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Thread: Router: *nix based vs big corp.

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005

    Router: *nix based vs big corp.

    Alright so my little smoothwall 2.0 running on a p2 300 is starting to die, I can hear the harddrive grind from time to time and the best part.... one of the fans inside is almost dead, and makes a nice little high pitched puuuuuuuuuuew sound ever 8-10 seconds (I've counted during one of the few times I watch TV in the 'living' room). So with all this I feel its time to replace my little hard worker with something that will be bigger and faster. My question is, should I replace him/it with a bigger nix'd based router on a bigger and badder machine (2.4ghz, 1gig ram, 40gig drive, oboard gigabit)? or should I get a used cisco/netopia box?


    -Smoothwall (running 2.0 now, 3's in alpha can set this up in about 20 seconds not counting boot time)
    -M0n0wall, herd good things. Havent tryd it, does support compact flash cards. Could make sexy little home made case for it and such........but probibly wont.
    -Used/lower end Cisco router? Can get a used Cisco 2501 or something along those lines on ebay for about $50 CA. Looks alright, could play with IOS not really up to speed with it.
    -Netopia midranged, used these before at my old job. Know them fairly well. Used/ebay aswell. Could be fun to freshen up as they have more manual and hands on firewall rules/chains.

    Pros and cons for each
    -Boath the nix choices would require a box, that box I'm currently not doing anything with. It could be a good CSS server and I'm kinda so-so about making it a router.....its good, but its a usuable machine! All I really need the router to do DHCP (dynamic ips based on macs), firewall with port forwarding, DNS for internal machines could be fun but i could resetup my dns server, and something like cisco vpn client would be nice. Something small I could pack onto a CD so my room mates could install in there parents machines or what ever...........I HATE forwarding ports for vnc. Also the computers in the house other then one have on board gigabit and would like to get a cheap linksys gigabit switch, would be kinda nice to follow the bottle neck all the way to the router. (but then stop at the 10/100 nic on the wan side....i know might be useless eather way)

    So if anyone could state why the would think one would be better over the other please, feel free. Comments welcome, and if you know any other *nix based router software lemmie know (actuall distro would be nice, something a little more then single disk distro like Coyote Linux please!)

    Also, this post might be a little needless but its 11am and I've been up and alone on the computer since 1am. Thanks in advance!
    meh. -ech0.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Why don't you kick the harddisk out ?, i mean just run a plain server.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    I'd fix the box you have, make the repairs, re-use smoothwall.

    I'm using the 3.0 alpha and it works fine, nothing wrong with version 2 though either.

    If you aren't familiar with the Cisco IOS, why bother? Smoothwall is easier. Despite the fact that I make my living with internetworking equipment and have a 2620 router here in the house, mounted in my rack, I'm using smoothwall. The feature set you get from it, and the ease of use factors make it far more appropriate, IMO. Cisco makes it's living selling boxes. To get the functionality of a smoothwall box, you are either buying a multitude of individual boxes, or you're getting a chassis with various different cards in it. Regardless, you're looking at a five digit investment vs. whatever it costs to get/maintain an old PC with two nics in it.

    My two imperial credits.

  4. #4
    Master-Jedi-Pimps0r & Moderator thehorse13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Washington D.C. area
    I have used M0n0wall at home in the past. The main reason I used it was for the VPN functionality. It was VERY nice. I had my ACL list on a floppy and it ran off a mounted CD. Never once had an issue.

    I tried out smoothwall and also liked it. As Thread says, it's very easy to use too.

    I recently aquired a Cisco 2500 series router from work. Since I'm *very* well versed in Cisco IOS, it makes it very easy for me to setup and manage. However, if I was a novice with the CLI, I would have stayed clear of the device. The other factor is that you'll never use more than 20% of the features that come with the gear so why go for the overkill.

    Now, if you burn up your used Cisco router, you're probably going to be SOL (because they are not exactly cheap) for awhile and will no doubt throw up a temporary nix based router anyway. So my two cents buys you a recommendation for a solution like m0n0wall or smoothwall unless you have some sort of unique reason why you must have Cisco gear.

    Our scars have the power to remind us that our past was real. -- Hannibal Lecter.
    Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful. -- John Wooden

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Pacific Northwest

    Well you listed pros & cons of the products, however shouldn't you determine what you need then find the product that fits the bill. IP Tables, Port Forwarding, Snort, etc., for home network, etc.?

    Anyway I'd vote for Smoothie, M0n0, or IPCop is another one that sounds like it would fill the need. Probably cost you much less to keep the ole P2 going anyway.

    Connection refused, try again later.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    The only reason I would want a Cisco box in the house would be to to learn IOS because I really have next to no experance with it. That and bragging rights. Also I havent boughten new computer hardware in a year and I'm getting really itchey. I guess the best thing is to just swap the drive on that main machine and not take that 2.5 out of operation. IPCop.... interesting.
    meh. -ech0.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    The cheaper and easier method would be swapping in a new drive, but the geektastic method would be to get your hands on a Cisco router. While challenging at first, I think you'll find they're an interesting piece of hardware to work with.
    \"The future stretches out before us, uncharted. Find the open road and look back with a sense of wonder. How pregnant this moment in time. How mysterious the path ahead. Now, step forward.\"
    Phillip Toshio Sudo, Zen Computer
    Have faith, but lock your door.

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