linux as a router?



first post here. i have an older emachines computer and wondering if it'd work for a linux firewall/router for my house. The plan is wiring it to my fios router then connect a wireless access point to another nic on the machine.

What os/software would i need for this?

There is probably at least half a dozen different ways to go about converting Linux into a router. However, if you are looking for a software package that is easy to use and simple to install, then I would suggest using a piece of free software called Untangle. I believe that you can download it at

My only concern with your particular case is that you said that you were planning on running it on an older e-machine. I have had so-so success with Untangle working really well on some of the older/slower hardware. However, I definitive suggest trying it. If it works for you, it will be a champ! Here is a link to their minimum specs.

If you install it, post your experience so others can learn!
IPCop is much lighter and more advanced than Untangle, but less user friendly. It will run on the tiniest of machines. It will literally run fine on a 386 or 486.
Shorewall is another simple and light firewall I used on a 386 before graduating "up" to IPCop.
I don't use linux as a router, what are the benefits?

It makes a great free security barrier for your home or business. Use it to block viruses for the windows users, block ads.. Block sites.. Basically giving you more control over your users' Internet experience.

You could also use it to set up secure connections (vpn, etc..) to your internal network from the outside..
Thanks guys!

Ok, after doing a bit of reading, I think i'll give ipcop a try. Not sure the ole emachines could handle untangle..
we have a router in the house thats connected to all computers inside. can i use still these software to regulate and blocksites thru my linux machine while i will also be using it everyday?
Using Linux as a router is a pretty cool concept. I'm learning new things about it every day. I guess I should make a special project of exploring it more to see what I can create. :)
Some modern routers have an ability to send all traffic to one IP and use that computer as a router.
I think it's completely possible. I see people converting their BlackBerries and iPhone's into routers and modems, so I don't see how it's not possible to do so with a Linux! Good luck with it though, it'll turn out to be pretty cool.
Additionally, it would have been ideal if the cisco 2600 that was being referenced could have been tested in the mix of machines. e.g., 133, 200, 733 - to give a true "feel" for the overall performance of Linux Routers. I am silently cheering for Linux-but need direct indisputable evidence of performance as well as price and functionality.
I just had a very good read on how to use an old computer with Linux OS as a router. They made an experiment from an old computer they got from a trash can and programmed it into a router. Please see details here.

Hope that helps.
Well you can, but are routers so expensive that you want to use Linux as routers? :rolleyes:
Well you can, but are routers so expensive that you want to use Linux as routers? :rolleyes:

I think he Darthvader was asking more as a curiosity than of the need. In any case, if you have a spare old computer that you are not using anymore, wouldn't you use it?
The more I read in this thread, the more excited I get. So it looks like Linux can be used as the basis for a whole new industry - reviving old pcs.
The more I read in this thread, the more excited I get. So it looks like Linux can be used as the basis for a whole new industry - reviving old pcs.

Yes. On the pros it can be a good way to recycle tings. On the bad side, those computers would probably not be cost efficient.
If you're looking for an entire distro that serves as a router/firewall you might want to check out devil linux.
Astaro would be my first choice. It's a very solid firewall appliance like distro, though "limited" in the sense that you cannot really add-on other software. Even though you cannot add-on anything to it (unless you really, really, really know the ins and outs of Linux), it has plenty of options to allow you to customize its function for the network your protecting, and imo, is the best at it.
Routers are very dedicated and low-power devices. While you can certainly run Linux on some routers, they aren't ideal for dynamic web pages or high-volume mail servers. The number of distributions that can run on a router are fairly limited, and it will greatly depend on what model your router is as to whether it is even supported by anything.