CES 2015 has seen the launch of a new open source cheap Wi-Fi router by Belkin, which is the parent company for Linksys. It’s a 802.11ac Wi-Fi router called the WRT1200AC Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router priced at $179.99.
The new Wi-Fi router comes with a 2×2 MIMO and it’s expected to offer speed around 1.3 Gigabits per second. It’s a dual 2.4 and 5GHz band AC1200 router, which is powered by an ARM 1.3GHz Dual-Core Processor. Backed by 128MB flash memory and 512MB DDR3 RAM, its memory can be upgraded, as the company notes. It also sports eSATA/USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, four Gigabit Ethernet ports and a Gigabit WAN port.
The most interesting fact about the WRT1200AC is its firmware and not its hardware. Linksys partnered with Marvel and announced that the Wi-Fi driver in it is open source and the driver for the chipset has been open on OpenWrt. OpenWrt is one of the most popular embedded Linux firmware makers. The driver is open now for all in the updated open source firmware image snapshot but it should be tried upon by Linux and OpenWrt experts only, at least for the time being.
Linux firmware developers might remember that it has been their target to make the Marvell 802.11ac wireless chipset properly functional with an open source driver, but it was not achieved earlier. But with this router’s release this goal seems to be achieved. WRT1900AC owners can also get access to the new open source firmware which is available now. But Linksys says the release is in its initial stage and the driver is aimed to be sent to the upstream Linux kernel after further refinement. The WRT1200AC will be available in spring 2015. To know more about the project and to get access to the open source firmware click here.