Looking for a reliable, simple router...

Grant Robinson santiago at mr-r.net
Tue May 27 14:29:58 MDT 2008

On May 27, 2008, at 10:22 AM, Kimball Larsen wrote:

> At my office, we currently have the following setup:
> DSL Modem ---> Gigabit Switch ---> RVS4000 (Linksys Router) --->  
> Production Servers
> 					|
> 					---------------> WRT54G (Gen 2, I believe) ---> Gigabit Switch  
> ---> Office Network  (all office computers, a storage server, etc.)
> Both the WRT54G and the RVS4000 have their own public static IP  
> addresses.
> Here's what I DO need:
> Rock solid reliability.
> 1 Wan port to plug into my modem
> 4+ Gb Lan ports to plug into my servers (this seems to be the  
> sticking point for most routers - many do not have gigabit lan ports)
> Ability to forward ports by range, specific port number, and TCP/UDP/ 
> Both
> Rackmountable would be a bonus.

Based on the setup you have outlined above, I am confused why you  
would need GB LAN ports.  The limiting factor in the speed of your  
network (at least as far as its connection to the outside world is  
concerned) is the DSL modem.  Are the production servers not plugged  
into the gigabit switch that sits between the DSL modem and the  
RVS4000 router?  If not, what is the point of having it there?  I  
would probably re-configure the network to look like:

                Gigabit switch
Production Servers---|         |
                     DSL Modem--|

And then leave the things connected to the WRT54G unchanged.  This  
assumes that your internal office network is using the same private  
address space as the production servers (or if different, that the  
WRT54G can route the office computers to the production computers).   
Everything in the "office" is connected via GB Ethernet so things are  
fast, but the packets going to/from the outside world will be limited  
to 100 Mbps (which doesn't matter since your DSL line, if it is SDSL,  
probably has a max upload speed of 2 Mbps, and if it is regular ADSL  
is only between 800 Kbps and ~ 1Mbps).  It also allows you to filter  
the outside world traffic at the router, so that unwanted packets  
never make it past the WAN port.

I guess the point I am getting at is, if your router is really just  
routing packets to/from the outside world, as long as the link speed  
of the WAN and LAN port that hooks it to the rest of the network is at  
least as fast as your outside link (and in this case, even 10BASE-T is  
faster than DSL), then you won't notice any difference.

As for my recommendations, I would go with a embedded board from  
Soekris or PCEngines and put one of the many FreeBSD or Linux based  
router distros on it.  That way, it only has what YOU want it to have  
on it, and you can change out the software at any time if you need  
more features, etc.  For example, you can get VPN accelerators for the  
Soekris boards that speed up the encrypted traffic over a VPN (if you  
decided to setup a VPN and decided you need that functionality), and  
you could choose a distro that supports VPN's and can take advantage  
of the accelerator.

For the setup you have outlined, I think one of the hard-core  
enterprise routers would be overkill, and the low-end ones will either  
not have the features you need, or will have too many features and not  
be stable.


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