More complete answer in response to comments by this user.
Tomato USB based Router - Enterprise features at fraction of price.
Just because a product has "Enterprise features" doesn't make it an enterprise class of device. Certainly either of these firmwares may be arguably better than vendor provided firmwares, but that doesn't make them enterprise.
Are you saying questions for a small company or startup are not valid here? - Most consumers dont bridge 2 lans or put in ProCurve switches.
No, this is not what we are saying, but we are also not going to say that this is the wild west and anything goes. This community has set certain limitations on the scope of the site, just as most SE sites have. Consumer devices and many "small business" devices are not considered on topic.
I understand many small businesses and start ups can be cash strapped and looking for alternative/cheaper ways to do things. But this site is not here to provide solutions for those alternatives.
If your question fits within the definitions of "on-topic" for this site, it is welcome here, whether you are a carrier, enterprise, edu, small business or start up. If it doesn't fit here, then there are other places on the SE network where it likely will. Perhaps startups.se or SuperUser would be a good fit depending on the question?
Would PFSense be called Consumer Grade or Enterprise grade?
A bit of trying to compare apples to oranges here, but I will still attempt an answer even though this can be a bit of a muddy issue. The developers of pfSense provide both a paid support option and hardware with their product pre-installed.
Neither DD-WRT or Tomato do. They are also typically run on consumer hardware, although this is not always the case.
"some small business class devices" - Tomato & DD-WRT are the perfect SMB class starting points.. eventually lead up to PFSense/ MonoWall/ Sophos etc.
The line we have drawn is if the vendor of the product classifies it as at least small business and provides a paid support option for their product(s). Tomato and DD-WRT do not fit this bill.
PS: Additionally - flashrouters.com - Commercial Support - Does this now qualify these Open Source/ Linux based router tech for NE on SE?
No, flashrouters.com is not DD-WRT or Tomato.
Actually, DD-WRT and Tomato are capable of changing the number of WAN/ LAN ports.
Depends on the hardware. On the platforms they are most commonly deployed (i.e. consumer products) this is not the case.
Also, PFSense is open source as well, M0n0wall etc are great options for SMB / Startups.
The issue is not that they are open source. Nor are we saying that they aren't good options for small business or startups. They just do not fall within what this community has determined is on-topic for this site.
There are many great tools/options/products that do not fit as on topic for this site. For instance, I just got this great new bandsaw that I haven't even unpacked from the box yet. However great I may find this product, it is not on topic here.
Given that SDNs - Software defined networking is the way things are going, why should they be left out?
Point one, we don't leave SDN out. SDN is covered by our site to some degree. However DD-WRT and Tomato do not qualify as SDN.
Point two, SDN may be the way things are going. Many promising technologies "die on the vine" so to speak. SDN is still largely only adopted in edu's or implemented as proprietary solutions.
Having just had a long discussion with the SDN experts at Gartner within the past six months, they feel that the technology is promising but still isn't something that has seen wide industry acceptance outside of mainstream vendors that have implemented it in proprietary fashions.
If having commercial support in the market is the only barrier left then there are vendors to support. Fact is, the border line & definition of what is Consumer grade can very easily overlap with an SMB/ Startup.
Which is why consumer devices and many SMB devices are off topic. The key difference is that vendors who provide paid support for their own product have a vested interest in the product. Many consumer/SMB products are given only minimal development, engineering, or QA resources once the product has launched.
Further, devices with paid support options often also provide better documentation.
I am not saying you have to taken in Tomato/ DD-WRT etc. But just as Linux took over the Solaris space, so do these Open Source initiates have potential to do so.
Linux took a LONG time "taking over the Solaris space" and can I ask you which versions of Linux are most widely deployed in the enterprise? In my experience RHES and Oracle Linux at this point. Why? Because the vendor provides a paid support option (and frankly, Ksplice is just too cool for enterprises concerned about uptime to overlook).
There are a few others I have seen deployed as well, but why only a handful among the dozens or hundreds of Linux distributions? Can I also ask you how many Linux distributions fell by the wayside while this happened? I can think of quite a list and I am no Linux expert.
There have been MANY open source products with the "potential" to make a difference. Most are now dead or only religiously adhered to by the truly faithful.
Especially, with the incoming IoT wave, what is commercial and consumer will change a lot and borderline OSI projects will be wide spread.
Most of the whole IoT buzz revolves around client or "end user" types of devices. Even when connecting to the network, most IoT devices use some sort of "bridge" and communicate among themselves using Zigbee or a proprietary wireless protocol.
From home automation to municipal wide deployments (was just working with a Silver Spring Networks deployment last month), so far the IoT has been making very little impact on networking in general even when scaled to hundreds or thousands of devices.
What happens when SMBs/ Startups & their budgets cause them to use a mix of tech from both sides - some SMB/Consumer and partially Commercial/Enterprise e.g. Managed HP ProCurve stuff? What happens then?
Happens all the time. If the question revolves around the enterprise solutions and their operation, on topic. If it revolves around the consumer products, off topic.
Yes, sometimes this does require a judgement call and we may not get everyone of those right, but that is why the site is community moderated (i.e. can be self correcting) and has a place like meta if we need to discuss things.