Building a custom wireless router

Michael Torrie torriem at
Thu May 15 16:08:48 MDT 2008

I'm reaching the point where friends and relatives are clamoring for
DansGuardian setups, and I find the combination of a dedicated virtual
coLinux installation combined with a WRT54GL/OpenWRT that I have been
installing for people is too clunky.  The WRT56GL itself just can't
handle DansGuardian either.

So I am looking into building/selling a unit that is a wireless router
and a web filter.  The mass-production target would be around $100-$150,
but maybe on a much smaller scale, folks I know would spend $150-200.
Whether I'd ever want to be in this business is another story.  But...

For now I'm just looking to prototype and see what I can do.  I've found
what I want in the form of Alix boards from pcengines.  The prices have
really fallen in recent years.  I'm looking at:
- 400 MHz board with 256 MB RAM
- CF storage
- 3 ethernet ports
- miniPCI
- Atheros Wireless, or some other easily-supported linux-compatible chipset

The alix3c1 or alix3c2 would fit the bill rather nicely, and are
$120-125 a piece.  Wireless cards are around $25.  All total, should be
just under $200.

I'm considering buying what I need to prototype a unit, and will likely
build off of OpenWRT as the base linux distro.

Does anyone have experience in this and would like to comment on this?
If this does go forward, would anyone be interested in helping develop
the software.  Mainly openwrt web modules that can interface with
DansGuardian, scripts to drive iptables, etc.


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