Turning computer into router, want to start off right, help?

By Slayer_ ·
So I am sick of my consumer router unable to handle the pressure.

I want to double up the use of my current web server machine, to also be the routing computer (is this possible?)

I have access to 2 network cards, both should be new enough. Neither are ISA and thus should work in Linux. The machine itself is only a 350mhz P2 with 256mb of RAM and a 40gb HD (gonna leave the second 10 gig drive as Windows 98, in case I need it).

My website is fairly low activity, nothing required to be secure. I mostly use it to hold files and photos, that funpics directory that I use in forums, my signatures, etc. No active content so a LAMP server is not really required, quick a dirty apache. I know my way around the apache config, but only in Windows. My Linux command line is super rusty. I think i remember an ls command... that's about it. And that the config was in an etc folder... and I need to be logged in as root to change it. Perhaps I should install a GUI for my configurations, then delete it when I am done?

On that note, I think I hear something called iptables??? is what I need to turn this machine into the same abilities as a router. Is that the right thing? how do I install and configure it? (Super detailed tutorial if possible, I have no decent or recent command line experience).
Also, will this thing allow me to forward ports like a consumer router? I currently use Virtual Server to do a lot of things in my house.

Can this server be set up to allow my other windows machines in the house to easily drop files in place and those files will assume the permissions and ownership of the directory they are in?

Can I also configure this server to function as my ventrillo server? (it is currently as my win9.

I will also need FTP access. Must work under passive access.

Also, if it would be easier, I read that Linux has good remote control abilities, maybe it would be easier to set up a machine just enough so someone could remote into it and set it up for me? Just a thought.

Assistance appreciated.
All good answers, advice, and insight will get thumbs.

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All Answers

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RE: I think I hear something called iptables???

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Turning computer into rou ...

Not exactly something like Untangle 720 will do the job of a Router when loaded on this system and it works quite well though I believe that with a 350 P@ you'll be stuck with the 32 Bit Version. The features are available here

Available for download here

There are other similar Packages as this available like Astaro Security Gateway review here,astaro-security-gateway-320-v71.aspx

and available for download from cnet here if you don't like Source Forge.

While the 350 P2 should handle one of these easily I would still fit as much RAM as the M'Board can carry with the current price of Second Hand SD RAM which is now at piratically Give Away Prices and you could conceivably get a 450 P2 CPU for next to nothing as well. Currently I can not give away any of this stuff and depending on the M'Board that you have you may be able to use a P3 on it provided that you stay under the 1 GIG Frequency Limit that moved things to the faster FSB speeds of the latter P3's.


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Is Untangle 720 an OS?

by Slayer_ In reply to RE: [i]I think I hear som ...

I saw ISO in the file path, so I am curious.

Sadly, that P2 350 is best I got at present. I could fit an extra 64mb of RAM, it only holds 3 chips, currently running 2 128's. I checked the price of SD Ram here, of course nothing for sale at best buy and such, but the local computer store is selling 128 chips for 200 bucks and 256 chips for 300 bucks. And that's used chips... The web server doesn't seem to suffer too badly from the lack of RAM, so I wouldn't think it being a router would... But what do I know. I can say that the 40gig drive is fairly modern, it is 8 years old but it is 100% performance and fitness, its a 9000 RPM drive with a 16mb cache.

If Untangle wasn't an OS, what OS should it run?

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Re: Untangle

by christianshiflet In reply to Is Untangle 720 an OS?

To use it as a router you would install Untangle as a stand alone device so in that instance, yes, the .iso will install the os and everything else needed to work.

As for RAM, check out

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And to my other purpose of this system

by Slayer_ In reply to Re: Untangle

Will I be able to web server the machine as well?

Is Untangle free?

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Re: purpose

by christianshiflet In reply to And to my other purpose o ...

No, I do not believe you would be able to use the machine for anything other than the router/firewall/VPN endpoint/content filter. Yes, Untangle is free. There are packages that you can buy and use for untangle such as a Kaspersky a/v engine or Active Directory integration but the free packages can usually fit most needs.

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2 more questions

by Slayer_ In reply to Re: purpose

And yes, you will all get thumbs for this.

Is Untangle GUI'd or do I need a commandline tutorial for it?

Is there any other solutions that would give me exactly what I need, routing functions and web server?

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Re: questions

by christianshiflet In reply to 2 more questions

Yes, Untangle does have a GUI. You could, if you just want simple routing functionality, setup a Windows XP Pro machine to act as a router and IIS will run on XP Pro, as well. You are limited to 10 concurrent connections, though, if that is an issue. You could also setup Apache on a Linux box and setup some server/routing functionality on that, too. But really, using a cheap consumer router is usually a simpler option than that (using the same box for routing and web server). I would setup Untangle and a separate web server if you have the hardware to do so.

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I don't presently have the hardware for that

by Slayer_ In reply to 2 more questions

Where the consumer routers are failing me is because, I'll have 100 torrents going, and trying to ply a 64 player game online while other people in the house are surfing the web. None of my routers can handle it. It mysteriously stops taking connections. I can't connect to anything, MSN, Xfire, nothing, after a couple dosen restarts of the router, it might work for a few moment then die again. If I get lucky enough for it to keep working, it always goes down as soon as I start torrenting or big multiplayer again. I have several routers available, of varying costs and quality and brands, none can handle it.

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Re: options

by christianshiflet In reply to 2 more questions

Given your last post there is no way the hardware you have available to you, regardless of what you install or try to use for routing, is going to handle the traffic you are describing very effectively. Sorry.

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by Slayer_ In reply to 2 more questions

What do you mean? I do not transfer large files (often) to other computers. So my overall bandwidth usage is minimal. Why should that require so much horse power?

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