client configuration while maintaining a high-level of security.
With the WGR614L, Netgear is going after the hard-core techies who want to tinker with their routers. Many of them will jump all over this. It will especially appeal to Linux enthusiasts, although it will have to compete with open source projects like IPCop, which can be used to turn an x86 machine into a very capable open source router. The other challenge that Netgear will face is users loading apps that hose the router and then blaming Netgear because the box doesn't work right.