My first wireless router was a Belkin with 2MB flash and 8MB RAM. It was the cheapest among all 54G routers in the store. Since none of the products advertised CPU, ROM and RAM sizes, etc., and all of them were labeled 54G, why shouldn’t I choose the cheapest? In retrospect, that may or may not have been the wisest decision I ever made.
Well, the router worked. Except that I have to reboot it every once in a while. Every few days I’d lose Internet connection, and the solution was simple: unplug the router power cord and plug it back in. That wasn’t a big deal. Then came a period of time that I had to get some work done from home for the company I worked for. I’d open a VPN connection to the company network, but the VPN connection would drop every three minutes! Eventually the VPN problem was fixed after a firmware update, but I still had to reboot the router every few days. And the minor annoyance became unbearable after I switched my land-line phone from analog to IP.
That’s when I discovered the legendary Linksys WRT54G. Yes, I flashed all kinds of open source firmware on it: Tomato, DD-WRT, OpenWrt. Aside from the countless customization possibilities that make a hacker happy, the WRT54G never dies!
One eventful night, my WRT54G was fried by lightning. I had to bring out the old Belkin for the interim before I get a new router. But this time I flashed DD-WRT on it. Guess what happened? I no longer need to reboot it every few days! From that day on, I only buy routers that allow me to flash DD-WRT or OpenWrt.
What about parental control?
The idea of parental control on the wireless router is not new. I found a parental control menu in my old Belkin router when my kids just became old enough to be dangerous on the Internet. The service was offered with a subscription fee. However, it was already dead by the time I found it.
There are obvious advantages of having parental control on the router rather than on individual devices, which I will not reiterate here. In fact, many wireless routers on market today have some kind of “parental control” feature, albeit many among which are pretty much useless.
With pcWRT, we want to bring you an OpenWrt based router with parental control that works, and is affordable. We welcome your participation, without which we can’t be successful. Help us help you.