I’m considering snagging a cheap refurbished Dell from HCDI Trading to use as an IPCop or m0n0wall firewall / router.

Both Belkin and Linksys have gotten on my ho-hum list for consumer grade routers recently with some poor performance overall. Two different Linksys WRT54G models (the early ones, pre-WRT54G-L branch-off) seem to freak out every few days to a week and die, requiring a power cycle to fix. The Belkin wants to restart itself every time you change absolutely anything in the admin interface, and its wireless seems to phase in and out of quality, even sitting 6 feet away.

I’m hoping that if I move the router / AP out of the ‘central’ role to a more peripheral AP role on the network, things will improve. I also miss some of the flexibility having a real OS and real hardware brings to the table1.

Another option I’m considering, although a bit more pricey (yet more ideal as well), is a small “appliance” device, similar to the Linksys and Belkin offerings, yet more flexible and powerful.

Due to the increased shipping costs associated with overseas orders, the company I would prefer to deal with, Linitx, is kicked out. Instead, I would probably go for something very similar to the Logic Supply box George Ou at ZDNet talked about in this exact scenario.

Anyone have any opinions? Other great small devices that would make ideal (preferably cheap) solutions? What do you use at home?

  1. No, DD-WRT, Open-WRT, Tomato, et al are not real OSes, they just play one on TV
Originally published and updated .