Small machine for network use

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Small machine for network use

Postby Factorial8 » Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:30 pm

I'm looking for a small or very small PC (or two) to do duty as LAN firewall or similar. In these days of low-powered CPUs like Atoms there ought to be lots of options, but I can't find a single one.

I see lots of media servers and the like, with fancy graphics and sound, but I just want plain old VGA and I don't need sound at all. I need at least two Ethernet ports.

Can anyone point me to a suitable device?

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Postby nelz » Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:43 pm

How about a Raspberry Pi with a USB ethernet adaptor? You don't get much smaller or lower powered than that?
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Postby Factorial8 » Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:58 pm

I thought of that, and it seems to me that all sorts of people ought to have solved my problem using Pis. I don't want to fiddle about putting bits into boxes though - is anyone selling systems ready to go? And how many USB Ethernet adapters could I connect?

Thanks for the idea.
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Postby nelz » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:04 pm

With a hub, you can fit multiple adaptors, but I suspect you'd soon run into bandwidth issues. There are Mini-ITX boards with multiple network ports, ideal for this sort of task. Have a look at http://mini-itx.com and http://linitx.com, maybe something like this.
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Postby Dutch_Master » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:30 pm

It helps not to put punctuation directly after a link ;)
http://linitx.com/
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Postby nelz » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:42 pm

Yes, phpBB isn't very clever like that.
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Postby purplepenguin » Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:49 am

If you want a firewall. There is an IPFire image for the PI.

http://wiki.ipfire.org/en/hardware/arm/rpi

If you want a Atom powered machine. Have you looked at netbooks on ebay.They are rather cheap now. I bought one with 2GB ram, Atom cpu and 8gb SSD for £30 inc p&p.
So it looks like I'm back to LinuxMint again. Why you ask? Because my machine smell nicer.

I'm not too sure I'd want a Mint and Cinnamon muffin with my brew though. Guess I'm lucky they don't run my local bakery.
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Postby Nuke » Sun Feb 09, 2014 10:50 am

Two points.

1) Don't most routers already have a firewall built in, optionally?

2) Would a RPi be slow? I know its processor is 700 MHz, which should be OK, but I wonder about its connection hardware, being done to a low price. I am interested as I am currently setting up a RPi as part of a home-made NAS (only for serving text files and other sedentary stuff, not media).
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Postby Factorial8 » Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:26 pm

Yes, and both my ADSL router and my WAP do have firewalls. The WAP is OK but the router has two snags: its logging leaves much to be desired, and even though it has four Ethernet ports they all have to be on the same network segment. I was hoping to find a device to let me split off a segment for an Internet-facing server in a DMZ.

Thanks also to purplepenguin for the nettop suggestion. I'll look into it.

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