OpenWrt Forum Archive

Topic: Improve the Wiki Table of Hardware?

The content of this topic has been archived between 12 Sep 2015 and 6 May 2018. Unfortunately there are posts – most likely complete pages – missing.

tmo26... that is exactly what I intend!
If needed I could quite easily automate the update of the index.html.

We need to agree on "conventions" to minimize inconsistencies.
Like:

?         : unknown
? xxx     : unknown, xxx is a qualified guess
-         : not applicable / hardware not present
2x400     : dual core
8+512     : two types of storage (8+512 MB each)

For the target column I am tempted to add the subtargets (particularly for ramips).
The WIFI Standard column needs some thinking.

Let's start edit, improve and discuss along the way!

...and then, when we have made some progress with the wiki I would like to make a little "I run Barrier Breaker on this hardware Survey"...

(Last edited by zo0ok on 9 Apr 2015, 08:13)

Well, I have done some more cleanups... mostly related to target.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/906 … index.html

This thing about "brcm-2.4 brcm47xx"... does it make any sense anymore? Isn't brcm47xx enough?

I mostly see the target column as something useful for finding the image... but I understand perhaps other people using for guidance when they do "make menuconfig"? Not really, right?

brcm-2.4 is the legacy target for Linux 2.4 on these routers.

For example: http://wiki.openwrt.org/toh/linksys/wrt54g

As you can see, the brcm-2.4 versions are arguably more stable on some rather old routers. If you want to keep only current release information then you can drop it as it is not available with current kernels.

That gets me to another thing I thought about. The table lists from which version on the device was supported. It doesn't list until what version it is supported. Now I'm not an expert in this regard, but I don't think support for devices was ever really dropped, it's just some legacy devices don't work very well with newer releases that need more flash and RAM. The venerable WRT54G for example wouldn't really work well with the stock build of BB, but a custom build with some stuff removed and zram or maybe even extroot via sdcard/usb (possible via modding) can make it work on recent software.

A very good point. The "supported in" info is frequently misunderstood. The r(elease) number is valuable information, but not everyone is familiar with release numbers or how they relate to trunk/release versions. To the point where some people deliberately install an older version of OpenWrt on their device, thinking it is the last version that supports it. It is especially confusing to have an obviously outdated "trunk" link in there for models that had proper releases with 12.09 and 14.07.

zo0ok wrote:

As the actual wiki changes/improves, it is very little work for me to update the page above.

I did some more cleanup, mainly Flash, RAM, USB, VLAN, to get the values in a more consistent range.

Please update the filtering page.

drawz and I had a conversation regarding ways to attract new people about a month back. zo0ok is doing great work to cast a discerning eye on specific parts of the wiki. That's important, but relatively few people have the the time, knowledge, or energy to make far-reaching changes like this.

It would be cool to harness the energy of individuals in the community. We all know something about a few topics. And if we worked with the focus of "making OpenWrt more friendly to beginners", we could accomplish a lot.

Here are a couple things that haven't been mentioned already:

- Give people who care about their routers an incentive (or at least, permission) to edit their own router's TOH page to give the latest info. I will note that the TP-Link TL-WDR7500 page (http://wiki.openwrt.org/toh/tp-link/tl-wdr7500) provides a good template, with pictures, supported version info, and a Quick Start guide. The remaining info is useful detail for the advanced user, but it's at the bottom so it doesn't get in the way of newbies.

- Create a new sticky topic named "Barrier Breaker Compatible" that tells about the stable version, how to install it, how to install the web GUI (Luci), and to load a few important packages. People can then add replies about router(s) where they have personally installed BB, with links to that router's TOH page.

- Is there a poll feature in the Forum software? If so, perhaps that could be wired up to let people vote for a router that has already been entered into the Barrier Breaker topic without making formal "endorsement" of any gear.

- Create a new "Welcome to OpenWrt" page on the site. It could talk about OpenWrt, router firmware in general, getting started info, links to the Barrier Breaker Compatible topic, etc.

(Last edited by richbhanover on 10 Apr 2015, 06:11)

tmo26: page updated.

SCF: I understand... from a hardware point of view brcm-2.4 is the same as brcm47xxx, but not all brcm47xx devices have a working brcm-2.4 image (and never will get).

metai: Yes, I agree. And also confusing is the fact that a device may be listed as supported since long, even though features (like WiFi) never worked.

richbhanover: these are good ideas.

I think about a (BB) poll:
- Router+Version (choose from list)
- Stability (Stable, Questionable, Unstable)
- Wifi (Works, Works but not at full hardware speed, Not working, No such hardware)
- IO/USB (Works, Limited functionality, Not Working, No such hardware)
- Installation (BB std image, Image Generator image or extra packages required, non standard build)
- Installation (From Manufacturers std interface, tftp (in the dark) required, serial required, not applicable (ie Raspberry Pi)

I could build such a poll based on the data shown in my Table-of-Hardware-page. The result could come out as a simple line:

Linksys;WRT54GL;1.0, 1.1;STAB=100;WIFI=0;IO=NA;INS1=IMGGEN;INS2=STD 

(in this case, I think WiFi does not work with BB and WRT54GL, and that it is preferrably installed creating a custom image. Others building zram-images may report WiFi as working.)

These result-lines people could:
1) Just post as a comment on this forum
2) Drop in an email (if they prefer)

It would be rather easy to copy-and-paste the 100-1000 answers that I hope we could get, and it would give a pretty good idea about what hardware actually runs BB. And quite easy to present/visualize the results.

If it turns out well we can do a legacy poll for for people running AA and older.

This should give as an idea what devices on the Table of Hardware that are effectively abandoned.

(Last edited by zo0ok on 10 Apr 2015, 08:51)

zo0ok wrote:

tmo26: page updated.

... more deleted ...

I think about a (BB) poll:
- Router+Version (choose from list)
- Stability (Stable, Questionable, Unstable)
- Wifi (Works, Works but not at full hardware speed, Not working, No such hardware)
- IO/USB (Works, Limited functionality, Not Working, No such hardware)
- Installation (BB std image, Image Generator image or extra packages required, non standard build)
- Installation (From Manufacturers std interface, tftp (in the dark) required, serial required, not applicable (ie Raspberry Pi)

I could build such a poll based on the data shown in my Table-of-Hardware-page. ... ... more deleted ...

Good idea on the poll, but you should consider building a Google Forms survey. It'd take you 15 minutes to build the survey after you write out all the questions, and they provide a CSV file of *all* the results.

PS Thanks for the kind words re: improvements to the wiki!

(Last edited by richbhanover on 10 Apr 2015, 15:00)

richbhanover wrote:

Good idea on the poll, but you should consider building a Google Forms survey. It'd take you 15 minutes to build the survey after you write out all the questions, and they provide a CSV file of *all* the results.

I will look into that before I build my own poll wink I guess it is possible to upload some data (the router database) to Google Forms.

zo0ok wrote:

(in this case, I think WiFi does not work with BB and WRT54GL, and that it is preferrably installed creating a custom image. Others building zram-images may report WiFi as working.)

It's slightly offtopic with the general discussion here and I certainly don't want to dwell too much on the WRT54G (I recently retired one of mine), but I wouldn't state WiFi doesn't work. The problem is it's not possible to run WiFi on this device with a stock BB while keeping all the other functionality due too RAM scarcity. WiFi probably works fine when configured as a DumbAP (i.e. no NAT, hence no firewall, no DNS/DHCP, no LuCI). Word on the forum has it this is fixed using a custom build with zram, so it could be that this old legacy router works better with CC than BB.

In that regard I wonder whether developers consider enabling zram by default on 16MB RAM routers in CC and what the caveats are. Technically zram increases CPU load and the CPU of these old routers aren't that strong so there may be other performance implications.

Such a poll or survey is actually a great idea.

SCF, yes...

So the question is what discrete options for "WiFi functionality" should be added to the poll. And if some people report it working while others report it not working, together with the other questions it might give people a quite good idea about the status of a piece of hardware.

So I am enthusiastic about your opinion! Lets discuss survey options thoroughly before we receive all answers.

Guys, what do you think about removing this note from http://wiki.openwrt.org/toh/start?

"Note: As of autumn 2009, this page is still in the process of being ported over from OpenWrt's old wiki. So if you do not see your router on this page, additionally consult the old table of hardware."

More than 5 years of porting should be enough.

Update complete. Slowly the long tails get shorter.

I think the note can be removed.

(Last edited by zo0ok on 11 Apr 2015, 09:18)

Questions regarding conventions for WLAN STD:

1) How do we want to show this?
- 802.11b/g/n?
- 11b/g/n?
- b/g/n?

I'd say, we can at least omit the 802, or maybe even 802.11 (show only b/g/n).
Opinions?

2) What if the device has 2 radios with different options? Show each of them or combine them into one?
- 802.11b/g/n + 802.11a/n?
- 802.11a/b/g/n?

I'd say: Combine them into one (b/g/n + /a/n -> a/b/g/n).
Opinions?

3) Do we show additional info (TX power, MIMO, Dual radio, speed, ...)?
- 11a/b/g/n 3x3 MIMO
- 11b/g/n 1x1
- 11b/g/n 2T2R
- 11a/b/g/n 3T3R Dual Radio
- 802.11a/b/g/n (1000mW)
- b/g/n 300 + a/n 300

I'd say: Keep additional info out of this column.
Opinions?

tmo26 wrote:

Questions regarding conventions for WLAN STD:

1) How do we want to show this?
- 802.11b/g/n?
- 11b/g/n?
- b/g/n?

I'd say, we can at least omit the 802, or maybe even 802.11 (show only b/g/n).
Opinions?

It's a good idea to keep it simple

b/g/n

looks good to me, but then we should rename the name of the column:

Wireless Standard

to

802.11 protocol

Questions regarding conventions for WIRED PORTS:

1) What should be shown here?
- Only RJ45 ports, LAN + WAN
- All wired ports, incl. serial, telephone, ...

I'd say: Keep this column for LAN/WAN only, everything else is extra. IMHO, if someone is looking for a router, he's mainly interested in the LAN/WAN ports.

2) How to name the speed?
- 10/100 / 10/100E / 100?
- 10/100/1000 / 1000 / gigE / Gbit / GbitE?

I'd go for 100 + 1000 or 10/100 + Gbit.

3) Introduce new column speed/wired standard? (i.e. separate # of ports from their speed)

I'd at least put in there 1x1, 2x2 or 3x3. The reason being that this is sometimes the only thing that distinguishes models of the same series of routers. Some people also use this table to look for routers to buy, so it would be handy to know. Or maybe have a separate column for that?

Regarding different radios, I'd leave that to the actual page. The important bit is whether a/b/g/n/ac are supported or not and how many streams it can do simultaneously. Stuff like MIMO and TX power should be left on the detail pages of the device too.

Regarding the wired speed, imho the maximum speed should suffice. I'm not aware of a Gigabit device that can't do 10/100.

I like the simplest forms:

a/b/g
if that sometimes comes with a 2x2 extra I am fine.

1000 or Gbit (for 10/100/1000)

How about a/b/g/n/(ac) if hardware is ac-capable but OpenWRT is not? And (b/g) if wireless is not at all working?

We can absolutely rename/add columns... It is some pain in the wiki to do it, so let's just agree and think twice first.

Extra details rather go into the article itself, I think. Seems we agree.

Glad I got you working!

(Last edited by zo0ok on 11 Apr 2015, 15:16)

Guys, I do Content Management for a living. Trust me when I say: You want to have as much information as possible, in as much detail as possible. You don't want to be stuck on naming conventions you set now which may be insufficient in the future, in the best case you will want to only do this once.

Which means: Gather as much diversified information for an entry as possible, even if you don't need it (yet). Insert number of antennas, chipsets, USB ports and speeds, heck, maybe even physical size of the case and other things that for now seem irrelevant. It is dead easy to omit information for the time being or reword it when needed than having to go through the whole list again later.

A smart way to do this would would be to come up with some sort of convention that allows any number of details to be kept with the article in a format that can be easily crawled and compiled. At the moment, the hardware tables in the articles differ wildly, and they are mostly just unstructured pseudo-HTML.

I'm not very familiar with the particular brand of Wiki openwrt.org uses, but maybe it's possible to introduce some sort of standardized template as in MediaWiki?

(Last edited by metai on 11 Apr 2015, 16:56)

The problem isn't collecting the information as any detail information we want to omit in the main table should still be on the detail pages of the respective device. This discussion is more about what info to include in the main table and how to represent it (at least that's how I understood it). For the poll we need to hit a middle ground, cause I doubt such a poll can always give you the complete range of info. Some people are not proficient with all the details so the quality of information you gather also depends on how skilled the users are to assess certain aspects.

Many routers have such info like physical dimension in a table on the detail page for example. And yes I agree these should be standardized across the wiki so the richness of information is about the same for all devices.

Poke me with a stick if you think I'm not on the same page ;-)

metai has a point...

My suggestion... standardizing, applying conventions, and compacting (802.11n does not provide more information than 11n or even n) is good and valuable under all circumstances. If we remove information from the ToH (like TX power) we can, for now, add it to the hardware article itself.

It is probably better that we have slightly complicated and perhaps imperfect/inconsistent format, rather than adding columns that will most of the time be empty.

However, perhaps it would be good to add one "Misc" or "Extra" column where relevant information can go, and where it does not pollute the columns that we want to keep clean. Like the "Flash MB" column... perhaps we should never have information about SD-cards there. And when we have SD-cards we can add it to the Extra-column. That way we can keep most columns very clean and standardized, and have one more free column. As it is now sometimes the "Version" or the "Status" columns are used for completely arbitrary things, just because they are there and available (unless I cleaned all the cases, but I doubt it).

About the wiki capabilities and the templates... I also think we may come to a point where we want to use the current Wiki smarter or use another tool to maintain the ToH-information. But cleaning up the information is a great start nevertheless. Migrating low quality data into brand new systems... it is not what I do for a living, but I see it all the time.

metai - good? or is the editing/cleaning that tmo26, I (and others) have started doing going to fast?

SCF wrote:

The problem isn't collecting the information as any detail information we want to omit in the main table should still be on the detail pages of the respective device.

Exactly my point. But from the viewpoint of data keeping, the detail pages are a mess right now. There should really be a standardized way of including details on the pages. To illustrate my point, compare the features table on two random hardware detail pages. (For example: Compare the page for the TP-Link MR3020 to that of the WR703N. The latter doesn't even have a features table, all its characteristics are kept in plaintext.)

This discussion is more about what info to include in the main table and how to represent it

Once you have an agreed upon format to keep all data on the device pages, it is downright trivial to parse them and regenerate the table, making adjustments to columns and wording of the table on the fly.

We are on the same page here, no worries. I just think that the real effort to clean the Wiki should go into the detail pages, not into the overview table.

Edit, addendum: I am perfectly aware of how much of a herculean task it is to clean up all the single detail pages, even if it's just to add/standardize the device data.

(Last edited by metai on 11 Apr 2015, 19:19)

metai wrote:

We are on the same page here, no worries. I just think that the real effort to clean the Wiki should go into the detail pages, not into the overview table.

Problem: Who is going to implement the tool to gather the ToH information from the detail pages?

tmo26 wrote:

Problem: Who is going to implement the tool to gather the ToH information from the detail pages?

It's not that hard to write a scraper/parser, I can certainly help with that. (Full disclosure: I work as a web developer, writing a customized script to scrape and parse a client's old static website to extract data and put it into a database is something I have to do on a quite regular basis.)