22 Oct 2008 mchirico   » (Journeyer)

Linksys SRW248G4 (Switch) - Dumped for Soekris net5501

I wasn't happy with Linksys SRW248G4 switch. After using it for over a year, which is the length of the warranty, it slowly began to fail. It finally got to the point where it would only handle 10baseT/Half, and even with that setting, a lot of packets were dropped. In addition, the ssh interface is limited. Instead, the main interface is an http interface which requires Microsoft's IE (with low security for ActiveX controls).

So, I replaced the Linksys switch with a Soekris Net5501 computer, with SanDisk Extreme III 8.0GB CompactFlash card,a wireless mPCI card from Netgate( 802.11a/b/g), and a lan1641 (PCI Quad ethernet board). You have to install an operating system on the device. A lot of people choose OpenBSD, but Linux (Fedora 8 with a custom kernel config) works just fine.

The first thing that impressed me was lack of noise. Since the Soekris Net5501 doesn't require a fan, it's completely silent. Second, you get complete control over the setup -- how you're going to handle bridging, firewall rules and additional software. There is enough power on the device to run a mail server, Apache, and even compile programs on the device in a reasonable amount of time. In fact, I ended up compiling Postfix from source directly on the device. For kicks I compiled the Linux kernel, but that took the better part of the night. This device is really a small computer (bogomips 999.79).

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