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WRT54G Successor Falls Flat On Promises

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the too-good-to-be-true dept.

Networking 113

New submitter JImbob0i0 writes: "Back in January, Linksys/Belkin made a big deal about their new router, the WRT1900AC, which they claimed was a successor to the venerable WRT54G, and how they were working with OpenWRT. They released it this week, but their promises have fallen far short. You need to apply patches (which don't apply cleanly) and compile yourself in order to get it to work... so long as you don't need wireless support. There has not been much response from Linksys on the mailing list to criticism of the improperly formatted patch dump and poor reviews as a result."

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LINKSYS !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46820691)

Yeah !!

Nobody wants it !!

Yeah !!

Hey Soulskill! (1, Offtopic)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about 7 months ago | (#46820711)

Hey Soulskill -- JImbob0i0 may be a new submitter, but you're not a new editor. How about editing the content of the submission so that it actually makes sense?

What exactly is it they pay you to do? I'm sure I could write a shell script that would randomly select a few stories every day to copy to the front page.

Re:Hey Soulskill! (2)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 7 months ago | (#46820765)

I thought Soulskill was a shell script. :)

Aren't stories automatically selected by upvoting on firehose?

Re:Hey Soulskill! (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | about 7 months ago | (#46820797)

It made sense to me.

$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (4, Informative)

gl4ss (559668) | about 7 months ago | (#46820713)

they clearly missed the ball on there about what made the previous model useful.

I mean, for 400 bucks you could pick up two minnowboards.
or like, 7 raspberry pi's with wifi.
or like, 10 normal home wifi routers.

400 bucks why bother with their gpl dancing around. you can buy a frigging dualcore laptop for that money and enjoy out of the box webcam hosting, ethernet + wifi routing with a built in high resolution display and built in ups!

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (5, Informative)

rsmith-mac (639075) | about 7 months ago | (#46820897)

The router has just been released and none of Amazon's usual resellers (including themself) have it in stock yet, so only a handful of grubbier resellers are listing it. The list price is $249 [linksys.com] , and undoubtedly it will be even cheaper than that once it's in good supply.

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (2)

Lennie (16154) | about 7 months ago | (#46821115)

The TP-Link I got was less than 50 euros.

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (1)

raburton (1281780) | about 7 months ago | (#46821423)

Netgear wndr3700 goes for about the same. Specs are a bit lower than this new linksys (it's a couple of years old now) but plenty for most applications and with excellent openwrt support (just make sure you buy the right hardware revision).

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46825167)

That's all fine and dandy until your WNDR3700 starts rebooting on you every 15-30 minutes, like mine did. It worked great, right up until it went out of warranty. I have tried upgrading/downgrading stock FW as well as DD-WRT (the latter of which will break your 5GHz WiFi band). Unfortunately, I have V3 hardware (Broadcom chip, as opposed to Atheros).

So yes, I agree to make sure you buy the right hardware revision. However, my experience with all Netgear routers I've tried (4 different ones, over the years) has been so terrible that I will now avoid ANYTHING by Netgear. Should have heeded my own warning before buying the last one.

I haven't had great luck with Linksys either (particularly after the Cisco buyout), so I'm really not sure where to go next.

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 6 months ago | (#46822627)

That was for an AC band WiFi? The AC1750 is listed at Newegg [newegg.com] for $95 right now

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46821161)

For €200 I'd buy it if it had 8 ports and dual eSata.

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (1)

Sun (104778) | about 7 months ago | (#46821469)

Picture seems to suggest half of that. Four ports (+ external) and one estata.

Shachar

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46824107)

I'm willing to pay $410 for the thing, /if/ it has proper support for OpenWRT, Tomato, and DDWRT. (I want flexibility to change open projects if one of those projects falls behind in security patches.)

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46824411)

You need to work on your English, you're embarrassing yourself.

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (5, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46820941)

Just get a Buffalo. Good OpenWRT/DD-WRT support (some come pre-installed with DD-WRT), good price, good hardware. Linksys have been shit since the late 90s when I first encountered them, and the WRT54G was never that great to begin with (how many hardware revisions were there?)

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (4, Informative)

jittles (1613415) | about 6 months ago | (#46822277)

Just get a Buffalo. Good OpenWRT/DD-WRT support (some come pre-installed with DD-WRT), good price, good hardware. Linksys have been shit since the late 90s when I first encountered them, and the WRT54G was never that great to begin with (how many hardware revisions were there?)

The current Buffalo routers have TERRIBLE WiFi. I mean absolute garbage. I bought a Buffalo router and am using it as my firewall and LAN router. I bought an Airport Extreme to actually provide WiFi service to my home. With the Buffalo I had to reboot the device every 4-6 hours minimum just to use the WiFi. I could not copy a 5GB file over WiFi as that was guaranteed to screw the router up and WiFi would stop working all together. The Airport is expensive as hell but I haven't had to touch the thing in 3 years. I would use that as my only device if only it let me configure things like dynamic DNS support, etc.

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46822429)

I have 3 Buffalo's, all loaded with DDWRT, 2 came preloaded, and have no problem at all. One is configured as a repeater bridge, another is just relaying for devices that have physical nics, and the last is just acting as a standard AP hooked to our router. Been working flawlessly for 2 years now. BTW, did I mention they were all refurbs and I paid about $20 each? The range is great and I can get on from my workshop which is about 40ft from the house. I have had absolutely no issue transferring large files either. But...YMMV

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (2)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 6 months ago | (#46823603)

They work because you got old ones used.

Parent specifically mentioned "Curent" Buffalo routers.

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46822723)

Yea it is hard to beat the Airport Extreme for actual wifi delivery, sadly.

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46824179)

It's 2014 why is it so hard to have a wireless router that needs a reboot every couple of days that can't just fucking reboot itself?

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (4, Informative)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 6 months ago | (#46825009)

Commodity networking for anything more complicated than a switch has been garbage for years. To keep the price down, the manufacturers are brutal about reducing CPU specs and speed, then pushing them to their absolute limit so they're constantly in danger of overheating. They cut the RAM to the minimum as well. They also spend as little as possible developing and debugging the firmware.

And they lie. They like to try to sneak changes past the public by keeping the model numbers the same while totally changing the innards. They will change only the "revision" number, as if the total redesign was only a minor change, and not print this on the box. I once bought the famous Linksys WRT54G, and found it was junk. Couldn't even ping reliably through a wired connection, never mind wireless. My old router (a Netgear RP114, no wireless capability) worked fine, so it was definitely not anything else. I found out why. When I bought it, Linksys had just moved from revision 4 to revision 5. Revision 4 was the good one, with Linux. Revision 5 had half the RAM and was running a very buggy firmware on VxWorks.

Just a guess, but from my own experiences, maybe as many as 1/3 of the routers out there are so poorly made that they never work properly or well, or if they do, they don't last long, dying from overheating in the first year. Including that Linksys WRT54G revision 5, I've taken many a router back within the first 3 days because they just did not work, even after updating them with the latest firmware offered on the vendor's website. Of the ones that do work, sometimes have had to work hard to make configuration changes through their web interface. The web pages sometimes do not load properly because the router suffered a brief instant of overheating, perhaps, or because of a bug, hard to say. The Trendware routers I've seen have particularly bad interfaces that make Metro look nice by comparison. I could put up with that, if they at least worked well, but no. The latest piece of junk I'm having to deal with is an Arris DG860, supplied by Time Warner, which figures. It will drop wireless connections for no apparent reason, and may start working again a moment later, or may need to be reset by power cycling it.

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 6 months ago | (#46825163)

It's 2014 why is it so hard to have a wireless router that needs a reboot every couple of days that can't just fucking reboot itself?

Its 2014 why does it still need to reboot every few day damn it.
The fucker shouldn't be unstable. Especially when I can build one for less money with a raspberry pi and a a usb wifi dongle for what $50

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 months ago | (#46825217)

Strange, I have a Buffalo WZR-D1800H (a current model) and the wifi is excellent. Far better than my old Asus N16 and the crap that my ISP gave me (Virgin Superhub 2). 5GHz in particular is damn fast, which is the main reason I got it was 2.4GHz has become unusable around here.

Maybe you had a duff one? The only time I used an Airport Extreme was when I was at a friends house and it was crap, but that could have been for any number of reasons unrelated to the Airport itself.

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (1)

jittles (1613415) | about 6 months ago | (#46825447)

Strange, I have a Buffalo WZR-D1800H (a current model) and the wifi is excellent. Far better than my old Asus N16 and the crap that my ISP gave me (Virgin Superhub 2). 5GHz in particular is damn fast, which is the main reason I got it was 2.4GHz has become unusable around here.

Maybe you had a duff one? The only time I used an Airport Extreme was when I was at a friends house and it was crap, but that could have been for any number of reasons unrelated to the Airport itself.

Could be the model? I have three WZR-HP-G300NH2's and all I use them for is firewall/router. They're relatively inexpensive (I believe I paid $70 a piece for them), but they were unreliable. The WiFi would stop working (though the SSID would still broadcast, no traffic would go anywhere). The older they got, the worse the problem seemed to be. I still use them to handle firewall, but that's it.

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 months ago | (#46825883)

I have a couple of that era but not that specific model, and some older 802.11g models as well. No issues with any of them. I really think you were just unlucky as most people seem to think they are good. They have a good reputation in Japan where they are pretty much the only brand that can reliably route close to people's theoretical broadband speeds (back in the day it was 100/100Mbps, but these days it's 1000/1000 and Buffalo benchmark around 950-970Mbps in their high end models.)

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46825697)

Why did you not return the device? It is likely a electrically faulty device and any retailer would allow replacement with that description. I don't know about the other Buffalo models, but my WZR-900DHP has worked flawlessly for a few weeks now.

Or Apple AirPort (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46821175)

Or One Apple AirPort Extreme 2TB and 3 faux black turtle necks.

You can get a Cisco 860VAE for the $ (1)

sjwest (948274) | about 7 months ago | (#46821225)

Which is an interesting discussion in itself, Ubiquity sme stuff is also a lot cheaper

Re:You can get a Cisco 860VAE for the $ (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | about 6 months ago | (#46821769)

That's what I did, Ubiquiti wirelesss N AP and edgelite router. Total cost 170 bucks, rock solid.

Re:$409.99 WHAT THE FUCK (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | about 6 months ago | (#46821757)

Fuck Linksys, plenty of open source supported devices with newer features, asus comes to mind, i'm sure there are others.

openWRT runs, without wireless (5, Insightful)

Cassini2 (956052) | about 7 months ago | (#46820721)

I agree with Andrew Johnson [openwrt.org] . Almost everyone will want a wireless router. A Linux, open-source, router was the segment that the WRT54GL filled.

It's a bit of a shame. I need a bunch of new routers with wireless support and ideally cellular support too.

Re:openWRT runs, without wireless (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 7 months ago | (#46820751)

just buy a switch and a laptop.

it's cheaper than this crap.

Re:openWRT runs, without wireless (2)

dinfinity (2300094) | about 7 months ago | (#46821141)

Also: much more capable.
It's amazing how things like NAS-devices and routers have become so much more expensive that just buying similar parts and putting them together gives you 100 times the specs and a million times the flexibility for the same price.

The only thing these devices have going for them is low power usage vs capabilities and even on that front they are bested by pretty much any budget mobile phone there is.

It's ridiculous.

Re:openWRT runs, without wireless (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46821399)

or a Mikrotik

or a Ubiquiti Unifi and an Edgemax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46823925)

http://www.ubnt.com

Re:openWRT runs, without wireless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46822917)

Who makes a 5-Watt laptop?

Re:openWRT runs, without wireless (4, Informative)

RR (64484) | about 7 months ago | (#46821219)

What you need to do is to look at the available routers, and find which ones have supported chipsets and adequate flash storage and stuff.

In the 802.11n dual-band generation, the best seemed to be the Atheros AR7161 routers, such as the Netgear WNDR3800. [newegg.com] I bought that specifically because it has robust open-source drivers for both radios, so it works smoothly with OpenWRT. It's not the fanciest, but I used 802.11g for years without problem, so it can't be that bad.

For the 802.11ac generation, I'd guess that devices with version 2 of the Qualcomm Atheros QCA-9880 might work best, such as version 2.0 of the TP-Link Archer C7, [openwrt.org] but I haven't been following it since I don't need an upgrade, yet.

Re:openWRT runs, without wireless (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 7 months ago | (#46821465)

The last time I bought a dedicated device like this, I got a PC Engines [pcengines.ch] WRAP, which is similar to the boards that Soekris [soekris.com] sells. For about £100, I got a 266MHz AMD Geode (x86) CPU, a board that could boot from a CF card, and had 3 wired sockets and 2 miniPCI slots (with an 802.11g card in one), a metal case and a couple of antennae. That was quite a few (actually, almost ten) years ago.

The first search result has a similar kit [linitx.com] for £139, which is a bit more, but if you shop around you can probably get it for cheaper. That includes a 500MHz x86 CPU and 256MB of RAM, so it will happily run most stock *NIX distributions, or something firewall-centric like pfSense.

C7v2 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46822015)

I provided the board support patch for Archer C7v2 in OpenWRT. There have now been nightly builds for it for several days, and the units are pretty much working at 100%.

I had some difficulty in actually *acquiring* a C7v2, but TP-Link is truly a pleasure to deal with. Newegg, on the other hand... I bought a C7v2 from them, they sent me a C7v1. I RMA'd it and they sent me ANOTHER C7v1, and had the audacity to claim that the hardware was identical and I should just install the "v2 update" from tplink's site. TP-Link swapped out the v1 for a v2. TP-Link was under no obligation to do that, since it was newegg lying about what they were sending me.

As far as this WRT1900AC device goes, I just don't see the appeal. Especially at the prices being quotes, and DOUBLE especially given the junk Marvell no-driver-source wifi parts. There are a few features on the WRT1900AC that on the surface seem cool, but that really comes down to the SATA port -- except that the price premium exceeds the cost of a 2-bay NAS.

Although I have to admit, a dual-core ARM would be nice on a router.... but again, not at that price. ARM isn't going to suddenly make it into a freight train of a data processor. If I need serious processing power on a network appliance, I'll find something with an x86.

Re:openWRT runs, without wireless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46824767)

I have a Netgear WNR3500L/U/v running with Tomato. Rock solid. Bought a refurb for 20 bucks from Woot or similar deal site.

Name Routy McRouterson
Model Netgear WNR3500L/U/v2
Chipset Broadcom BCM4716 chip rev 1 pkg 10
CPU Freq 453 MHz
Flash RAM Size 8 MB

Time Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:31:08 -0500
Uptime 736 days, 10:54:46

Re:openWRT runs, without wireless (3, Informative)

MrNemesis (587188) | about 6 months ago | (#46821575)

From a few posts along in the thread https://lists.openwrt.org/pipe... [openwrt.org] :

Quick update on this subject: Linksys has now posted a GPL source for
the WRT1900AC, and it contains the wifi driver sources.
It appears to me, that this driver was properly licensed under GPL, with
proper license headers in all source files.

This means that work on supporting this device can theoretically
continue, although I expect it to take quite a bit of time. As I
anticipated, the code quality of the driver source code is abysmal.
This looks like rewrite (not cleanup) material, ugly enough to cause eye
cancer or frighten small children ;)

There are also still some pieces missing: Since this driver does not use
standard Linux Wireless APIs, it can only properly function with custom
hostapd/wpa_supplicant hacks. I don't see those in the release.

- Felix

Update 2: Those can be found in the OpenWrt SDK for this device on
GitHub. Same comments regarding code quality apply here.

- Felix

The link to the firmware appears to be here http://support.linksys.com/en-... [linksys.com] , it's one of those annoying javascript-non-hyperlinks.

Can anyone more au fait with OpenWRT verify that this is correct?

Re:openWRT runs, without wireless (1)

antdude (79039) | about 6 months ago | (#46825391)

My old WRT54GL still works well. I don't need the newer fancy models until mine dies. :)

Firmware (4, Insightful)

Z34107 (925136) | about 7 months ago | (#46820733)

So, Linksys' OpenWRT router ships without OpenWRT firmware, apparently because there is no such firmware. You could compile such a firmware yourself, if not for Linksys withholding the wireless drivers.

I can't even begin to imagine a chain of events that resulted in shipping an OpenWRT router without any OpenWRT support.

Re:Firmware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46820795)

So, Linksys' OpenWRT router ships without OpenWRT firmware, apparently because there is no such firmware. You could compile such a firmware yourself, if not for Linksys withholding the wireless drivers.

I can't even begin to imagine a chain of events that resulted in shipping an OpenWRT router without any OpenWRT support.

Chain of events is as follows:
1. Company opens mouth.
2. Lies ahem I mean marketing falls out.

Re:Firmware (1)

Kryptonut (1006779) | about 7 months ago | (#46821173)

Chain of events is as follows:
1. Company opens mouth.
2. Lies ahem I mean marketing falls out.

3. ?????
4. Profit!!!

You forgot the most important parts!

Re:Firmware (1)

MrNemesis (587188) | about 7 months ago | (#46821471)

I can't even begin to imagine a chain of events that resulted in shipping an OpenWRT router without any OpenWRT support.

It starts with "B" and rhymes with Whelkin.

Re:Firmware (1)

mirix (1649853) | about 6 months ago | (#46821781)

pre belkin linksys was kinda shit for this too. If you wanted wifi to work on a WRT54, you had to run 2.4 past it's due date, as there was no 2.6 driver, and the 2.4 one was a blob. Someone must have eventually reverse engineered the broadcom junk, as there was 2.6 support, much later. Well... that bit falls under the broadcom is evil category, I guess.

Though I suppose it wasn't marketed as an 'OpenWRT router', was it...

A lot of the router outfits (or just embedded things in general) seem pretty poor in complying with GPL, and even if they do attempt to comply, what they give you often won't build anyway. shame, really...

Re:Firmware (1)

kimvette (919543) | about 6 months ago | (#46821653)

Chain of events:

1. Product manager gives a feature list and a hard delivery date based on arbitrary whims of an executive
2. Development and QA comes back with a date that requires a schedule which is 3x longer
3. Product management comes back with the same date and decides to handle the issue by bringing in more contractors insisting that throwing more people at the problem will achieve the goals and the megalomaniac rockstar contractor said "Oh I can get this done in half the time."
4. Reality proves the product manager is an idiot and the project will take even longer than development predicted because the contractors turned the whole thing into a fucking mess and all the code written by Mr. Rockstar has to be rewritten

Re:Firmware (2)

sunderland56 (621843) | about 6 months ago | (#46821851)

Linksys has working wireless drivers; the product ships with them. The only problem is the lawyers who won't open source those drivers.

It would take them a few seconds to just post the sources that the router ships with to their web site; there is no *technical* reason for the delay, they are just refusing to do so, even after promising that they would.

Re:Firmware (1)

ConfusedVorlon (657247) | about 6 months ago | (#46822071)

It sounds like they have released some driver sourcecode - but it is hacky, and not useable by Open WRT

From the mailing list:

There are also still some pieces missing: Since this driver does not use
standard Linux Wireless APIs, it can only properly function with custom
hostapd/wpa_supplicant hacks. I don't see those in the release.

OMFG compile! (-1, Flamebait)

real gumby (11516) | about 7 months ago | (#46820759)

Holy crap you have to actually compile it yourself! What is the world coming to? You mean hacking isn’t just plugging stuff together?

OK the thing has problems, that’s news. But if compiling is considered hard, well, it’s hard to see you as a nerd.

Re:OMFG compile! (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | about 7 months ago | (#46820803)

I'd agree with you... if it actually worked once compiled. Wireless doesn't work.

Re:OMFG compile! (4, Insightful)

Severus Snape (2376318) | about 7 months ago | (#46820805)

Holy crap you have to actually compile it yourself! What is the world coming to? You mean hacking isn’t just plugging stuff together?

OK the thing has problems, that’s news. But if compiling is considered hard, well, it’s hard to see you as a nerd.

RTFA. The patches are a mess, don't compile cleanly and the wireless driver is missing. Rendering it an expensive paperweight.

Re:OMFG compile! (0)

tlambert (566799) | about 7 months ago | (#46821189)

RTFA. The patches are a mess,

Yeah, not seeing this one as a problem; Open Source projects have no problem supporting hardware that the manufacturer would rather they didn't support, often over the manufacturers objections, but when it comes to hardware specifically built on behalf of the Open Source project, all of the sudden it's now the companies job, rather than the Open Source project's job, to pee on the patches until they smell like the projects leaders peed on them, so that there are no changes required to be able to use them.

This seems really similar to Samsung releasing code with "board" support for some hardware, and then some maintainer getting all pissy that they didn't write the code the same the maintainer would have, had the maintainer had the time, but the maintainer doesn't have the time, but won't integrate the patches anyway because they aren't done the same way they would have been done, had the maintainer done them, but the maintainer won't do them.

Either bitch when they don't obey the GPL and provide their code, or take their code when it's provided and say "thank you", but don't bitch when they hand you code, and you don't want to do the work to integrate it into your moving target of a project. Thanks.

don't compile cleanly and the wireless driver is missing. Rendering it an expensive paperweight.

It's not entirely a paperweight, but they've acknowledged that the code, as supplied, lacks wireless driver support, and that they need to sanitize the code and break it along interface boundaries so that it can be a binary driver module.

Again, I think the "problem" isn't so much that the module wasn't supplied immediately, instead of just being promised, but that it means they aren't going to get the source code for the module itself. A lot of Open Source projects like to try to force hardware vendors to give up what the hardware vendors consider their "keys to the kingdom", and will go so far as to design system interfaces which aren't usable unless you have GPL'ed code in your driver, making your driver GPL'ed, meaning that they can demand source code.

As far as SDR - Software Defined Radio - such as that used in WiFi and cellular radio parts firmware is concerned, those guys can piss up a rope. Specifically, if the source were made available in a way that could be utilized the way the Open Source people want it to be able to be utilized, which would mean:

(1) Other vendors could just copy the register interfaces and use the same driver, without having to do hardware design work
(2) Other vendors could thus undercut the prices by the amortized R&D costs (i.e. the hardware would be commoditized)
(3) The driver work would effectively not be a recoverable cost at the commodity price point
(4) They lose their FCC certification for the part
(5) They can't sell in the U.S., France, the U.K., Japan, and other countries that license hardware/firmware as a single lump

So... piss up a rope; be happy with the forthcoming binary-only driver blob, and be happy it's been promised at all so that you can dick around with the way the rest of the system works to your hearts content. That's all you're going to get for economic reasons, unless you get together as a group and buy out their R&D costs, and buy out their first mover advantage.

Otherwise, if you can live with the limitations, hold your damn horses, and wait to buy the router, which is generally not hardware available anyway.

Re:OMFG compile! (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 7 months ago | (#46821237)

yeah so linksys developed the chips and stuff? yeah right(1).

(2) other manufacturers buy from the same chip manufacturers and get the same cookie cutter drivers under the same cookie cutter nda.

3,4,5 doesn't stop others from doing so.

Re:OMFG compile! (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 7 months ago | (#46821453)

yeah so linksys developed the chips and stuff? yeah right(1).

(2) other manufacturers buy from the same chip manufacturers and get the same cookie cutter drivers under the same cookie cutter nda.

3,4,5 doesn't stop others from doing so.

Making the driver proprietary and licensed only for use with the OpenWRT hardware most certainly does prevent 3,4,5 from being leveraged by another vendor. If all I have to do is copy your commodity chip choices and a lot of your interconnect design, you have R&D costs to recover, and I don't = I put you out of business, unless you have brand loyalty above and beyond the price point.

Can you say, with a straight face, that another product that could run the exact same software load and work the exact same way wouldn't render the OpenWRT router fungible, and therefore the only thing that would matter to consumers was the price point? I can pretty much guarantee you can't do that, even if every person who was in the market for an OpenWRT-style device pledged to buy theirs instead of a cheaper one.

You also have failed to address the SDR issue of FCC/CCITT licensing the combination of hardware and firmware as a unit, and revoking licensing for hardware that can be used with a different firmware and/or firmware that can be used with different hardware, because they don't want to have to deal with malicious radio loads screaming over top of military radio bands because the hardware is capable, but it's only the firmware which limits the ability of someone to do the nasty.

Re:OMFG compile! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46820807)

let me sell you this new car that you first need to design yourself, then you print it in a 3D printer and then you can finally build it.
It's 100% hacker friendly.

Re:OMFG compile! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46822511)

Yeah, you're starting to get how Linux looks to most folks.

Re:OMFG compile! (4, Insightful)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 7 months ago | (#46820813)

Because often times compiling things like this, especially what is essentially an entire fucking Linux distribution, and ESPECIALLY AGAIN one that requires cross compiling this, is rather a pain in the ass. Unless somebody has pre-built the toolchain for you, preconfigured it, etc, you're looking at at least 45 minutes of work, not counting the time for the compiler to do its actual work. That's also working under the assumption that you know how to operate the compiler (I'm assuming GCC) fairly well.

I don't know about you, but in spite of using Linux for over 10 years, unless an application I've downloaded in source form already has the build scripts configured, I'll never get the damn thing to compile. (Well, in cases where it's a single .c file with few dependencies it's not a huge deal, but even then cross compiling requires yet more work.)

Configuring make scripts and all of that crap are just not my thing. I've never been into programming anything beyond interpreted languages to be honest. Stuff like writing Bash scripts is easy for me, but I don't like to mess with C mainly because when compilers throw errors I often don't know jack shit about how to solve them, and asking for help on them usually results in me getting trolled or somebody pointing me to one of those god awful man pages.

Re:OMFG compile! (-1, Flamebait)

Adam Colley (3026155) | about 7 months ago | (#46821013)

You know the man pages are the manual right?

How about you bother to learn something instead of coasting on the work of others for a decade then complaining things don't fulfil your every need after you've contributed exactly bugger all.

Re:OMFG compile! (3, Insightful)

tlambert (566799) | about 7 months ago | (#46821209)

You know the man pages are the manual right?

How about you bother to learn something instead of coasting on the work of others for a decade then complaining things don't fulfil your every need after you've contributed exactly bugger all.

As someone who has worked on a Linux-based embedded system, and had to cross-compile to do it... dude, Linux cross-compilation sucks, and there's almost universal pushback from everyone wo deals with Linux build systems, from Debian to Red Hat, and beyond, to any attempts to make it better.

IMO, you should be able to download and install OpenFriggingSolaris on a SPARC system, and cross-compile Linux for ARM, Alpha, and Intel on the damn thing, without having to have some dumb-ass chroot environment because someone is too stupid to deal with include paths, library paths, and source paths correctly, and because the build process somehow thinks it's an OK thing to use build products created during the build process as part of subsequent build steps. I mean, how incredibly, obviously stupid is it to use intermediate build products as part of your build process, unless they are targeted solely at your host environment, and never mirrored into your target build product area (oh yea, a working "DESTDIR=" would be kinda helpful here, too...).

The whole idea that you can have dependencies that reference files in the host environment other than those on a mounted read-only source partition, and that "retry" package builds each time because the build system is too stupid to figure out missing dependencies is terrifically annoying.

Re:OMFG compile! (1)

BlueLightning (442320) | about 7 months ago | (#46821247)

As someone who has worked on a Linux-based embedded system, and had to cross-compile to do it... dude, Linux cross-compilation sucks, and there's almost universal pushback from everyone wo deals with Linux build systems, from Debian to Red Hat, and beyond, to any attempts to make it better.

Did you try OpenEmbedded / the Yocto Project? It takes away pretty much all of the pain of cross-compilation. Most of our users seem pretty happy with it.

Re:OMFG compile! (2)

tlambert (566799) | about 7 months ago | (#46821439)

As someone who has worked on a Linux-based embedded system, and had to cross-compile to do it... dude, Linux cross-compilation sucks, and there's almost universal pushback from everyone wo deals with Linux build systems, from Debian to Red Hat, and beyond, to any attempts to make it better.

Did you try OpenEmbedded / the Yocto Project? It takes away pretty much all of the pain of cross-compilation. Most of our users seem pretty happy with it.

Yocto has a different goal than cross-building a standard Linux distribution, along with some components. I was specifically involved in ChromeOS, and the cross-build wasn't there fore something as large as a complete Debian distribution.

I think the big problem with Yocto and OpenEmbedded (or ChromeOS) is that it assumes a Linux host environment, and acess through the host environment to package management tools.

I admit that there was a lot of intrinsic bias because of the team's history towards a Debian-based system, but our desktops were a Debian-style environment as well (Ubuntu), and the common implementation was to chroot into a more or less "pure" Debian build environment on the desktop, and then from that, chroot into a cross-build environment basically identical to the first chroot environment, and from that do the cross-build, including installing build products from the second chroot into the build environment for the target, and using them.

Neither Yocto nor OpenEmbedded addresses this issue adequately -- while Yocto did something to eliminate about half the hassle when Richard Purdie did his patch set last October, I don't think it was enough to get to the point where you could base a ChromeOS on it; you could use it for a single embedded device, and, with a lot of work, a number of packages on the device, but clearly nothing like all the software (which I freely admit - it's too much code) needed to do the full product, or do it in a way that was convincing enough that the additional work warranted abandoning a working (non-cross) environment.

Re:OMFG compile! (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 6 months ago | (#46825735)

You know the man pages are the manual right?

How about you bother to learn something instead of coasting on the work of others for a decade then complaining things don't fulfil your every need after you've contributed exactly bugger all.

I assume you synthesise your own medicines, right?

And build your own car.

No, I expect you're just coasting along on the hard work of others. Next time you take any medication remember that you're contributing nothing but reaping all the benefit.

Re:OMFG compile! (4, Informative)

Nikker (749551) | about 7 months ago | (#46820829)

From the mailing list:

The firmware can be built with what we have provided, and will run on
> the WRT1900AC successfully. It is true that it would lack wireless
> support, but that would not stop the firmware from actually working. We
> are actively working on the package to support the wireless hardware,
> this will not be overlooked.

So basically they are saying since the firmware they are providing will compile (even though it doesn't contain any wireless support) is still a firmware so they are technically holding up on their end of the bargain. This is just really obtuse.

So nerd or not there is no amount of compiling that will actually make this WIFI router actually connect any WIFI devices.

Re:OMFG compile! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#46821833)

Strictly speaking, under their definition, wouldn't anything that doesn't cause the bootloader to run away crying and fits in the available flash space count as 'a firmware'?

Re:OMFG compile! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46820907)

It's not that it's hard to compile, it's that 1: They sold this as a router to run with OpenWRT, yet it doesn't come with OpenWRT or even an installer for it. and 2: when you DO build it from source, you can't actually use the wireless router as a wireless router.

Re:OMFG compile! (1)

sjames (1099) | about 7 months ago | (#46821133)

Compiling can be very hard if the patches don't apply cleanly.

Unfortunate.... (0)

beheaderaswp (549877) | about 7 months ago | (#46820851)

Netgear has an R7000 model which works fine with OpenWRT. I'm not sure of the accuracy of the following: But I think ASUS has one too.

Seems like a major failure on Lynksys/Belkin's part. But neither of those companies really impress me.Sure I used WRT54Gs in multiple applications and have a few laying around. But it's not like those things were actually *great*. They were good enough and hung around far too long for my taste.

Re:Unfortunate.... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#46821859)

Relatively early in their life, they were pretty much at parity or better with anything else you could get for roughly the same money and anything like the same convenience, in terms of specs, and much better supported. The fact that subsequent revisions were stagnant or worse and the state of routers-that-actually-work-with-3rd-party-builds didn't stay still took the shine off them. Then re-releasing (now with new higher price and extra letter!) the WRT54GL was something of an insult.

Re:Unfortunate.... (1)

Zoxed (676559) | about 6 months ago | (#46821983)

> But I think ASUS has one too.

Asus RT-N66U ? (I specifically bought this model based on it's TomatoUSB support)

Link to the actual patch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46821075)

Here's a link to the full patch at the mailing list [openwrt.org] who want to take a look at the code.

Give it more than one day, or even week (3, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | about 7 months ago | (#46821087)

If the problems can be fixed by the early adopters on the bleeding edge compiling code that has been supplied to them then a more user-friendly patch is probably only a few days away.
Early adopters to something ambitious should expect a hiccup every now and again.

Re:Give it more than one day, or even week (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46821183)

An open source driver for Marvell 88W8864 has to be provided to get the wireless going. It's not something easy to fix unless Marvell or Belkin come forward.

Re:Give it more than one day, or even week (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 7 months ago | (#46821307)

An open source driver for Marvell 88W8864 has to be provided to get the wireless going

That however sounds like a bit of a fatal roadblock.

This isn't even a hiccup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46821813)

Commercial products get released all the time with no open source support. Belkin/Linksys is actually working with the WRT team, and whether or not they keep a proprietary interface, they are at least making good on their promise of supporting OpenWRT. Shipping just started this past week. They're getting the hardware out in the market, and making money, and when the OpenWRT support is ready, that will be there, too. Calling it "fatal" at this point implies immediate success requirements on an open source project. Yeah, right....

I have a very old WRT55G, and I ordered one of the new WRT1900ACs last week. The old 54 lacks range for the home we purchased more recently, and I wanted 5GHz support. The 1900 arrived Friday, and in an hour it was up and operational.

The web interface is far simpler than the older models for administration. Side-by-side comparisons with both routers show a 12db signal gain using Wifi Analyzer on my Android tablet, and similar results from a friend's Fluke testing device. I still have a -50 db signal at the far end of our pool, more than sufficient for general use lounging around the pool, and nearly 20db higher than what I got from the 54. That's 3 walls and 80 feet distance. It also gives me better signal and speed in my woodworking shop. I tested speeds while running equipment, and even my table saw and planer don't interfere with it. Not a realistic test, because I'd never use power tools like those while actually watching something else. But it made for an interesting test. :) Note: these tests were done with devices that only test 2.4GHz. I have no mobile device yet to test the 5GHz band in those spaces. We do have a couple of desktop computers that work fine with the 5GHz band in the house.

All I have to do now is wait for the WRT team to work their magic.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to set up the old '54 out in my garage, which will extend coverage across my side yard and front yard. I have no need in those spaces yet, but one never knows.

Re:Give it more than one day, or even week (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 6 months ago | (#46822397)

Early adopters and beta testers are not the same thing. If I bought something of the shelf new and it didn't 100% meet my expectations then it deserves a crap review. If the problem is then fixed later it deserves an even worse review for being rushed to market before completion. We as consumers need to stop accepting half finished crap that companies are rolling out with promises of patches later, often which never come.

Nothing has changed (4, Informative)

auzy (680819) | about 7 months ago | (#46821229)

I work for a company which installs and deploys home / business networks for home automation purposes, and EVERY Linksys device we have tested, has inevitably ended up in the bin, not because they were faulty, but because they turned out to be rubbish.

Linksys has a long history of producing unstable devices, and their original WRT54GL Linux router's only redeeming feature was that it was open source. The interface was terrible, and so was the firmware. In fact, we aren't only talking routers, because we noticed that some of Linksys's cheap gigabit switches had issues with stuttering when playing media (no other switches were affected by this issue, including 10/100 cisco ones). It's particularly pathetic given that Blu-ray requires only 54mbps to stream.

Even assuming that patches are supplied which fixes the issues with this router, unless Linksys seriously has seriously improved their development team, and their hardware, you would be far better off with a cheap TP-Link which acts solely as a router/ADSL modem, a switch which manages the network traffic (NOT A LINKSYS ONE), and Unifi's for your Wifi (those are a dream to roll out in bulk, and the new Unifi software if it comes will even support Seamless wireless WITHOUT an expensive hardware controller).

Further evidence, we didn't even want to risk selling our used Linksys equipment on eBay and damage our seller rating (it was worth the write-off)..

Re:Nothing has changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46821419)

Which devices do you install now? Recommendations?

Re:Nothing has changed (2)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 6 months ago | (#46821717)

I work for a company which installs and deploys home / business networks for home automation purposes, and EVERY Linksys device we have tested, has inevitably ended up in the bin, not because they were faulty, but because they turned out to be rubbish.

To be fair, this is true of pretty much *all* consumer grade routers running the vendor's stock firmware.

Lets see, a few anecdotes from my own list of hardware:
  - Dlink router that decides legitimate traffic is some kind of an attack and blocks it, even when the firewall is disabled.
  - Netgear router that hangs when receiving certain well formed UPNP packets, even when UPNP is disabled. Also provides no information about the PPP link status, beyond "online" or "offline" so good luck trying to figure out why it won't connect if anything breaks.
  - TPLink router that won't automatically retrain the ADSL when running in bridge mode, even when the SNR has dropped to the point where all the packets are arriving as CRC errors (I reported this to TPLink - they tell me it is "expected behaviour" and therefore not a bug).

Re:Nothing has changed (1)

auzy (680819) | about 6 months ago | (#46821817)

Out of curiosity, have you found issues with the Wireless, multiple networks (ie, guest networks) and the Billion 7800NXL's? The only reason I ask, is because Billion is denying an issue with both of these things, but, we seem to be able to easily replicate issues..

Do you work for Ubiquiti or something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46824379)

...because you sound like you work for Ubiquiti.

Open mouth, insert foot (1)

RubberDogBone (851604) | about 7 months ago | (#46821331)

I used to be a real fan of WRT54GL and happily ran Tomato on it for a long time, until I realized I needed gigabit ethernet (yes, I do need it) and Wireless N (yes I use it). The new router had to actually work, without crashing, and handle constant data load, and not need hand-holding.

Linksys had the E3000 which worked fine except the CPU was wimpy and the 5GHz never worked for me. Throughput was awful. So I went to closed-source hardware, specifically an Asus router, and it works just great. No problems. Lots of bells and whistles and enough horsepower to cope with actually doing what the buzzwords on the box say it can do, without crapping out. This thing is a beast. Never needs nursing. It just works.

The E3000 is now relegated to a glorified WAP and gigabit backhaul at the other end of the house. Tomato is still useful as I never have to maintain that box at all, not that it's being asked to do a lot.

Open source is great when it's compatible with what I need to do. But bottom line is, I need to do X task. If closed-source can do it, OK. But I am not holding my breath or suffering with some problem waiting for an open fix.

Re:Open mouth, insert foot (1)

stoploss (2842505) | about 6 months ago | (#46821663)

So I went to closed-source hardware, specifically an Asus router, and it works just great. No problems. Lots of bells and whistles and enough horsepower to cope with actually doing what the buzzwords on the box say it can do, without crapping out. This thing is a beast. Never needs nursing. It just works.

Uh, I chose an 802.11ac Asus router for the hardware, too. However, I would not characterize it as "never needing nursing" [arstechnica.com] .

The closed source firmware sucks, apparently has a development team that can't comprehend basoc security, and the QoS system it has sends throughput down to telegraph-operator speeds. I would love to load OpenWRT on it, but I will settle for DD-WRT.

I would give the router four stars if it cost $45, but it cost ~$200.

Honestly, what did you expect from Cisco? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46821447)

Is anyone surprised by this? Cisco is not exactly known for its support of hacking together something for next to free that can do what their $5000 routers do.

They'd much rather sell you the same hardware with their OS on it for $5000.

Re:Honestly, what did you expect from Cisco? (1)

SinShiva (1429617) | about 6 months ago | (#46821561)

what does cisco have to do with it?

Re:Honestly, what did you expect from Cisco? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46821595)

They used to own Linksys, but apparently the OP missed the part where they sold them again.

I refrain from new routers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46821819)

After buying a couple expensive routers and having them fail or become totally unusable. I have gone back to basics. Buying a simple single band 20Mhz bandwidth 2.4Ghz router. For so many reasons, such as more stability, much simpler firmware, more compatibility with hardware, multi channel 40Mhz bandwidth does not work anyway because of so many other close 2.4Ghz routers. I can still multi stream, run multiple devices and see no speed compromise with internet or local network. It does what I need it to. I think many people buy these expensive routers because they think or have been told incorrectly that their router is their main cause of speed related issues. This most likely is not the problem, because most speed related problems come from poor ISP speed, hardware in devices that is of poor quality or is incorrectly setup. Yet router makers with the advent of each new 802.11 improvement saw a opportunity to increase margins and jack the prices up on their routers. Even though, much of the changes in routers were simply on the Wireless chip which was a minimal increase in manufacturing costs.
As I tell many people I set up wireless networks for. Your perception of speed is mainly about internet speed which generally does not trump whatever network speed you have. Even with cheaper routers. Unless you use local networking to transfer large amounts of data for example a local network storage solution.
You probably are wasting money on any kind of multiple band A/C router at this point in time. The future of WiFi is with the 5Ghz band and yes it holds promise for very good speed, low potential for interference and less chance for crowding due to multiple stations nearby. Firmware seems to suck worse as you go up in costs and features and the open source projects are not as good as some claim. Some of that firmware is old, poorly setup by the user, and can brick a router if someone does not know what they are doing. You better off just returning a router if it does not work properly. That way, maybe these router manufactures will begin to address the problems.

Re:I refrain from new routers (1)

karnal (22275) | about 6 months ago | (#46823033)

I went to a multi-band AC router because I have devices in my house that it just doesn't make sense to run a wire to. My basement was finished before I bought the house (new in 09, owner fully finished it) and the ceiling is all drywall.

Yeah, I can poke holes and run cabling just fine. However, it was just easier for me to spend some $$$ and now I can throw files back and forth from anywhere in the house at better than 802.11g speeds; typically half of gigabit wireline speeds. My internet isn't fast enough to really give me a boost - but that wasn't my main goal.

Sounds like a WRT54G Successor to Me (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 6 months ago | (#46821853)

A (?possibly?) decent router with such bad firmware you will be forced to go to extraordinary lengths to fix it.

WRT160nL (1)

tequila_j (1989882) | about 6 months ago | (#46821879)

Wasn't WRT160NL also a successor?

$50 (1)

Kookus (653170) | about 6 months ago | (#46821921)

https://www.asus.com/us/Networ... [asus.com]

I bought one of the previous models of these kinds of things from Asus and love the crap out of it. OpenWRT and all!

Linksys lost me long ago.. (1)

thaiceman (2564009) | about 6 months ago | (#46822977)

Go pick up an Asus RT-AC68U or RT-AC66U both support DD-WRT and from what I can tell from mine they work flawless*
New they are a bit pricy but you can pickup refurbished for a reasonable price on newegg

* So far so good...

Asus Black Knight Routers (1)

foxalopex (522681) | about 6 months ago | (#46823239)

I would highly suggest Asus routers as a good alternative. Their native firmware is a customized verison of OpenWRT and they can be setup to run a version of Tomato firmware if you can't be bothered with the complexity. I own an RT-N66U myself and highly recommend it and it's successors. They even have a microSD slot inside for no apparent reason other than for hacking.

There's no source for what? (4, Informative)

Minwee (522556) | about 6 months ago | (#46824181)

OpenWRT developer Felix Fietkau has something different to say [openwrt.org] :

"Quick update on this subject: Linksys has now posted a GPL source for the WRT1900AC, and it contains the wifi driver sources. It appears to me, that this driver was properly licensed under GPL, with proper license headers in all source files."

Of course, this is Linksys code so...

As I anticipated, the code quality of the driver source code is abysmal. This looks like rewrite (not cleanup) material, ugly enough to cause eye cancer or frighten small children ;)

The issue here isn't that there is no wireless support, just that it's of codethulhu quality.

related: DD-WRT (1)

whitroth (9367) | about 6 months ago | (#46824991)

I've got that on my router. Let me start by saying this is *NOT* the poster child for F/OSS. In fact, if you aren't seriously into hardware, or systems administration, DON'T! Never in my decades of professional work have I ever seen a project where people would talk about their "favorite builds"... in fact, I'd never *ever* thought of putting those two words together.

I wanted one thing besides gigabit routing: the ASUS I have says it can serve as a prntserver for USB printers. Call ASUS, "oh, not that printer". So three? four? debrickings later, and a month of trying, and asking, and finding by googling, not onlist, I found a build that works.

Most of the time. After somewhere between a day and a couple of weeks of not printing, it forgets about the printer, and I have to reset USB on it (and that was what I found after months of fighting).

I want to upgrade, to make sure I don't have heartbleed on it (but I do have no remote admin, so it should be ok)... but WHAT THE HELL DO I UPGRADE TO? Multiple builders, apparently no regression testing, no formal releases....

                    mark, putting up with it

Re:related: DD-WRT (1)

Benanov (583592) | about 6 months ago | (#46825649)

That's DD-WRT. OpenWRT is a fork (I forget which came first).

Different projects.

I didn't know Belkin bought Linksys (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 6 months ago | (#46826113)

No wonder they suck now. Did they figure out how to fix/avoid that firmware bug that opens up NAS devices attached to most of their routers to the public yet? Or are they still going with "don't set remote admin to on"?

Too bad, or is it. (1)

doggo (34827) | about 6 months ago | (#46827305)

I was recently looking to get a new router to replace my old D-Link DWL-2100AP & DI-604 combo and I saw that WRT1900AC and wished it was available.

I ended up getting a refurbed D-Link DIR-651 for $12.

The WRT1900AC is on $250 on the Linksys store site. And PCWorld [pcworld.com] gives it a pretty decent review, with caveats, and out of the box firmware.

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