Recently my curiosity made me explore another crazy idea: to use a full PC as a router, and connecting to internet with a plain modem.
A full PC should allow a better (and powerful) option if used as router, but I have no experience about installing a firewall (something that is already embedded in a router) nor how to configure it, so I’m here to ask for help again
There are two area to be explored: hardware and software. Let’s start with the hardware.
If I understood correctly, the hardware to be used is something like the following scheme:
Internet --> modem --> Router-PC --> Switch --> one or more regular PC
If I’m not wrong, it is not needed a huge CPU power to build a router: a regular modem/router certainly doesn’t have a quadcore CPU.
So my first question: is an Atom 510 CPU sufficient? I can find a board for a not too high price, and it has a low power consumption (very important for a machine that should run 24/7). It certainly will consume more than a regular modem/router, but I’m curious about this and asking for suggestion certainly will not enlarge the ozone hole
Second question. I think that two NICs are needed: one to connect the router-PC to the modem, and another to connect the router PC to the switch. Is that correct or not? If not, what is the correct scheme?
Because of in the Router PC it must be installed only the operative system (a linux distro dedicated to this maybe?) and the firewall, maybe is possible to install everything on an USB pendrive. This will reduce power consumption and an USB pendrive certainly costs lesser than a SSD. Is that possible or an USB pendrive will be unreliable in time so is better to use a regular HDD? USB pendrives are certainly slower than a regular HDD, so I wonder if this will cause a bottleneck that will make totally useless to have a full PC as router because a regular modem/router will be a lot faster. Any hints about that?
About RAM: is 1 GB enough or not? If I’m not wrong, most routers use only 64 MB of RAM, so with 1 GB the machine should be able to manage a huge amount of connections (useful for P2P for example, but also if many PCs are connected at the same time to the same modem).
About the PSU. I found a nice mini-ITX case with an included 70W PSU, so this should be not an issue.
Did I forget something in the hardware list?
Let’s talk about software now. What Linux distro should I use? The only one that I found is Endian, but it seems not really simple to use
Another advantage of a full PC is that it should have enough resources to run an excellent QoS, much more efficient than a regular modem/router. Is that correct?
Any suggestion is welcome