Home Project; Router/WiFi AP/Server on ALiX 2D13

Background:

So, after a trying a couple of different AP’s, and realizing they were either unstable or lacking important features; I decided to build my own. It’s apparently not that easy to find a nice and stable AP/router/switch nowadays. You can’t just go and buy one for $100-$150 and expect it to be stable. And by stable I mean not being forced to power-cycle the device every couple of days.

After my last D-Link (DGL-4100) died, I bought myself a corporate grade Cisco/Linksys device (WRV200). It promised a lot of what I wanted from a device like that, and it gave me the option to setup VPN (road warrior style and site-2-site). FAIL! -> It promised, but did not live up to my expectations; Sure, you were able to du all of what it promised, but if you started to use it for real, the poor router overheated and hanged. Since I bought 3 of these to interconnect 3 sites using VPN, I was not very happy.. Took a while to have them returned.. Going through the procedure of proving they did not live up to the promises made..

I ended up researching alternatives, and found mikrotik (www.mikrotik.com) and their line of hardware; routerboards (www.routerboard.com). I wasn’t sure about if I would like running a scaled down and restricted linux based router os where I could not alter things I wanted; but after trying it for a month or so, I decided to buy one and play around with.. Now, I thought the RB493UAH that I got delivered was a broken promise too, as it was hanging after just half a day of heavy use. This proved to be a hardware error, and I got a new one sent out without having to return the old one in advance. Great service here! Anyway, the second one has been up and running for 2.5 years without having to reboot. Firewalling, connection tracking, and all that jazz is enabled and I still get 100mbps throughput in between all interfaces. Torrenting with 300-400-500 simultaneous connections from more than one internal host is smooth and I get maximum throughput both ways (in/out) duplex. I also have one wireless card in it, and am adding a new 802.11N card in the next couple of weeks. Anyway, I finally ended up getting 2x RB433UAH, with various wireless cards, and am running VPN in between sites just fine as well. whee..

ALIX 2D13:

Since I already have been playing around with my fit-pc slim for the past 3.5 years, and it’s been a fun little device; I decided to try a new router/ap/server project. I bought a ALIX 2D13 board (based on the same AMD Geode CPU – LX800 and chipset – CS5536; as the fit-pc slim), 8GB of 30MB/s flash, a TP-Link wireless N card and some other nick-nack’s to get things going.. I agree it feels kinda old to buy a new device (3.5 years later) with the same old cpu as my old fit-pc slim, but it’s been 100% stable running ubuntu 8.04 from start.

I have not decided what OS I will be running, but will mess around with it in the free days around x-mas. Options I am looking at are:

IPCop, IPFire, AlpineLinux, VoyageLinuxOpenWRT, Ubuntu, Linux Mint or FreeBSD.. I’ve been considering pfSense and m0n0wall but they are just to0 scaled down. I want to be able to do more than just a router/ap.

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