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Netgear Releases 11n Router for Linux Hackers


Extinction Agenda
Political User
Netgear's RangeMax Wireless-N Gigabit Router with USB (model WRN3500L) is the latest in a long line of routers that caters to a special group: users that want to hack their routers with third-party firmware that adds far more functions than most router vendors dare support. In fact, Netgear pushes customers to check out MyOpenRouter.com, an online open-source community that exclusively features Netgear equipment, but says very carefully on the page that it is "not affliated with Netgear."
Nevertheless, it's where Netgear suggests that you download copies of DD-WRT, Tomato, OpenWRT, and other firmware that got its start mainly on Linksys by Cisco routers. (Linksys smartly turned the cheap, hackable Linux router into a cottage industry back before it was a Cisco company, when it saw just how many happy enthusiasts would buy their routers on the cheap to hack at.)
What's inside? The router has a full 64 Mbytes of RAM, 8MB of flash memory, and a 480-MHz MIPS 74K CPU core. It has five Gigabit Ethernet ports (one is for the WAN connection to broadband), and, of course, the final 802.11n specification for wireless. It also supports a repeater mode. All three antennas for the 11n Wi-Fi are internal. Push-button Wi-Fi Protected Setup is a built in. Two USB 2.0 ports can be used for attaching external storage or 3G/cellular modems, or whatever you can get through support in third-party firmware installed.
The WRN3500L also can work with a bunch of third party software using its own native firmware. Sputnik can turn it into a public-access hotspot; Leaf Networks makes it easier to get remote access; Paragon lets you use an NTFS formatted hard drive on one of the USB ports (usually you have to go with the slower FAT file system); and Bigfoot Networks to improve gaming.
Price for the new device: $139.99 retail. Linksys's equivalent 11n hackable Linux router, the WRT160NL, announced last June, is $119.99 retail, but comes with only a 400MHz processor, only 32MB of RAM, and 2 external antennas.
Netgear calls the WRN3500L the "first full-featured Wireless-N Linux router to combine wide ranging capabilities, features, infrastructure and a community to enable application development" though previous Netgear 11n routers have supported DD-WRT. It's more about the chip inside, anyway.
Netgear Releases 11n Router for Linux Hackers - Lab Notes by ExtremeTech
WNR3500L - RangeMax Wireless-N Gigabit Router with USB



.. Commodore ..
Political User
My netgear has everything I need and works great. I can see having to use something like this with a linksys, as their os just plain stinks.


Political User
what features to these users want that netgear isn't willing to provide?
We can now tailor the router to our needs. As in we can run OpenVPN on it so that we can connect to a VPN running on our home network, we can set up captive portals so that people are required to give a username/password other than the access point name and password to use the internet, we can set up limits on what IP addresses get handed out and to who, we have full access to the device to do as we please so we can run a web server on it, host games on it, or even make it an access point with multiple SSID's with various different passwords and different routing, do QoS by setting up our own rules and best of all downloading and running various security tools on top of the router, such as a proxy that automatically virus scans all downloads that come by in the form of an EXE, or being able to passively detect what operating systems are in use on the network to more effectively monitor outbreaks.

Do note that the routers that can be flashed with Linux are generally in high demand in business situations since we can set them up in between a suspect machine and the gateway and log certain data if we think the employee is stealing, I have successfully deployed one that runs network scans every single night and reports back on what machines might suddenly have open ports, and the wireless portion is used to provide internet access to clients and customers so that they don't have to plug in, but all of their traffic is routed over a link to another router so that they can never touch or see our internal network, thanks to the multiple ports on the back and being able to VLAN them into different VLANs.

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