[kwlug-disc] IPCop (and friends) vs hardware router

Paul Nijjar paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca
Wed Jun 17 23:36:05 EDT 2009



In one corner, I have a an IPCop box that I am getting increasingly
unhappy with. IPCop has been pretty solid for me and I have
appreciated a few of the add-ons, but I have been trying to block all
traffic on certain ports and it is not working. 

In the other corner I have a Linksys WRT54GL router, onto which I
have the option of installing some open firmware. (I am so done with
proprietary black box firmware with bad logging. Sorry, D-Link.) 

In the third corner I have the possibility of playing with pfSense or
Xorp or whatever the Next Big Thing is in putting a router on an x86
box.

In the fourth corner I have me, whimpering and rocking back and forth
as I struggle to understand all of the options and get something
working so that Rogers quits threatening to shut down our internet
access. 

I don't want much more than what a home router offers. Maybe these
things are not offered by all home routers:
  - I do want the ability to expand (e.g. with OpenVPN) in the future
  - I do want good logging
  - I do want to block traffic on some ports
  - I do want to expose some ports on a server
  - I want the protection against Internet attacks to be good
  - I want something that is maintained and has updates 
  - I want both exposure to internals if I need twiddling, and a
    reasonable GUI so that I (and my co-workers) don't have to twiddle
    with everything
  - I do NOT want wireless at this time (even though the Linksys has
    wireless)
  - I want to get this working at a basic level without a lot of
    twiddling 
  - I want performance to be good enough so that my users don't
    notice that something has changed

Maybe I am asking for pie in the sky. Maybe not. Which of the first
three corners should I focus on, and why?

In terms of the second corner, there appear to be a number of different
firmwares available. Which do I want to use? 

In terms of the third corner, which of the many router distributions
should I consider and why?

I realize that this cry for help sounds a lot like "Which distribution
is the best?" because that is exactly what it is. However, telling me
what you have chosen and why will be probably be enlightening. 

- Paul



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