droid·i·fi[droyd-uh-fahy] verb, droid·i·fied, droid·i·fy·ing.
2013-02-24 Update: check out a video of a smartphone, tablet, and computer remotely accessing a Droidifi router.
The latest generation of 802.11ac wireless routers offers Ethernet speeds over wireless channels and processing power that rivals the latest smartphones. This is the first generation of wifi equipment that is fast enough to replace the wires snaking through our homes and offices. Unfortunately the capabilities in these devices are hamstrung by poorly designed and written firmware.
Droidifi is developing an Android™ firmware upgrade for the latest Wifi devices that unlocks their full potential.
Key features in our firmware
Power Boost -Tuning the wifi radio for optimum power and range. In North America the maximum power output allowed is several times what stock firmware provides. Our firmware unlocks the full available power.
Mesh Networking - Start with a single router but have the capability to expand your network wirelessly by plugging in additional routers. These additional routers sync up and form a distributed wireless network called a mesh. This happens seamlessly and securely without any special effort or network knowledge.
Droidifi Apps - Apps developed by independent developers and companies have added thousands of new capabilities to Android phones. Our Android firmware upgrade supports Android apps. You may not want to play Angry Birds on your router, but you could. We are developing our own apps that add new features that you can choose and install. Independent Android developers will be able to offer their own apps just like they do for Android phones.
Frequently Asked Questions
"What version of Android is this?"
Droidifi is based on Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2. We use the latest stable Linux 3.6.11 kernel with a set of custom device drivers developed by Droidifi.
"My router has no display!"
No, it doesn't. But with our upgrade it thinks it does. Your router becomes an Android tablet. The remote display is accessible via a WWW browser. Input is via your mouse but mimics the Android touchscreen interface.
"Will my router become a phone?"
No, it won't. Installing our firmware upgrade won't change your router's hardware. This includes things like GPS, Bluetooth, audio speakers, etc. If the hardware isn't there to begin with we can't add it.
"What about USB devices, can I add new hardware via USB?"
Yes. You can add cameras and storage devices in the initial release. We will also support 3g modems and other devices in a follow on release. Our goal is to support any USB device you could conceivably plug into your router.
"Can I stream music and films from my router?"
Yes. You can plug in a USB hard drive or memory stick and stream any content from the router to laptops, smartphones, etc.
"Can I use my router as a file server?"
Yes. Plug in USB storage and it will be available to all devices on your network.
"Can I run Android apps on my router?"
Yes. The current apps are designed for phones and tablets so they probably won't make sense to use on a router. The Android development community can use standard Android tools to develop router specific apps for Droidifi. We will also be developing and offering our own apps for Droidifi.
"What router models do you support?"
We will support the Cisco/Linksys EA6500, Netgear R6300, and ASUS RT-AC66U in the initial release. We will add support for other devices as development progresses.
"What are the hardware specifications for the routers you support?"
- 600 MHz MIPS CPU
- 128 MB flash storage
- 128 MB RAM memory
- 1.7 Gbps wireless transfer speed
- 4 x 1 Gbps Ethernet ports
- 1 x 1 Gbps WAN port
- 2x USB 2.0 ports
- Backwards compatible with older 802.11g devices
- Under $200 USD
"What new features are you planning?"
- Power Boost - boost the wireless power output
- Mesh Networking - expand wireless coverage area by adding a 2nd, 3rd, or more routers
- USB Support - add storage, cameras, printers, 3G modems, and more
- Cloud Storage - use your favorite cloud storage service to back up your network
- Media Server - access music, photos, and films stored on your router
- File Server - use your router as a wireless file server
- Android Apps - expand your router using standard Android Apps
- Quality of Service - manage bandwidth hogs so you can Skype and surf while downloads or torrents are running
- Firewalls - add parental controls and custom firewall settings to your network
- Anti-Virus - use your router as an anti-virus and phishing firewall
- And many more ...
"What is your business model?"
We will release the firmware upgrade with a basic set of features for free. Access to our Add-on Store will be via a yearly subscription. Our own apps will be free to download. Developers may choose to charge for their apps, and we will offer the same split as Google and Apple (70% - 30%), or they may put them up for free.
Android is a trademark of Google Inc.
Risks and challenges
Android is currently optimized for mobile phones and tablets. We are extending Android to work on wireless routers. This is a new area for Android and requires a lot of low level coding and testing. Some of this work will go faster than anticipated but some of it will take longer. As with any first release there will be bugs and gotchas. What has worked well in the past is to release new builds about once a week. This requires fairly active participation by our userbase installing, testing, and sending us feedback on their experiences so we can fix any showstopper issues before adding more features.
Where we are today -
We have an alpha firmware build. We have the HTML5 remote screen interface working. We have basic wireless and Ethernet connectivity running.
We need to add a robust firewall, QoS support for bandwidth management, port forwarding, and a whole lot more. We have existing codebases from Google and router manufactures to work with. So we are not starting from scratch. But it will take development time and effort. We are shooting for an initial release in May 2013.
Android Jelly Bean is designed for devices with a GPU. We are currently modifying the Jelly Bean display architecture to work properly on devices with CPU rendering only.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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