This is a review of the ThinkPenguin Wireless N Router that I recently purchased for my home network. This router is sold by ThinkPenguin, a small maker of computers and equipment all factory-installed with free software, and is certified to respect my freedom, so why not give it a try?

This router had been on my radar for several months now, ever since hearing about it from the FSF. I didn't buy it as soon as I heard of it, because I honestly didn't need a new router at the time and I'm not one to go out and buy gadgets without knowing I'll actually use them. A few months passed and I took a harder look at it and thought it might be time to replace my aging WRT54GS, but still held off. Then two days ago my router suddenly stopped transmitting, and I immediately went to ThinkPenguin.

The router comes in modest packaging straight from ThinkPenguin HQ. The box includes the router, 9V power adapter, ethernet cable, quick start one-pager, a couple of product brochures to hand out to your friends, and yes, a CD with source code!

Photo of ThinkPenguin Wireless N Router package contents

Since I had no working home network, I just wanted to get this router configured and working as quickly as possible. So I unboxed it, powered it on and hooked it up to my laptop. The router comes with an actual physical on/off button, and once it's turned on it seems to boot in about 30 seconds.

The router runs LibreCMC, which is a GNU/Linux distribution designed to be run on routers and other similar systems. Using the web management software to log on and configure the router is super easy, as expected. Within a couple of minutes I was able to set it up to provide the same network SSID and password as my previous router and it was essentially ready to use.

Just to be sure that the default configuration was okay, I briefly scanned through all of the options shown in the web management interface. The router comes with an SSH server and a firewall with pretty sane defaults. The only services with open ports by default are the web interface, SSH, DNS, and DHCP. I didn't see anything that really needed to be changed before using it as is.

I'm now going back to my normally scheduled internet usage, I'll post an update here when I've put some miles on the router.


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