Router Review – White List Router with Time of Day Restrictions: Gargoyle Router

After a great deal of searching, I discovered Gargoyle.  Gargoyle is actually router software based upon OpenWrt.  The Gargoyle website indicated that the software supports the combined white list and time-of-day restrictions that I was searching for.  Since the D-Link DIR-655 was not in the list of supported routers (see previous post about why I moved on from the D-Link), I decided to just purchase a pre-configured Gargoyle Router from the Gargoyle site rather than attempt to flash the D-Link with the Gargoyle software or order a supported router and flash it.  The shipping was very prompt and the router showed up two days after it was shipped.

The router brand is TP-Link and it came pre-installed with Gargoyle version 1.47.  After setting up the time-of-day restriction and putting in a few white list items for the restricted time period, I tested it.  It didn’t work.  After trying a number of things to get it to work, I finally thought to check to see if there was a later release of the Gargoyle software than 1.47.  There was, but when I checked the chipset of the router, (Atheros AR7240), I couldn’t find a corresponding download for the AR7240 among the latest firmware releases (1.5x).  Further searching revealed that there was NO version of the software (including versions 1.3x or 1.4x) for the AR7240 chipset.  Everything listed was for the AR71xxx chipset.  Therefore, I figured that either the AR7240 chipset was a typo or maybe it was backward-compatible with the AR71xxx series, and so I decided to take a chance and flash the TP-Link with the latest version of the Gargoyle firmware (1.59).  The 1.5x series is labeled experimental, so I was prepared to brick the router.  I started the flash, and walked away.  When I came back just a few minutes later, the login screen was back up – the flash had worked perfectly.  It is impossible to preserve settings from previous versions when upgrading to the 1.5x firmware, so after re-entering the time-of-day restriction and a few whitelist items, I tested again.  This time IT WORKED perfectly!  The Gargoyle software-based router has continued to work perfectly ever since.  General Internet access is set to go off at 9:30 p.m. and come back on at 5:30 a.m. with the white-listed sites available during these hours if we need them.

A few final comments.  One great advantage of the Gargoyle router over the D-Link DIR-655 (besides the fact that the time-of-day whitelisting actually works) is that the number of white list items appears to only be limited by the amount of memory available in the hardware while the DIR-655 allows a maximum of 40 white list sites.  I have approximately 60 white list items in the Gargoyle so far with nothing telling me that I can’t add more if I need to.  I was also very pleased to find that the Gargoyle software comes with Universal Plug and Play turned off by default.  See this podcast transcript if you have any questions about why this is so important in terms of Internet security.  At some point I would like to see the Gargoyle software include the ability to define a guest wireless zone, but it does come with many advanced features like WPA2 wireless encryption, IP reservation by MAC address with the ability to limit access by computer, and much more.  Overall, I am extremely pleased with Gargoyle and would now recommend a Gargoyle software-based router as the first choice for anyone who wants white listing with time-of-day restrictions.

 

Router Review – White List Router with Time of Day Restrictions: D-Link DIR-655

I wanted to set up a router with combined time-of-day restrictions and whitelisting during the restricted hours.  This set of features prevents endless reading of news late into the evening while allowing us to check the weather or pay bills during the restricted time if necessary.  This combination seems to be an uncommon set of features (at least among the features mentioned online by router manufacturers).  The router that initially looked the best was the D-Link DIR-655.  This feature combination can be viewed in the manual online on scribd, or D-Link has an online emulator that actually lets a user click through the router interface software.  After creating the appropriate schedules, filling in my whitelist sites, and enabling access control, I tested the results.  It did not work.  Even after flashing the router with the latest firmware (DIR-655 Rev B v2.10NA), the desired features still didn’t work – and the Guest zone also quit working with the latest firmware.  Therefore, I scrapped the D-Link DIR-655 and started searching again.