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This article was published on March 11, 2016

    TP-Link is the first casualty in the FCC’s war on open source router firmware

    TP-Link is the first casualty in the FCC’s war on open source router firmware
    Bryan Clark
    Story by

    Bryan Clark

    Former Managing Editor, TNW

    Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

    One of the most hackable (in a good way) router manufacturers on the market says it’s going to begin blocking open source firmware, at least in the United States.

    For years, TP-Link has been an ideal solution for those seeking more control of their home network. A mix of solid hardware, crap firmware and affordability made options like the AC-1750 a go-to choice for those that liked to roll up their sleeves and dive into the settings in open source firmware solutions like DD-WRT or Tomato.

    A new FCC rule is forcing TP-Link to put the brakes on this level of hackability in an attempt to limit interference with other devices. Routers that operate outside their licensed radio frequency parameters are known to cause this type of interference, but the default firmware prevents users from accessing the settings that would allow for frequency changes outside of the default (and safe) parameters.

    The rule in question isn’t specifically designed to block open source firmware, but it is an unfortunate byproduct that many open source enthusiasts feared.

    The good news is, the rule doesn’t go into affect until June 2, so any router manufactured before that date would still allow you to install the firmware of your choice. So, get ’em while you can and expect prices to go up as we get closer to summer.

    TP-Link Statement and FAQ for Open Source Firmware [TP-Link via Ars Technica]