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Why public entities are becoming more supportive of the Open Source approach

Nowadays, public bodies such as international, federal and state entities are becoming more and more supportive of the open source movement and in general of “open” approaches.

In many countries, such as the US, the UK and France, governments have recommended adopting open-source software in their administrations. Indeed, benefits from open source are particularly well aligned with the objectives pursued by any government:

  • Keeping the IT budget under control: although open-source software is a commercial product and therefore not free of charge, it has a total cost of ownership that is generally lower than proprietary software;
  • Ensuring security and reliability, because the open code allows for complete audits to check for vulnerabilities;
  • enhancing transparency and innovating to serve citizens better.

Government bodies such as FCC are also recognizing its value by actively contributing back to open source software: indeed, it became the first .gov to contribute to WordPress, the most used content management system.

 

Public entities are also encouraging wireless hardware vendors to allow interoperability with third-party systems based on open source in order to benefit end consumers: indeed, open source firmware can make wireless devices more powerful and more useful, allowing users to implement functions that have been disabled or omitted by manufacturers and ultimately giving them the freedom to customize their hardware. This concept empowers the idea of disaggregation, which means offering the option to select software from one vendor and run it on hardware from a different manufacturer.

In 2016, for example, the FCC required networking hardware vendor TP-Link to support open source firmware on its routers. In a settlement with the FCC, TP-Link agreed to pay a $200,000 fine to be compliant with the rules for the 5GHz band and to allow users to install open source firmware on its routers.

FCC’s rules for the 5GHz band, indeed, require router makers to prevent third-party firmware from changing radio frequency parameters in ways that could cause harmful interference with other devices and services. Router makers could be compliant with these FCC rules by placing limits on what third-party firmware are allowed to do; or, alternatively, they could comply by entirely preventing the loading of open source firmware, and this is what TP-Link chose to do: indeed, TP-Link’s software updates “precluded customer installation of third-party software, including open-source software,” to meet the new 5GHz requirements, the settlement said. In order to avoid further penalties, the settlement required TP-Link to “work with the open-source community and Wi-Fi chipset manufacturers to enable consumers to install third-party firmware on their Wi-Fi routers,” FCC stated.

“While manufacturers of Wi-Fi routers must ensure reasonable safeguards to protect radio parameters, users are otherwise free to customise their routers,” said Travis LeBlanc, chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. “We support TP-Link’s commitment to work with the open-source community and Wi-Fi chipset manufacturers to enable third-party firmware on TP-Link routers.”  

 

At Tanaza, we believe that disaggregation is imminent on the WiFi networking industry and that, considering the new market conditions, the unbundling of hardware and software is the future for WiFi professionals. For this reason, we developed full compatibility with many wireless devices from different vendors, allowing WiFi professionals to choose the hardware they want to work with and therefore to save on infrastructure costs and hardware while avoiding vendor lock-in. Tanaza’s firmware is based on OpenWRT, a Linux-based open-source firmware for embedded devices that enables the customization of wireless access points, as a result of its fully writable filesystem with package management. For more information about Tanaza and its wide range wide of supported access points, click here.

Update 2019: The list of supported OpenWRT Wireless Access Points Vendors

OpenWRT Wireless Access Points Vendors

The exponential growth in demand for wireless internet connectivity has led to the need, for companies in most business environments, to upgrade their Wi-Fi networking infrastructure.

Many companies within the networking industry aim at establishing lock-in barriers with high switching costs in order to make customers dependent on them. This approach progressively increases Wi-Fi deployment costs for organizations, slows down innovation and ultimately ruins the Wi-Fi user experience.

Recently, the networking industry has began shifting from operating as a proprietary closed system to a more flexible system. This shift to a more flexible, open system, occurred as a result of customer dissatisfaction due to high internet connectivity pricing, vendor lock-in, slow innovation, poor quality software, unforeseen charges for services that should have been included in the price of the product, to name a few.

At Tanaza, we believe that the current market conditions allow the disaggregation of hardware and software to occur also in the Wi-Fi networking market and create a disruption.

Tanaza is an vendor-alternative firmware, based on OpenWRT that supports a wide range of access points. OpenWRT is a Linux-based open source alternative firmware for embedded devices that enables the customization of wireless device, as a result of its fully writable filesystem with package management.

With OpenWRT, the network administrator can avoid being locked by the web interface or the web applications of the vendor.

 

Easy to install and to use, Tanaza may be the best option for you, if you are looking for an easy-to-use alternative firmware for your wireless device.

For more information about Tanaza and its wide range wide of supported access points, click here.

If you can’t find the vendor you are looking for, you can make a request and ask to Tanaza to support a new access point.

 

To see the full list of access point vendors compatible with OpenWRT, check below. 

The five most used access points by Tanaza’s customers in 2018

Tanaza multi-vendor’s approach allows WiFi professionals to choose the hardware they want to work with when designing their WiFi network infrastructures.

Tanaza supports many brands from consumer-grade access points to enterprise-grade wireless devices, facilitating ISPs and MSPs to develop public WiFi hotspots in different sectors like hospitality, education, healthcare, retail, public places etc.

The ten brands the most used by our customers are:

 

Ubiquiti   –  Tp-link –  Open-mesh –  Mikrotik  –  D-link  –  Linksys  –  Intelbras  –  Wi-Next  –  LigoWave  –  EnGenius

 

To help its customers, Tanaza developed the Access Point Selector, a free tool that allows WiFi professionals to select the best hardware according to their WiFi project.
In three simple steps, select the location, the size of the location and the level of service you want to offer, you will access a complete list of wireless devices. In addition, the tool will provide you with relevant information such as the required number of units, the number of concurrent users per unit and the cost of each device.

Tanaza multi-vendor’s aspect empowers the hardware by delivering to the device a professional set of features for WiFi cloud management. Below, you can find the list of the five most used hardware by our customers in 2018. 

Ubiquiti UniFi LR

Radio

2.4 GHz (B/G/N)

Max Power (2.4 GHz)

20 dBm / 100 mW

Radiation Shape

Sector

Installation

Ceiling

Power Supply

PoE

TP-Link TL-WR841N/ND

Radio

2.4 GHz (B/G/N)

Max Power (2.4 GHz)

21 dBm / 126 mW

Radiation Shape

Omni

Installation

Desktop

Power Supply

DC

OpenMesh OM2P

Radio

2.4 GHz (B/G/N)

Max Power (2.4 GHz)

23 dBm / 200 mW

Radiation Shape

Omni

Installation

Desktop;Wall

Power Supply

DC;PoE

MikroTik RB951UI-2HnD

Radio

2.4 GHz (B/G/N)

Max Power (2.4 GHz)

20 dBm / 100 mW

Radiation Shape

Omni

Installation

Desktop

Power Supply

DC;PoE

Ubiquiti NanoStation Loco M2

Radio

2.4 GHz (B/G/N)

Max Power (2.4 GHz)

23 dBm / 200 mW

Radiation Shape

Omni

Installation

Pole

Power Supply

PoE

CES 2019: four interesting innovations in the wireless devices industry

CES is one of the biggest meetings for businesses of consumer technologies to present their new products and speak about the main innovations. During four days, more than 4K companies including manufacturers, developers, and suppliers of consumer technology hardware meet to exhibit their products and share their thoughts about their industry.

This year, the CES takes place in Las Vegas from the 8th to the 11th of January.

 So, what’s new? What are the main innovations within the wireless industry for 2019?

We made a list of notable products presented during the CES 2019. This list is not exhaustive.

The new D-Link 5G NR Enhanced Gateway, probably one of the best WiFi routers of CES 2019

D-Link, the Taiwanese networking company, launched its new WiFi router, the D-Link 5G NR Enhanced Gateway that allows super-fast wireless 5G internet data for home WiFi. It is conceived to receive a super-fast wireless 5G signal from any internet service provider and deliver internet to home connected devices. This D-Link WiFi router supports a faster form of 5G than the current Verizon 5G network (which is a 300 megabit-per-second speed network).
Even if 5G home internet network is still at an early stage of development, this D-Link WiFi router is probably one of the best WiFi routers presented to the CES 2019. This WiFi router will be available on the market in the second half of 2019.

TP-Link and its first family of WiFi 6 routers

TP-Link, the Chinese manufacturer networking products, unveiled its first WiFi 6 routers.
As we mentioned in a previous article, the WiFi alliance recently simplified the names for wireless standards, and the new generation of WiFi, WiFi 6 (802.11ax), is starting to arrive. TP-Link presented to the CES 2019 its first WiFi 6 routers: six wireless devices in total, varying from high-end routers to extenders, all using the new wiFi 6 standard in order to deliver better and faster internet. TP-Link is the first manufacturer of networking products to announce that their wireless devices will support WiFi 6.
WiFi 6 new standard should be launched throughout the year so these routers won’t bring any benefits to consumers before the transition is done and that consumer devices support WiFi 6.

Netgear Orbi mesh router will support WiFi 6

Netgear, the multinational computer networking company, is the second manufacturer to announce the release of WiFi 6 routers in the second-half of 2019.
The Orbi Mesh System will get an update and be able to receive WiFi 6 signal. Netgear announced that WiFi 6 devices will be fast enough to provide gigabit Ethernet speeds over a wireless networking signal. The update will come with the Netgear’s series of hardware RBK50.

MediaTek presents its new connectivity chipset with the latest WiFi 6 standard

MediaTek is a Taiwanese semiconductor company that provides chipset for wireless communication.  During the CES 2019, MediaTek reveals its new chipset that will be compatible with the latest WiFi standard: WiFi 6.
The chipset will prioritize traffic, bandwidth and user demands while delivering the new WiFi 6. The chipset will also support multi-user MIMO, increasing the channel capacity per device on a given network. Last but not least, it will allow for Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple-Access (OFDMA), optimizing activities, such as social media, youtube, Netflix, on a given network. This new chipset is designed for the new generation of WiFi 6 routers, access points and repeaters.

LigoWave is now officially a Tanaza Tech Partner

As of the begining of December, LigoWave is officially a Tanaza Tech Partner.

 Tanaza’s software solution is now fully compatible with LigoWave’s NFT series of wireless access points.

LigoWave develops high-quality networking equipment that enables customers in the wireless broadband and enterprise market segments to provide connectivity, and empower and enhance the security of their networks.

For more information about LigoWave’s wireless solutions, visit https://www.ligowave.com/solutions

By working alongside Tanaza, LigoWave aims to deliver a well-rounded WiFi solution that features a platform to provide easy guest WiFi access with a captive portal and branded, fully customizable splash pages with social login, phone number, and voucher-based authentication. Moreover,  Tanaza Cloud platform is a cost-effective and time-saving solution that also includes network management and monitoring capabilities, an advanced analytics dashboard, hotspot roaming and an array of integrations and APIs.

The Tanaza partner program is open to ISPs and MSPs and helps them generate recurring revenue streams and reduce on-site maintenance costs.

Find out more about Tanaza as a WiFi network management and social hotspot solution for enterprises and SMBs.

New Tanaza feature idea: dynamic bandwidth allocation for SSID

The situation

With Tanaza, WiFi network administrators can currently limit the bandwidth for their WiFi networks by controlling the bandwidth per SSID and controlling the bandwidth per client. 

These two features allow WiFi administrators to first, limit the overall bandwidth at the SSID level, and second, limit the bandwidth at the WiFi user level.

Both features aim to allocate the same amount of bandwidth per client/SSID in order to ensure the proper functioning of the WiFi network and offer high-quality services

Furthemore, Tanaza developed the Access Point Selector to help WiFi administrator determine the total amount of bandwidth he needs to provide to his WiFi users accordingly with the level of services. Consider that calculating the right amount of bandwidth is one of the most important steps when deploying a WiFi hotspot, especially for WiFi administrators working in the hospitality sector.

Use case

In the example below, the WiFi administrator limits the available bandwidth to 100 Mbps per SSID, and the bandwidth per user level to 2 Mbps.  In addition, the administrator limits the number of concurrent users to 30. As a result, the bandwidth used by WiFi users is maximum  2x30 = 60 Mbps
This means that about 40 Mbps won’t be used by WiFi users

The solution

Tanaza is thinking about developing a new feature to optimize the bandwidth limit per SSID and per client. The idea is to dynamically assign a higher bandwidth value to each connected user until they reach the maximum bandwidth value configured by the WiFi administrator for that specific SSID.

This way, when a new WiFi user accesses the SSID on the same access point, the bandwidth exceeding the limit configured (in the example: 2 Mbps) will be distributed again according to the new number of concurrent users. In the end, the overall SSID limit will be optimized, allowing WiFi users to enjoy a higher level of bandwidth when the number of concurrent users is low.

If you like the feature of the dynamic bandwidth allocation for SSID, you can upvote the idea on our Feature Lab.