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Re: [LUG] DIY router


On Fri, 22 Apr 2016, Simon Waters wrote:

I saw some negative comments about the article online. So it's a bit of a beast, I built a Linux network device with more omph. He could use the oomph to proxy really big files, like Ubuntu packages.

On the other hand I'm sick of my router hanging, but it has a modem too. Probably time to brave OpenWRT or similar.Â

BT have my cabinet in connect phase of FTTC so I'm thinking instead of getting off the shelf, get me a router that'll run a free Linux distribution for the new connection. Where do I start?Â

My setup:

I have an Intel Atom based PC with one PCI slot. That slot has a 4-port Ethernet card. It has on-board Gb Ethernet too, however my home/office LAN is only 100Mb.

The on-board Ethernet connects to the supplied BT (V)DSL modem. I run PPPoE to the modem. Before I upgraded to FTTC it was talking to a Draytek (A)DSL modem. I unplugged it from the Draytek and into the BT box, didn't even need to restart ppp - it just re-connected without a hitch.

The box is running Debian Squeeze. Uptime is 1202 days. Custom kernel just because I can.

Other than that, it's bog-standard Debian. No need for some fancy distro, etc. However I do know how to use iptables, etc. to setup NAT, port forwarding and so on.

2 ports of the 4-port card run in bridge mode - ie. it's a 2-port Ethernet switch. It saved me using a real Ethernet switch to connect 2 Wi-Fi access points up. I run my Wi-Fi on a separate physical LAN to the wired LAN.

The other 2 ports on that card run to the home/office LAN and a 2nd LAN which sees my external IP address range (I have a /29 routed to my home/office)

I also have IPv6. (a /56) Again, this "just works".

So other than my own compiled kernel, this is all bog-standard Debian Squeeze. No special config tricks, etc. although my iptables script is written by me. The networking stuff is all done in /etc/network/interfaces and the PPPoE stuff is all pretty standard too.

It's also running named and isc-dhcpd.

The down-side for some is that you actually have to type commands to make it work. There is no point & drool web thingy. I edit the dhcpd config file, have tweaked the DNS setup and edit the firewall files...

The same box also has a pair of drives and acts as a small NAS thing too. (nfs) Holds some off-site backups, etc. nothing overly critical - which is on another (nfs) server on the inside.

I don't bother running a proxy, etc. although it does act as a DNS server for the other LANs.

If it's PPPoE do I even need a router? Could just plug in the existing Debian PC and turn it into wireless access point rather than wireless client. It's on all the time.

You could use a Debian PC to talk PPPoE to the modem and act as a Wi-Fi access point using hostapd. Assuming the Wi-Fi adapter supports host mode. Personally I'm not in-favour of this as I prefer real Wi-fi access points. Currently I'm using Draytek AP700 and AP800 units, but this might change at some point.

However it might save you running a dedicated box...

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