Turris Omnia Open Source Router review

So I've been using a ISP provided modem/router for far longer than i'd like to admit. Now I do have slow DSL internet, so I kinda have an excuse, as there is not much point upgrading a router, when the wire going out of the house is the limiting factor in terms of internet speed. Anyway, I finally upgraded to the Turris Omnia, 1 GB version. After a long time shipping, and expensive import fees, it finally arrived.

router photo

I got the router for around 300 Euros, which tranlated to around 460 NZD. Since I couldn't find a supplier that shipped to New Zealand, I used a postal forwarding service provided by NZPost. What I didn't relise was that on import, NZ Customs calculates the GST on all items, if it is under 60 NZD, they let it slip. If it is more, they charge it, along with lots of import fees, and more GST on the import fees. For me, GST came out at 72.3 NZD, so the message here is if your buying this from overseas, then check your local import laws. You may end up paying more than you think.

Specs:

Processor 1.6 GHz ARM, 2 cores
Memory 1 GB DDR3
Storage 8GB built in + 2 USB 3.0 ports
LAN 5 Gbit Ethernet
WiFi 5GHz, 2.4GHz
Software Customised OpenWrt, fully open source

Processor: 1.6 GHz ARM, 2 cores Memory: 1 GB DDR3 Storage: 8GB built in + 2 USB 3.0 ports LAN: 5 Gbit Ethernet WiFi: 5GHz, 2.4GHz Software: Customised OpenWrt, fully open source

Setup

This router comes with a SFP connector, and 1 Gbit ethernet port for connecting to the internet. I still have DSL, so I connected the new router to my existing modem/router over ethernet. In this case I am using just the modem part of my existing router.

To setup, plug a computer in via LAN Ethernet, and navigate to 192.168.1.1 and follow the setup wizzard. The setup process is resomable simple provided nothing goes wrong.

When I setup, something did go wrong. It couldn't find the internet. This was because my existing modem/router's gateway address was 192.168.1.1, causing a conflit of addresses. This is fixed by skipping through the wizzard steps until you find one that allows you to change the default router address. I changed mine to 192.168.0.1 then it worked fine.

The other change I made was to maually enter in DNS server addresses, since my modem/router (from now on just modem) didn't seem to be forwarding properly, and wasn't using DNSSEC.

It is very easy to setup or customise. You can find all the basic options in the main config page (192.168.1.1) or instead go to the LoCI web interface for more advanced options. Additionally, you can ssh into the router.

Features

Apart from it's impressive specs, one of the main features is automatic updates, so that you stay secure. This does mean that the router will automatically reboot itself, however this can be fully customised. By default it will happen 3 days after the update at 3.30 in the morning. Unless your cramming or having an all night LAN party, this should really effect you.

The Front LEDs are cool. First of all, they can be dimmed to 8 brightness levels, and turn off entirely. Useful if you want to sleep in the same room and don't like the light. Secondly, they are RGB, and customisable through LuCI

I haven't tried this, and don't intend to because of the high mobile data prices in NZ, but it is possible to insert a SIM card and have the router switch to using mobile data if the regular WAN connection stops working, so that you are always online.

You can also install an FTP software on the router and use the router as a NAS. This a am making full use of. To do this you need an external hard drive, unless you think 8GB internal is enough. Plug the drive in and ssh into the router. Create a nas folder with mkdir /nas then mount the external drive with mount /dev/sda1 nas replacing a with the drive id and 1 with the partition id. It's all standard Unix commands. You can enable VSFTP through LuCI, or used the opkg package manager through ssh.

Preformance

This is very difficult for me to test because of slow DSL internet. The router is not the bottleneck here. Over LAN, it is not preforming as well as I had hoped. When moving files over LAN with 2.2GHz WiFi, it's getting arount 2.5MB/s, not much better than my old modem/router. Over Ethernet (cat5e, Gbit network card) I at first got around 7MB/s, but upon adding another file transfer realised it's to entirely the router's fault. The second transfer achiever a faster speed without effecting the exsiting transfer much, leaving me to conclude the nautilus is bottlenecking ftp transfers.

[[image file="2017-03/screenshot-from-2017-03-18-17-26-38_1.png" alt="Transfer speeds" ]]

I have not tested the 5GHz WiFi yet, and will update this post when I do.

The WiFi range is about expected

Final Thoughts

If you want a highly configurable, fully featured, always secure and to support open source hardware communities, the Turris Omnia is the way to go. If you want to be secure without thinking about it (you should want this) then Turris Omnia is the way to go. If you just want to get online, don't care for feature, don't care for security / don't mind manually updating router firmware, then don't get a Turris.

4 Stars