[Soekris] Cost effective embedded solutions

Yunsen Wang yunsen at netridge.com
Fri Jul 18 18:11:25 UTC 2003

Hi Christopher,
The 486 integrated CPU is more expensive than integrated MIPS or ARM, a 
MIPS based
embedded system would be more cost effective. But as you said, quantity 
is the key, but
it might be still possible to find some vendors in Taiwan or Asia that 
can provide similar to LinkSys
hardware at a little higher price with smaller quantity. I'm looking for 
that too and may travel to Taiwan to attend Computex. I could share 
these info if I find something.
BTW, you mentioned Linksys did recently provide source and Dell has also 
done so although
it's the wrong source.
Are there any mailing list or web site that is dedicated to these 
activities ?

Christopher R. Hertel wrote:

>If you go out and buy the development platform that was used as a basis
>for these cheaper systems you'll find that it is much more expensive --
>probably a lot more than the Soekris products.
>The way this works is that you buy the development platform (which has all 
>sorts of connectors and such so that you can get 'into' the board). for 
>$1000 or more.  You write all of your software, test it, debug the board, 
>etc.  Then you go back to the manufacturer and say "I want 10,000 in the 
>first run".  If you're D-Link or Dell or Linksys you can do that.  The 
>price per unit at 10,000 or more is much less.  (I just picked up a Dell 
>1184 wireless router for $72.)
>The thing is:
>- You don't get the input/output options on the cheap board that you do on 
>  the development board.  If, for example, you mess up reflashing the
>  cheap board you wind up with a doorstop.
>- You can't modify the cheap board very much.  They're typically reduced 
>  to a bare minimum of parts, all soldered on the mainboard for minimum 
>  cost.
>- No doco on the internals.
>- You can't just load a standard OS distribution on the puppy and hope it 
>  works.
>Overall, for small deployments (under 100) you're likely to save money 
>with something like a Soekris box.  The development and maintenance costs 
>will make the difference.  Over 100, well... you'll need to do the math 
>yourself.  There are too many variables to come up with a general 
>There are, by the way, a group of folks working on reverse engineering
>both the Linksys WRT54G and the Dell 1184 (b/g and b-only AP routers,
>respectively).  Both of these run Linux, and both have been the focus of a
>lot of attention lately because they were not providing source.  Linksys
>did recently provide source and Dell has also done so (but it's the wrong
>source--we're working with them to fix this).
>I own a Soekris because I can do things with it that I simply cannot do
>with the the others.  I'm also looking at the Dell and the Linksys because
>I have a 500-unit deployment staring me in the face and I'm trying to
>figure out how to optimize costs.
>Chris -)-----
>On Fri, Jul 18, 2003 at 08:08:24AM -0700, mike-soekris at tiedyenetworks.com
>>Howdy -
>>	I'm quite happy with the technical features and overall peformance
>>of my 4511 and think it would be a great base for a more commercial
>>wireless solution....if it wasn't so darn expensive. I see all these other
>>manufacturers like dlink, linksys, etc with their AP and WB units and they
>>obviously aren't paying that much - yes I know, smaller cpus (8 bit like
>>the UBICOM for example), smaller ram and rom sizes - but still, it
>>seems to me that there's got to be something cheaper that's close to
>>features and peformance of the 4511. Is soekris planning a sub $100 
>>variant of these boards any time soon? 
>>Soekris Engineering, technical discussion mailing list
>>[un]subscribe: http://lists.soekris.com/mailman/listinfo/soekris-tech
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