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Help me build a mini smoothwall

primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' BoopinDetroit, MI Icrontian

Hey gang!

I want to build my own little PC for Smoothwall at my new place since I'm leaving behind my industrial-grade equipment at ICHQ for Icrontic events.

Emphasis on small, but I would like a quiet (silent?) PC that can hold two server-grade gig NICs, and has enough CPU and RAM so that I won't have to worry about upgrading it ever.

For reference: The current ICHQ smoothwall handles 100-150 simultaneous connections beautifully. It is an AMD Athlon X4-965 with 8gb of RAM and 2 intel server NICs.

The requirements are:

Small!
Quiet!
Low-power!
2x gigabit managed (server-grade) NICs
ability to run Smoothwall (very hardened, basic linux install)
A USB port
ABility to run headless (doesn't need GPU to boot)
32gb of storage (don't need anything more than that)

I'm out of the loop big time on small form factor stuff. I'd even go with a tiny purpose-built box if it was the right fit.

If anyone has any suggestions on routers they trust, I'm open to that as well.

Thanks!

Comments

  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA Icrontian

    I've been using an Ubiquiti USG to route my network and it's been a champ though admittedly I haven't run it with 50 clients at once. The USG Pro 4 looks like it might be more in line with your requirements.

    https://www.ubnt.com/unifi-routing/unifi-security-gateway-pro-4/

  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX Icrontian

    Consider a mini PC from Jetway: http://www.jetwaycomputer.com/Barebones.html

    Almost all of them have 2+ Intel LAN jacks. Something with a recent model Intel processor would scream.

    Examples:
    http://www.jetwaycomputer.com/FDF632.html
    http://www.jetwaycomputer.com/JBC420U591.html

    Would be ideal. The first one is more powerful.

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    @drasnor I kind of like the idea of a Ubiquiti USG. I found it on Amazon for only $113.. To clarify: I won't need the ability to support 50 clients at the new house.

    Thanks for the recommendation. I might get that and a small switch and be done with it.

  • CrazyJoeCrazyJoe Winter Springs, FL Icrontian

    @primesuspect said:
    To clarify: I won't need the ability to support 50 clients at the new house.

    You also said originally that ICHQ 1.0 only held 4 extra people for sleeping.

    pigflipper
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited 6 Feb

    It did. You're thinking of ICHQ 2.0 ;)

    (ICHQ 1.0 was very small: 650 sq ft. Only a few Icrontians have been there)

  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA Icrontian

    It's worth noting that the Ubiquiti UniFi stuff requires a computer of some sort to act as a controller. The router maintains its configuration without the controller but the controller is needed to update the configuration and/or manage the network. I ran the controller on my HTPC for awhile but plan to migrate it over to my NAS when I get the house back together.

    As for why, it's so that you can have a one-stop shop for managing all the Ubiquiti UniFi hardware on your LAN. In my case, the controller is managing the router, a switch, and the access point. If you want a self-contained router solution you might check out the EdgeRouters.

  • CrazyJoeCrazyJoe Winter Springs, FL Icrontian

    @primesuspect said:
    It did. You're thinking of ICHQ 2.0 ;)

    (ICHQ 1.0 was very small: 650 sq ft. Only a few Icrontians have been there)

    Probably. I was referring to what you posted in the original SM Lan thread. Were you in ICHQ 2.0 at that point?

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited 6 Feb

    @CrazyJoe said:
    Probably. I was referring to what you posted in the original SM Lan thread. Were you in ICHQ 2.0 at that point?

    Nope. I think only Mondi, Kwitko, and maybe Lincoln have seen ICHQ 1.0. I could be mistaken about that, though.

  • KwitkoKwitko Sheriff of Banning (Retired) By the thing near the stuff Icrontian

    Have you given any consideration to Pi-Hole?

    BuddyJ
  • CycloniteCyclonite Tampa, Florida Icrontian

    On the Ubiquiti side, I'm running their hardware at home and at the clinic. Their hardware is solid, and the management is powerful and relatively simple. They're constantly adding new features to the GUI as well. To drasnor's point, it does require a separate controller, but they have a cloud key, which can be linked to a free online account so you can access it anywhere. https://www.ubnt.com/unifi/unifi-cloud-key/

    Between the clinic and home, I've got two USGs, three AP-AC-Pros, a 24 port PoE switch, an 8 port PoE switch, and two cloud keys. Other than some initial confusion with pairing to a new controller after being paired already, everything has been flawless. Firmware upgrades are a piece of cake, and they're frequent. Usually adding new features, but they responded to the recent WPA2 concerns within 24 hours of announcement, for instance.

    With all that said, not sure what cost difference you're looking at over a small PC with Smoothwall. Just wanted to throw in my support for Ubiquiti. :)

    TiberiusLazarusdrasnorprimesuspect
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX Icrontian

    I saw 1.0 briefly!

  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic Virginia Icrontian

    @primesuspect said:
    @drasnor I kind of like the idea of a Ubiquiti USG. I found it on Amazon for only $113.. To clarify: I won't need the ability to support 50 clients at the new house.

    Thanks for the recommendation. I might get that and a small switch and be done with it.

    USG is a great little device. You might consider the Edgerouter if you like to tinker though.

  • KwitkoKwitko Sheriff of Banning (Retired) By the thing near the stuff Icrontian

    I set foot in 1.0. I think Thom was living there or something. It was small. Small. S-M-All.

  • LincLinc Bard Detroit, MI Icrontian

    @primesuspect said:
    Nope. I think only Mondi, Kwitko, and maybe Lincoln have seen ICHQ 1.0. I could be mistaken about that, though.

    You can't retcon that as ICHQ 1.0 out of the blue. There are rules.

    CBBuddyJ
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    IT WAS AN HQ. KIND OF

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    @Cyclonite I was wondering what that Cloud Key thing was. Is that just a way for them to extract money? I don't really get what it does. I've been out of the game for a few years.

  • CycloniteCyclonite Tampa, Florida Icrontian

    Yeah, it's essentially a standalone controller. No need to have the controller software running on a PC, because you have to manage these devices via the controller. Small footprint, low power consumption, PoE or USB powered. Ignore the mess I inherited, but here it is attached to the switch at the clinic to give you an idea of size.

    If you're only controlling one Unifi device, though, it may not be worth the extra hardware/cost. Sonorous' comment about the Edgerouter may be more what you're looking for. I actually have one from when I was going that route before flipping to a USG. I can send it your way to test, if you'd like. Shoot me a PM with which address, and I can get it in the mail this week. If you like it, we can work out a deal. It has about 30 minutes of use.

    BuddyJ
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    Well, I was thinking about going full Ubiquity, so if I'm gonna do it, I may as well do it: I'll be buying a USG, a switch, and a wi-fi kit for a two-story house. I was looking at this Wi-Fi kit, this switch, this router, and this cable modem. Would the cloud key work with that setup?

  • CycloniteCyclonite Tampa, Florida Icrontian
    edited 7 Feb

    The Unifi controller will only support Unifi devices. Amplifi would be out if you want the "single pane of glass" experience. I'm running a UAP-AC-Pro at home for two stories around 2700 sq ft. Pretty massive coverage, to the point that I don't switch to cell when driving away in the morning until I'm a few houses down.

    Here's an Amazon link, but I think it may be cheaper elsewhere. If you have time to wait, keep an eye on slickdeals. I've seen a decent amount of deals on Unifi equipment over the last 6 months.

    Also, if you want to play with the interface, sign up for an account at unifi.ubnt.com. They have a demo in there. Granted, it's for a much larger deployment, but you can see the interface.

  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic Virginia Icrontian

    While the cloud key is not necessary, it is nice to not need to launch the Unifi software on a PC for maintenance and quick access from a cell phone.

  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC Icrontian

    You need a UniFi switch. Probably this one: US‑24 (unless you need PoE, then get the US-24-250 or US-24-500 depending on wattage)

    https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-Networks-US-24-Unifi-Switch/dp/B01LZBLO0U

  • CycloniteCyclonite Tampa, Florida Icrontian

    Cloud key and AP support PoE, so it'd be nice to have a PoE switch. The US-24-250 would be way more than enough to support those. If you don't plan to have any/many other PoE devices, since there's a decent price jump to the US-24-250, you could technically use any switch that supports 802.3af and be okay. You just wouldn't be managing it from the Unifi controller. The interface and historical data is pretty cool though. Useful in some circumstances. Helped me track down a device that was chewing up data that I wouldn't have known about otherwise. Aside from the cool factor, though, the hardware has been solid.


  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    Okay, I ended up going full Ubiquiti:

    • Ubiquiti Unifi Cloud Key - Remote Control Device (UC-CK)
    • Ubiquiti Networks Unifi 802.11ac Dual-Radio PRO Access Point (UAP-AC-PRO-US)
    • Ubiquiti US-8-60W Unifi Switch
    • Ubiquiti Unifi Security Gateway (USG)

    Thanks for the help, everyone!

    TushonRyderBuddyJ
  • CycloniteCyclonite Tampa, Florida Icrontian

    That's exactly what I'm running at home. Good stuff! :)

    primesuspect
  • BlackHawkBlackHawk Bible music connoisseur There's no place like 127.0.0.1 Icrontian

    @primesuspect said:

    @CrazyJoe said:
    Probably. I was referring to what you posted in the original SM Lan thread. Were you in ICHQ 2.0 at that point?

    Nope. I think only Mondi, Kwitko, and maybe Lincoln have seen ICHQ 1.0. I could be mistaken about that, though.

    Yeah, forget the latino.

    LincBuddyJ
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    @BlackHawk said:

    @primesuspect said:

    @CrazyJoe said:
    Probably. I was referring to what you posted in the original SM Lan thread. Were you in ICHQ 2.0 at that point?

    Nope. I think only Mondi, Kwitko, and maybe Lincoln have seen ICHQ 1.0. I could be mistaken about that, though.

    Yeah, forget the latino.

    New house who dis

    BlackHawkBuddyJKwitko
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