ewx: (geek)

For several years, my house router was an old PC with several PCI ethernet cards, running Debian lenny. It took up space, consumed much more power than the job really demanded, and was very noisy. So I wanted to clone the system onto some more appropriate platform.

My first candidate was a second hand Soekris net4501. I got a long way into setting this up before deciding to abandon it (see below for the reasons why), and switched instead to a Fabiatech FX5624. I completed the job using this system and it’s now in service.

( Lots of detail, pictures, etc )

ewx: (geek)

Steve gave me a Soekris net4501. I've been gradually getting this into shape for use as the house router. This page covers the details in case anyone else attempts something similar; some aspects were not entirely trivial.

Testing reveals that it can route data at (at least) 24Mbit/second, which is comfortably faster than the nominal speed of our Internet connection. It's much slower than the nominal speed of the house wireless but actually marginally faster than the measured speed, so I'm not worried about that either.

(“At least” 24Mbit/s because that could be a limit somewhere other than the Soekris.)

Usefully for the testing it turns out that crossover cables are no longer necessary, at least when connecting the Soekris to a modern Mac (and for all I know any other modern hardware).

Small PCs

Aug. 24th, 2009 05:42 pm
ewx: (geek)

I'm planning to get a Soekris net5501 to the be the house router (so: IP routing, NAT, DHCP client/server, secnet VPN, DNS). Before I do, are there any similar devices I should consider as possible alternatives?

What I need is:

  • Silent or at least very quiet
  • At least three ethernet ports (house LAN, house wireless, upstream)
  • Must be able to run Linux without undue hassle

Nice to have but not necessarily essential:

  • Serial console (but I can faff around with a keyboard and monitor if it comes to it)
  • Compact flash storage (I have a spare 2GB card, which is unrealistically small for my camera)
  • x86 architecture (my plan is to transplant an existing lenny install onto it)

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