Linksys Linux-Based WRT160NL Router

Jul 01, 2009

The Linux router WRT54GL from Cisco subsidiary Linksys wrote part of the history of open source a few years ago. Now its WRT160NL WLAN successor is ready to step up to the plate.

From outward appearances, the new Linksys router resembles the other Cisco N-series routers, but has two additional external R-SMA antennas. The wireless Linux device comes with a 400-MHz processor and 8 MBytes RAM. Linksys promises multimedia facility with the integrated Storage Link and a USB device port. The built-in media server allows transfering video or music files to other PCs. Storage Link supports FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS file formats in read and write mode. Mohammad Hoda, a director of emerging markets at Cisco, considers the new router a successor to the WRT54GL: "In the past, we have had many successful Linux powered devices with the WRT54GL and NSLU2 being great examples. The WRT160NL is the logical next step, combining Linux 802.11n technology and USB storage functionality."

The WRT54GL was the original spark in 2003 that ignited the OpenWrt open source project for embedded devices, and the catalyst for founded by Harald Welte due to infringements against GPL. Meanwhile the embedded Linux version developed for the device also runs on other routers from, say, Allnet, Asus, NetGear, Microsoft and Siemens.

Since the settlement with the Free Software Foundation, Linksys should soon get a director of free software responsible for GPL conformance. The new router is already getting into discussions and a changeset page on the OpenWrt project site.

The slim WRT160NL is available immediately at around $110 with free shipping.

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