[Soekris] Cost effective embedded solutions

Jim Thompson jim at netgate.com
Sun Jul 20 00:52:25 UTC 2003

Christopher R. Hertel writes:
> 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.

Naw, just put the JTAG port back on it.

> - 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.

its why they're cheap.

> - No doco on the internals.

I don't know of anyone who releases schematics to the world.

> - You can't just load a standard OS distribution on the puppy and hope it 
>   works.

And?  You can't do this with PCs, either.  (Show me a 'standard OS'
that will run on any PC I can find.)

> 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).

Some of us know enough about the WRT54G to understand that the reverse
engineers have a long way to go.

Soekris has an interesting market.  There are a lot more companies
(even of one individual hobbist) who want a slightly more expensive but more
flexible platform than there are who will undertake even semi-custom

"Speed, it seems to me, provides the one genuinely modern pleasure."
			-- Aldous Huxley (1894 - 1963)

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