TP-Link will block router frequency customization in June

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TP-Link, one of the major manufacturers of routers in the global market, will cease to support frequency customization this summer. The move is intended to comply with a recent FCC ruling. Anyone looking to customize their wireless router with third-party software and optimize their router’s frequency range is up for a hard blow. Following a recent posting on the manufacturer’s website, the company explains that effective June 2, 2016 routers coming out of the factory won’t support the use of current-day software modifications.

Enthusiasts previously raised concerns that the FCC ruling, which was first thought to block open source software completely, would have manufacturers block support as the easy way out instead. And following the announcement there seems to be some confusion as to how this affects TP-Link routers’ compatibility with the open source market. Some are even criticizing the company for something that’s being misconstrued. Finding the right information on the Internet can be messy, so let’s get some of this confusion out of the way.

The FCC ruling is legally binding, meaning that any hardware manufacturer that doesn’t comply with the new standards will be conducting illegal business. Perhaps not the best idea if you want to run a sustainable operation. But the ruling itself doesn’t make it illegal to use open source software on your router; it simply limits how far you can take your wireless customization fantasies. But as written above, all of this is only true for routers produced after June 2, 2016. Routers manufactured before then are not required to follow the new regulations.

But technically this might be a minor issue. The number of consumers who actively take part in modifying their routers to extend their frequency range is likely a small minority. Those who worry that the manufacturers won’t support open source modifications at all can rest easy, as the TP-Link posting states that the firm is “…excited to see the creative ways members of the open-source community update the new firmware to meet their needs.”

So while you most likely won’t be able to modify the frequency range of your router, user interface modifications and other functionality should still be possible. And who knows, maybe this legal change comes just in time for the company’s  first short-range transfer speed monster.

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