I was getting tired of the current routers I had and also the lack of firewall. Â Looking around for a good stable solution, I found aÂ Supermicro Atom D525 1U Rackmount Server, SYS-5015A-EHF-D525Â on ebay. I was able to win the auction for $152.50 shipped. Â This was a used server, but it was pulled form a small company server room. Â It also came with 4GB of ram with that price. Â The D525 board has two Intel network interface cards and onboard video. Â Simple yet amazing little 1U server. Â The only thing I needed to get for it was a thumb drive or laptop hard drive to install the Operating system on. Â I actually didn’t have any thumb drivesÂ around, but I did have a 40GB laptop hard drive around. This is crazy overkill of space needed, but it was all I had at the time.
For the operating system, I chose pfSenseÂ . Â “pfSenseÂ is a free, open source customized distribution ofÂ FreeBSDÂ tailored for use as a firewall and router.” Â Super simple to install.Â Here is a pretty good guide on how to install pfSense from CDROM. Â This is an older version, but should be quite helpful.
I have been running this as our router/firewallÂ andÂ am incredibly happy with it. Â It is rock solid. Â I also have had other uses with it as well. Â For instance, I installed OpenVPN. Â I can use my home i-net connection as a personal VPN. Â This also allows me to connect to my home network as if it was a local area network. Some things I don’t want to be open to the outside world, and this allows me to access and control these things from the outside world securely.
If you are on the fence, you should stop thinking and just do it.
Here are some pictures of the server: