FreeBSD as router - performance vs hardware routers

Jason Stewart jstewart at
Thu Aug 14 07:56:28 PDT 2003

J. Seth Henry wrote:

>I have recently been having problems with my Netgear RT314 broadband
>gateway router. Having decided to replace it, I started searching for a
>new router - only to discover that every sub $300 router I found had a
>history of problems. Lockups, random reboots, or worse, they would just
>turn into black holes (like my RT314).
>First, and I know this is off-topic, is anyone here happy with their
>router enough to recommend it? I'd prefer to go with a hardware router,
>but I prize reliability and stability apparently higher than the current
>crop of manufacturers. Even the Cisco SOHO9x/83x series has a bad track
>record, and they are $250/$500 respectively! I'd like to keep it under
>$300, as I can build a mini-ITX box with everything I need for a router
>for about that.
>Barring finding a decent, reliable router, I thought about building a
>mini-ITX system (with the 800Mhz C3) with a second NIC, and a CF card
>for storage - and using FreeBSD as a router. I'm fairly certain that I
>can get most of what I need to work going, DHCP client on the WAN link,
>DHCP server and NAT/PAT on the LAN side. Apparently, firewall support is
>built-in as well.
>What I'm not sure about is performance. Has anyone built a cable modem
>gateway router using FreeBSD and "low-end" hardware like this? If so,
>what were your results?
>Also, can a FreeBSD router support things like the Vonage VOIP box (the
>Cisco ATA186)?
>Seth Henry
>freebsd-questions at mailing list
>To unsubscribe, send any mail to "freebsd-questions-unsubscribe at"
Hi Seth,

I have a P90 machine with 40MB of memory faithfully serving me as a 
router with firewall and NAT for 10 users right now. The machine has 
been stable and works well since it was put into service 61 days ago. 
I've even heard of people using 486's as firewalls, but havent tried it 

Good Luck,

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