Netgear R7000 or Netgear R6400

Is there a chance that developers will prepare a firmware (fork) based on openwrt, but with working WiFi for?

  • Netgear R7000
  • Netgear R6400

No it will never happen because of Broadcom chips.

Please explain this

There are two types of technically different Broadcom wireless chipset families:

  • softmac: here there is only a smaller firmware and most of the functionality is in the driver. While this strategy is preferred by the mainline kernel (mac80211 is a software wireless stack for softmac devices, providing generic functionality for the individual (small-) hardware specific drivers), there are no drivers for this kind of hardware (well, b43 covering 802.11b/g and very limited limp-home-mode for newer ones; brcmsmac for BCM4331 (no AP mode, no support for anything newer)).
    • notebooks
    • access points
  • fullmac: these devices push almost the whole functionality from the driver into the hardware (well, proprietary firmware). These devices are covered by the brcmfmac driver, which is fully supported in mainline linux - however there is a drawback, only the functionality envisioned and tested by Broadcom/ Cypress is actually available, as its (mostly-) fixed in the proprietary firmware blob, as a result e.g. concurrent STA (client-) and AP mode aren't possible on these devices.
    • phones
    • mobile devices
    • SDIO connected modular addon cards for SBCs
    • very few APs

Netgear Nighthawk r7000 --> BCM4360 --> softmac --> no driver
Netgear Nighthawk r8000 --> BCM4366 --> fullmac --> supported, with some caveats

There are very minimal ("no") chances of future mainline driver improvements for Broadcom softmac devices, unless Broadcom does a 180° strategy change.


I love these clarifications.