OS for pc acting as a router

Hi all,

I need some advice on finding an os for my home router/server.

We use a spare pc as our router due to not being able to find a router that can handle more than 2 xbox 360's at a time, and also to share our tv and films.

Up until recently we've been using a dodgy copy of XP. I finally got around last week to installing Windows 7 Home Premium (legal copy) only to find that it is useless as a router/server. For one it is terrible at sharing our internet connection, doesn't have an rdp server, and regularly causes my housemates xbox's to randomly get kicked off live. I've spent hours and hours trying to figure this out and have finally decided to ditch 7. However i don't really want to continue using my dodgy copy of xp.

Does anyone know of a simple OS that can:
- Share internet connection
- Share files through smb
- Share files in the same way as Windows Media Player. I think it is called Media Connect? (not really sure what this is about but apparently my housemates need this to stream films to their xbox's
- run utorrent

I know most linux dists can do most of the above. I'm not sure about the Media Connect thing though. I'm not great with Linux. Every problem seems to take 10 times as long to fix than it does in windows (not much experience with the pengiun). So if anyone knows of anything that is fairly easy to setup you'd make me a happy person.
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  1. I'm not sure how ANY router regardless if it's off the shelf or some home-brew solution is going to solve your XBOX problem. The reason you get kicked off has nothing to do w/ the specific router you’re using, but the fact that each XBOX requires access to the same port mapping. And since port mapping is only available to one device per port, if you try to use multiple devices w/ the same port, sooner or later one or the other is going to loss connectivity. ALL NAT routers (hardware or software) have this same limitation.

    I’ve discussed this numerous times in the past, so if you want the gory details, here’s some reading material.


    So it seems to me your decision about a new OS for your server shouldn’t hinge upon its ability to function as a router. You certainly could if you wanted to, but if the issue w/ the XBOX is the primary motivation, again, it’s pointless. FWIW, you could install a VM like VirtualBox and employ a Linux solution (Astaro, pfSense, Untangle, etc.) on top of your preferred OS (e.g., XP), or vice versa. IOW, you could use one machine and choose the environment best suited to certain applications.
  2. XP actually works fine with 4 xbox's running. Been using that for over a year with no problems. Probably wasn't very clear in what i was looking for.

    XP does everything we want it too. Just wondered if there was an open source alternative that could do the same? Just paid for Windows 7 which is useless as our server and was hoping to avoid having to fork out for a copy of XP Pro as well.
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