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helium_biscuit

Building firewall/router from old PC. Can I get some advice?

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I have an old Dell Optiplex gx280d that has one built-in ethernet adapter. I want to put a second (wireless) NIC on and then put pfSense or IPFire on it or something.

I know a firewall more powerful than an average consumer router is kind of unnecessary,
 
I'm actually building it for 3 reasons:
1. To learn,
2. for filtering advertisements/spam/distasteful sites
3. to setup an always on VPN connection (on a service similar, but superior to HideMyAss) so that I can switch from a direct connection to the internet (the wifi of my first router, courtesy of Comcast) to a connection that goes through a VPN on the wifi of my new firewall/router, without having to log out and login every time I restart my PC, or for use if need a direct connection for some reason (for gaming for example). I.e. I'll just switch my wireless network.

My questions are:

1. Will the 2 networks significantly interfere with each other?
2. How can I mitigate the interference?
3. What else should I know before doing this???

Thanks!
Edited by helium_biscuit

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Mikrotik or Untangle would be much better OS options for a project like this. I am having trouble understanding exactly what it is you are trying to do with step three.

 

1. Will the 2 networks significantly interfere with each other? Depends on how you set it up.
2. How can I mitigate the interference? Shouldn't need to if setup correctly.
3. What else should I know before doing this??? Hard to answer this one when I am still not sure what it is you are trying to accomplish.

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I fully agree with what Nerm said above, but if I'm entirely honest, the best advice I can give you with using that PC for a router is don't.

 

Best case it has a weak Pentium 4 that gets out classed by cheap off the shelf routers in performance while using far more power to do so.  If you have ANY plans of running this thing 24/7 your best first move would be to get some energy efficient hardware.  Something like AMD's new AM1 platform would be cheap and use CONSIDERABLY less power AND be much faster than the P4/Pentium D.

 

Otherwise building your own firewall/router can be fun, I personally bought a dual core Atom mini ITX board a few years back for the same purpose and while I'm currently using an off the shelf router I have plans to revisit that idea with newer hardware once this router starts giving issues (I usually kill one every year or two :D

Edited by cchalogamer

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I fully agree with what Nerm said above, but if I'm entirely honest, the best advice I can give you with using that PC for a router is don't.

 

Best case it has a weak Pentium 4 that gets out classed by cheap off the shelf routers in performance while using far more power to do so.  If you have ANY plans of running this thing 24/7 your best first move would be to get some energy efficient hardware.  Something like AMD's new AM1 platform would be cheap and use CONSIDERABLY less power AND be much faster than the P4/Pentium D.

 

Otherwise building your own firewall/router can be fun, I personally bought a dual core Atom mini ITX board a few years back for the same purpose and while I'm currently using an off the shelf router I have plans to revisit that idea with newer hardware once this router starts giving issues (I usually kill one every year or two :D

Thanks for your reply.

 

Energy use is not an issue, it's included with my rent (free). However, I don't have a lot of $$$ and all i need is a $20 wireless nic to make this thing complete. I got this spare computer for $50. I don't think I could get a cheaper system anywhere else.

 

Would you still recommend other hardware, after considering the info I just mentioned?

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Mikrotik or Untangle would be much better OS options for a project like this. I am having trouble understanding exactly what it is you are trying to do with step three.

 

1. Will the 2 networks significantly interfere with each other? Depends on how you set it up.

2. How can I mitigate the interference? Shouldn't need to if setup correctly.

3. What else should I know before doing this??? Hard to answer this one when I am still not sure what it is you are trying to accomplish.

Thanks for the reply.

 

Why specifically do you think those would better serve my purposes?

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3. What else should I know before doing this??? Hard to answer this one when I am still not sure what it is you are trying to accomplish.

 

What do you mean??? I listed the 3 reasons for doing this before asking the 3 questions.

Edited by helium_biscuit

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As long as you take care to set the wireless channel differently between the two access points (or leave them on auto and let them sort it out) they won't interfere too much.

 

Without knowing much about dedicated router/firewall OSes, pfSense would be what I would go with after a few minutes of research.

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Read up on it first this may or may not work for you 

Good luck http://www.untangle.com/ 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have an old Dell Optiplex gx280d that has one built-in ethernet adapter. I want to put a second (wireless) NIC on and then put pfSense or IPFire on it or something.

I know a firewall more powerful than an average consumer router is kind of unnecessary,
 
I'm actually building it for 3 reasons:
1. To learn,
2. for filtering advertisements/spam/distasteful sites
3. to setup an always on VPN connection (on a service similar, but superior to HideMyAss) so that I can switch from a direct connection to the internet (the wifi of my first router, courtesy of Comcast) to a connection that goes through a VPN on the wifi of my new firewall/router, without having to log out and login every time I restart my PC, or for use if need a direct connection for some reason (for gaming for example). I.e. I'll just switch my wireless network.

My questions are:

1. Will the 2 networks significantly interfere with each other?
2. How can I mitigate the interference?
3. What else should I know before doing this???

Thanks!

 

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Mikrotik or Untangle would be much better OS options for a project like this. I am having trouble understanding exactly what it is you are trying to do with step three.

 

1. Will the 2 networks significantly interfere with each other? Depends on how you set it up.

2. How can I mitigate the interference? Shouldn't need to if setup correctly.

3. What else should I know before doing this??? Hard to answer this one when I am still not sure what it is you are trying to accomplish.

Thanks for the reply.

 

Why specifically do you think those would better serve my purposes?

 

 

Don't get me wrong I am sure pfsense or ipfire would both handle your needs. RouterOS from Mikrotik and Untangle are both just more powerful and scalable than the other two.

 

 

3. What else should I know before doing this??? Hard to answer this one when I am still not sure what it is you are trying to accomplish.

 

What do you mean??? I listed the 3 reasons for doing this before asking the 3 questions.

 

 

After reading your original post I think I understand a little better what you are wanting to do. Reason 3 I had to read multiple times as it was a little hard to follow for me. Still telling you what else you should know before starting is hard to answer as I have no idea where your level of networking knowledge is and your prior experience. If you have no experience in networking then there is a lot you need to know and I would recommend you do a good bit of reading on the fundamentals of networking before starting any network project. Computer Networks and Networking Essentials are both excellent beginner books.

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