Hacker Public Radio

Your ideas, projects, opinions - podcasted.

New episodes Monday through Friday.

HPR3799: My home router history

Hosted by norrist on 2023-02-23 00:00:00
Download or Listen

Router History

Early Dialup

  • Connection sharing


  • Linux PC with 2 NIC
  • Set up IP masquerading
  • Windows connection sharing
  • This may have been against TOS
  • $50 EBay PC
  • Mandrake MNF

Found a PC on the Street

  • IPCop
  • Infrequently updated
  • No updates required or abandoned?


  • Reputation for Security
  • Something New
  • Good instructions for setting up home office.
  • Manual but straightforward

WRT-54gl with tomato

  • Linksys router sold specifically to run Linux
  • Purchased to be AP
  • Junk PC hardware failures - PSU or IDE disks
  • Frequently used as backup.

PCEngines Alix

  • Basically a PC in a router form factor
  • Serial port - NO VGA
  • No USB boot - Had to set up PXE boot tftp server.
  • Install OpenBSD
  • No Video out - Serial port only
  • Expensive for specs - 500MHz AMD CPU and 256M Ram

Alix Limitations

  • Worked great for a few years
  • Compact Flash limited replacements.
  • 100M Ethernet
  • Found Spare on EBay as Backup, just in case.

PCEngines APU2

  • Serial only
  • OpenBSD 5.6 via USB drive
  • 3 NIC - Lan, Trusted, Untrusted
  • Unifi AP for WiFi

First playbook

Restricting Internet

  • Open DNS and port redirects
  • Unbound included on OpenBSD base
    • Caching DNS resolver
    • Forward to Open DNS - Set to do some content filtering
    • PF rule to redirect all incoming port 53 to unbound
  • PF scripts
    • PF table with IP addresses of devices
    • Table always blocked
    • cron jobs to add/remove IP addresses to table

APU2 limitations

  • Installer Recommends Auto partitioning
    • Doesn't know how you plan to use OpenBSD
    • Doesn't know the future plans for project.
  • 16G msata drive
  • Small /usr
  • Re-linking growth
  • Moving src partitions

PCEngines APU2

  • Search /etc for changes
  • Ansible Playbook for everything not covered by DNS/DHCP playbook
    • email forwarding
    • sysctls
    • syslog to server
  • Practice on OpenBSD VM
    • 198.168 172.20 as variable
    • Normally with VM, I use the VirtIO NIC
    • I used vitalized Intel NIC so same device names: em0, em1, ...

Just Do It

  • Update APU firmware - TODO retails
    • /usr/local/share/doc/pkg-readmes/flashrom
  • Warned family internet would be offline a few hours
  • Replaced M2 Sata card with 120
  • It worked the first time



More Information...

Copyright Information

Unless otherwise stated, our shows are released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0) license.

The HPR Website Design is released to the Public Domain.