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-   -   Small linux box as a wireless router/home network ideas (

enine 08-18-2005 06:23 PM

Small linux box as a wireless router/home network ideas
Anyone running this way? I'm cleaning up and replacing some old gear on my home network. Currently have a Cisco 340 AP, 8 port switch and separate router upstairs and a wired drop in the living room where we have the printer by the TV. I want to get rid of all the separate boxes and just buy one of the wireless routers so everything is combined. Also I want to get rid of the HP Jetdirect that my printer is hanging off of because it doesn't have big enough of a buffer for large print jobs so I plan to build a small print/file server also. So I thought why not just buy a PCI cardbus adapter and pop in a wireless card and use that Linux file/print server as a router/firewall? Linux firewalls should be secure enough for that right?

titanium_geek 08-18-2005 07:08 PM

I really reccomend coyote linux (runs of a floppy) for your router/firewalling needs. All it needs is two network cards, a mother board, a processor, a floppy drive, a cheap VGA adapter, a keyboard a monitor and a mouse. really cheap- the linux is free and you can use anyold hardware.
checkout: and specifically


enine 08-18-2005 07:46 PM

I want to combine the router with the file/print sharing so I don't think the router specific distro will work. I have a little 500MHz via motherboard from another project that I can use.

B3chX 08-18-2005 08:27 PM

Try IPCop!
I use IPCop as my firewall/router, and it works awesome!
IPCop is stand-alone linux box that you can access externally via web interface, or even with ssh/telnet.
It has a lot of great features like port-forwarding, transparent proxy... all KINDS of cool stuff.
I can't say enough good things about it... ;-)

Check it out: IPCop

.:: B3ch ::.

byte.chaser 08-18-2005 10:52 PM

i uses smoothwall for awhile that was pretty slick. i had it on a compaq presario 425 486sx. Slapped a 20gig maxtor drive in it (that was fun!!) and off i went, was a bit slow as far as a router is concerned but it did the trick, print server and all.
it was a compaq...cant remember the model but it was one of those, moniter/cpu all in one jobs. clarkconnect is prett good to, i use it now, bas off redhat 9 i believe, using apt for updates, needs a little more horsepower though. i got it on a amd 600 mhz box now.

enine 08-19-2005 08:37 AM

Ok, I should have made my question more clearer.
Anyone built a wireless router that does file and print sharing on the local network as well?

maroonbaboon 08-19-2005 09:38 AM

I think your problem is going to be with the wireless part. As the other posts point out there are lots of solutions for building a linux router, but I think you will need very specific hardware to set up a wireless access point. It is so much easier to just get a wireless router box, esp. if you have to buy a wifi card/2nd NIC for the VIA.

The Linksys wrt54g wireless router runs linux anyway. You can even install your own linux distro on it ( You can still use the VIA as a web proxy, mail server, print server and anything else you want.

enine 08-19-2005 10:39 AM

Thats why I wanted to post here and see if anyone does run a wireless router/server combined. I'd like to consolidate down to as few boxes as possible as my family is growing and I'm running out of space, my "server room" is going away so everything has to fit somewhere else.
I have the mini ITX board already and its booting and running from a CF card, have a right angle pci adapter and power supply and small rack mount case. I thought about getting a cardbus adapter and one of these

maroonbaboon 08-20-2005 12:29 AM

That certainly looks like a good price on a wifi card, but I wouldn't assume it would work with linux. Even if you find a compatible card, you will probably want to run it as an access point, and AFAIK there are even fewer cards with linux drivers which can do that.

It is hard to beat a dedicated wireless router to simplify your network. You can even get them with built in phone adapters for VoIP. But if you really want to use your Mini-ITX two links you might find interesting are


enine 08-20-2005 11:34 AM

Well as I look as cards I search for the model number on this forum to see if they work or not or how much trouble it will be getting them to work.
I plan on building the miniitx server anyway for file/print so I thought about just combining the router/firewall.
I'd like to keep as low power as possible for those times when I'm running from UPS (seems too often)

mafiltenborg 05-08-2006 03:31 AM

"I'd like to consolidate down to as few boxes as possible..."

How about one box only?

Try having a look at
Then combine their firmware offering - a complete linux-driven server (much resembling a debian-box) including onlinestorage, printerserver, firewall, router and a few funny gizmos of your choice (taken from a list of available add-on-packages) - with eg. an ASUS WL-500G Deluxe SOHO-router hardware.

You'll end up with no monitors, keyboards, mice, noisy fans and clumsy cabinets, and yet have your printerserver and all the other stuff you need to make a working home LAN - on very low power requirements.

Add an external USB-harddisk and suitable add-onn-packages, and you'll have all your personal data online via SSH/SFTP. Add an account on and put your website in the box. Add a webcam and get surveillance features.
And the list goes on...

The guys at openwrt have managed to put the fun back into computing! And i have regained silence - complete silence - in my livingroom. You never know how much noise that server cabinet over in the corner really makes until you turn it off!

enine 05-08-2006 07:22 AM

I wanted to not buy anymore hardware but for now just grabbed a cheap linksys router and have the mini itx board as a server. I have it sharing file and print so far using samba so my wife can see them from her windoze laptop.

mafiltenborg 05-08-2006 09:46 AM

If you grabbed a Linksys WRT54G router you may be in luck - the older versions run OpenWRT out-of-the-box.

Of course - no disks, webcams etc. Unless you're able to solder, that is...

How much power does the ITX-board consume?

enine 05-08-2006 10:10 AM

The linksys I got was a v5 so no running linux from it. I have been rsynch'ing my laptop to the miniitx for about a month now so that much it working. I'm thinking now with the tv out on the miniitx board I could hook it to my tv and use something like kphotoalbum to display pictures.
Its running from an old 12v 1.2A supply and thats with the internal and external hard disks, the little 12v in supply is a 60w max so its pretty low power.

mafiltenborg 05-09-2006 02:28 AM

v5 - that was a pity.

TV-out on the miniitx.. Hmmm. I've heard about people building multimedia-boxes much like the Windoze MediaCenter. Are you thinking of something like that? 'Cause i'd like to try something similar, and is currently looking (low-priority) for knowledge on the subject. Not a 24/7/365-online thing like the router, but more like a barebone tucked in somewhere near the TV/stereo, providing entertainment and storage for media.

AFAIK; all it takes is a quiet mobo with TVout and a TV/radio-tuner addin-card.

And appropriate software...

Any pointers you'd like to share?

So far, i've got:

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