This page to introduce a new project that is rising in my mind.
Due to the impossibility to set a static route into my DLINK DIR-635 router (yes, I know, is an oxymoron), I’ve decided to set up a router myself, using a recommended hardware and a well-chosen Linux (can be possible anymore) dedicated distribution.
The project is starting in these days, so I’ll keep you informed day-by-day on the development. First of all the hardware:
- alix2d3, the motherboard: 3 LAN / 1 miniPCI / LX800 / 256 MB / USB (but also 2 LAN only should be ok)
- 2 x LAN, 1 x USB Case Indoor Aluminum for ALIX (I will cut the case to provide an extra LAN and an extra USB hole)
- TP-Link 108M Wireless mPCI Adapter, eXtended Range™, Super AG™, 802.11a.
- 1GB Compact Flash
- 12v 1.5A Power Supply Wallplug
The total cost, included shipment (DHL) and VAT (19%) is about 170€, much more than a mid-level router. So I advise you: this is not a cheap DIY project…or at least…not the cheaper one!
All the items was found on Aerial.net that, as I can see in various forums on the net, should be the cheapest EU shop for this kind of equipment.
For the distro to use as router, I’ve compared some mainly basing my opinion on th Wikipedia list, and finally ZeroShell has been chosen. The other options were IPCOP (Kernel 2.4…too old), m0n0wall (OpenVPN server not present by default) and pfsense (nice charts, but nothing special).
ZeroShell instead has a lot of functionalities that could be potentially interesting, an OpenVPN server and last but not least, a good and rich documentation.
The package is arrived in less than 24h from shipment (Tessaloniki-Rome) with all I’ve ordered…as soon as I come back home I’ll post some pics explaining the hardware setup…and maybe the distro installation and setup.
Finally I’ve got at home all I need…Unfortunately my USB-to-serial cable doesn’t work, so I need tomorrow to buy another one. In the meantime I’ve found a workaround, but now some pics of my new hardware!
Now, the first task to do is flash the 1GB CompactFlash with the ZeroShell image. So I’ve downloaded from here (if you have my hardware choose 1GB Compact Flash for WRAP, ALIX, Soekris 4801 and 5501, latest version) and saved on a folder on my Desktop called “zero”. Now we can unzip it:
dirichlet@box:~/Desktop/zero$ gunzip ZeroShell-1.0.beta12-ALIX-CompactFlash-1GB.img.gz
Then I plugged the CF card into a USB card reader and Ubuntu recognized it as /dev/sdd (WARNING: MAY VARY ON YOUR SYSTEM, SO BE VERY VERY CAREFUL. You could destroy ALL DATA on your PC! Always check with the mount command wich device is). The procedure so was:
dirichlet@box:~/Desktop/zero$ sudo su [sudo] password for dirichlet: root@box:/home/dirichlet/Desktop/zero# dd < ZeroShell-1.0.beta12-ALIX-CompactFlash-1GB.img > /dev/sdd 1981728+0 records in 1981728+0 records out 1014644736 bytes (1.0 GB) copied, 295.608 s, 3.4 MB/s
Wait some minutes and your CF will be now flashed with the ZeroShell OS. Now:
- Plug it on the Alix motherboard
- Connect the LAN plug close to the USB port to a common HUB or switch (preferably not attached to your home network)
- Setup a pc (fore example a laptop) with a static IP address like, for example 192.168.0.1, subnet mask 255.255.255.0 and gateway 192.168.0.75 and plug it with a network cable to the HUB/switch.
- Power-up the HUB/switch
- Power up the Alix motherboard (first insert the plug into the motherboard and then in the power plug)
- Wait some minutes
- With the laptop go with a browser to this address: https://192.168.0.75
If all is gone well, you should see a page complaining about an invalid security certificate.
Accept it (with firefox or IE, there are different ways) and you are now in front of a login page.
Insert as username admin with password zeroshell and…voilà! You’re into the ZeroShell OS!