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OpenWrt for networking projects

These days networking technologies have settled down solidly. Their basic requirements have already been formed for them, such as reliability, fault tolerance, and security. Nevertheless, there is still a strong need for the extension and customization of the primary system exchanging data between different devices. The emergency of IoT has made this need even more acute.

That is why we recommend starting custom development with the OpenWrt Linux system as a foundation covering all network requirements. Would you like to discover more about OpenWrt? Learn OpenWrt Wiki definition, benefits, uses, and more.

What is OpenWrt?

OpenWrt is a Linux-based operating system built and optimized specifically for embedded devices that route network traffic. The main purpose of this operating system is clear from its full title - Open Wireless Router. 

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“Open” means this operating system is an open-source project that can be implemented on wireless routers, and its code is entirely public for use and contribution. This operating system has a broad community that focuses on its development and improvement. 

6 Main Benefits of the OpenWrt operating system

Further, we would like to discuss what projects OpenWrt suits and how it helps connect embedded devices in general. 

OpenWrt benefits - Article - Lemberg Solutions

1. The capability of advanced customization

The main benefit of applying the OpenWrt operating system is that it enables advanced customization. You can adapt the developed software according to your project requirements. 
You get access to approximately 8000 software packages built by the most significant and experienced contributors. You can additionally install these packages on your operating system according to your demands.

2. It is an open-source solution

Since 2004 OpenWrt project has succeeded in gathering a large community of contributors that improve, expand, and bug-fix the operating system. A broad support network is a great help for customers and developers that picked OpenWrt. 
The dev team can always ask for help in the OpenWrt community forums if they face any difficulties. OpenWrt masters probably struggled with the same problems already, so they can provide you with efficient solutions quickly. 

3. High-level security

Security measures are among the most critical conditions when working with networking technologies. Any kind of operating system vulnerability can cause data leakage. 
This is a well-known truth, which is why all security issues must be fixed as soon as they are detected. 
Moreover, since OpenWrt is a Linux-based operating system, its kernel covers common security vulnerabilities. 

4. Remote control

The remote device access and control become crucial in some cases after the project release. It can be a home router at the user`s house or an IoT networking device far away for a user, for instance, in a specific warehouse. In case of a device breakdown, remote access management becomes unavailable, and it could be a significant problem. 
Fortunately, SSH allows you to get full remote access to all system files in OpenWrt. This way, you can conduct the required diagnostics and fix an error without a system reboot. That is a pretty beneficial option for using OpenWrt for networking projects. 

5. Network traffic statistics

OpenWrt provides access to network traffic statistics out of the box. Thanks to additional software packages, you can receive the extended ability to analyze traffic. For instance, you can save the traffic history or generate graphics for a certain period.

6. Free usage

OpenWrt is free to use. This feature makes this operating system a great choice for projects of any size and available budget.

Core functions of OpenWrt

As previously mentioned, OpenWrt counts more than 8000 software packages to make any of your ideas real. You can easily install these packages using the opkg package manager. 

Here are several ways to use OpenWrt features in your networking project:

  • IPv4-IPv6 tunneling provides the support of two IP versions - public and private
  • OpenVPN or WireGuard VPN service that makes your networks secured
  • DNS encryption that helps hide your DNS requests from your Internet Provider
  • Dynamic DNS to get a domain name for your IP address
  • SQM(Smart Queue Management) to resolve issues with loading speed retention under the high network loads
  • Guest network to give access to the internet, but not to local devices
  • Parental control to configure restricted hours for restricting access to the internet or specific web pages
  • Quality of service and prioritization to redistribute traffic among devices in a way that fits your project
  • Monitoring and statistical packages that allow analyzing all traffic in graphics during a specific period. 

Openwrt has become significantly popular among internet users due to its broad capabilities and the absence of charges. In other words, users that want to provide additional capabilities to their home routers, like adding BitTorrent or Adblock, can simply do it by replacing router vendor firmware with OpenWrt.

Tips on the OpenWrt development process 

If you have an idea for building any kind of networking project or IoT device, OpenWrt is a great helper. It includes capabilities for improving Wi-fi loading speed, latency resistance, and bandwidth upgrading thanks to buffer-bloat control algorithms. 

A vast library of software packages covers an extensive range of required features, which is why you will definitely find what you need, partially or wholly. 

You can also combine OpenWrt out-of-the-box functionality with your bash or Python scripts or connect cloud services or LTE functionality. 

You can choose two options: integrate OpenWrt with specific packages on your own or consult with our embedded engineers, who will advise you on software packages and help with their integration and bug fixing. 

In addition, you can also explore the forums of the OpenWrt community to deepen your knowledge regarding this operating system. For example, if you need to arrange a secure connection for your project, you can find the guide on setting up OpenVPN or Wireguard server on the official OpenWRT website. 

Or, if you need to build a custom firmware image for your hardware quickly, you can use its own build system called OpenWrt buildroot. But before executing that option, you should ensure that your device contains the recommended 16 MB of flash and 64 MB of RAM.

Also, if you need to set the operating system, you should apply the Command Line Interface, including the Unified Configuration Interface set of scripts or web interface LuCI. 

To wrap it all

If you choose OpenWrt as an operating system for your project, you can set the system with the required networking functionality in a short period. Also, you can easily customize this system according to your individual needs. 

The extensive OpenWrt wiki and active community allow you to optimize the device network development, saving money as a result. 

The ability of further remote support allows for fixing system errors in real time, making your system a robust and highly functional product. If you have any questions regarding your networking project or our embedded Linux services, you can simply contact our team for a consultation.

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What is OpenWrt used for?

OpenWrt is a Linux open-source operating system for embedded devices that is accountable for routing network traffic, making it speedy and secure. In addition, it provides remote device access and management. 

Why do I need OpenWrt?

OpenWrt operating system ensures regular security upgrades and bug fixing in traffic routing for embedded devices like home routers. Also, it offers different software packages to secure your network, support two IP addresses, restrict access to certain web content, etc. 

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