Yenya's World

Tue, 29 Mar 2016

Broadcom WiFi Versus Windows 10

Broadcom is rumored to leave the wireless chipset business. I would like to add a single word to this rumour: "finally!".

I use a venerable Linksys WRT 54GL accesspoint for my home wireless network, and I run OpenWRT on it, because the stock firmware itself is unmaintained and insecure (not to mention the additional flexibility of OpenWRT). Then only problem is that Linux/OpenWRT uses the reverse-engineered driver for Broadcom WiFi, because the vendor-provided specification is next to none.

After upgrading the only Windows-based laptop we have at home to Windows 10, the WRT started crashing as soon as the laptop tried to connect to the network. It has simply rebooted. Incidentally, the laptop itself has also a Broadcom WiFi chip inside. I tried to use various versions of OpenWRT, but the problem is present in all versions.

Anyway, the WRT54GL is pretty old and OpenWRT barely fits in it, so I am looking for a replacement. I probably don't need fancy features such as USB host or even routing (I use the PC as a router). Just a WiFi AP and an ethernet switch. Preferably running OpenWRT. Do you have any suggestions, my dear lazyweb?

Section: /computers (RSS feed) | Permanent link | 7 writebacks

7 replies for this story:

Cohen wrote: Turris

Turris Omnia: Very powerful (open-source!) hardware with promise of high security and exceptional support by (Czech) manufacturer and complete freedom in software customisation. there also is a high chance of great community around the project.

Yenya wrote: Re: Turris

Yep, Turris is probably one of the APs to consider. Do you know anything about the state of the firmware? Early Turris routers contained lots of big-brotherish antifeatures such as collecting information about the network traffic, etc. Is present-day Turris firmware usable without "calling home"? Alternatively, does OpenWRT run on the Turris Omnia hardware?

Cohen wrote: Re: Turris

Disclaimer: I am not connected to the CZ.NIC or the Turris project. Just fun and Turris Omnia buyer. It is important to distinguish between the original Turris and Turris Light. The original Turris router was/is research project on network security *based* on the call home functions as these were the reason the original Turris device was developed and ‘leased for free’ to selected group of people (selected to have a representative group of different network locations, types of users etc.). This device is impossible to buy – it was given to volunteers selected from an I-am-interrested-to-participate list –, but a lot of people were interested in the device and CZ.NIC guys were speaking several times a lot of people ‘whimpered’ to be able to get their own Turris device. That was the reason Turris Light (later renamed to Turris Omnia) project started. It is ‘light-weight’ (comparing to the original Turris device with manufacturing price ~12k CZK, not comparing to any SOHO router currently the market) version of the original device. The firmware is base on OpenWRT (see, so I do not expect any problems with using your own ‘pure’ OpenWRT installation if you are interested) but extended with CZ.NIC Python user interface and utilities. (BTW, I was told these Python extension will probably not be merged to the OpenWRT upstream as common SOHO router is not powerful enough to be able to run these programs fast enough so OpenWRT team is not interested in it.) The call-home functions are available in Turris Omnia OS but these are *opt-in*, i.e. you have to explicitly enable them. These are not mandatory as you are getting your device for money, not for participation in the research where the network data is the ‘fee’ to the manufacturer. CZ.NIC promised to publish full hardware data sheets, interconnection schemas etc. but only after starting of the production. At DevConf 2016 CZ.NIC guy told they have signals that some Chines manufactures would like to start production of their own Turris Omnia copies even before CZ.NIC. ;-) The Turris Omnia is not cheap (comparing to a common SOHO router) and not immediately available (the current availability estimate is May or even June 2016) but the hardware is powerful enough it could possible fully replace your routing PC by a small box with low power consumption and no noise as there is no active cooling.

Cohen wrote: Re: Turris

BTW, you can see the DevConf 2016 ( talk on Turris Omnia: Slides are here:

Yenya wrote: Re: Turris

OK, thanks for clarification. Yes, Turris Omnia specs are pretty impressive. As I said, I am considering this. But no, there is no way it can replace my home PC as an always-on device - I need remote access to terabytes of my data (photo archives, remote backups, etc.), so using a small embedded box would mean to have separate boxes for HDDs with their own power, cooling, etc., AND having to power up my desktop PC whenever we want to use it. So strictly speaking, I really only need a sufficiently open WiFi AP with ab integrated ethernet switch. There are also other reasons against Turris - for example, AFAIK it cannot be bought, it can only by "supported" on indiegogo, so it would probably be difficult to get an invoice in Czech, etc.

Cohen wrote: Re: Turris

I understand the reasons why Turris cold be ‘overkill’ and simultaneously insufficient to replace the PC doing more then routing but the invoice should not be a problem – if you support the project and select the router as the perk you will be requested to register at (account pairing with indiegogo order on email address) where you can select color and power cord type and where you get the invoice after finishing the order. In the end, it is CZ.NIC project so cold be probably doable more in case of any ‘Czech specifics’. ;-)

Adelton wrote:

Lately, whenever I setup new AP, I just use TP-Link 841 with OpenWRT. One out of six power adapters has failed but the AP/routers themselves are rock stable.

Reply to this story:

URL/Email: [http://... or mailto:you@wherever] (optional)
Title: (optional)
Key image: key image (valid for an hour only)
Key value: (to verify you are not a bot)


Yenya's World: Linux and beyond - Yenya's blog.


RSS feed

Jan "Yenya" Kasprzak

The main page of this blog



Blog roll:

alphabetically :-)