alternatives to the WL-520gU

Discussion about my Wifi Radio project at http://mightyohm.com/wifiradio/ or my WL-520gU talk at NOTACON.

alternatives to the WL-520gU

Postby mightyohm » Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:50 pm

So, it's been over 2 years since I started the wifi radio tutorial, and I'm starting to wonder about a couple things:

1. How much longer will the Wl-520gU be available? Does anyone know what the typical product lifespan for a wireless router is? I guess based on the WRT54G, something like 10 years? :D

2. Has anything better and/or cheaper come along since? I noticed recently that Newegg has the WL-500gP v2 for less than the WL-520gU. The WL-500 is a better option (aside from the size), so if I was buying a router today I'd probably go for that. But it's also 2+ years old. Are there any other options?
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Re: alternatives to the WL-520gU

Postby jeroen94704 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:13 am

That's an interesting question. I've had a quick look at what's available right now, but the 520gU is still widely available and one of the cheapest options. I think the problem is that the market for routers with a USB port is just not very big, so very few new models in that category are released, especially in the cheap(er) segment. Also, we need decent OpenWRT support, and newer routers are very slow to show up in the supported hardware list. To top things of, the newer models don't seem to come with better/more powerful hardware and/or more flash memory. It just seems like wifi routers are quite a mature product, with very little innovation going on.

All in all, as long as routers like the 520gU and 500G remain available, I don't really see a need to start looking for something new.

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Re: alternatives to the WL-520gU

Postby stefan » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:26 am

I think that provided the WL-520gU and WL-500gP v2 remain available, the most obvious reason to find an alternative is to decode a wider variety of streams. I'm sure there are plenty of people in Britain who would like to be able to listen to the BBC via WMA or 3GPP (http://faq.external.bbc.co.uk/questions ... radiohowto). There seem to be some more powerful routers well supported by OpenWRT (the Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH springs to mind). It is available in the UK for around £65 - more than the original, but with potentially greater value as a radio. My only detracting comment would be that it uses bizarre aerials that do not look easy to integrate into a custom design.

I may, if I find time, try to acquire such a router and attempt to emulate MightyOhm's excellent work, hoping to offer a wider range of stations to people. It's going to be tricky for someone who barely gets Linux, however!

Just my thoughts.

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Re: alternatives to the WL-520gU

Postby mightyohm » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:29 am

I agree that a higher end option would be nice, particularly one that has much more onboard flash. Then again, at some point it probably makes sense to look at more sophisticated platforms, like some of the nano ITX boards that are out there...
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Re: alternatives to the WL-520gU

Postby mightyohm » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:01 am

Maybe something like this... http://store.netgate.com/ALIX-Kits-C86.aspx

Kinda pricey tho.
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Re: alternatives to the WL-520gU

Postby jeroen94704 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:17 pm

In that case, what about a SheevaPlug:

http://www.plugcomputer.org/

?
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Re: alternatives to the WL-520gU

Postby mightyohm » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:58 pm

Oh yeah, I forgot about the sheevaplug. That seems better suited for this project. Has anyone played with it?
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Re: alternatives to the WL-520gU

Postby jeroen94704 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:54 pm

Nope, it's on my todo list :)

Another option, albeit somewhat less compact, is to use a fanless mITX board. You should be able to find an older model EPIA board for not too much money (Although someone over on ebay seems to think they can ask $189 for one!). My EPIA 5000 currently serves as Asterisk server, but it would make an excellent internet radio: 500 MHz CPU, 256 MB RAM, and it boots from a 4 GB CF card using a CF2IDE adapter.

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Re: alternatives to the WL-520gU

Postby mightyohm » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:55 pm

I have an Atom D510 server at home that is way overkill for a wifi radio, yet it also has no CPU fan. By the time you build a complete system, you've spent well over $200, though.
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Re: alternatives to the WL-520gU

Postby Terrin2k » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:59 am

I might suggest the following as a possible alternate target for hackin':

http://www.amazon.com/IEEE802-11N-Wirel ... B000YDS0YG

It's a little more expensive than the ASUS models, but it has 2x the flash and a somewhat faster CPU. Plus it is Draft-N capable. Don't mind the bad reviews on Amazon... they're because of the firmware from the manufacturer, not the hardware.

Just my 2 cents. Keep up the great work!

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