[kwlug-disc] x86 "routers"

Khalid Baheyeldin kb at 2bits.com
Sat Jan 23 23:35:10 EST 2010

On Sat, Jan 23, 2010 at 10:43 PM, Paul Nijjar <paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca> wrote:

> I have been following this router discussion with interest but not a
> lot of understanding. Now I have some simple, embarrassing questions.
> Firstly, are any of these routers x86 compatible? If not, then what
> should I be looking for in order to get something with a number of
> network ports, decent power, and a tiny router-esque footprint?

One issue with x86 is that of power consumption would be much higher
than what the non-x86 CPUs would use, which are the ones found in
consumer routers.

Even the Atom consumes more power than others (ARM?).

My problem is that due to space restraints I am looking for a firewall
> with a pretty small footprint. Because I am a bigot I want to run
> pfSense, which is primarily an x86 distro. (Support for MIPS is
> coming, but it's only alpha and I am not trusting a firewall to alpha
> software.)

Would a mini-ITX do?
Compare that to regular PCs in size and it is favorable.


Many people run these boards: http://www.pcengines.ch/alix.htm
> .. They look okay but you have to ship them from far away, and given
> previous bad experiences with small form factor computers I think I
> would feel better if I ordered from a local supplier. Also those
> boards come with a maximum of three ethernet ports built in, which is
> barely enough for now but still two fewer than your standard router.
> Ideally I would get a complete box (with all the bits and pieces that
> I need) rather than buying components separately. I can put
> motherboards into cases and plug in RAM, but I am no hardware hacker,
> and I certainly don't trust my hardware-modding skills for a
> production firewall.

Maybe a Shuttle form factor from a local shop?


> Is there any hope for me?

Despair not my son ... there is always hope on this list ...

> - Paul
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Khalid M. Baheyeldin
2bits.com, Inc.
Drupal optimization, development, customization and consulting.
Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability. --  Edsger W.Dijkstra
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. --   Leonardo da Vinci
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