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Open Source Router Launched

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Vyatta, a San Mateo, Calif.-based start-up is close to releasing an open source router platform, that runs on standard x86 hardware and can perform equally well as some of the more commercial products. Vyatta plans to target the corporate market with its own devices, but anyone can download the software, officially called, the Vyatta Open Flexible Router (OFR), and roll their own … router.

“Open source has had a tremendous impact on other markets, and if Vyatta’s community gains traction, the same could happen in networking.,” says Matthias Machowinski, Directing Analyst of Enterprise Voice and Data for Infonetics Research.

Vyatta’s software and platform could prove to be attractive to small and medium sized enterprises. Even smaller ISPs could find the offerings more affordable than some of the other products on the market. Vyatta officials say their biggest competitor will be Cisco Systems, currently the 800-pound gorilla in the $8 billion a year enterprise router market.

Vyatta is amongst many telecom and networking companies that are taking the open source route to up-end the existing players. I have previously written about Vyatta for Business 2.0. While researching that story, I saw the parallels between early open source telecom software and Linux. They both started at the bottom, and are now inching higher-up the food chain.

Asterisk has had a perceptible impact on the PBX market. Other open source products are having an impact in firewall, DNS devices and many other product categories. (Details are here.) IBM has built a fault tolerant version of the Asterisk PBX System as well. Since then, I have learnt about many more open source projects. Sangoma Technologies backed Yate, for example. Last week, we reported that an Open Source Wireless Mesh project had received financial backing from the National Science Foundation.

Networking Pipeline reports that a new project dubbed Freeswitch is planning to build a highly scalable switching platform that is meant to meet the needs of carriers. The telecom open source is likely to gather more momentum in the emerging telecom markets where money is tight but desire to build broadband networks is high. Open source can fill in those gaps … perhaps!

12 Responses to “Open Source Router Launched”

  1. Quagga ( is deployed and used for years by many router vendors and big telecom equipment providers. I saw quagga beeing used on network processors that were processing more than 4 Mpps! The smart bit was not powerfull enough, but it seemed that 20 Mpps could be reached.

    FYI, there is a company, 6WIND (, who provides commercial support and maintenance of Quagga. They contribute to quagga too. Moreover, they have many extensions.

  2. Hi Guys,

    I have been using Quagga router. Running smooth and as powerful to Cisco 7200. :) So, how will Vyatta position itself compared to Quagga??

    I am interested to know.


  3. Khyron

    Ummm, did I miss something? AND

    Zebra has been around for years (still to do a 1.x release yet though) and has corporate support. I guess no one noticed them because they’re in Japan (ipInfusion and most of the Zebra developers, who are mostly ipInfusion employees).

    So my big question is what is the difference between Vyatta (and Zebra) vs. ipInfusion (and XORP)? Looks like the separator is a capital infusion from major VC backers, geography, and the culture related to the geography.

  4. Open Source wave in Telecom is starting to take off coupling with the open platform momentum in AdvancedTCA, BladeCenter technologies. Redhat recently also announced their solution for telecom.

    However, one of the key attribute in any telco application is carrier-grade or high availability of the system as well as manageability. OpenClovis is a carrier-grade open Source middleware providing such features. You can check them out at

  5. Richard

    Vyatta is in a different market to Linksys and similar routers, but don’t underestimate the sheer dynamism of the open source firmware people, and their ability to get Linux router firmware onto virtually any platform. A standard Linksys with 200 MHz MIPS CPU is much faster than many older Cisco customer premises routers, and the software is amazingly capable – VoIP, VPN, firewalling, packet analysis (tcpdump), IPv6, etc, etc. And there’s already a library of installable packages, just like Red Hat or Debian, borrowed from Linux on iPaq efforts. See for one of the more popular firmwares with a good configuration GUI.

  6. Jesse Kopelman

    Hasan, the WRT54g is a consumer product that sells for < $100. The Vyatta product as well as the others mentioned in comments are meant to compete with the Cisco commercial offerings that run proprietary Cisco software like IOS and cost thousands, sometimes many tens of thousands, of dollars.

  7. True on quagga, gated and others. But, how many have a company with support to back them up? Any word on packing this with a rackable PC so I can swap out my costly ciscos?