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I would like to set up a DHCP (with MAC-bound allocation to mimic static) + DNS(SEC) router at home. I'm looking for hardware and software suggestions that fit into a small enclosure, approximately large enough to house a regular home router/AP.

HW Requirements:

  • Completely silent
  • Small power consumption
  • 2+ NICs running at gigabit speeds.
  • Access-point capabilities

SW Requirements:

  • Support for Open Shortest Path First or a similar interior routing protocol.
  • An operating system here:
  • Full IPv6 stack including Teredo, 6to4 and possibly ISATAP (bonus).
  • Capable for partitioning some traffic through a VPN and some traffic through the SixXS handle.
  • Stable

I don't need a firewall in this thing: they are pretty evil, slow and prone to errors (NAT-reflection anybody?). I trust I can secure the systems in the network instead.

Software - FreeBSD or a linux variant? Which? I don't want cumbersome GUIs running on it nor do I want any sort of web server on it. It would be nice to be able to run some other things on it though, like an erlang server, or a VPN tunnel. The point, anyway, would be that while the operating system should be addressable, I want it to work as a NAT for IPv4 and as a DHCP + router/switch for IPv6. I'm not afraid to do things on my own, but I don't want to get stuck in a corner like I have before:

  • Windows Server 2008 + HyperV + FreeBSD -> fail because HyperV doesn't relay DHCP messages properly.
  • Incomplete IPv6 stacks or GUIs that overwrite manual changes to support IPv6.
  • The computer dying of overheating (currently the case)

One idea would be to use a very small ARM processor with a linux compiled for this -- e.g. if I could get a NVIDIA Tegra system-on-a-chip up and running with a slew of NICs. This system doesn't even need cooling (draws 6W) but has a clock frequency of 1 GHz. While not fast enough for most routing tasks, it's the general direction I want to go for -> silent 'enough' hardware with no electricity bill that doesn't die of overheating. I have a switch for switching internal data streams at gigabit; that's not the router's job.

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I am running the OpenWRT / Asus 500g option. I am not running VPN although it is supported. SSH, IMAP, and SMTP on Submission port handle my remote needs. I use Shorewall-lite and Shorewall6-lite to firewall my network. Firewall reflection has not been a problem. No default passwords to hit anyway, login failures are logged.

The router also does DCHP, and DNS forwarding using DNSMasq.

I have plugged in an old USB key to provide extra storage. Mostly I use it for temporary scripts and configuration backups.

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