CeroWrt is a project to resolve endemic problems in home networking today, and to push the state of the art of edge networks and routers forward. Features include tighter integration with DNS and DNSSEC, wireless mesh networking (Wisp6), measurements of networking and censorship issues (BISMark), among others.
Most importantly, CeroWrt is targeted at reducing bufferbloat in both the wired and wireless components of the home router stack. We are working closely with the ongoing debloat-testing efforts of Bufferbloat.net.
CeroWrt is currently aimed at a single hardware platform for which fully open drivers are available: the Netgear WNDR3700v2 and WNDR3800 routers. These are current 802.11abgn routers using the Atheros AR7161 rev 2 with gigabit Ethernet ports. They have a capable processor and 16Mbytes of flash and 64MBytes of RAM (the WNDR3800 has 128MBytes) to provide sufficient space for functionality needed in a home router today. The WNDR3700v3 model that has recently appeared on the market does not work with CeroWrt; purchase the WNDR3800 if you want to be future-proof.
CeroWrt is a build of the OpenWrt routing platform intended for use by individuals, network engineers, researchers, teachers, and students interested in advancing the state of the art on the Internet, and in particular, those investigating the problems of latency under load, bufferbloat, wireless-n, and the inter-relationships between various TCP & QoS algorithms.
CeroWrt breaks with home router conventions in several ways. The first you are already seeing - it comes with a high performance integral web server with which you can establish local web services and provide web content and services 24x7.
First class name services become a necessity rather than a "nice to have" with IPv6 deployment. Manual configuration of name services with IPv4 and IPv6 literal addresses is no longer feasible by most people, if indeed it ever was. Toward the goal of "plug and play" home environment able to publish IPv6 addresses into the global Internet name space without manual configuration, CeroWrt includes the Bind name server. Security in the home environment is also a goal, ergo CeroWrt's support for DNSSEC using ISC Bind in a chrooted jail.
A core goal for CeroWrt is to provide a well understood platform, where contributors can perform tests with confidence that their results can be duplicated by others.
CeroWrt is the base on which other specialised builds may be built in the future. The default build is too big (~9MB) to be compatible with more commonly available routers.
There are other features all intended to help make insight into networking problems easier. In particular, bufferbloat, wherever we could find it, has been reduced, but not yet eliminated entirely; that requires the research in AQM and buffer management for which CeroWrt is intended.
While we have tried very hard to produce a usable web interface for the normal use of CeroWrt as your primary Internet router (and do desire you use it as such and give us feedback!), some things, such as configuration of the web proxy, or alternate TCP algorithms can require non-GUI editing via SSH.
As this is a research and development platform, there will be no long term support for this release and will likely require a complete reflashing and reconfiguration of your router. We apologise for the inconvenience but the state of the art and the problems we are trying to solve are rapidly moving targets that we must track closely. We will feed back the results of this work into stable distributions.
Thanks for giving CeroWrt a try!
The network you save may be your own.