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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by christianshiflet In reply to Nah no logs

I can't imagine what would cause a machine to run that slowly but if that is the case then yes, it will almost certainly cause network slowdowns. As for the GUI, I would stick with Gnome, since that is what I am comfortable with, though I do believe you can install KDE on CentOS as well if that is your desire. As for removing the GUI, you would just lower the run level to, say, 3 so the GUI isn't running all the time but you still have multi-user and network access.

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I remember run levels but not where to change em

by Slayer_ In reply to Nah no logs

3 was command line, 5 was gui. I forget how to switch between em or what config file to change.

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If you want a light GUI

by seanferd In reply to Nah no logs

Go with Openbox, Fluxbox, XFCE, etc.

On the other hand, what is the current router hardware you have? You may be able to install DDWRT or Tomato on it.

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That is a possiblity

by Slayer_ In reply to Nah no logs

But its one that there is no turning back. I don't think I want to sacrifice the router for that. I still need it for wireless access. Perhaps I will look into that should the computer as a router idea fail. At which point my only options would be to buy a new router, or change the firmware on the current, which may go sideways and require a new router.

I am not at home presently, I will post the exact model later on, but it is a Belkin.

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As far as the hardware router goes

by seanferd In reply to Nah no logs

Just get a copy of the current firmware for the router, so you can flash it back to the factory OS if you don't like the alternatives.

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Their site seems to be dead

by Slayer_ In reply to Nah no logs

No upgrades, nothing.

My experience with flashing routers has always been tragic. It flashes, it never works again and you can't flash it back.

This is the page the router tries to phone home too.

The router has no significant markings or a name. Just Belkin G Wireless.

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Well, if you can find a model and revision:

by seanferd In reply to Nah no logs

And a list of un/supported Belkin routers for DDWRT, if you ever ID the model, and feel like throwing caution to the wind.

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This seems to be all I can find out

by Slayer_ In reply to Nah no logs

Version Info
Firmware Version
Boot Version
F5D7230-4 6000
Serial No.

Though I still think it is the hardware, not the software, why else would it work sometimes for months, then stop working for months? I have a DLink and an SMC, both have similar, but consistent issues. They consistently don't work. I had some sort of pine tree like router once, didn't work till i threw it down the stairs, then hit it with a sledge hammer. Started working perfectly after that, worked for almost 8 years!

Anyways, I think I have enough to try a solution. I am currently waiting on the server to finish backups, its at 17% right now. When thats done, I'll disconnect the 10 gig Win98 and nuke the 40 gig drive.

I was reading and, lots of people say the best solution is to either have an OS partition and a data partition, or even easier, just put everything on one partition so I do not need to worry about running out of space as applications update, swapfile increases, or web server size increases. Agree?

I'll need an FTP server program as well, I know I had one before, complete with GUI, but it was kind of a piece of junk, didn't even have encryption or anything. Any suggestions?

Also, is CentOS a good choice for such a weak CPU? I had also heard that DSLinux would be a good starting point for its ideals on small size.

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by seanferd In reply to Nah no logs

Here's your router:

The v6000 (I'm assuming these are the hardware revisions) won't work with DDWRT anyway.

"Pine tree router"? Hilarious. :^0

Partitions: Generally, most distros I've used want to set up at least three partitions, and i opt for that method. seeing as this is going to be a fairly static box, I don't think you need to worry about running out of space. If you plan on keeping the files being served on the same HDD, jusy make sure the large enough partition is made for data. Shouldn't be a problem, really. But go with one partition if that is more comfortable for you.

FTP servers - generally packaged and even default-installed with many distros. Or you can install any FTP server available in the repositories at the drop of a hat. You sound like you want an SFTP server with a GUI, but I can't make a recommendation, personally.

I wouldn't really consider DSL as an option, because it is meant to be used as a very lightweight desktop OS. You'll have to install and uninstall so many packages, it won't be worth it.

CentOS is still listed at DistroWatch as available for i386, so anything above that achitecture should be fine. Most places I've seen are fairly specific about architecture support, and your processor, if memories serve, would be i586. It isn't unusual that CentOS is used for servers .

But feel free to browse around for a lightweight and compatible server/like distro. many are going to look larger than your install will be, as you will custom install without very many large apps at all.

Top 10:

Then you'll want to get your router packages and install them. If you weren't using this for a server as well, there are quite a few router/firewall distros out there. but maybe you could go with one of those and set up a server on that, too. not sure, as this generally goes against the security-think of a lot of community members, so there might not be a lot of info or help should you run into problems with that. (But maybe a Unix-wrangler at TR could help.)

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Yeah I figured it went against security

by Slayer_ In reply to Nah no logs

My web server contents do change frequently and do tend to grow. Such as me providing a game download to someone. Or the great "Save Image To Folder" I got in Firefox that saves all images I want to my servers funpics folder (6000 images and counting :) ).

I guess to keep that working, I will need to install Samba server as well.

When I finally move out, I can make properly dedicated machines for the purposes, but for the next 4-8 months, I am getting sick of not being able to even chat on xfire..

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