Open source router fans, you don't need to fiddle with installing third-party firmware yourself anymore!
Buffalo announced today a trio of new Wi-Fi router that come preinstalled with the well-known DD-WRT linux-based firmware, including the AirStation AC 1750 WZR-1750DHPD, the AirStation N600 WZR-600DHP2D, and the AirStation N300 WHR-300HP2D.
Using third-party firmware on a router is very similar to installing Linux on your computer instead of using the vendor-provided operating system, such as OS X or Windows. This allows for a new level of openness, security, feature, performance, and flexibility. On top of that, using DD-WRT also allows for a more consistent, vendor-agnostic user experience, since stock firmware is very different from one vendor to another in terms of both the user interface and features.
Among others, some common features of DD-WRT firmware include:
- OpenVPN, VLAN and full command line root access via Telnet and SSH
- VPN passthrough
- Advanced QoS controls for bandwidth allocation
- WDS wireless bridging/repeating
- DNS caching
- Viewable performance statistics to measure bandwidth levels
- Ability to set up as a Wi-Fi hotspot
- RADIUS authentication for additional wireless security
- DHCP server with the ability to create multiple Wi-Fi networks
- Iptables NAT and firewall
DD-WRT is not geared to home users, though it's quite user-friendly, but rather advanced and professional users who want to get the the most out of their network. Prior to this, you generally have to hack your router to install third-party firmware, which can be a complicated process. Recently, more and more routers support open-source firmware officially and these three new routers from Buffalo are among the first that officially use DD-WRT as its stock firmware in the States.
Apart of this major development, these routers also represent the three tiers of Wi-Fi routers: the WZR-1750DHPD is a true dual-band 3x3 802.11ac router; the WZR-600DHP2D, a true dual-band 2x2 802.11n router; and the WHR-300HP2D a single-band 802.11n router. They are slated to cost $190, $110, and $60, respectively. You can expect the street pricing to be lower, however.
The WZR-600DHP2D is available now so check back soon for CNET's full review on it. The other two are available early next month.