As you guys know, I am rather keen to using a Linux PC as my router. The main reason why I would like to use a Linux PC as a router...
As you guys know, I am rather keen to using a Linux PC as my router. The main reason why I would like to use a Linux PC as a router than those consumer routers from Linksys or Dlink or whever, is because they are much more powerful. I am a heavy Internet user, mainly for video streaming, emails, FTP, downloading Linux distros and so on, so I need the power. But I also need it to be easy to install and easy to configure and administrate. They must come with a web-based administrative interface. And because of that, I have tried a lot of different firewall/gateway linux based distros but most of them isn’t perfect. Some distros have this important feature but lack certain other important feature. The best I ever used is Monowall. It’s a lightweight router/firewall/gateway with some very powerful features and works perfectly as a gateway and can handle most of what I throw at it. And best of all, it doesn’t require a Harddisk so you just need to boot from CD and store all your configuration files on your floppy. However, because they need to keep it lean, some features are not included.
Anyway, the below points are what I would like to see on a perfect router/gateway.
1. Multiple WAN and load balancing + redundancy. Hey, with the Internet now so important and with broadband charges dropping, I think that a lot of us can afford 2 internet connection. Won’t it be great to have redundancy and faster internet access together?
2. VPN. Hey, it’s very important for mobile workers. And since a lot of us work both from home and office, having VPN access to our homes is a godsent. No longer do we need to carry portable hdds to and from office. And it’s reasonably secure.
3. Captive Portal + Time Limitations. Good for families with children. You can control your children’s internet access by limiting how long they can surf and chat online. In order for them to get into the Internet, a username and password is needed. And yo can control which time of the day they can access the Internet. For the rest of the adults, well…..
4. DNS Server. DNS Caching is good. Why, because a lot of ISPs have very crapy DNS servers. This really slows down the speed in which you can access a website, especially if you are like me who likes to visit all sorts of websites. I had to use OpenDNS to get a decent DNS!
5. Proxy Server. Can really speeds up http access. And with a proxy server, you can easily control which websites your children can access. Proxy Server comes with a log as well, so you can find out what your children have been visiting when they surf the Internet. However, I discovered that sometimes video streaming can be affected if I connect through a local proxy server. Perhaps it is because my own ISP is using a proxy server as well?
6. Enhanced Wireless Support. A lot of Linux routers have limited support for wireless adaptors. So if they have a wider range of Wireless adaptor support, tha would be great. But of course, the problem would lie with the underlying OS rather than the developer of the gateway. Oh, and WPA support as well.
7. Antivirus. Help us help the Internet by stopping virus from spreading. Antivirus at the gateway level will be great to stop virus from even reaching us in the first place.
8. Loads from CF Cards. I just don’t trust HDDs. They break down too easily. And they are power hungry too. So it would be great if it works from CF Cards. Or just use a LiveCD without a HDD and have all the configuration files on a floppy. But I don’t think the Proxy Server and the antivirus service can work without some storage space.
9. Lightweight. Sure, the proxy service will probably take about 50-100 MB as cache, but they rest should be lean. I don’t like bloatware and such a software should allow me to uninstall a certain feature which I don’t use. Not too mention, a lightweight router will be more responsive and speedier.
10. Dynamic DNS. Who remembers IP addresses? And who keeps tracks of IP address changes? No one. Not even big brother.
If I think of more ideas and suggestions, I will add them here. Hope someone will create such a perfect distro for us to enjoy.