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Can someone provide all necessary components to assemble a router?

Especially,what's the component to make it programable?

Seems google doesn't give such information .


I'm not gonna use a computer as router,definitely perfer an embeded device,but what's the component list of the device?


migration rejected from Oct 3 at 6:01

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put on hold as too broad by Journeyman Geek Oct 3 at 6:01

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A router essentially is a computer...just with an OS geared at routing instead of general purpose use. –  Bart Silverstrim May 7 '10 at 11:20
What are you aiming to do? Create your own clone of a $100 router I find in Staples? Or something that's like a Cisco router? People who create a home router "from scratch" use mini-ATX computers or ancient 486/first gen Pentiums laying around the house or from eBay, use turnkey router distros based on Linux or *BSD. –  Bart Silverstrim May 7 '10 at 11:23
@Bart Silverstrim,I'm trying to create my own $100 router:) So mini-ATX is too expensive. –  router May 7 '10 at 12:12
@router-spare computer from ebay. Most people use old systems from spare parts and piece it together with bootable USB/CD/floppy with a router distro. The machine is left headless, and if the bios supports it, often no keyboard or mouse, just remotely SSH into it or use web interface. –  Bart Silverstrim May 7 '10 at 13:24
If you can't mentally run-down the block-level components you'll need and the general ideas of programming you'll need to do, you're not ready to do it. Sorry. –  Paul Nathan May 8 '10 at 0:07

12 Answers 12

The problem with attempting to build your own router as a money-saving project is that you do not gain the benefit of economies of scale. Your production costs will likely exceed those of major router manufacturers per unit. If you want to build this as a learning exercise, or to exert greater control over the device - those are good reasons for this project. But I wouldn't get my hopes up about saving money.

excellent point and thanks for providing source –  iainlbc May 7 '10 at 15:45

The parts you need for a router are:

  • The mainboard

This is, well, a small computer, since routers are computers underneath it all.

  • The network interface

If the need for this part needs to be explained then you should just stop right now. You may be able to find this already integrated with the mainboard, in which case a winner is you.

  • A power supply

Pick something that has enough power for all the junk above.

  • Software

Every computer needs software. This could be anything from a common variant of *nix to a specialized router OS.

So you mean the software is built into the mainboard?If so,which part exactly? –  router May 7 '10 at 12:11
The hard drive or the flash memory. –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams May 7 '10 at 13:10

Check out the Alix boards:

They're multi-LAN AMD Geode (x86 compatible) based boards designed just for this kind of project. You can boot Linux or FreeBSD from a CF card and build your own router or you can run m0n0wall or pfSense on them. They also have miniPCI for a wifi card.


If you want better control over your router, you can also customize an existing router : Use existing router hardware and custom software. This approach is in most cases cheaper than buying custom hardware, like an Alix board.

Projects like will help you.

By the way, I myself run an Alix board with pfSense as my home router. But I will probably upgrade it to a standard Debian or Ubuntu.

Openwrt is better than DD-WRT –  Shvelo Dec 10 '13 at 12:39

I have a bunch of the Alix boards mentioned in other comments for routers. They're great -- at about $110-$130 for the board, plus $20 for power supply + case they're reasonably cheap and unlike a hacked up router it's made to run FreeBSD, Linux etc. Proper serial port for console without any extra work. Reasonable network interfaces with VLAN support, etc etc.

pfSense runs nicely on them; or if you want a "pure" OS, you can build a "nanobsd" image (small FreeBSD installation running from a compact flash card).

If you want to use the small computer for other things, the Soekris boards have a few more features. 4 network ports, GPIO ports; better electric isolation; PCI slot for up to 4 extra network ports (or another PCI card of your choosing).


There is always Freesco, a floppy based distro for making routers out of old computers people usually leave on the curb for you on trash day.


Well, you can easily roll your own router with commodity hardware and open source software.

Take a look at the OpenBSD project. With that you get the fantastic pf firewall, all of the basic routing protocols, high-availability, and the easiest-to-configure IPsec implementation I've ever seen.

We're currently serving a very large customer base on such a configuration and I have no problem recommending it to anyone.

If you're curious about the hardware to use, consider either something like a Dell R610 or one of the SuperMicro Twin boxes.

To me it sounds like he wants a home office router, as in cable modem/router/wifi in one... but made himself? –  HannesFostie May 7 '10 at 10:55

Any of free unix like system do that. You can choose simple linux distribution and use static routing tables or use one of the dynamic routing protocols daemons (quagga, OpenBGP). The question is: what you want? In my company, linux box (debian) with 4 interfaces, quagga, iptables and snort work as a border router from years.

I'm not gonna use a computer as a router,as that's a waste of money IMO! –  router May 7 '10 at 11:12

I've done it with debian and shorewall. Shorewall makes it really simple, and even has techniques to safely manage the firewall remotely; where you can issue the safe-restart command which reverts to old configurations if you lose your connection (it waits 60 seconds for a response from the admin).


The cheapest, two-NIC configured device I'm aware of that you can run Linux on (think it's a Debian variant that it ships with) or you can run FreeBSD on (with a bit of work), is the SheevaPlug Server PLUS at $129 USD.

If you can find a used FireBox, you can put pfSense on it (and likely compile/install any of the BSDs on it).

Some of the Cisco LDR appliances have CompactFlash storage; I've heard of people running pfSense on that as well. Same goes with some Symantec UTM appliances that have a 2.5" hdd and an x86 architecture/processor.


You could think about running a virtual host on one of your existing computers and have a router as a guest.


There are myriad hardware options first of all: ALiX, Corvalent, VIA, SuperMicro; all of them make small embedded or miniPCs you can use for routing platforms, but even those are more complicated than it has to be.

My home router for a long time was a single-port Atom board, with trunked vlans. My switch had seperate vlans/ports for my cable modem & ADSL uplinks, plus my wireless vlan and my normal lan.

If you don't want to run purely stock linux/BSD, there are also a lot of pre-packaged "router OS" options. Vyatta, pfSense, DD-WRT, BSD-RP are but a few of the options. Wikipedia has a List of router or firewall distributions.