Advice for building an Atom based router

eibes

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I recently bought a Netgear R7000 that I was planning to flash to DD-WRT as part of my migration to more open source software. After doing some looking around it seems a very popular alternative is to build your own router out of older spare hardware. I have an intel e8400 combo that isnt getting any use, but that makes me wonder if the extra power consumption will make it a viable option for the long term. Couple excessive power intake with an older Antec case and a couple 120mm fans and the size/noise is a turn off also.

I am completely new to the Atom based processors as I havent had any real reason to read into them before now, would this be a better route? On a ~$400 budget could a secure wifi router/firewall be acheived? Will this also be able to be used a file server or is that another box entirely?

As I said I have little experience in this field. Am I on the right track by trying to get an Atom CPU, or will my e8400 serve me just fine?

Thanks!!
 

weuntouchable

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Building your own router/ firewall makes sense if you have the spare parts and are only going to have to buy a couple of NICs to finish the project. Unless you have a specific purpose you likely are going to be investing a lot of money and time into a project that won't provide you much of a benefit over boxed router with DD-WRT or Tomato. If you like playing around with things and have some networking background it will probably be a fun experience and I don't want to deter you. But, that being said learning DD-WRT or Tomato and unlocking features on your router can also be fun.
 

firedrow

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If you have a budget then why not look into a smaller business end router? Like the Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite (ERL) or a Mikrotek Routerboard or an ALIX board. Then you have hardware with dedicated routing hardware instead of generic x86. Buying the $99 ERL would leave you with plenty of cash to also buy a Ubiquiti Access Point (UAP), then you have an awesome WAP and router.

But if you look over the pfSense Forums, there are lots of builds in the Hardware section that say they use the Atom platform as a starting system. I personally think it's underpowered but I've also never used it for a dedicated purpose like a firewall/router.
 

eibes

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Thanks for the info guys. It looks like I know even less about this topic than I thought I did. I have plenty of research to do!
 

mi7chy

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I'm sure performance will be fine with Atom. The previous generation high end PIX 535 was powered by a Pentium III 1GHz and was fine as long as it wasn't hit by DoS syn flood and doing heavy logging at the same time.
 

MadJuggla9

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I agree with firedrow. Ubiquiti has a nice line of affordable products with cutting edge software perks. I have used a lot of their products over the last 2 years and I am more than pleased.

I am currently using a ubiquiti nanostation as a small firewall. With a 400mhz CPU it processes more than I need. mi7chy is right about the power of CPUs.
 

eibes

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As I mentioned at the top of the thread, I just purchased a Netgear R7000. The only reason I was considering building a dedicated system was because I thought I would see a significant performance increase while being more secure.
Along those same lines; should I keep the R7000 or make the move to a commercial router like the Ubiquiti?
In either scenario, what is a good option for a firewall? Or are there other precautions I should be taking in my pursuit of a more secure network?

As always, thank you all for the help and knowledge!
 

Defective

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I know I'm a bit late to post here, but I just built a pfSense router with a mini-Atom box and it works great. The main improvement I noticed was with Steam downloads. Before they were unstable and now they are reliable.

This box was cheap and it worked. I did replace the fan with something quieter, though.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856205007

I'm looking around to see what I want to use to add the wireless access point to it. Right now I'm using my older wireless router as an AP.
 

iroc409

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Jun 17, 2006
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As I mentioned at the top of the thread, I just purchased a Netgear R7000. The only reason I was considering building a dedicated system was because I thought I would see a significant performance increase while being more secure.
Along those same lines; should I keep the R7000 or make the move to a commercial router like the Ubiquiti?
In either scenario, what is a good option for a firewall? Or are there other precautions I should be taking in my pursuit of a more secure network?

As always, thank you all for the help and knowledge!

If you already have the router, and can't send it back, I would just keep it. Install an open OS on it, and be happy. The R7000 might even have more horsepower than something like the ERL (I haven't checked specs).

It's fun chasing tech, and if that's what you want to do go crazy, but you already have something good enough.
 

diizzy

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Apart for choosing something that isn't very open source-friendly you'll be fine. Atheros/QCA platforms are preferable if you want to fully go the 3rd party route in general.
//Danne
 
D

Deleted member 12106

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I am running an atom-powered untangle box that does routing for me at home. I use a few of the free apps and also use the OVPN function quite a bit. Wireless is handled by 3 unifi waps. Once I had left the consumer based crap, I've been extremely happy. I have been very pleased with the results of this setup and have it deployed at a few other sites with very positive feedback.
 

diizzy

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I have both TP-Link TL-WDR3600 and WD N750 boxes runnnig OpenWRT acting as OpenVPN gateways and they've done so flawless for ~150-200d without any issues (power outrages) so it's not impossible at small offices. A few others have been running for similar time as Access Points too.
//Danne
 

dandragonrage

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This doesn't help you a ton, but for what it's worth I just got an Asus RT-AC66U. I put on DD-WRT first and... I'm pretty sure DD-WRT hasn't evolved since I last used it on a WRT54g v4 a LONG time ago. And I mean that literally. I saw ZERO differences. And it seemed to have no AC support. It supported N which my WRT54g didn't but otherwise it seemed like the same thing.

Tomato seemed a ton better (I liked Tomato more even on the WRT54g) - and it seems like it's actually improved - but the version I tried (Shibby's 117) seemed to have a bug in pulling a WAN IP via DHCP, so I didn't get to test much. I'm on AsusWRT-Merlin at the moment and it's just a slightly less crappy version of the stock firmware. It might as well be based on Windows as it reboots for anything you do - even just changing port forwarding rules. It honestly makes me miss the Verizon Actiontec router somewhat.

I've run a few routing *nix distros and for an Atom, pfSense should be excellent.
 
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