DIY Router

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Build your own – Theodore M

One of the most used things in homes, business and small offices (other than the internet) is routers. Although routers are inexpensive, you can build and configure a router for free, if you have the necessary parts.

Lets start off with the requirements needed for this project:

  • i386, or better motherboard + processor
  • 2 PCI or ISA NICS
  • Floppy Drive
  • Harddrive (optional)
  • 8 MB of RAM
  • Freesco floppy disk

Before beginning the project, we need to create a floppy disk in which we can store Freesco (Free Cisco) – download the Freesco version .2.x HERE.

Insert a new floppy disk into your floppy disk drive and use the utility rawrite, which comes in the .zip file from you downloaded, to write the Freesco bootable disk. The disk image is the file freesco.27.

After, if you have not already done so, insert 2 ISA or PCI NIC cards into the system which will be used as the router. If using ISA NIC cards, be sure you know the IRQ and I/O Addresses of the cards; this can be found by booting into Windows on the system and using the System Information utility.

If you are using PCI NICS, don’t worry about the IRQ and I/O Addresses – these will be configured by Freesco itself. Before purchasing any NIC cards for your router, be sure that they are compatible with Freesco by reading the Freesco documentation, or download the Freesco modules and install the appropriate drivers.

Now that we are ready: insert the floppy disk into the future router and turn it on – it will boot. Follow these steps in configuring it:

NOTE: Hitting Enter on the questions will answer them with Freesco’s defaults.

  1. Boot: (type setup)
  2. When it asks for a Username and Password (both are root)
  3. After, a screen will appear telling you what each color means in setup:
    • Green: Required
    • Yellow: Option
    • Red: Advanced
  4. Hit enter, and type the letter e on the next prompt to configure the Ethernet router
  5. Hostname (the default is router, but you may choose any name)
  6. Domain (inet is the default, but it is up to you)
  7. I/O and IRQ Questions (For ISA: Answer all the questions, For PCI: enter the first I/O address as 0, then hit enter through the left over I/O and IRQ questions.
  8. Auto Detect Modems (click no)
  9. How many modems do you have installed (the amount you have installed)

    Continue configuring you desired settings; after you are done, type s and hit enter – this will save your configuration and reboot your computer. If it does not reboot your computer, simply type reboot

  10. Now, connect your DSL/Cable modem to a NIC card, connect a hub/or switch to the other card, and from the hub/or switch connect to your client PC(s). Configure your client PC(s) by changing the default gateway to the Router’s IP Address, and you’re good.

If you have any problems on the way, visit the Freesco site for help. Good Luck!

Theodore M

Jason emailed the following comments:

“Just wanted to let you know that the authors use of “FreeSCO” is incorrect! The correct printing/usage is Freesco or freesco. I am very active on the Freesco forum and am a betatester of new releases so I see all the time where the Freesco “makers” are very pointed about this distinction. They want it absolutley clear there is no connection to sco.

Also, “Domain (inet is the default, but it is up to you)” is sort of incorrect. It is advisable to try the default first. Some setups/ISP’s do not get along with changing from the default on this one. Actually looking at some of the authors settings, it dawns on me that something is not right, plus he is mentioning version 0.2.x wich is rather old.

Freesco is at version 0.3.2 and is much improved from the version 0.2.x days; version 0.3.3 is coming out very soon. Checking the Freesco Forums for help/questions, etc, would be helpful to your readers.

Here are some handy Freesco links:

Support Forum

One of the Freesco Guru’s FAQ page

Freesco software site

It is a great “little” (fits on a floppy) and EASY to learn to do things with. There are packages for file sharing with MS products (SAMBA), secure networking stuff, mp3′ stuff, etc, etc – LOTS of FREE packages and GREAT support!”

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