Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cool Routers from old PC Junk

Taking a old PC and creating a firewall router, a gaming router, or having the ability to do traffic shaping on your home network.

I have 3 boys. They love to hog the Internet. Sometimes I like to stream media or do an occasional "legal !!!!!!!!" Torrent download.

When you get enough traffic running through that 3mbs download and 400kbs upload you can easily generate lag. These simple firewall routers that I mention below can allow you to throttle back or pipe and shape your traffic flow.

For example - Dad always gets priority.
If my kids want to log in and configure it differently who am I to say no. :o)Secondly, The hell if some guy is going to be on a Torrent downloading from my machine as I am trying to upload. I can create a pipe forcing all Torrent traffic to comply to my rules.

m0n0wall is the best place to start.
It is very simple to set up and configure. It does a great job of traffic shaping and can give you a good idea about what your network traffic looks like.

pfsense does what m0n0wall does but it adds a layer of complexity along with a layer of really nice reporting tools. pfsense will allow you to store a history on the performance of your ISP connection and offers some nice network discovery tools.

m0n0wall --

From the downloads page, you want to use the CD ROM ISO, the other images are for special mini PC boards to keep you project the size of a router.

To put the image on a hard drive:

Minimum requirementsMinimum hardware requirements
All platforms:128 megabytes of ram
Embedded:128 megabyte compact flash card
Full installation:2gb hard drive or larger
LiveCD:USB Keychain for configuration storage

Step by Step Guide:

Downloading pfsense:
I prefer the CD method. Most geeks have a CD ROM drive sitting around collecting dust.

Really GEEKY but cool.
PFSenseDevWiki : FullInstallOnWRAP
PC Engines:

Turn that old PC into a Vyatta Router

Old PC To New Router With Gentoo Linux

Router Hack Attack: Turn your $60 router into a $600 router

Other good uses for older PCs might be a file server or with a Knoppix DVD where you can have a Web station to allow family to surf the web and do homework online using:

or for example.

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