Internet association CZ.NIC launched the campaign for its Turris Omnia router not too long ago. In less than 24 hours, the team reached their $100,000 goal, and pledges are still rising. Currently, the project has amassed $191,098 from 916 backers and still has 55 days of crowdfunding to go.
Perhaps it was the expected performance that crowdfunded the Turris Omnia so quickly? Or perhaps it was CZ.NIC's dedication to user safety that appealed to donors? A better guess to why the campaign has been successful may be because of all that, plus the fact that the Turris Omnia will be an open source device that runs open source firmware, moldable to user preference and experience.
A notable feature that sets the Turris Omnia apart from its conventional counterparts is firmware updates. Typically, firmware must be installed manually by the user; the average person with little knowledge or interest in their home network will likely neglect firmware updates, leaving their network unsafe. The Turris Omnia will install firmware updates itself using a unique, automated security update system.
The Turris Omnia will feature a Marvell Armada 385 1.6 GHz dual-core ARM processor, 1 GB of DDR3 memory, 4 GB of flash storage, five gigabit LAN ports, one gigabit WAN port, an SFP module, two USB 3.0 ports, two Mini PCIe lanes, one optional mSATA lane, dimmable LEDs, RTC with battery backup, a SIM card slot for LTE backup, and support for 3x3 MIMO 802.11ac and 2x2 MIMO 802.11b/g/n protocols. An onboard chip also handles encryption and identification for the Turris Omnia.
The Turris Omnia router is managed by TurrisOS, the router's operating system that also handles the device's auto update feature. TurrisOS is based on OpenWrt, an open source, Linux-based operating system designed to replace vendor-provided firmware in supported routers and range extenders. OpenWrt provides the Turris Omnia with NAS, DLNA media server, print server, FTP server and virtualization functionality.
CZ.NIC is not the first to provide open source routers. There have been successful ventures using open source software in the past. Buffalo, for example, has four routers that come pre-installed with DD-WRT. Asus, Buffalo, Linksys and Netgear use Tomato firmware in some of their routers. Others, such as Trendnet and D-Link, use OpenWrt as well.