Linux - HardwareThis forum is for Hardware issues.
Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?
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I am planning to use some modern laptop for that purpose. Something like
Lenovo ThinkPad R400
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 13
Why use a laptop? By definition a router will need at least two interfaces, and wired would be best so you can uplink to a switch. I would use a small PC if space is a concern. As mentioned the CPU shouldn't be much an issue, but you what distro are you planning to use? A router on its own will use very little CPU, but if you start adding on functionality like proxy filtering that will require a more powerful processor.
I would never recommend using your firewall as a server to store data, think about it you are putting information right at your doorstep. If you really want to use a laptop hardware wise it would be fine, I would look at a stripped down distro like Smoothwall or Pfsense rather than Debian. Or if you really want to build from scratch to get all of the details on how things work don't add extra services like a public web server, file shares, etc.