FreeBSD as router - performance vs hardware routers

Vulpes Velox kitbsdlists at
Thu Aug 14 10:32:36 PDT 2003

On 14 Aug 2003 10:39:55 -0400
"J. Seth Henry" <jshamlet at> wrote:

> Hello,
> 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)?
> Thanks,
> Seth Henry

I personally would go with FreeBSD as a router. I have been used both a 200Mhz
P1 and a 300Mhz P2 as routers with out problems. I personally have really liked
being able to ssh into it su to root and change what ever I want to. It makes
for a really flexible system.

BTW I would suggest staying away from rl cards. I have a problems with them
befor, especially under heavy load. Fxp cards and dc cards have done well from
my experience.

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