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Old 08-02-2016, 11:01 AM   #1
jeremy
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TP-Link agrees to allow third-party Open Source firmware in FCC settlement


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Networking hardware vendor TP-Link today admitted violating US radio frequency rules by selling routers that could operate at power levels higher than their approved limits. In a settlement with the Federal Communications Commission, TP-Link agreed to pay a $200,000 fine, comply with the rules going forward, and to let customers install open source firmware on routers.

The open source requirement is a unique one, as it isn't directly related to TP-Link's violation. Moreover, FCC rules don't require router makers to allow loading of third-party, open source firmware. In fact, recent changes to FCC rules made it more difficult for router makers to allow open source software.

The TP-Link settlement was announced in the midst of a controversy spurred by those new FCC rules. The new rules for the 5GHz band require router makers to prevent third-party firmware from changing radio frequency parameters in ways that could cause interference with other devices, such as FAA Doppler weather radar systems.

Router makers can comply with the new FCC rules by placing limits on what third-party firmware is allowed to do. Alternatively, hardware makers can comply by preventing the loading of open source firmware entirely—which is what TP-Link chose to do.

This issue apparently became a bargaining chip in negotiations between TP-Link and the commission. In exchange for not facing further penalties, the settlement requires 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," an FCC announcement said. TP-Link will have to investigate security solutions for 5GHz routers that permit third-party firmware while meeting the FCC's security rules related to radio frequency parameters.
More at Ars...

--jeremy
 
  


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