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hpr3799 :: My home router history

Recent router maintenance makes me remember all the fun I've had with my home network router

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Hosted by norrist on 2023-02-23 is flagged as Clean and is released under a CC-BY-SA license.
openbsd, ansible, router. 2.

Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. Play now:

Duration: 00:32:01


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



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Comment #1 posted on 2023-02-26 09:36:08 by Zen_floater2

Extremely entertaining

I could not stop my tail from wagging on this program. It was extremely interesting to listen to your program on your router using OpenBSD. Could you give us an idea of your through-put in this device using OpenBSD. Try using
Comment #2 posted on 2023-02-26 23:37:13 by Windigo

Custom Routers

I've been looking into DIY OpenWRT hardware, and PCEngines came up a couple times. I had never heard of them before, and was happy to hear about your experience with them and other devices. Thanks for the well-timed episode!

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