Updated 05 Aug 2016: TP-Link Statement and FAQ for Open Source Firmware
The recently executed Consent Decree between TP-Link and the FCC is strictly related to FCC power-level restrictions. While TP-Link products that were shipped/in market met FCC power levels, there was a potential that customers who changed their router settings could unintentionally manipulate power levels outside of mandated FCC regulations. Compliant firmware was made available via the company’s website in late 2015, which we encourage customers to download and update their routers.
The FCC has encouraged manufacturers to design systems that permit the use of third-party firmware upgrades while ensuring compliance with the important security interests underlying the new FCC rules. In line with its history of cooperation with developers, TP-Link is open to exploring the development of U-NII security solutions and allow for the use of third-party firmware with its devices while meeting the Commission’s U-NII security requirements and maintaining the integrity of critical radio parameters.
FCC rules that went into effect on June 2, 2016, require that TP-Link U-NII 5GHz routers sold in the U.S. include security measures to ensure that third-party firmware flashed to the device cannot change the equipment’s radio frequency parameters, for example by enabling operation on unauthorized frequencies or power above authorized levels.
In order to meet the new U-NII security requirements, TP-Link made changes to its router configurations. These changes resulted in the inability to flash open-source, third-party firmware to the device.TP-Link recognizes that these new configurations are not a long-term, exclusive solution.
Third-party firmware provides important benefits for certain customers that wish to customize how their routers operate, as well as to take advantage of other attributes and innovations offered by third-party firmware. We also recognize that the new FCC rules, while focused on maintaining the security of RF parameters, do not otherwise address device functionality, and do not prohibit third-party device firmware (including open-source software).To ensure that the company is meeting its obligations under the new rules, any third-party software/firmware developers must demonstrate how their proposed designs will not allow access to the frequency or power level protocols in our devices.
TP-Link believes the process outlined here offers the most efficient and secure manner for achieving the Commission’s goals of encouraging innovation in the U-NII unlicensed band while ensuring its devices comply with FCC regulations.
Why is TP-Link limiting the functionality of its routers?
TP-Link is complying with new FCC regulations that require manufacturers to prevent certain firmware customizations on wireless routers.
How can I legally boost my router’s performance?
TP-Link offers a selection of powerful Wi-Fi range extenders to boost signals into more areas of a home or office.
Does the regulation apply outside the U.S.?
This particular regulation affects routers marketed and sold in the U.S.
Does the regulation affect other manufacturers?
Yes, the regulation affects all manufacturers marketing routers in the U.S.
Does the regulation apply to routers produced before June 2016?
No. Effective June 2, 2016, manufacturers may only market routers in compliance with FCC regulation.
How may consumers voice their concerns with the regulation?
The FCC provides an open forum for consumers to make comments.
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