Homebrew Router/NAS/Gateway

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MaduroBU
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Homebrew Router/NAS/Gateway

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Post by MaduroBU »

I have 2 unused computers sitting around, an 1800x AMD 8 core and a AMD Phenom x6 I have a love/hate relationship with my current NAS, a WD that I can only access using proprieary software that WD discontinued. I have a copy of the installer, but if I lost that, my I could only stare longingly at the NAS like Owen Wilson in Zoolander. Bottom line, I don't like this arrangement. Add to that the fact that my router needs are wifi and one wired connection for my gaming desktop, and I've started looking at options for converting unused hardware into a one stop shop that I can't get locked out of. I don't trust the combination modem/routers that they give you, so I have a standalone Motorola Surfboard plugged into a TPLink Archer and the NAS plugged into that. The goal is that the modem plugs into the WAN port on the new "everything box" and that the rest of the house connects to/via that box.

Software is the hurdle. I thought that I had a solution in ClearOS, since most of the common router distributions are either BSD (near zero wifi support) or a firmware designed to be run on a router (e.g. openWRT) that requres an absolute hack job to get installed on an x86 machine. So.....ClearOS, a CentOS (RHEL/Fedora) based HP distribution built for home offices seems ideal. Or not....it's very easy to set up, but wifi setup has been truly finicky. I had to SSH into the machine to get a CLI and then yum install the wireless package; that wasn't so bad, but then it still wouldn't detect my wifi card (which it DID detect during install...just at no point thereafter). SSH back into CLI and ifconfig doesn't show the wireless card that is still proudly shining its little green LED at the back of the case. The fact that this machine will be almost purely WIFI is the reason that it's practical, so ClearOS is out. Further, I noticed that community uptake has been.....lackluster to say the least. Finally, you have to register it and any "community edition (i.e. free) install can only get updates for a max of 2 years.

So I start thinking of the fact that ClearOS is basically just HP taking free RHEL, slapping their own "app store" on it and making the UI worse. If I'm just going to be SSH'ed into the CLI anyway, I might as well do it directly and with a system designed for it. So I downloaded Fedora Sever, and I'm going to try to set that up. I can do very basic commands (I ran Fedora and Ubuntu exclusively for a few years in med school, but mostly used the GUI), so this is a big departure from what I'm comfortable with. Nonetheless, I'm trying to better understand HAM radio and I'm increasingly convinced that networking is the other half of that skillset.

So all of that said, I'm curious if anyone of the linux guys on this forum has tried something similar. I find it odd that I just can't find people doing this, as the combination seems pretty obvious to me and I haven't encountered any actual limits. Further, all of the pieces of software that I need (DHCP, hostapd, fileserver/FTP and SMB software, gateway software, et c.) seem to exist and people have combined them in various ways. I assume that nerds who have linux knowledge, the desire to have big NAS/fileservers, advanced gateway/routing functionality and unused desktops laying around would all be doing this.

Thoughts and suggestions are welcome, I'll keep slogging ahead.
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