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Powerful Linux ISP Router Distribution?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the love-doesn't-scale dept.

Communications 268

fibrewire writes "I'm building a Wireless ISP using commercial grade, low cost equipment. My main stumbling block is that I cannot find a decent open source ISP class routing distribution. Closest thing to even a decent tool is Ubiquiti's AIRControl — but even it doesn't play well with other network monitoring software. I've used Mikrotik's RouterOS for five years, but it just isn't built for what I need. I don't mind paying licensing fees, but $300K for a Cisco Universal Broadband Router is out of my budget. Has anyone seen any good open-source/cheap hardware/software systems that will scale to several thousand users?"

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Just use any Linux distro (5, Interesting)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771250)

Just pick up your favorite Linux distribution and get back to me with your requirements. I think Linux can easily do what you need almost out of the box. It is only a matter of configuring it. I bet some would recommend looking at OpenBSD or FreeBSD as well.

Either way, you would definitely have a more flexible solution that any canned product will provide you with.

Re:Just use any Linux distro (5, Informative)

grub (11606) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771262)


Does it have to be Linux?

Why not try OpenBSD [openbsd.org] and its excellent BGP implementation OpenBGP [openbgp.org] ! It powers some pretty hefty businesses and ISPs. [openbgp.org]

-

Re:Just use any Linux distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30771356)

OpenBGPD also includes OpenOSPFD - from my experience *way* more intuitive than Zebra/Quagga. There's a port for FreeBSD

Also pf kicks some *serious* butt.

Re:Just use any Linux distro (2, Funny)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771408)

The title in the question was asking for a Linux distro.

Anyway, you have proven me right, if you read my OP very carefully, it states:

> I bet some would recommend looking at OpenBSD or FreeBSD as well. ;-))

Re:Just use any Linux distro (2, Informative)

grub (11606) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771596)

Yeah, I meant to reply to the story, not your comment. :)

Re:Just use any Linux distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30772572)

OpenBSD for sure! I use Linux too, where/when needed, if needed, but OpenBSD is most definitively the best solution for such a thing and I've done the same in Wirless ISP environments in the same way too.

OpenBSD, no doubt is your best option here and can do everything you need and more.

Re:Just use any Linux distro (1)

Spit (23158) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772616)

I agree, OpenBSD seems to have bottomless performance in my installations and the configuration is so easy.

Re:Just use any Linux distro (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771334)

You asked for it!

I have a acer one with a broken screen. Currently i'm using it as a (120gig) file server, but I'm quite interested in using it as a firewall, and/or to monitor the traffic on my wireless router. My current router works fine, but I have absolutely no idea who is connected to it wirelessly, nor do I know how much data is being up/downloaded through it. Is there some Linuxy solution where the PC either becomes the router, or at least can intelligently talk to it? How much of this depends on which router I have, and how much is the least I can get away with spending for one which would work with such a system?

Re:Just use any Linux distro (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30771428)

PFsense. BSD, though.

Re:Just use any Linux distro (1)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771722)

Definitely PFSense. I prefer the traffic shaping in Linux (can't speak for the traffic shaping in BSD), but PFSense is sufficient in that regard, and excels at everything else. You can't beat the interface for visual presentation and ease of management.

If it absolutely has to be linux though, I love Tomato. It's mostly aimed at less-powerful hardware though, so I'm not sure how much you could scale it up.

Re:Just use any Linux distro (1)

Enuratique (993250) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771454)

I'm pretty sure Linux can do this but I am by no means a guru. If your router is a Linksys WRT54G, I highly recommend installing the 3rd party Tomato firmware. All the features you require are there. I personally find the Quality of Service packet prioritzation an absolute must in a household of bachelors all running BitTorrent and Xbox 360s...

Re:Just use any Linux distro (1)

udippel (562132) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772364)

Tomato is great, really.
On 40$-plastic-boxes.

But if you read the story, he is looking for a commercial grade system for an ISP. Then you have easily 1000 times the throughput of a little Broadcom box.
And its limitation of 2 physical interfaces doesn't help neither.

Re:Just use any Linux distro (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771622)

I have all my wireless IP addresses on a different subnet. The wireless router connects directly into the Linux router with its own interface. Thus it is easy to setup firewall rules specific to the wireless network and to monitor it for bandwidth usage and what not. Then connect your linux router to the ISP link.

To provide even more monitoring and trafic control capabilities from the Linux router, I do not use the DHCP server in the router but instead, wireless machines query the DHCP server on the Linux server.

All the required programs to accomplish this already come with most Linux distributions.

Powerful Linux Trout Distribution? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30771266)

I am a fish!

DD WRT (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30771320)

http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/index

It's Linux on low cost wireless routers.

Re:DD WRT (4, Insightful)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 4 years ago | (#30773018)

http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/index [dd-wrt.com]

It's Linux on low cost wireless routers.

Yeah, that's just what I'd want my ISP to run as a core router.

Vyatta (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30771324)

http://www.vyatta.com/about/press_releases.php?id=75

try the beta v6

Re:Vyatta (1)

dixon1e (620788) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772086)

It's good stuff, try it.

Re:Vyatta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30773182)

Hell yes!

I just stood up a whole building network with a lot of obnoxiousness recently, and Vyatta saved me a ton of money and time. Though admittedly, an ISP network is a different ball of wax. Vyatta is closer to a router though, so wireless management may not be as good as other distros.

http://www.vyatta.com/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30771366)

http://www.vyatta.com/

Erm... Requirements? (2, Insightful)

teqo (602844) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771368)

So AirControl "doesn't play well with other network monitoring software" (which one, and why?), and MikroTik "isn't built for what [you] need" (what's that?) - other than that, you don't give us any idea what you really expect. What are your requirements? Suggestions out of the blue: OpenWRT [openwrt.org] with quagga/zebra, hostapd, radius, olsrd, b.a.t.m.a.n. etc. etc, or you might want to have a look at Vyatta [vyatta.com] (no affiliation).

Screw Linux (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771416)

Why does it have to be linux? Use pfSense [pfsense.org]

Re:Screw Linux (1)

JSG (82708) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772806)

Seconded and my idea of fun is running 50 odd Gentoo based systems around the UK. I probably wont try and screw them though.

For me the multi link routing ie load balancing/failover gateways is the key feature (I have 6 ADSL lines - my office is a bit rural). Add to that a good list of add ons, eg ntop, OpenVPN and IPSEC, WiFi with mesh and captive portal etc etc etc and its a bit of a winner.

Re:Screw Linux (1)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772930)

PFsense has been OK for me in a small business environment, but it's nowhere near robust enough for ISP duty. For one, the multiwan implementation has been somewhat troublesome (mostly working, but occasional glitches) and traffic shaping doesn't work at all with multiwan. If you can do your multiwan stuff with an appliance, then perhaps that's not an issue, but my assumption was that you wanted something to act as your "core" using commodity hardware.

Best,

Re:Screw Linux (2, Informative)

Fez (468752) | more than 4 years ago | (#30773106)

pfSense 2.0 will solve the multi-wan traffic shaping limitation, and it's in beta right now. As for the multi-wan glitches, I'm not sure when the last time you tried it was, but the outbound load balancer was redone in 1.2.3 and 2.0 will have even more changes as well.

I run an ISP and we use a pfSense CARP cluster in front of our servers and it's worked great for us, but admittedly we are a small ISP. We also use it at more than a dozen customer sites. Everyone loves it.

Are you serious, or just killing time? (4, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771434)

So Cisco makes billions of dollars a year selling some ungodly expensive, ungodly powerful head end router like devices (not even routers in the IP sense) and somehow you suspect a Linux distribution with the same features is going to unpack itself and be everything you want it to be? You need to tell us what the rest of your platform looks like if you expect any answers that go beyond 'any linux distribution can act like a router!'. What subscriber equipment is in use? How much user control do you need (access on/off vs. bandwidth filtering, etc.) Details, details, details.

Re:Are you serious, or just killing time? (0, Offtopic)

Meshach (578918) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771474)

Just like Microsoft has spent billions of dollars a year building their operating system. I cannot predict any one doing the same thing for free and then just giving it away.

Re:Are you serious, or just killing time? (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771592)

When someone is giving away exceedingly powerful, linux-equipped servers for free, let me know where and when. Until then, software (as in Microsoft vs. Linux) is *not* equal to software/hardware (as in Cisco). Plain and simple.

Re:Are you serious, or just killing time? (4, Insightful)

dave562 (969951) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772010)

And beyond that, just because a Linux box might support all of the protocols and implementations that Cisco has leveraged in their own products, it does not mean that the Linux box is going to configure itself. A lot of the reason that Cisco makes money is because they provide solutions. The solutions themselves leverage established technologies in many cases (RFCs are in the public domain), but Cisco makes them work together. It's the old discussion about Open Source vendors. They aren't making money selling people Linux because Linux is free. They are making money selling people Linux configured to perform specific tasks, and then selling support to keep the solution functioning and up to date.

Re:Are you serious, or just killing time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30772590)

Ha ha, you think Cisco makes things work together.

Obviously you have never been given two different bits of cisco equipment and told to make them talk to each other. If you had you would still be reading cryptic IOS manuals full of details about features one of the two boxes doesn't have, trying out random commands found on blog posting in the hope it might just start working, and eventually giving up and paying Cisco very large sums of money to tell you that you, in fact, have to buy a completely different bit of kit.

Ciso is the hardware version of Oracle. Their products are not complex because they have to be, they are complex so that it's hard to learn how to administer it. That complexity generates revenue in the form of training and consulting, and lock-in in the form of institutionalised knowledge and pain of replacement.

Re:Are you serious, or just killing time? (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 4 years ago | (#30773194)

I worked on enough Cisco hardware in the late 1990s to not only know that what you say is true, but to also decide that I didn't particularly want to be a CCIE anytime soon. Slight differences in IOS releases can lead to serious headaches. I've heard tales that the Cisco CCIE test is basically being thrown into a locked room with a bunch of misconfigured gear and told to make it work within a certain time frame. Thanks, but no thanks. My philosophy is that I'll let the ISPs and telcos handle bringing the circuit in and configuring their premise equipment. Give me a RJ45 jack to plug and a phone number to call if the line goes down.

As complex as Cisco configurations can be, it has been my experience that once they are configured, they are rock solid. The initial complexity seems to come with the trade off in reliability. It may be difficult to get up and running in the first place, but once it's running, you can focus on other things. My experience is limited to setting up ISDN and T1 point to point circuits, but at that level, I haven't run into any problems once the circuit is up.

Re:Are you serious, or just killing time? (2, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772058)

When someone is giving away exceedingly powerful, linux-equipped servers for free, let me know where and when. Until then, software (as in Microsoft vs. Linux) is *not* equal to software/hardware (as in Cisco). Plain and simple.

So you've never heard of the FrankenPix [packetattack.com] , I take it?

I'd buy a claim of 'more stable', 'customized', or something similar, but 'exceedingly powerful' probably just isn't true. Barring some evidence to the contrary, I see a given Cisco device as about on par with an extremely weak desktop computer, in terms of pure 'power'.

I'm not undervaluing the total package. I just think you may have gone a tad too far with the Kool Aid.

Further, I don't think the question was asking about hardware anyway, so I'm not certain why you'd be muddying the waters with that part of it. Software to software to software, the comparison remains valid.

Re:Are you serious, or just killing time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30771504)

So Cisco makes billions of dollars a year selling some ungodly expensive, ungodly powerful head end router like devices (not even routers in the IP sense) and somehow you suspect a Linux distribution with the same features is going to unpack itself and be everything you want it to be? You need to tell us what the rest of your platform looks like if you expect any answers that go beyond 'any linux distribution can act like a router!'. What subscriber equipment is in use? How much user control do you need (access on/off vs. bandwidth filtering, etc.) Details, details, details.

Why, yes. And?

Re:Are you serious, or just killing time? (3, Insightful)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772018)

The "same features"? You mean like ASICs that forward the data with low latency once the route is established? Yep, Linux is going to somehow magically add those to your computer, and that's one of the reasons people pay the extra money for Cisco over some old P3 tower PC and a CD-ROM with a penguin on it. Another is that they fit nicely in a rack.

The submitter apparently has his own unique idea of what "ISP class" means. Admittedly, this is for a wireless network, so there is already a bit of latency expected and maybe not as much total bandwidth as a wired ISP, but you can never remove latency, only add less. And as you have pointed out, "ISP class" should include things like metrics and controls for users.

Re:Are you serious, or just killing time? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772096)

    Cisco (and others) make ungodly money because they are perceived as the "best". I won't argue that too much though.

    For low end stuff, there are cheaper options. Do you need a Cisco Catalyst to handle 3 desks on a fairly slow DSL line, who aren't doing outrageous sharing between each other? No. Do you have 100 desks, then sure. Could you do the 3 desk operation with a Linux machine and 4 network cards? Sure. In this example, it's cheaper to pick up a cheap hub, than to take even a salvage machine and put 4 network cards in it.

    What I've seen is bandwidth constraints on the bus. What can pass more traffic, purpose built high end networking hardware, or a PC based machine? If he's only passing 80Mb/s through to his upstream, then hey, go with Linux. If he's passing 800Mb/s, then he needs serious equipment and shouldn't even consider going with a PC based Linux machine.

    I've done some really neat stuff in Linux that I couldn't do anywhere near as easily on Cisco equipment. But, it depends on the purpose. I really do love Cisco gear. :)

    I do have to wonder about his infrastructure though. If he's setting up a WISP, does he have little Linux boxes strapped to towers?

    I will agree with you, just about any Linux distro may do what he wants, and there are only the rare exceptions where things won't just work across distros. Without knowing more about the business, there's no way to guess at what his business requirements are.

Re:Are you serious, or just killing time? (4, Insightful)

rantingkitten (938138) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772542)

Do you need a Cisco Catalyst to handle 3 desks on a fairly slow DSL line, who aren't doing outrageous sharing between each other? No.

Sheesh. I wish someone would tell that to our clients. My company provides service to (mostly) small businesses, and half of these little five-man operations have some totally over-engineered Cisco gear acting as their network edge because some smartass, self-styled "IT Guy" told them it was the best. Surprise, he vanishes after plugging it in and collecting his fee, and now the client has all these problems with our SIP service and of course they have no idea how to manage their own equipment, and WE end up looking like jerks because our stuff won't work out of the box with whatever equipment the client has.

Could you do the 3 desk operation with a Linux machine and 4 network cards? Sure. In this example, it's cheaper to pick up a cheap hub, than to take even a salvage machine and put 4 network cards in it.

Here, though, I disagree. At the same company I mentioned, when I joined, we were a three-person operation, and we used a Linux machine with two network cards and a switch as our router. It worked great as we scaled up in staff numbers, particularly when tools like ntop and tcpdump existed to let me see when some joker was ruining it for everyone by torrenting the entire internet. If you never plan to expand, then sure, some cheap little router toy from Dlink or Linksys will do fine, but if you intend to grow, may as well do things right the first time than have to re-engineer your network down the road.

Also, a hub? Who the hell uses hubs anymore? I can't even think of a use for them these days other than packet sniffing, and an inexpensive managed switch will let you do that.

Re:Are you serious, or just killing time? (0)

Dadoo (899435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772772)

If he's only passing 80Mb/s through to his upstream, then hey, go with Linux. If he's passing 800Mb/s, then he needs serious equipment and shouldn't even consider going with a PC based Linux machine.

I'll agree with you, in principle, but not on the numbers. You can get a decent machine (~2GHz, dual-core, 4GB memory) for less than $1000, today. I'd be surprised if that couldn't handle at least 3-4 gigabits, total throughput. Heck, I'm using a 10-year-old, 350Mhz, Pentium 2 workstation as our Internet router, here at work, and the latency it adds to ping times isn't measurable.

Re:Are you serious, or just killing time? (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30773212)

You can get a decent machine (~2GHz, dual-core, 4GB memory) for less than $1000, today. I'd be surprised if that couldn't handle at least 3-4 gigabits, total throughput.

Agreed. I tested a 2GHz single core and reached over 1000Mbps when using pfSense, and that's without optimization.

Unfortunately, with the traffic shaper enabled, pfSense gets only about half the throughput on the same hardware.

Re:Are you serious, or just killing time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30772452)

install Cisco software on a LinkSys router.

As I understand it, Cisco markets consumer grade routers under the LinkSys brand name. The software (and aspects of the hardware) on the consumer products is a crippled version of the commercial products.

See: http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/05/cisco-settles-fsf-gpl-lawsuit-appoints-compliance-officer.ars

m0n0wall is a great BSD distro (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30771436)

I don't understand why Linux is a requirement but the FreeBSD based m0n0wall [m0n0.ch] does a great job for many uses.

Re:m0n0wall is a great BSD distro (3, Interesting)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771816)

I have to agree, although I registered a vote for PFSense above. PFS is based on m0n0wall and both are excellent routers filling slightly different niches. I currently use PFS at home for its packages (freeswitch, squid), but I recently worked for a growing WISP and got them onto m0n0wall, now serving something in the neighbourhood of a thousand customers.

If you want pure simplicity, go m0n0wall. Otherwise, I strongly recommend looking at PFSense for the squid caching and adjust-on-the-fly connection table size.

Be more specific! (2, Interesting)

dokebi (624663) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771464)

Without more performance and cost requirements, it's really hard to figure out what would work for you.

Are your users all in one building? Over a large area? Are you talking about a dozen access points or hundreds?

Without some more specific information, only advice I can give is:
Soekris boxes with FreeBSD.

Good luck.

Re:Be more specific! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772444)

Why would you go with FreeBSD over OpenBSD? It has an older port of pf, and the networking infrastructure in both kernels has changed enough since the port was done that it will be tricky to update the FreeBSD version. The OpenBSD version more than doubled the throughput in Soekris systems since the FreeBSD version was branched.

Re:Be more specific! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30772694)

Supporting several thousand users in a single building? Remind me not to jump off the 34th floor.

Vyatta? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30771484)

I use it, it works really well.

http://www.vyatta.org/

Cisco uBR7111 Universal Broadband Router (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30771534)

http://www.provantage.com/cisco-systems-ubr7111~7CSCR275.htm
up to 2000 users for $8942.32
just buy a couple of them with a bunch of linksys wrt54gl's running tomato or tomatovpn and you will be all set.

Vyatta or pfSense (1)

ipstatic (1367759) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771542)

Vyatta is pretty good, although the firewall rules can get overly verbose quickly. Also pfSense might be good to look at.

Try Vyatta (1, Redundant)

macintard (1270416) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771564)

Re:Try Vyatta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30771780)

Vyatta seem to have a few nice solutions. They can also provide you with the box to run the OS should you prefer that. If you want to try it there's an open source version on their site you can use (you can also use it in production if you want)

Re:Try Vyatta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30771840)

I am running Vyatta and love it. It has a very easy to use CL interface and is very quick and resource light.

Mutually exclusive (2, Insightful)

vawarayer (1035638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771598)

I'm building a Wireless ISP using commercial grade, low cost equipment.

To me, some words in this sentence seem to be mutually exclusive.

To my humble opinion, a good ISP needs to have good reliable equipement. Sometimes, out of the box routers are better because they don't have moving parts and their firmware could be more stable than a full-blown OS (even if it is Linux).

Disclaimer: Not that I don't like Linux, I use it all the time.

Re:Mutually exclusive (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771828)

OpenBSD packet filter supports transparent router redundancy pretty well I think. Used by pretty large corporations.

Re:Mutually exclusive (1)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771832)

No reason a person can't run linux (or a half-dozen other unix-derived router platforms) on good quality, no moving parts hardware.

Re:Mutually exclusive (2, Insightful)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772152)

To my humble opinion, a good ISP needs to have good reliable equipement. Sometimes, out of the box routers are better because they don't have moving parts and their firmware could be more stable than a full-blown OS (even if it is Linux).

If not for this reason, why do you suppose the question got asked?

Re:Mutually exclusive (5, Informative)

Fez (468752) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772622)

You can have low-cost commercial grade services run using off-the-shelf hardware.

pfSense [pfsense.org] includes support for CARP, which lets you build high-availablity failover clusters. You can have two (or three or four...) cheap systems and if one dies, just fix/replace it as needed. The backup system(s) automatically take over and nobody would likely even notice the changeover.

When it's cheap, that is much easier to consider.

If you want no moving parts, you can use an ALIX box, Soekris, or perhaps even some atom-based boards. If you want to use server-grade boxes to make yourself feel warm and fuzzy, you can do that too. Supermicro even has a server-class atom board in a 1U rack which runs pfSense very well for us.

Re:Mutually exclusive (0, Offtopic)

Fez (468752) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772672)

I should add this:

Disclaimer: I am a pfSense developer, documentation writer, and co-author of pfSense: The Definitive Guide [amazon.com] . :-)

Hire someone who knows what they are doing. (1, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771636)

Sorry to be blunt, but you're asking the wrong question.

The proper question is: How do I find someone qualified to do this for me?

The fact that you are asking on slashdot shows that you are not qualified, and what you're going to get back is a bunch of others, who aren't qualified, suggesting all sorts of half assed hacks to do it which will just result in a utterly shitty service overall.

You could get by with this in the late 90s, but when you're going to compete with cell phone companies, cable companies and standard POTS companies, you probably need to have a bit of a clue.

Re:Hire someone who knows what they are doing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30771706)

Sometimes you just have to fake it until you make it... telling them they're unqualified isn't going to help at all: either they already know and don't care, and if they don't know they're too stupid to care what you think. at least they're trying to do things better

Re:Hire someone who knows what they are doing. (2, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771724)

The fact that you are asking on slashdot shows that you are not qualified, and what you're going to get back is a bunch of others, who aren't qualified, suggesting all sorts of half assed hacks to do it which will just result in a utterly shitty service overall.

Dude, don't shit on a well-known slashdot tradition! How dare you!

Re:Hire someone who knows what they are doing. (4, Funny)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771824)

Wait, isn't shitting on topics a well-known slashdot tradition?

Re:Hire someone who knows what they are doing. (2, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771900)

Nobody expects to get shit on!

(To answer your question, yes. Slashdotters shit on anything and everything. We're like a pack of wild pigeons when it comes to that.)

Re:Hire someone who knows what they are doing. (5, Insightful)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771802)

The fact that you are asking on slashdot shows that you are not qualified, and what you're going to get back is a bunch of others, who aren't qualified, suggesting all sorts of half assed hacks to do it which will just result in a utterly shitty service overall.

I disagree. The Open Source community has a thousand hidden gems that a person might not have heard about. Proxmox VE for one: virtualization, with a GUI, with live migration, and if 2.0 turns out, with heartbeat and failover (high availability). Most people have never heard of this where I work even though half the place is virtualized with KVM, VMWare, Hyper-V, etc. I would think the Slashdot, with its plethora of experiences, might come up with a little-known or workable solution in an already developed product that you haven't heard of yet.

Re:Hire someone who knows what they are doing. (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772838)

and if 2.0 turns out

And that, my friends, is the Open Source quote of the day, right there.

Re:Hire someone who knows what they are doing. (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 4 years ago | (#30773122)

Meh. That applies to all software: Microsoft, open source, games, etc. Proxmox has drdb planned for integration in 2.0. That's about it.

Re:Hire someone who knows what they are doing. (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772866)

The Open Source community has a thousand hidden gems that a person might not have heard about.

True. But no "software gem" can do the human-level problem solving their guy needs.

Re:Hire someone who knows what they are doing. (2, Insightful)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772024)

The proper question is: How do I find someone qualified to do this for me?

The problem is, if you ask a Cisco person to do it, you'll get a Cisco solution, even if it isn't the best solution for the task.

Re:Hire someone who knows what they are doing. (3, Informative)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772072)

I think you have a good point, but I don't necessarily agree. First, we don't know what market the submitter plans on operating in or who his clientele are. We don't know what his experience is, how much resources he has, or exactly what level of service he intends to offer. Like the guy who criticized the submitter for refusing to buy a $300k Cisco router, I think you committed a common mistake in thinking that IT is just a series of 1-size-fits-all solutions, and that if you going to use the "right" solution to each problem, you shouldn't bother.

The era of entrepreneurship and hacking things together isn't over, and it probably never will be. Our tools and hacks may become more advanced, but hopefully there will always be people trying out new techniques and business models, testing new start-up technology, and finding different ways of accomplishing the same goals. The answer isn't always to pay an expensive expert or to use established tech.

As for this:

You could get by with this in the late 90s, but when you're going to compete with cell phone companies, cable companies and standard POTS companies, you probably need to have a bit of a clue.

That's true, but neither my phone company nor my cable company provide wireless access where I live. Cell phone companies provide wireless, but it's pretty spotty and slow, and I live in NYC. There are plenty of areas in the US where no service is available except through dialup. Obviously these large companies aren't interested in competing in all markets, so if you come up with a business model and think you can make it work, then I say go for it.

Re:Hire someone who knows what they are doing. (4, Interesting)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772098)

The proper question is: How do I find someone qualified to do this for me?

You mean because he's humble enough to realize he doesn't know every thing, you believe he's unqualified anything. I suggest you look hard in the mirror and read what you just wrote to yourself.

Re:Hire someone who knows what they are doing. (2, Insightful)

TerribleNews (1195393) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772146)

I disagree, wholeheartedly. The secret ingredient to a successful business is elbow grease. The fact that this person has asked slashdot this question is not a good indicator of success one way or the other. The important thing is whether this person will be able to take a significant number of the suggestions provided and give'em the old college try.

Re:Hire someone who knows what they are doing. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30772828)

Have you worked at a cell phone, cable, or standard POTS company lately?
What exactly do you think you are going to get there besides a bunch of unqualified, "half assed hacks to do it which will just result in a utterly shitty service overall."

Besides, many of the folks posting in this thread are probably those same unqualified, half-assed hacks who work at such companies. Corporations don't have any corporate voodoo that makes them special any more than someone working for the government makes them any smarter or able to perform miracles (free healthcare, news cars, and money for everyone, YAY!) Put down the kool-aid and open your eyes.

Few requirements given but... Vyatta? (2, Insightful)

backtick (2376) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771644)

Maybe Vyatta @ http://www.vyatta.org/ [vyatta.org] does what you want. I really don't have any idea what that is from the actual post, tho. You need some routing for thousands of users, and can't afford a Cisco UBR. I'm not sure exactly if you wanted to use the UBR for DOCSIS type support for some reason (a la cable modem) but the fact it'll be wireless leads me to believe it won't be. I'm assuming you don't need a lot of physical ports, just something to manage your VLANS, some routed subnets, a bit of BGP, etc. Maybe XORP is what you want, tho @ http://www.xorp.org/ [xorp.org] so you may want to look there. IHeck, 'm not even sure if you want to take a server with a bunch of PCIe ports and slam multiport switchable fabric cards in there like the ones DSS @ http://www.dssnetworks.com/v3/gigabit_pcie_6468.asp [dssnetworks.com] makes, or do something else. Maybe these links will help, and hopefully there'll be a detailed followup so we can aim at the real target :)

Re:Few requirements given but... Vyatta? (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772758)

Where Cisco is a good value is enterprise licensed switching. You could buy 37XX, 4XXX, or 65XX gear depending on the level of residency you need and do lots of your heavy lifting there; BGP learning and advertisement and port access control and basic ACLs; you might then put some Linux servers behind some of that to do some of the really complex routing jobs (things with lots of rewrites and NAT operations; process authentication information, provide DHCP with dynamic DNS updates etc. You might save some serious scratch over the high end router like hardware from Cisco. It would be worth your time to look at Enterasys and Extreme Networks too. They have pretty competitive product catalogs in terms of features and reliability and its usually a bit cheaper than Cisco, Juniper, and Nortel.

I don't you want to try and run a carrier grade service with just Linux on what I assume is going to be a bunch of x86 boxen (hopefully server class at least). There is just too much to go wrong; I am not saying it does often but this is a job for a thin software stack not a general use OS no matter how good it is.

What on earth are you trying to actually do? (4, Insightful)

sirket (60694) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771646)

Routing and ISP's are huge topics- what are you trying to do?

The main problem with routing isn't bandwidth- anyone can pump enough 1500 or 9000 byte frames per second to fill a gigabit pipe. The problem is when you have lots of small packets. At that point, dedicated routing hardware with a high-speed TCAM becomes really important.

What kind of line cards do you need? ADSL? Ethernet? OC12?

What kind of services do you need to run? BGP? OSPF?

What kind of bandwidth are you going to be pushing?

Not speaking from experience... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30771666)

Maybe this will work for you. On my linux box, I entered `yum search ospf` and it came back with a package called 'quagga'. I did a Google search and found they have a website [quagga.net] . According to the website, they support OSPF and BGP.

Ebay is your friend. (4, Insightful)

jjeffries (17675) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771740)

Start off small. Pick up some used Cisco stuff off Ebay at 1% list. Maybe a 6500 with a couple of SUP2s for your core switch, a couple or four 7200s for the upstreams/customer facing bits. Make lots of money, upgrade to newer stuff as needed.

Re:Ebay is your friend. (1)

gobbligook (465653) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772656)

I second this

Mikrotik (1)

VonSkippy (892467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771770)

You say: " I've used Mikrotik's RouterOS for five years, but it just isn't built for what I need."

What exactly isn't it built for?

Mikrotik has numerous large WISP's (+5000 seats) running on Mikrotik Software and hardware.

Have you contacted Mikrotik's engineers with your "problem"?

Big Sur Wireless (2, Informative)

north.coaster (136450) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771820)

There's a small wireless ISP located in the Big Sur area of California that seems to have been up and running for a few years now. Maybe the OP wants to build a system like Big Sur Wireless [bigsurwireless.com] . Their web site includes a lot of details about their homebrew system.

Re:Big Sur Wireless (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771950)

How do you know the poster isn't from Big Sur Wireless :D

ClearOS (1)

darp (181922) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771854)

I use pfSense and it works reasonably well. I was looking also for something more sophisticated. ClearOS (http://www.clearfoundation.com/) looks like nice judging the screen shots but I haven't had a chance to try it. Did anyone tried ClearOS? feedback?

routing solution (1)

freddieb (537771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771866)

I am not sure what you are asking. I have used a linux or freebsd home router for years. You can configure either rather simply with the information available on the net including firewall filtering. I am sure you could use 1000mb ethernet cards and make a super fast router with either OS. Linux is a little more hardware friendly than freebsd. As others have said, more information on specifics will get you specific answers.

Re:routing solution (1)

Arimus (198136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771906)

Most home hardware will not get you 5 9's availabilty and if the OP is aiming to be an ISP then you need as close to 5 9's as possible.

Re:routing solution (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772190)

Not according to every home ISP ever. I highly doubt comcast and TWC and COX even come close to two nines. Heck, their ntp servers are probably not even one nine.

Re:routing solution (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772210)

I meant dns, I don't think they have customer facing ntp servers at all.

Support? (1)

travisb828 (1002754) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771870)

Part of the reason why you pay for Cisco is for support. If something fails you can get a replacement quick. If you dont mind spending a little more you can get a replacement delivered to you while TAC sits on a bridge with you. You also have the option of delivering it on a silver platter.

Re:Support? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772066)

So take some of the money you save and buy spare whatever you are using. No delivery is faster than one sitting on site in the closet and another at your second site in case of damage to the building.

We have some used cisco stuff and that is what we do. I could get 9 spares with every unit and it would still be cheaper than the retail pricing.

Mesh technology (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30771888)

If your seriously looking at going the ISP level, you shouldn't be messing around with second-hand or non-isp class hardware.

<slashvertisment>

You could always try contacting a company that actually does this for themselves and provides hardware/software for others to do the same thing. I'd -highly- recommend going with a mesh-based technology to add redundancy to your infrastructure. Cambridge Matrix [cambridgematrix.co.uk] has some pretty good kit.

</slashvertisment>

As others have said... (4, Insightful)

KiwiGod (724799) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771936)

What's your interface to the net, line cards, bandwidth expectations, etc. I spent 5 years building a fairly heavy duty wISP network on a stupid low budget from my boss. You can obtain used cisco stuff for cheap. For instance, you can get your hands on a 7206vxr with a NPE-G1 for $10k or less nowadays... If you need something with high redundancy do do less intensive switching, you can pick up a 6509 with a pair of SUP2-MFSC2 cards for less than $2k. As far as support contracts go, I can't imagine that you need the latest and greatest IOS, let alone a support contract that costs more than the replacement of a piece of hardware. On a side note... why are you asking about the uBR series? Are you not running an ethernet network? Last I checked, there's no such thing as "low cost commercial grade." Depending on where you are, unlicensed stuff may not cut it, dealing with interference etc. And licensed hardware is certainly not cheap. With wireless, as well as so many other areas, you get what you pay for.

Are you a business ? (1)

Bork (115412) | more than 4 years ago | (#30771944)

If you are going to be a business, I think your going to need a better business plan first.

It almost feels like you have this great idea but have not sat down and wrote down exactly what you are going to do and how are you going to get there. Talk to the small business administration, they have people there that you should talk to first.

You have selected the hardware before finding the software that will accomplish the task.

OpenBSD 4.7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30772128)

OpenBSD-current is the way to go. Excellent routing performance, very strong BGP and OSPF implementations, and BGP MPLS VPN support is almost complete in current too.

OpenBSD 4.6 has a few significant OSPF bugs that are resolved in current. Also slightly lower routing performance.

What are you trying to do that Mikrotik can't do ?

Clearly no idea what you're talking about (1)

dbarclay10 (70443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772248)

Okay, clearly you have no idea what you're talking about, because a Cisco Universal Broadband Router is a bit of kit used to terminate DOCSIS lines. In other words, it's for cable-modem broadband, not wireless. It would be useless to you.

That said, for others who're reading and who might be interested in some high-end, Linux-based packet-processing kit (because really, the prices Cisco and Juniper and the rest of them charge really are past the ass-raping point of the screw-me spectrum), you could check out Vyatta: http://www.vyatta.com/

Enjoy. HTH.

just a thought (2, Informative)

khelix (987576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30772318)

I did not see anyone suggest http://www.untangle.com/ [untangle.com] . i have only played with it for a short time, but it might be worth checking out!

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30772488)

I'm gonna go with "zeroshell" zeroshell.org. It appears to clearly favor security, configurability and ease of use. Additionally, the developers have a clear understanding of networks and what is really necessary to get things done.

I vote for IPCop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30772980)

http://ipcop.org

Go 2nd Hand Cisco (1)

Niobe (941496) | more than 4 years ago | (#30773076)

Why bother with a high-maintainance OS system for a router?? Just buy a refurbed Cisco from a reseller. You won't get support from Cisco but you can buy the router and a spare second-hand for 5% of the original cost.

OBSD or pfSense (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30773148)

My history is: started on OBSD (due to hardware support, ironically); played w/ FBSD; ended up on pfSense.

My observations:
OBSD is absurdly security conscious... for ISPs especially, this is a good thing.
OBSD tends to have a lot of focus on new network features (pf, carp)
most OBSD features get ported to FBSD... but take time (look into carpdev)

pfSense (built on FBSD) has some overhead vs FBSD raw (obviously), but has *nice* management UI, package support, etc
customizations are easy for pfSense (I added some features to dhcpd a while back)... easier than generating the diff and submitting it ;)
pfSense is more focused on network features (they're working on fixing carpdev for FBSD)

I like pfSense a lot... I use it for routing between ~6 VLANs, IPSec tunnels with another pfSense, PPTP server, *tight* firewall rules (given 6 VLANs).

pfSense 2 will be adding a lot of nice features for businesses (multiple admin accounts, different permission levels, etc)

Vyatta (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30773152)

What about Vyatta? It's a good router based on linux and you can install it on any old box you want or buy their hardware for it. Even has a cisco like interface if you want.

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