FCC to restrict open-source Wi-Fi router firmware2015-09-07 15:16 by Daniela
Tags: FCC, Wi-Fi, DD-WRT
Recent FCC rules regulating wireless routers have raised concerns among tech savvy consumers. The commission plans to restrict the use of open-source Wi-Fi router firmware. The "Software Security Requirements" document, released by the FCC in March suggested that router manufacturers should try to prevent loading of software like DD-WRT.
The proposal is not yet official, it was approved for public comment in July, formally published on August 6, and has a planned comment deadline of next week – 8 September.
Open source firmware, such as DD-WRT is used by users to modify their routers in a way to improve network security, to boost router's performance or just to add features that the router doesn't natively support. It also allows tweaking the frequency channels and power levels which is probably the most important thing the FCC is worried about.
According to the FCC, the main goal of the rules is to make sure routers and other devices only operate within their licensed parameters. This also means preventing router radio modifications that would interfere with vital elements of the radio spectrum, such as airport weather radar frequencies.
"We had problems with illegally modified equipment interfering with terrestrial doppler weather radar (TDWR) at airports," telecom policy expert and senior VP of Public Knowledge Harold Feld said. "Naturally the FAA freaked out, and the FCC responded to this actual real world concern."
Obviously, there is some misunderstanding over the FCC's intentions. People are worried that even if the FCC's intentions are narrow, the rules may have unintended consequences.
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