New rules that affect open source firmware on Wi-Fi routers will be implemented on June 2, but not all network hardware will prevent the loading of third-party software.
Linksys has been collaborating with chipmaker Marvell and the makers of OpenWrt to make sure its latest WRT routers can comply with the new rules without blocking open source firmware, company officials told Ars.
Linksys’s effort stands in contrast with TP-Link, which said it would entirely prevent loading of open source firmware on its routers to satisfy the new Federal Communications Commission requirements.
Blocking third-party firmware is the easiest way to comply with the FCC rules, which aim to limit interference with other devices by preventing user modifications that cause radios to operate outside their licensed RF (radio frequency) parameters.
The FCC wrote its rules in response to interference with FAA Doppler weather radar systems. Routers using certain portions of the 5GHz band were already required to use dynamic frequency selection (DFS) in order to detect nearby radar systems and avoid operating on the same channel. But it’s possible for users to disable dynamic frequency selection—the FCC has called this a “major cause of harmful interference.” Most cases of interference have been caused either by disabling DFS or “devices that have been modified to operate in frequency bands in which they are not certified to operate,” the FCC says.