Building a router

So next year I am moving into a house with several other people and the current router they have isnt cutting it so my intentions are to build one with a spare system I have. The system im looking at using is a dell optiplex 980 with an i5 650 4gb of ram and a 250gb hdd. I would like to do wireless and wired since we will have several game systems and other network attached devises in the main room. I was looking at adding a 4 port nic card like this one

and for wireless Im unsure what i want to do, Im open to suggestions, my budget for both the nic and the wifi adapter is around 100$.

So for router software I would recommend doing PfSense as tons of other forum members have done for a while now, plus Wendel just did a more up to date install guide for it:

For your ethernet card I'd say that dual port intel is fine. Preferably you'd pick up a switch and access point plus that card and go from there. You'd go modem -> router -> switch -> access point and computers. It'll probably be over $100 if you want a good access point though. Something like a ubiquiti AC-Lite:

And then for the switch you can go with any cheap, gigabit 8+ port switch. Something like this:

I already have 2 64 port network switchs. Please forgive my ignorance but is there any real difference between an access point and standard wireless router, I do see that this is is more pointed toward businesses. Also Im in a somewhat small house though it is 3 levels the router is right in the middle between all 3 levels so that should help. Also could u recommend some access points at different price levels? Im the one building this but every one will be chipping in on some of the cost.

So a "Router" like you'd go to bestbuy and purchase is actually a couple things bundled into one. The ethernet ports on the back of a "Bestbuy router" (as I will reference it) are actually a switch. The DHCP server and firewall functionality is really its own entitiy, and the wireless capabilities are actually from an integrated access point. The "Bestbuy router" of sorts is really actually three things in one, and the phrase "wifi router" is really a colloquialism rather than a proper term to address what that really is.

Now, when I suggest that Ubiquiti, I am really suggesting just the access point component of a typical "Bestbuy router". That ubiquiti does nothing but broadcast your wireless network and pass the traffic back to the PfSense router.

I recommended this:

ubiquiti in particular as its really the cheapest you can go for a quality, standalone, AC access point. You could step down farther to something like this:

But you lose 5GHz wifi, and you lose AC speeds. The really nice thing about staying with the AC access point is that 5GHz band, as it means you'll be able to avoid using the congested 2.4ghz network which is plagued with overlapping networks and problems.

1 Like

i would recommend the a/c option. he posted. not only you get all the options but i usually have people over so i put everyone on the 2.5ghz and my self on the 5ghz. you can throttle all the connections if you need to when you are gaming.

What do you think of this? I am planning to buy this

buzz words. we use them in software companies alot.

they are using a opensource software and selling it with antennas. your better off buying an old pc. im runing a pfsense box with core 2 duo & 4gb ram that is connected to 8 devices and 5 servers and the most cpu usage ive seen is 13% and not even half the ram.

the pc i got for free on craigslist because someone thought it was junk. pretty much what that box is. plus running a pc as a router is still cooler than a router you bought.

Its woefully under-powered, provides slow wifi, and has no room for upgrades. Its listed as having a " Freescale P2020" @ 1.2ghz, which is sad. 2GB ram which is fine, and no AC wifi. You'd be better 10x better off installing PfSense on the machine you have.

Well I have not bought it yet. And probably will not after your replies. Now I am looking around and I could get a AMD Athlon X4 5370 (25W TDP and cheap) on a miniITX and add all the wireless stuff + 4 GB of RAM for less than the price of the Turris. Plus I would have lot of expandibility. I quite like that idea...

What kind of features are you looking for in a router? Do you really need a full-blown (and power hungry) desktop platform?

if all you want is a solid packet pushing device: get a Mikrotik Routerboard RB2011/RB3011 or a Ubiquiti Edgerouter Lite. Both offer a solid feature set, good routing performance and low power consumption at a reasonable price.

For wireless: use dedicated access points, don't bother with integrated wireless (or wireless cards).

I already have the system and i intend on doing some network management, caching, and just overseeing how the network is running. Im guna have 7 desktops/laptops ,8+ phones and tablets, atleast 6 game systems, and maybe a teamspeak server running off this and this is a conservative estimate.

Fair enough. If you're going to make use of the advanced features, then go for it.

Most of the pfSense builds I've seen around here are about replacing a crappy old router with a crappy old desktop... That's fine if you actually need the functionality of pfSense, but most people just set it up as a standard router and end up with a box somewhere in a closet wasting a lot of power.

Btw, I'm running a Mikrotik RB2011 in a small business network with over 50 devices in it; complete with VLANs, VPN and wireless AP management set up. It performs extremely well.