Yesterday, NetGear released the long-awaited open source wireless router WGR614L--a high-performance, full-featured, wireless router with 4-port switch running, you guessed it, Linux. The router currently supports the free open source Linux-based Tomato and DD-WRT firmware and will soon support OpenWRT.

From a hardware perspective, the WGR614L sports a 240 MHz MIPS32® CPU core with 16 KB of instruction cache, 16 KB of data cache, 1 KB of pre-fetch cache, and incorporates 4 MB of flash memory and 16 MB of RAM. In addition to an external 2 dBi antenna, the WGR614L integrates a second internal diversity antenna to provide enhanced performance and range according to their press release.

NetGear is attempting to gather a new breed of customer for its products: Open source enthusiasts.

From the myopenrouter.comwebsite:

“The launch of the WGR614L is significant to the open source community as there has been a growing demand for more powerful platforms to support a rapidly growing segment of open source enthusiasts that are seeking to create more robust, commercial-grade applications for their wireless routers,” stated Som Pal Choudhury, senior product line manager for advanced wireless at NETGEAR.

This new product should start a cascade of competing products for the open source community to test and develop. I would like to see an open source load balancer for large networks. Maybe, at some point, there will be a standard open source router OS so that it doesn't take an expensive certification to program one.