Everything you need to know about router firmware
Wireless networking has become a pervasive technology and is used in millions of homes and businesses and it is no longer confined to laptops and handhelds. With recent advances in speed and security, it has become the technology of choice for home and office network installations. Installing a wireless network takes just minutes and can create instant coverage over large areas. And a WiFi router is an essential component of your WiFi network.
WiFi routers these days are way smarter and offer a lot of security- and privacy-oriented features.
Some routers come with installed anti-virus protection and those that allow you to monitor network usage, prioritize data allotment, and balance data transmission across the wireless bands. Some can be super powerful and a great choice for hard-core gamers, while mesh systems, usually composed of several components, build up a WiFi network within minutes and extend your WiFi signal throughout your home.
But what if you purchased a great router and it still lacks some features? For this particular purpose, custom router firmware exists.
Firmware is software embedded into your WiFi router and controls how your device behaves. Every vendor usually has its firmware pre-installed on your router; however, to get more out of it, you can consider replacing it with a firmware upgrade, such as Sveasoft, to significantly turbocharge your router, improve stability, and increase wireless power and range, including a power increase up to 1000% over stock firmware.
What is Sveasoft
Sveasoft was a company (it isn’t active anymore) that took the original Linksys firmware releases and built some fairly impressive new features on top. Firmware additions include power boost, client mode, WDS repeater mode, QoS bandwidth management, SSH, telnet, WOL, SNMP, PPTP, IPSec, RP-PPPoE, OSPF routing, to name a few.
The company created different firmware projects such as Satori, Alchemy, and Talisman and the latter started to offer a feature-set very similar to DD-WRT (an alternative solution back then). There was some controversy over this company for charging their customers for access to their “open source” projects; however, it gave free access to people who register on its site for the basic firmware file. Premium firmware files designed for hosting a hotspot, VPN (with IPSec support), mesh networking, and VoIP were offered separately.
Is it legal to power boost a router?
Stock firmware radio output power is usually fixed by most router OEMs like, for example, Cisco or Linksys. What the Sveasoft firmware and similar solutions allowed was the adjustment of the power from 0 to 1000 MW.
If this is legal to change the power, that completely depends on the local regulations and the antennas used. In some countries and areas using the full 1000 MW and stock, antennas are illegal, while in others, it is still far under the allowable limits.
For instance, limitations in EU countries for the maximum radiated power is up to 20 dBi and 2.2 dBi for stock antennas. So, it means a maximum power setting of 17.8 dBm for the radio. The maximum radio power setting is 61 MW for a total of 20 dBi.
In the US, maximum allowable radiated power for point to multipoint links is 36 dBi, so with the stock antennas and 251 MW, you will produce just over 26 dBi. In this case, you can add way stronger 12 dBi antennas and still meet the 36 dBi limit.
Higher power settings do not generally mean higher throughput. But for long links, can mean the difference between a working link and none at all.