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Niki Kovacs 11-22-2010 05:51 AM

Router for SOHO network - hardware considerations
 
Hi,

Last week I finished installing a small network in a private school :
one server (an old IBM X225), seventeen desktops (Fujitsu Siemens PIV
2.4 GHZ, 512 MB RAM, 40 GB HD), all running CentOS 5.5.

One extra machine is acting as a router, in that it is installed between
the DSL modem and the network, with two Ethernet cards, and it's taking
care of DHCP, DNS, NTP and also acts like a proxy (with Squid). It seems
quite big and noisy and electricity-consuming to me, so I wonder if
there is any small device that could possibly do the job as good, but
which would me more adapted : small, solid and cheap (if possible). I
imagine some tiny box just with a CPU and a small harddisk, a little RAM
and two network interfaces (one out, one in), where I could install a
very stripped-down CentOS, and then just forget about it.

So far, I've googled a bit, and I've found two things: 1) Pyramid
Soekris boards, where I can put something like Pyramid Linux on it. And
2) The Linksys WRT54GL, for which there are Linux firmwares like OpenWRT
and DD-WRT.

Is there anything you could especially recommend for this job? (I'm not
afraid of getting my hands dirty, BTW :oD)

Cheers,

Niki
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Luigi Rosa 11-22-2010 06:05 AM

Router for SOHO network - hardware considerations
 
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Niki Kovacs said the following on 22/11/10 07:51:

> Is there anything you could especially recommend for this job? (I'm not
> afraid of getting my hands dirty, BTW :oD)

Consider a type of hardware that needs to be "always on" for a long period of
time maybe in a dirty and hot environment. Also the availability of long time
vendor support is an important issue.

When I needed this type of hardware for similar missions, I found that the
cheapest solution is an entry level server of Dell or HP. They are very silent,
compact, well supported by CentOS and they can be purchased without
pre-installed OEM software.

Both have some BIOS options that you can set to lower power consumption.

Just one thing: keep in mind that HP ProLiant 1xx series has ony 1 year of on
site warranty, compared to 3 years of other ProLiant, at least in Europe.



Ciao,
luigi

- --
/
+--[Luigi Rosa]--


This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered
as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.
--Memo della Western Union, 1878
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Eero Volotinen 11-22-2010 06:30 AM

Router for SOHO network - hardware considerations
 
2010/11/22 Niki Kovacs <contact@kikinovak.net>:
> Hi,
>
> Last week I finished installing a small network in a private school :
> one server (an old IBM X225), seventeen desktops (Fujitsu Siemens PIV
> 2.4 GHZ, 512 MB RAM, 40 GB HD), all running CentOS 5.5.
>
> One extra machine is acting as a router, in that it is installed between
> the DSL modem and the network, with two Ethernet cards, and it's taking
> care of DHCP, DNS, NTP and also acts like a proxy (with Squid). It seems
> quite big and noisy and electricity-consuming to me, so I wonder if
> there is any small device that could possibly do the job as good, but
> which would me more adapted : small, solid and cheap (if possible). I
> imagine some tiny box just with a CPU and a small harddisk, a little RAM
> and two network interfaces (one out, one in), where I could install a
> very stripped-down CentOS, and then just forget about it.

http://www.mini-itx.com/store/?c=40 is nice. just install cf card and
centos or something on it .. I personally prefer pfsense on my
firewall.

--
Eero
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John R Pierce 11-22-2010 06:45 AM

Router for SOHO network - hardware considerations
 
On 11/21/10 10:51 PM, Niki Kovacs wrote:
> Is there anything you could especially recommend for this job? (I'm not
> afraid of getting my hands dirty, BTW :oD)


Alix2D2 or similar.
http://www.pcengines.ch/alix2d2.htm

they sell for about $80, add a flash card or small HD to hold your
router software,
they have little minicases to mount them,
http://www.pcengines.ch/case1c1blku.htm
http://www.yawarra.com.au/en-alix.php

these run pfSense very nicely, which is a very nice turnkey router
distribution.


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11-22-2010 07:55 AM

Router for SOHO network - hardware considerations
 
> On 11/21/10 10:51 PM, Niki Kovacs wrote:
>> Is there anything you could especially recommend for this job? (I'm not
>> afraid of getting my hands dirty, BTW :oD)
>
>
> Alix2D2 or similar.
> http://www.pcengines.ch/alix2d2.htm
>
> they sell for about $80, add a flash card or small HD to hold your
> router software,
> they have little minicases to mount them,
> http://www.pcengines.ch/case1c1blku.htm
> http://www.yawarra.com.au/en-alix.php
>
> these run pfSense very nicely, which is a very nice turnkey router
> distribution.


Yes, ALIX+pfSense is highly recommended.
If ALIX is too slow (it should do between 50 and 70 MBit/s), consider Atom
D510 platform servers. They should run on ~50 Watt and easily saturate
100-200Mbit.
ALIX takes 5-10 Watt.



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Robert Heller 11-22-2010 01:25 PM

Router for SOHO network - hardware considerations
 
At Mon, 22 Nov 2010 07:51:46 +0100 CentOS mailing list <centos@centos.org> wrote:

>
> Hi,
>
> Last week I finished installing a small network in a private school :
> one server (an old IBM X225), seventeen desktops (Fujitsu Siemens PIV
> 2.4 GHZ, 512 MB RAM, 40 GB HD), all running CentOS 5.5.
>
> One extra machine is acting as a router, in that it is installed between
> the DSL modem and the network, with two Ethernet cards, and it's taking
> care of DHCP, DNS, NTP and also acts like a proxy (with Squid). It seems
> quite big and noisy and electricity-consuming to me, so I wonder if
> there is any small device that could possibly do the job as good, but
> which would me more adapted : small, solid and cheap (if possible). I
> imagine some tiny box just with a CPU and a small harddisk, a little RAM
> and two network interfaces (one out, one in), where I could install a
> very stripped-down CentOS, and then just forget about it.
>
> So far, I've googled a bit, and I've found two things: 1) Pyramid
> Soekris boards, where I can put something like Pyramid Linux on it. And
> 2) The Linksys WRT54GL, for which there are Linux firmwares like OpenWRT
> and DD-WRT.
>
> Is there anything you could especially recommend for this job? (I'm not
> afraid of getting my hands dirty, BTW :oD)


One *simple* option would be to get a "small" IDE (I assume the existing
router machine is IDE based) SSD (or a 32G Compact Flash card +
IDE adaptor -- see eBay) and replace the IDE hard drive with this and
pull out the case fan (or just unplug its power connector). Remove its
keyboard / mouse / monitor. Much of the noise and power use is the disk
drive and fan (for the disk drive).

>
> Cheers,
>
> Niki
> _______________________________________________
> CentOS mailing list
> CentOS@centos.org
> http://lists.centos.org/mailman/listinfo/centos
>
>

--
Robert Heller -- 978-544-6933 / heller@deepsoft.com
Deepwoods Software -- http://www.deepsoft.com/
() ascii ribbon campaign -- against html e-mail
/ www.asciiribbon.org -- against proprietary attachments



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John Hodrien 11-22-2010 01:42 PM

Router for SOHO network - hardware considerations
 
On Mon, 22 Nov 2010, Robert Heller wrote:

> One *simple* option would be to get a "small" IDE (I assume the existing
> router machine is IDE based) SSD (or a 32G Compact Flash card +
> IDE adaptor -- see eBay) and replace the IDE hard drive with this and
> pull out the case fan (or just unplug its power connector). Remove its
> keyboard / mouse / monitor. Much of the noise and power use is the disk
> drive and fan (for the disk drive).

Really? Even a meaty 3.5" drive will be less than 10W, and you're between 4
and 5 for a low power unit. Something like a 1Tb Samsung Ecogreen is around
4.3W. The CPU in the system is going to draw a whole lot more than that. But
face it, if it's just acting as a router, it can completely spin that down
after boot anyway.

CPU and motherboard contribute a fair whack to the power consumption.

I've no specific recommendations, but clearly something like the following
gets you close.

http://www.simtec.co.uk/products/EB2410ITX/

Get the gold board and you've got twin 10/100Mbit network, 128Mbyte RAM,
various ways of connecting extra storage, and a 2.3W maximum power draw.

That compares rather well with the old Pentium 4 you're likely to have
knocking round which draws about 70W typically just for the CPU...

jh
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Alexander Georgiev 11-22-2010 01:45 PM

Router for SOHO network - hardware considerations
 
2010/11/22 Niki Kovacs <contact@kikinovak.net>:
> one server (an old IBM X225), seventeen desktops all running CentOS 5.5.
>
> One extra machine is acting as a router, in that it is installed between
> the DSL modem and the network, with two Ethernet cards, and it's taking
> care of DHCP, DNS, NTP and also acts like a proxy (with Squid).
> - quite big and noisy and electricity-consuming to me,.
>
> I've found two things: 1) Pyramid
> Soekris boards, where I can put something like Pyramid Linux on it. And
> 2) The Linksys WRT54GL, for which there are Linux firmwares like OpenWRT
> and DD-WRT.
>

I would want to spare substantial effort and to keep things simple and
stupid. I would:

1) migrate all services DHCP, DNS, NTP and Squid to the X225 server
2) Use the Linksys WRT54GL for routing/gateway. I would not bother
installing the OpenWRT.

I would do this, unless I am looking forward to increase my expertise
in home built routers.

Kind regards,
Alex
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"Bob Puff@NLE" 11-22-2010 04:40 PM

Router for SOHO network - hardware considerations
 
I am looking for something similar to this thread.. Is there a way to
make a small CentOS distro that is bootable and runnable from only a
USB memory stick? It would need to be able to have files modified, but
I wouldn't want the USB stick to die prematurely due to a ton of writes...

Bob
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Blake Hudson 11-22-2010 05:09 PM

Router for SOHO network - hardware considerations
 
> Is there anything you could especially recommend for this job? (I'm not
> afraid of getting my hands dirty, BTW :oD)
>

+1 for Linksys WRT54GL and tomato firmware
+1 for pfsense (or monowall) on a small server


The Linksys is going to be your cheapest option and will take the least
amount of time to setup. It is also the least featureful. As far as
support goes, just buy a spare and keep it around in case something goes
wrong with the primary unit. In my experience, I've never had to reboot
a Linksys running tomato. However, I have had bad power adapters or
routers die in the past, so I would keep a spare for any application
that required mid level availability.

pfsense (a fork of monowall) is great on any device I've tried it on.
And it should offer basic DNS and NTP serving ability that the Linksys
may lack. Your performance/availability is going to be limited by your
hardware here as well. If you need high availability, I'd recommend a
name brand Dell/HP/etc with a warranty and redundant hardware. If some
downtime is acceptable to the the client, then perhaps forgo the
redundancy but keep the warranty or get a spare box.

The great thing about the Linksys is that it will likely pay for itself
inside of a year due to the lower operating costs and low initial
investment. A server based box may not pay for itself, but could provide
additional features (enhanced security, VPN, authenticated wifi hotspot,
etc) that would be worthwhile to the client.
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