Ok ive been reading a bit recently about using an older p2/3 computer and a few nics as a router/firewall. Now can anyone tell what the advantages of this kind of setup are over the Belking 7231 router that I am using right now?? I have a 15/2 cable connection and 4 computers on my network. Would this Linux type router be an upgrade over my cheap Belkin router? BTW I only use the wreless part of my router for my notebook computer the others are pluged in directly. I really just want to know if it would be worth the time and effort to setup one of these firewall/routers. Would it make my network faster? Would the firewall be better?
Your speed would increase substianally. Your router probably operates at 233 MHZ or something like that. An old computer would be much faster in speed. You would have more options for firewall, traffic shaping, VPN, mail server, file server, DHCP, etc. And you can update the software whenever an update comes out.
For me there is no going back to the store bought router.
I recommend IPCop, Clarkconnect and m0n0wall. m0n0wall is the fastest, but it is not for beginners.
Are you looking for a hobby or do you actually need something about your network performance improved upon?
How much client to client traffic do you have? How performance intensive is your internet use?
How much of a home-built computer geek are you? ("Geek" is an honorable term as I use it, btw.)
Have you tried measuring your client to client network performance? How close is it to the maximum reasonable throughput you can expect from your network technology (e.g. 100BASE-T = 100Mbps as a theoretical maximum, if that is what you are using - you won't hit 100Mbps in the general case regardless of your router performance, btw)?
If you just want a hobby, have at it. As the previous poster said, there is potential for performance improvment.
As a practical matter, you may find an easier path to performance improvement by upgrading to gigabit across the board.
Makes sense, in case you might want to add the following features:
- central anti-virus for email
- central anti-spam
- content filtering (in case you have kids using one of the PCs; or in case you want to forbid your secretary to download music etc.)
- installation of a proxy server for even higher security
- want to add a modem connection as back-up
I'm also in the same boat wanting to use a pc as a router. Right now I'm trying Smoothwall, but way $. Not going to buy it. But it's awesome I think. I've tried ClarkConnect and Ipcop as well. I think ClarkConnect is way better then ipcop as it does a lot more out of the box and is much better looking for the Web UI. The one thing for me though is I want to have traffic stats to show the amount downloaded and uploaqded and ClarkConnect and ipcop don't do that good. CC resets to 0 at 4gb and that's no good. Other then this ClarkConnect is cool.