january 9, 2005

I got tired of messing with all the cheap router/firewalls. The Airlink101 AR504 was a great router/firewall, but there were limitations that I wanted to get past (most notably the limitation of how many hosts I can use the firewall to drop packets from). So, the other day while I was at Borders spying the magazines, I ran into an article (can't remember the name of the magazine) where a guy built a firewall box using SmoothWall. Intrigued, I looked up the product and it looked pretty good. My wife's old Celeron 433Mhz was just sitting idle in the garage, so I enlisted that machine to be the firewal for our home. I picked up two NICs from CompUSA (Linksys EtherFast LNE100TX) and popped those into the box. I stuck another 64MB of RAM into the box (it had 64MB and I had three 64MB DIMMS around). The installation took a mere 15 minutes and configuration another 30 minutes. This is one easy product to get going. I used the web interface to upgrade the SmoothWall installation to the latest patches and now it is running great as the router/firewall for the home network. I'll write more on it soon, as I get to explore some of the other features.