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Old 11-13-2004, 11:39 PM   #1
Registered: Jul 2004
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linux box as router

I've been thinking of using a linux machine as a router for my dsl connection. I was curious as to what the benefit of doing this over just using my Linksys WRT54G to share my broadband connection. Is it worth using the extra power to keep a whole PC powered up as opposted to the tiny router?

Any thoughts or suggestions? Should I just stick with my linksys router? Also, if I go with the linux routing solution, how should I add wireless into the mix?
Old 11-14-2004, 01:42 AM   #2
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Depends on if your using the linux box as more than a router. The linksys router can probably do limited firewalling, dhcp, and NAT for sharing the internet.

Linux box can
Share the Internet (NAT)
Firewall a lot better
Log events if you've set the firewall to do so
Content filter the sites you visit
DNS (set up your own caching DNS)
Share files/printers
FTP, SSH, TELNET, Web hosting
I could go on and on and on.

The point is what do you want to do. If your goal is to share the internet and maybe add a little protection with a gimpy firewall, then use your linksys. If you want more security, added features, and bragging rights that you run your own server then build a small 300Mhz box and have it do as much as you like.


Last edited by musicman_ace; 11-14-2004 at 01:43 AM.
Old 11-14-2004, 02:36 AM   #3
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You may want to check into OpenBSD. When I get DSL that is what I plan to use for my firewall/router. They are very stable, like Linux, and are the most secure things I have read about. I think they are about bullet proof, figuratively of course.

The CD is like $40.00 and it is real easy to install. I messed up the first time but if you follow the guide it will take about a hour the first time. I did the third install in about 20 minutes. Most of that time was the copy process.

Just thought I would mention it. Never can have to many options.


Old 11-14-2004, 04:27 AM   #4
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You may also check with IPcop. A real nice project at IPCop with support forums as well.
Old 11-14-2004, 06:04 AM   #5
Registered: Sep 2004
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I dont really see any advantage of running a PC as a router. For my network I'm just using the crappy router we were given for our ADSL line, nd having no problems running firewall, web/ftp servers from behind the router, net sharing, dhcp and a whole lot more.

Old 11-14-2004, 07:32 AM   #6
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You can generally do a lot more configuring for your specific needs, block specific ports or enable some that you need open. They are also easy to update as the need arises.

For basic use, you're probably fine, just depends on what you want/need.

There is a list above in musicman_ace's post that shows the additional features.


Old 11-14-2004, 08:35 AM   #7
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I am not sure of the firewalling ability the linsys has, however, my D-link router's firewall stealths the ports that are not used (makes a port scan think there is no computer at the IP and the port. In addition mine offers logging, and has the ability to detect various attacks on my IP, in addition I also run a linux server with DNS inside my LAN, it also provides SSH, FTP, HTTP, and PPTP services. YOu could, if you wanted to take advantage of the linux security and still use your linksys use the linux box as a proxy, or simply route your traffic through the linux machine and then have it go out from there. Personally there are many who think that linux as a router is the only way, but I have never had any problems with my D-link, and personally prefer it to running and configuring linux, the fact that the D-link performs it's responsibilities in pure hardware makes it a slimer faster overall product.


I can configure individual ports with my router, and specify iternal adresses as well as setup a DMZ computer, and the only real drawback I see is that you cannot really specify any protocols other than TCP/UDP or everything, although with the built-in VPN passthrough it does configure for GRE packets to pass through, in the case of L2TP and PPTP.

Last edited by scheidel21; 11-14-2004 at 08:39 AM.
Old 11-14-2004, 10:45 PM   #8
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well, the main feature i'd like to add to my routing setup is logging. but some of the other mentioned things would probably be nice, like dns, etc. Would hosting a small/almost non-exsistant website on the same machine have any performance effects? How about also making it a file share serving up nfs and samba shares?

Anyone have any idea how much more power I'd be using running the PC as opposed to the linksys?

I guess overall, I'd like more control over my routing. Do I need it? Probably not. But then again, that doesn't stop me from doing most of the other things I do.
Old 11-14-2004, 11:04 PM   #9
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isn't that the router you can flash and get a minimal but useable linux system at your disposal?

I love the embedded systems...

but.. even if it is... if you do any extensive logging you'll burn out your eeprom.... but it's something to think about.

Last edited by DaWallace; 11-14-2004 at 11:05 PM.
Old 11-16-2004, 12:17 AM   #10
Registered: Jun 2004
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It may have some level of logging built in. I have a 2wire Homeportal which not only has the standard html access, but also has a hidden page at:

It doesn't have a lot, but several nifty features that are not otherwise available, including a logfile (you can also set it to send logging information to another machine). My point is: you may already have that functionality and not have a straightforward way to get at it.

Change of topic: If the Linksys WRT54G has wireless, and you decide to use a linux firewall, and use the Linksys as your wireless, I would route:
from your isp
to your Linux router
to your Linksys
to everything else

I haven't tried wireless in linux, but I hear it is sketchy to say the least (but maybe improving?).

I don't think most people really need a linux router (though most people need _A_ router). I'm planning to set up a router, but only because I have an unusual circumstance that I'm working in. We have two subnets that we want to have only very limited communication between, and both need access to the internet. You could learn a lot by it though
Old 11-16-2004, 12:20 AM   #11
Registered: Jun 2004
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P.S. the URL in my previous post only works if you have a homeportal on your subnet, acting as your dns server, and answering to that name!


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