Linksys won't block third-party firmware on its WRT line2016-05-17 03:02 by Daniela
Linksys has announced that it will continue support for third-party firmware on its products, despite the new FCC rules governing RF devices for safety reasons.
The new guidelines aim to prevent users from modifying their routers in such a way that would make them operate outside of their licensed frequency range and interfere with other devices.
Linksys won't exactly disobey the rules. In order to circumvent them, in the latest WRT routers, the company will separate the RF wireless data from the firmware in order to secure it. Users will be allowed to keep loading open-source firmware the same way they are doing now. However, this will only be available with WRT routers. Other Linksys routers will block the firmware.
"The real benefit of open source is not breaking the rules and doing something with malicious intent," Linksys router product manager La Duca said. "The value of open source is being able to customize your router, to be able to do privacy browsing through Tor, being able to build an OpenVPN client, being able to strip down the firmware to do super lean, low-latency gaming. It's not about 'I'm going to go get OpenWrt to go and piss off the FCC.' It's about what you can do in expanding the capabilities of what we ship with."
Other router manufacturers, such as TP-Link, have opted for the easy way out, and decided to simply completely block the installation of third party, open source firmware.
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