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FREESCO Support • View topic - Freesco Vs. Stand Alone Hardware Routers

Freesco Vs. Stand Alone Hardware Routers

Support section for FREESCO v0.3.x

Postby dman535 » Thu Jul 17, 2008 5:58 pm

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Postby Lightning » Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:29 pm

If you are afraid that you might make a mistake. The chances are high that you will never learn anything.
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Postby dman535 » Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:52 pm

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Postby Lightning » Thu Jul 17, 2008 9:03 pm

If you are afraid that you might make a mistake. The chances are high that you will never learn anything.
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Postby CDFiXER » Sat Jul 19, 2008 4:37 pm

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Postby dman535 » Sat Jul 19, 2008 7:09 pm

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Postby phillipsjk256 » Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:39 pm

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Postby PurpleMeanie » Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:20 pm

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Postby firepaw » Fri Aug 29, 2008 3:23 pm

I'm actually debating over this myself.

My freesco box is (was) a PII @400 mhz. When the disk spins down, it pulls 26 watts as measured from the power plug with a watt meter. I got a power surge or something and the box went down and I wasn't together enough to have a spare freesco box already built. Heck, I didn't even have a power strip on the thing.

I plugged in a Actiontec MI424WR that I got with FiOS, and that's pulling 7 watts (if I remember correctly) including the wall wart.

Google says that the Linksys WRT54G will pull 5 watts.

I'll skip the math, but at $0.15/KWH it's almost a $30 saving per year on power assuming the Linksys works as advertised. so that's a year and a half's payback time on the hardware

Just for the record, I loved my freesco box, hate the Actiontec, and I note that there is a widespread hacker culture for the WRT54G.

I'm fooling with the old freesco box, and I did get the thing to boot when I put in a different ram stick, so that's easy to fix, and I have a few PIII boxes around so I could make a spare this time for less effort than it would take to hack the WRT54G.

Downsides to the Freesco 0.3.4 box were:
1. I was unable to host more than one site. I host at NearlyFreeSpeech.net now for only a few bucks a year, but I can't do https there at all, so there's still a need unfilled. I'm unwilling to consider another host unless pricing is close to NFS.N's levels.

2. I really wanted to hook up a USB camera to the thing so I could watch the front yard or something.

3. As a linux newbie, I found Freesco hard to use and poorly documented. This is somewhat mitigated now because I have a few years under my belt. One thing in particular that I remember was seeing all the packages that were available and not being able to make heads or tails of it. Specifically, unless you have experience with the packages and what they all do, you would have no idea at all how to pull your mail off the pop server and make it available to yourself from a browser. I remember taking the names of all the packages, loading them in wordprocessor, and then googling the package names to figure out what they did. Giant PITA and not at all newbie friendly

4. The above mentioned power issues. I have spin down the HD, and that saves 5 watts or so, but I've yet to try any other power saving hacks (underclocking, fanless, flash hard drive...)

Anyway, I must say that the box worked in my garage for 3-4 years without anything more than hitting the on switch after a power outage. I've even found a cmos setting that would take care of that. I'm really happy about the uptime.

I see that Freesco has been through a few updates so I'm weighting my options. I'd also love to hear from someone running Freesco on an old 386 or 486 if they have accurate power measurements. I have an old 486 laptop, but I can't really use it because I need at least 3 Ethernet jacks.
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Postby CDFiXER » Fri Aug 29, 2008 7:12 pm

IMO, try to find an old P1 with MMX box, strip it to the minimum and that should be pretty green. Something with a mobile processor would be pretty green. If it is an older laptop, watch the PCMCI slots, lots of older latops have only 16bit bus for the PCMCIA slots! As a side note, if you have an old laptop and wonder about the PCMCIA slots then try a USB card in it, if it works then you have 32 bit PCMCIA slot.

Good points you bring up, BTW. The package stuff is a steeper learning curve. Maybe the new 040 series will impress you more but the setup stuff will still be more difficult than an 'out of the box' solution, but then the packages are often more powerful than an 'out of the box' solution.
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Postby firepaw » Fri Aug 29, 2008 7:51 pm

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Postby Lightning » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:21 pm

If you are afraid that you might make a mistake. The chances are high that you will never learn anything.
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Postby phillipsjk256 » Mon Sep 01, 2008 1:53 am

Since it is still on topic, I will explain my excuse for running a 486 box as a router (Instead of a commercial router):

1. It has serial ports. In theory, if the ADSL goes out for an extended period of time, I can hook up a modem and dial-out. Never mind that I didn't when the ADSL was out for a month (after moving). I was unsure of how to handle dial-on demand.... (Didn't want some auto-refreshing web page left open to tie up the phone line)

2. It has serial ports. In theory you can hook up a serial line for internet access. Never mind that even 10Mbps Ethernet is 10x faster. (But at 115200bps, it IS about 4x faster than dial-up)

3. It is easy to modify. Installing most packages is difficult in read-once floppy mode though.

Disadvantages:

1. As others have mentioned, you do take a power hit. It is probably no more than the "phantom loads" you already have around the house. That said, the little things add up.

2. Size. Those cheap routers take up a lot less space than a mid-tower, or even a laptop. If you like the hardware on those little routers, some of them are hackable. (But they won't run freesco)

3. Troubleshooting can take more time because you have 5-10 components to rule out instead of just replacing the whole thing ;)


On that note:

Cooling tip
If your router is in a confined space, forced air is essential. You will not be able to fall back on convection. The router described above recently experienced a CPU failure because the vent holes became clogged with dust. <_<

As an aside, I also misplaced my 486DX33 chip. I am now using another 486DX2-66 under-clocked to 50 Mhz. (Still idle most the time)


Regards,


James Phillips

Edit: Preview and spell check don't catch all the errors.
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