The Consumer Router Trap

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fairly easy
Instead of companies selling router software that can be installed easily on a wide variety of computers, an industry has been created to sell hardware routers that must be replaced every couple of years when new security flaws are found in their firmware.
The Consumer Router Trap 9-20-21

I was recently reminded of one aspect of the conflict between the inventors Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. Perhaps readers are familiar with Edison's and Tesla's war over whether the world should be powered by direct electrical current or alternating electrical current. Edison won the war, at least initially, until Westinghouse decided to use AC power for long-distance power transmission. Perhaps Tesla's most visionary goal was to provide the world with free electrical power. Apparently, however, investors were not interested in a technology that would not have produced a profit. So, instead, we now have a power distribution system modeled after Edison's plan to sell power to the world by the kilowatt-hour.

Providing consumers with a temporary solution (i.e. built-in obsolescence) or a service, rather than a permanent solution, is one of the mainstays of capitalism the world over. We see variations of this throughout the computer and communications industries. In particular, we see this whenever we purchase a new router. With perhaps two exceptions of companies that sell router software that can be installed on a wide variety of computers, an industry has been created to sell hardware routers that must be replaced every couple of years when "new" security flaws are found in their firmware. I call this the consumer router trap. The purpose of the trap is to force consumers to buy expensive new routers every couple of years. Yes, many routers provide methods of installing firmware updates, but manufacturers of consumer routers generally do not provide updates for a given router model for more than a couple of years.

Thanks to Covid-19, as router prices have risen significantly due to the resulting chip shortages and increased demands for Internet access, finding a long-term router solution (i.e. a way out of the consumer router trap) has become even more important. As many of us are now in our second, third, or even fourth round…
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