[OpenWrt-Devel] Why OpenWrt sucks?

José Vázquez ppvazquezfer at gmail.com
Mon Mar 9 18:23:21 EDT 2015

2015-03-09 21:02 GMT+01:00, valent.turkovic at gmail.com
<valent.turkovic at gmail.com>:
> Hi all,
> I see this or similar question of forums all the time and I have
> answered it few times. I suggest we open a wiki page and contribute an
> answer.
> Here is how I usually reply to similar questions, please give your
> comments in your replies:
> Why it OpenWrt slower than stock firmware? I can help by shining a bit
> of light onto this subject. I'm developing custom firwmares based on
> OpenWrt but I'm not OpenWrt developer, still as I have few years of
> experience with OpenWrt I can explain why sometimes performance sucks
> or there are some issues and bugs.
> OpenWrt has three main parts; linux kernel, software packages and
> wireless drivers. OpenWrt developers work on all of them. Consider the
> amount of code this is, and consider that all work is done by a
> handful of OpenWrt developers. If you work in software industry you
> know many people big companies hire to work on much smaller projects.
> So be thankful it works as good as it does, it is actually a miracle
> that it works as good as it does
OpenWRT is a linux distro oriented to networking so the kernel and
drivers are important, but you must not forget that the init process
(procd and related after AA) is one of the cores of this distro and
makes it work. The most relevant packages are oriented to networking,
but with the feeds you can make anything that you want, making it very
Also we must take in mind that OpenWRT works with GPL drivers and code
(only few are proprietary); I think that one of the main advantages of
use them is that anybody can contribute, and IMHO, are easy to
One of the performance penalties come with the network drivers: while
proprietary drivers are tightly coupled with the hardware, the drivers
developed by OpenWRT guys and collaborators should not be so
"complicated" because when the kernel version is changed they can
generate a lot of problems and headaches, while more "generic" drivers
do not take advantage of all the hardware features, overloading the
cpu with tasks that in stock firmwares are managed by specific
subsystems that are faster for those specific tasks.
> Main issue is that wifi chip manufacturers don't offer open source
> wifi drivers. If Atheros and Broadcom understood Open source as Intel
> does then you would get absolutely top speed and reliability from
> OpenWrt wifi drivers. You don't get top notch performance with OpenWrt
> because Atheros and Broadcom are choosing not release quality open
> source drivers.
Broadcom wireless drivers are poor (brcmfmac and brcmsmac),
Metalink/Lantiq wireless drivers "do not exist" and there are more sad
examples, but Atheros is collaborating. Of course the work and magic
that nbd and others make is wonderful.
> Linux, BSDx and OpenWrt developers can only use other means to get
> wifi devices to work, usually reverse engineering, and without support
> from wifi chip companies it is not easy to support all features, get
> awesome performance and stability.
> This is a long way of saying, that if performance sucks on OpenWrt you
> should blame Atheros and Broadcom for not giving you (OpenWrt
> community) high quality open source drivers!
I think that is important to mention that Lantiq and others use
OpenWRT as the base of their firms.
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