What's Open Router and why?

Interested to run an open router? Read on to Which router OS to chose.

Open Router is a router device that runs an open source router OS on commodity hardware.

OpenWrt, for example, is a popular router OS based on Linux. OPNSense and pfSense are other two popular router OSes based on FreeBSD. You can install them on supported hardware, and get a powerful router up running.

These router OSes run on x86 commodity hardware, which usually comes with a low power consumption Intel processor with 4 or more cores, 2 to 8GB of memory, 8 to 16GB of SSD, and most importantly 2 or more ethernet ports of at least 1Gb/s speed. Such configuration is enough to serve as your home broadband router, or as the router for your professional studio, or as the firewall for your company with hundreds of employees.

You may ask, why would I run such Open Router rather then buying a wireless router from, e.g. Asus or Netgear? The answer is, because they are powerful, trustworthy, easy to use, up to date, no vendor lock-in and free. Let me explain them in detail.


Open source Router OSes comes with plenty of packages and/or plugins, they can serve you as a router, or a firewall, or a file server, or a download station, or as an all-in-one device that does all above.

And all these can be done from one little box mentioned above. You don't have to get multiple devices, you don't have to buy expensive ones.


These router OSes are truly open source, which means anyone can download and inspect their source code. So there is no way for someone to put a backdoor or malware in it. These routers OSes are based on Linux or FreeBSD, which are widely used today on servers and network devices as secure operating systems. They are created with great care so that they are secure by default. You will always get a secure router!

And do you remember that the D-Link DIR-3040 wireless router comes with hardcoded password? That means anyone can use that vulnerability to hack into this router. This won't happen with open source router OS.

Easy to use

These router OSes comes with intuitive web interface. You can log in with your favorite browser and setup the router in just a few clicks.

You can monitor network traffic, view system status, setup firewall rules and VPN services all by using that web interface. You don't need to know about issuing commands from a serial console.

Stay up to date

OpenWrt is 19 years old, pfSense is 15, and OPNSense is 8 years. They existed for a long time and will carry on. That means as long as your hardware is in a good shape, you will be able to keep upgrading your router OS to the latest version, with the latest and greatest features and bug fixes.

On the contrary, those non-open routers usually only receive less than 3-year of software update from their vendors, some even just about 1 year. After that, the router will not get any security fixes, leave them vulnerable to security risks.

No vendor lock-in

You can chose whatever hardware device your like, as long as it's supported and capable. You can chose to run OpenWrt or pfSense or OPNSense. Even if your hardware is broken, you can get a new one, install the same route OS, and restore your backup. Everything will up running again smoothly like you never changed your router.

On the other hand, if you run a proprietary router from vendors such as Asus or Netgear, when you decide to replace it you will have no easy way to transfer your settings from the old router to the new one.


Thanks to the great people who developed those router OS, they don't charge us for installing and running those open source router OS. You only need to pay for the hardware.

If you would like to run it in a business environment, you can get professional support. But if you just run it as your home broadband router, just buy the hardware and you can run it for years for free.

Interested to run an open router? Read on to Which router OS to chose.