Keith C. Perry on 19 Sep 2017 19:17:38 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] best router distros for x86?

I would ask Brent's questions but I would generally say run which ever distro you feel most comfortable with and then learn how to tune it for server / network operations if you want to maximize performance.  I've been building Linux routers and security nodes since the late 1990's and you really can't go wrong with most distros.  Until around 2010 I was doing this with Slackware.  Why?  Because I like Slackware and it has never let me down.

In more recent years, I've been using Lubuntu.  Why?  Because I like Lubuntu and it has never let me down.

The bigger question for me has been hardware.  You didn't ask about that but if you are willing to put out some money you can build a small x86 box perfectly suited to this task with multiple 1Gbs interfaces (if you need / want them).  You can even go to Microcenter and get a small desktop refurb or off-lease system and drop another NIC or two in it.  Better to buy once and worry about software cycles than to keep running through consumer grade routers.

If you're willing do to that, I doubt you'll ever go back.

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Keith C. Perry, MS E.E. 
Managing Member, DAO Technologies LLC 
(O) +1.215.525.4165 x2033 
(M) +1.215.432.5167

----- Original Message -----
From: "brent saner" <>
Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 4:05:16 PM
Subject: Re: [PLUG] best router distros for x86?

On 09/19/2017 03:36 PM, Greg Helledy wrote:
> My Linksys router running Tomato has begun to show its age, and can't
> keep up with the higher speeds I can now get through FIOS.
> So, I've obtained one of those PCs that come in a router-sized case, as
> we discussed on this list some months back.  It has a quad-core Celeron,
> 4 gigabit LANs, 4 GB RAM and a 60 GB SSD, which should be enough for any
> OS in that type of role.
> While any distro can be a router and firewall, there are ones specially
> made for the purpose.  I'm familiar with ClearOS, and I've heard of
> pfSense, and Sophos and Nethserver and I know there are many others.  I
> don't know that I need a whole lot more than a router and firewall
> function, but maybe a VPN would be good, and maybe there are other
> features out there I'm not aware of.  Whatever I choose I'll probably be
> dealing with for years so I'd like to make a good choice.  What would
> you install?

rather than tell you what *i* use, i'ma ask some questions here to find
out what's best for *you*.

do you plan on implementing separate networks?

do you like to dig deep into the internals and making them perform
*exactly* how you like even if it takes a lot of time, or are you more
interested in getting a configuration set up that "mostly works" like
you want it to as long as it's a quick setup?

(similarly, do you prefer to grok what you set up or do you prefer
turnkey applications?)

do you need/want a graphical (web) interface? if not, do you prefer
something more "*nix-y" (managing services directly) or more
"appliance-y" (abstraction layer/CLI specifically designed for the role
is present)?

do you want to pay money for it?

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