Saturday, 12 November 2011

The thing about PC-based routers

Courtesy of pfsense.org (web interface)
The reason for this article is that I had for one time the need to build my own router since I don’t really get all what I want with those commercially available plug and play ones.

Routers are basically streamlined computers designed to do a specific job to provide at least a well-managed network and secure data line while we go online in the internet space. (Ward-off potential network intruders. Virus and malwares are out of the router’s scope.)

Building your own router has some advantages:
  • You can customize certain areas of it, or ...
  • Add-on some 3rd party softwares to answer certain specific requirements for your home or business network.
I am not forcing everyone to embark in this project for it will require at least a clear understanding on networks and computers. Techno geeks like me will surely enjoy this endeavour.

Initially all routers have their own operating software for you to interface with it and configure how it will work in your own network. I suggest to get at least the free and open source ones like pfSense which is based on a FreeBSD operating system.

I recommend this one because of their continuous support and live community boards that can help you customize the router to your own liking. Also, it is free and has a lot of packages (additional software) like squid proxy and squid guard (works great for me and my kids).You may need to download a copy of the software and burn to an optical disk or in someway transfer to a USB device for installation.

You need to have some knowledge in configuring routers and installing operating systems before proceeding or else you’ll be clueless throughout the process.


You will need a spare "working" PC preferably an old one with at least 800mhz processor speed, 512MB of RAM and 10GB of hard disk space (or less! I can't find my 2gigs hard drive at the storage). And yeah! You won’t need to buy one if you can find your old junk still working fine. I almost forgot! You need at least two (2) pieces of NIC (LAN Cards) to make it work.

Prepare your PC for installation by connecting all the necessary hardware and check it out if it boots up. If all is well if you have successfully turned it on. Now, proceed on installing the operating software (pfsense).

Installing the software will be easy and quick as long as you don't hit a wall during the process (failing optical drive or unreliable optical disk etc.). It will take about 10 minutes to finish the setup. Right after which you will be forwarded to the main configuration page.

I only suggest this project to people who loves to tinker, to learn more and has time and energy to waste in creating their own hardware.

For details on building your own router using pfSense you can check these websites:


2 comments:

Nagsawa ako sa kaka-configure nung dual WAN router ko from D-Link kaya nag-decide akong mag-PC based. Priority ko kasi yung parental control which I found in pfsense. Ang dami kasing pasaway na customers sa shop ko dati.

i was supposed to use pfsense in my shop before kaya lang sayang yun 2 router na nabili ko hehe

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