Linksys SRW248G4 (Switch) - Dumped for Soekris
I wasn't happy with Linksys SRW248G4 switch. After using it
for over a year, which is the length of the warranty, it
slowly began to fail. It finally got to the point where it
would only handle 10baseT/Half, and even with that setting,
a lot of packets were dropped. In addition, the ssh
interface is limited. Instead, the main interface is an
http interface which requires Microsoft's IE (with low
security for ActiveX controls).
So, I replaced the Linksys switch with a Soekris Net5501
computer, with SanDisk Extreme III 8.0GB CompactFlash
card,a wireless mPCI card from Netgate( 802.11a/b/g), and a
lan1641 (PCI Quad ethernet board). You have to install an
operating system on the device. A lot of people choose
OpenBSD, but Linux (Fedora 8 with a custom kernel config)
works just fine.
The first thing that impressed me was lack of noise. Since
the Soekris Net5501 doesn't require a fan, it's completely
silent. Second, you get complete control over the setup --
how you're going to handle bridging, firewall rules and
additional software. There is enough power on the device
to run a mail server, Apache, and even compile programs on
the device in a reasonable amount of time. In fact, I ended
up compiling Postfix from source directly on the device.
For kicks I compiled the Linux kernel, but that
took the better part of the night. This device is really
a small computer (bogomips 999.79).