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FreeBSD Based Gaming Router

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the special-purposes dept.

Networking 240

Zaphoid writes "Lan Game Reviews has posted an article on how to use an old computer and FreeBSD distro m0n0wall to create a gaming router. Gaming routers allow users to use their full bandwidth for downloads and other high bandwidth apps, and low latency applications at the same time. By keeping packet queues on the router side, rather than the modem side. Users are able to achive great pings in online games, while fully using their download bandwidth. This is a great alternitive to expensive gaming routers on the market today."

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Double standard (3, Interesting)

xintegerx (557455) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210822)

"This is a great alternitive to expensive gaming routers on the market today."

Yes, this is exactly what the gaming world has been waiting for. The funny thing is that when somebody tries to create a product that is designed for USERS, they complain. However, when you design something so obscure out of your own whim that might never be used by anybody else, that is considered cool. Discuss. :)

Re:Double standard (5, Informative)

KnightMB (823876) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210852)

Gaming routers are under $100, so unless you already have an old PC, it's cheaper just to get the gaming router and not have to worry about building your own. Plus, what about wireless access? That seems to come with every gaming router today, so even the hardware cost kind of outweigh this approach. I'll stick with my D-Link DGL-4300 router, it's small, uses less power, no noise, has wireless access, and a ton of other features that I'll never use.

Re:Double standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13211115)

Gaming routers or any *home* routers, have very slow processors, little memory, etc. A $100 pentium 2 with decent NICs will drastically outpreform that mass produced garbage, as a side benefit you get better firewall PF (by using freebsd), better queueing, you can do caching, (dns and or http), etc.

Re:Double standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13211144)

lol what? a simple home router doesn't need that horsepower or memory. we're talking about very meager amounts of data, very little CPU usage, and very little buffering.

what do you think your $100 pentium II machine is? its mass produced too.

considering that linksys routers run Linux, there isn't anything you can't do with one of those that you could do with your stupid electricity hog, in terms of routing.

Re:Double standard (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211209)

switching from my linksys router to ipcop gained me about 100kbps in my downloads.

Re:Double standard (1)

Kiaser Wilhelm II (902309) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211228)

could you be a little bit more specific about your hardware and connection? i've used linksys routers in many different setups and I always saturate the connection

Re:Double standard (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13211305)

>lol what? a simple home router doesn't need that horsepower or memory.

Evidently they do or there wouldnt be much of a market for higher preformance gaming routers with 200mhz processors and 32MB of ram ....

>we're talking about very meager amounts of data, very little CPU usage, and very little buffering.

You're deluding yourself, pushing the amount of packets you can over a decent broadband connection preforming address translation, and any kind of moderatly sophisticated firewalling or queueing is pretty intensive, the load can be minimized by using ASICs (and in the future linksys being now a subsidary of CISCO we may see this) but were talking a commodity embeded processor, and not very fast ones at that (the gaming routers are of course better but still no match for a full blown microprocessor)

>what do you think your $100 pentium II machine is? its mass produced too.
Sure its mass produced that was a poor selection of words on my part, its not an *emebeded* microprocessor though, with lower clock speeds, less cache, granted they are optimized for lower power consumption and heat there is no such thing as a free lunch.

>considering that linksys routers run Linux, there isn't anything you can't do with one of those that you could do with your stupid electricity hog, in terms of routing.

You can install a harddrive ? or do you like burning out flash drives/cards quickly ? I speciffically mentioned caching ... lots of writes. And TFA is about FreeBSD, linux in my experiance has subpar firewalling and queuing features see: []

I use what was at some point a HP pavillion with a
second generation celeron, running @ 500mhz with 256mb of ram saved from the trash (free) and a couple of intel 10/100 nics.($0.99 on ebay, shipping was $8) It has a 100 watt power supply, the chip has no fan on the heat sink the tiny power supply fan keeps it very cool, it has a harddrive a 4500rpm plain old ide harddrive. I would be willing to wager that it draws only slightly more power than one of those linksys gamming routers, and is at least twice as fast to boot. We have 5 very heavy computer users sharing a standard cable link, not once has anyone complained about slowness, even with 3 of them playing MMORPGs and two of those same idiots also using various P2P apps.

Re:Double standard (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13210864)


You are a trolling moron.

End of discussion.

Re:Double standard (0)

kc32 (879357) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210947)

It's because you're more "l33t" if you built your own router yourself.

Maybe it's just for fun. And it's cheaper. (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211157)

I don't know about "l33t" but I think it's fun doing these things, and it can save you some money if you have the extra hardware and you could really use the features that are normally found in more expensive "pre-made" solutions.

Hacker Mindset (3, Insightful)

James_Aguilar (890772) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210980)

Part of the hacker mindset is a love of tinkering -- the fantastic knowledge that you don't need anyone's help to create, to build, to acheive, to overcome. That with that computer that was going to be in the dumpster, you can now do something cool, regardless of the fact that it might take you longer to do it.

You have a point, but the problem is that it strikes at a target that doesn't really exist. The point of Slashdot isn't to advertise every new technology that comes out, but to advertise what is interesting to its readership. Given that a lot of us a predisposed to hacking and wonderful stuff like that, it makes sense that this should be posted here.

FTR, though, I don't think you're a troll.

Re:Hacker Mindset (1)

aklix (801048) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211206)

Computer in the dumpster?! I don't know where you get such crazy ideas.

Re:Hacker Mindset (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13211259)

maybe its an idea for a new casemod.

HMmmmm (1)

rerunn (181278) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210829)

So... a person that really has a need for such a 'gaming router' is just gonna pick up bunch of parts and slap a freebsd box together.

Yhea right! ;)

Save themselves and their techy friends some trouble and have them go buy that router :)

Re:HMmmmm (1)

Wolfrider (856) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211161)

Have you actually read the article? They're using m0n0wall - self-contained bootable CD.

Actually this may be a good idea to implement for my brother, who's always complaining his Xbox Live sessions are interrupted by my downloads. And it so happens I have an old P166 Laptop that has 2 PCMCIA slots, and 2 NICs...

Re:HMmmmm (1)

pdehn (831784) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211181)

I see two problems with what you've said. First, there are gamers with sufficient knowledge to do this - in fact, a fair portion of gamers are rather knowledgable about computers (many of them are the 'techy friend' to other people). And second, there are plenty of other places such a router could be very useful - games aren't the only thing that benefit from low latency...

Linksys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13210832)

Can't a Linksys WRT54G do the same thing.. install third-party firmware and you can do even more! .e.d.

Re:Linksys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13210903)

Yea, I think that would be a much more valid solution. With this solution you can do many other things, and without having to use a full-blown PC.

Re:Linksys? (2, Informative)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211019)

Cut and pasted from my Linksys WRT54GS under the QoS tab

Two types of Quality of Service features are available, Wired QoS which controls devices plugged in to the router with a Ethernet cable, and Wireless QoS, which control devices that are wirelessly connected to the router.

Wired QoS

Device Priority : You may specify priority for all traffic from a device on your network by giving the device a Device Name, specifying priority and entering its MAC address.

Ethernet Port Priority : You may control your data rate according to which physical LAN port your device is plugged into. You may assign High or Low priority to data traffic from devices connected on LAN ports 1 through 4.

Application Priority : You may control your data rate with respect to the application that is consuming bandwidth. Check Optimize Gaming Applications to automatically allow common game application ports to have a higher priority. You may customize up to eight applications by entering the port number they use.

Wireless QoS

Wireless QoS is also referred to as Wi-Fi MultiMediaTM (WMM) by the Wi-Fi AllianceTM. Select Enable to utilize WMM if you are using other wireless devices that are also WMM certified.

No Acknowledgement : Enable this option if you would like to disable acknowledgement. If this option is enabled, the router will not re-send data if an error occurs.

About "Application Priority" (1)

Trejkaz (615352) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211275)

Suppose I want to set BitTorrent to a lower priority, which is what I've done on my router, for obvious reasons that BitTorrent can really hose a connection.

What I want to know is simply, how does the router know it's BitTorrent?

If it determines it purely based off the port, then it's a joke. Many trackers these days refuse my connection if I use the standard ports, so I'm forced to change them. However, if it actually does it by watching the start of the protocol, it might be able to detect applications based on the magic numbers in the protocol.

I've just always wondered which it is, because they never seem to explain things like "Application Priority" in the manual.

Re:Linksys? (1)

fsterman (519061) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211023)

Yes, you can. But the Linksys can be underpowered. You could also theoretically use this PC for other tasks, mom's/roomate/kid/girlfriends email machine, have it as an OpenMosix station, a server, etc. Also a lot of people have an old PC around, and for 15 bucks (cost of additional ethernet card) you can have a router.

Re:Linksys? (2, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211056)

Both the v1.0 and v1.1 WRT54G routers have 16MB of RAM and a MIPS processor running at 125Mhz. The v2.0 of the same router has the 200Mhz CPU.

If you have a WRT54GS, it comes backed with 32MB of RAM and a 200Mhz CPU also. That's some beefy hardware for just routing alone! Even better, these routers run on a version of Linux. The source code is available from Linksys for free.

Screw having another bulky PC laying around. You can have my Linksys when you pry it from my dead cold hands!

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13210839)

first post, fuck you dkuntz!

-MikeTROLL thanks you for your time!

obligatory... (0, Troll)

c0defiant (763041) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210842)

but does it run linux?

Re:obligatory... (1)

SCVirus (774240) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210860)

Does a generic old machine run linux. In case you didn't notice... people only use that stock comment when the topic involves specific hardware-- NOT an application for generically out of date hardware.

Re:obligatory... (1)

c0defiant (763041) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210896)

... or when mocking the meme. Did you really think I was asking "Does this BSD router run Linux?" Of course it can, but pointless to the article. But can I do this without flaming? Of course I can but that's no fun. Twit.

Re:obligatory... (1)

SCVirus (774240) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210974)

That made no sense...
"or when mocking the meme"

has no meaning, then your next sentence:
"but pointless to the article.
was my point, you comment was pointless... and a retarded/redundant question....
But can I do this without flaming? Of course I can but that's no fun."

also makes no sense... so you agree your a retard and you also think your comment was offtopic and now your trying to figure out how to say that in proper english without flaming? Then you go on to say i'm a 'twit'... wow you can't even babble incoherently without flaming.

Re:obligatory... (1)

vmfedor (586158) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211250)

It's OK, man. Linux will be there when you don't have friends any more!

Because you're a complete dickhead.

Re:obligatory... (1)

nottestuser (166818) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210867)

No but IPCop does and it has traffic shaping as well. As do a number of the firewall distros based on both Linux and *BSD.

As usual, the more you know* the more fun you can have.

* Substitute "have" at your discretion.

FreeBSD? (4, Funny)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210843)

Interesting, but I don't know how well this is going to work, given FreeBSD's crappy TCP-IP stack [] . ^_^

Re:FreeBSD? (1)

ArbitraryConstant (763964) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210856)

It uses the firewall, which won't even touch the network stack.

wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13211039)

dont use big words like firewall and network stack when you dont know what they mean.

Re:wtf? (1)

ArbitraryConstant (763964) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211093)

On BSD, NAT lives in the firewall and that doesn't use the network stack.

Re:wtf? (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211125)

NATing is only part of the issue, not the whole thing, you still have the TCP/IP traffic to deal with so that packets get TO the game. If you RTFA this "game router" is really only adding traffic shaping/prioritization, which is something a middle of the road router can do anyway in FIRMWARE which will be lots faster than that software. Also you have to use good NICs (more $$$) on the old PC, which if it is an ISA bus PC good luck finding them, and if you find then you still got a 66MHz backplane in that old Pentium. There are lots of complexities here, it's not something your average gamer is going to build. Maybe a network guy who is also a gamer would do it, but it's not an entry level project. Like someone else said, spend the money and get something built for the purpose you will be happier.

Firmware? 66Mhz? (2, Informative)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211221)

You do realize that firmware is just software on embedded devices? It's usually stored in some sort of non-volatile memory. This doesn't make it any faster then software stuck on a hard or floppy disk.

And That Old Pentium's 66Mhz backplane is so much more then enough to push around a cablemodem's maximum throughput.

If you actually read the article, you'd see that this is a distribution of one of the BSD's that is trimmed down and web-interfacified making it extremely easy to install and configure. Install two network cards, load up the CD, and you're pretty much good to go. I don't think installing some network cards is a big deal for a lot of gamers that build their own machines.

Re:wtf? (2, Interesting)

Covener (32114) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211245)

f you RTFA this "game router" is really only adding traffic shaping/prioritization, which is something a middle of the road router can do anyway in FIRMWARE which will be lots faster than that software.

Your typical cable routers "firmware" is either pf/netfilter or something very similiar, and isn't imparted any speedup.

If your box did something like l7-filter in hardware, then you'd have an argument...

Re:wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13211126)

And I assume the network packets this box is routing doesn't use the network stack either?

Easier... (2, Interesting)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210853)

You can do this with a wrt54g and the sveasoft firmware, too. I prefer that way, so you don't have to worry about another machine that sucks a lot of power lying about. IIRC, you can get the sveasoft firmware at alternate locations, just google for it. I broke down and bought it ($20/year), and got my money's worth.
You might even be able to do it with the free wrt54g firmware, openwrt, but I've never tried it.
This little box is extemely reliable, has very low power consumption, it's cheap and it's small. Plus, it does wireless (WPA, etc).

Re:Easier... (1)

slthytove (771782) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210877)

I just picked a WRT54G up for myself ($50 post-rebates, I guess they've been down to $40, but I was feeling impulsive and didn't feel like waiting). While I haven't gotten a chance to play with it much yet, it seems like it can do all the stuff that these so-called gaming routers are able to do, and much more... OpenWRT looks quite promising.

Re:Easier... (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210920)

Slashdot's own TheIndividual [] makes Sveasoft firmware widely available for all. Please, don't give the Sveasoft criminals any more money.

DD-WRT [] is most likely a much better choice; the new R23 will blow away Sveasoft's crap.

Re:Easier... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13211021)

Yeah, because like Movies, Music, and Software, it doesn't matter how much effort put into a product, it magically deserves to be delivered at no cost.

Re:Easier... (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211054)

No. You may want to read this page [] -- Sveasoft actively attempts to prevent distribution of software that is licensed under the GNU General Public License. (There are other similar stories out there.)

Also, based on the quality of Sveasoft releases (or lack thereof), I don't think they deserve the money, especially when there are freely distributed products that are more featureful.

Re:Easier... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13211105)

The following packages included in the Sveasoft firmware are not licensed under the GPL or LGPL and are not subject to GPL license restrictions: src/router/cron - cron daemon src/router/dropbear - SSH client and server src/router/httpd - web server daemon src/router/libnet - network access library src/router/libpcap - network filter library src/router/misc - root fs setup scripts src/router/nas - 802.1x/WPA utility src/router/netconf - network configuration utility src/router/nvram - flash nvram parameter utilities src/router/openssl - SSL and crypto library and utilities src/router/pipsec - ipsec utilities usr/src/pppd - ppp daemon, plugins, and utilities src/router/pppdump - ppp monitoring utility src/router/pppoecd - PPPoE daemon src/router/pppstats - ppp statistics utility src/router/pppd - additional pppd daemon src/router/radvd - IPv6 routing daemon src/router/rc - router control daemon and utilities src/router/rflow - remote ntop rflow monitor src/router/shared - shared libraries for router httpd daemon, utilities src/router/snmp - SNMP daemon and utilities src/router/utils - router utilities for wireless and ethernet control src/router/wlconf - wireless control and initialization utility src/router/www - html, css, javascript, images for web control src/router/rts - CRC utility src/router/tools - upnp, firmware packaging, and misc tools These portions are not distributable for any Sveasoft firmware not specically marked as a public release.

Re:Easier... (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211033)

You can buy a 'subscription' to their 'members-only' forum for $.01 . . . dunno if they fixed that yet or not :)

Re:Easier... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13211234)

Latest wrt54g firmware has a QoS (Quality of Service) Setting. Just give your game machine priority. This was one of Svea's selling points, now you get it for free.

Great alternitive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13210854)

That's an great alternitive spelling of alternative.

Gaming routers look pretty small, quiet and cheap (5, Interesting)

putko (753330) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210863)

Such routers seem to be under $100. btnG=Search+Froogle []

I don't see how a loud, hot old PC is necessarily better. And if you want an embedded system, those are normally quite pricey.

I'm not convinced that using an old PC is the best way to go here. Hacking a WRT* might seem more reasonable -- but a lot trickier.

I really don't like having lots of big boxes around, humming. But then I don't like games either.

Re:Gaming routers look pretty small, quiet and che (3, Insightful)

c0defiant (763041) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210943)

I don't see how a loud, hot old PC is necessarily better.

Not to mention power consumption is certainly worse.

Re:Gaming routers look pretty small, quiet and che (1)

putko (753330) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211230)

Now that I think of it, my modem/firewall generates neglible heat. The damn PC -- way too much.

My goddamn PC is too hot already. When I turn on the other ones in the same room, it gets very warm. So I put one out in the hall if I need it.

That's plain annoying. I'd love to have more hardware, but the heat it generates drives me up the wall. Even in Winter I just don't want so much heat.

If I'm going to have a machine on, I want it doing work that is proportional to the heat it generates. An ARM-based router, even if it costs money, is probably worth it in this regard.

Re:Gaming routers look pretty small, quiet and che (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211201)

Remember back when Tom's Hardware pulled off the heatsink from a Pentium 4 CPU while it was running? The CPU scaled back its clock automatically. Up against the Athlon, well, the Athlon fried. Of course, there were several things wrong with using the results to judge the CPU's that were subsequently pointed out, but that's really another story.

If someone had an older, slower P4 lying around collecting dust, it could serve the function of a silent router with no noise at all. I don't suggest running the P4 without a heatsink; only the CPU and case fans would have to be removed or disconnected from the system for a silent PC. The only other moving part would be the hard disk, which isn't particularly loud, though the end results really depend on the drive and the case.

The advantage of a "gaming" router over such a setup would be ease of setup and probably the smaller physical size of the router. But, gamers constantly upgrade their PC's (I was one myself back some time ago), and it wouldn't be too surprising if they did have a P4 sitting around collecting dust. Then again, since gamers tend to spend in the hundreds yearly on upgrades, what's another hundred dollars?

Re:Gaming routers look pretty small, quiet and che (1)

wizrd_nml (661928) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211335)

Agreed that a loud PC isn't a welcome addition to any room. However an old laptop works perfectly for things like this. You can get one for dirt cheap if you do a search for those with cracked displays.

Re:Gaming routers look pretty small, quiet and che (1)

ChefJosh (654291) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211358)

If you don't want a loud, hot old PC around, simply run m0n0wall on an embedded platform. I feel that's really what it was designed for. Grab a WRAP board with a power supply and case for under $200US. Write the version of m0n0wall specifically developed for the WRAP board onto an old 16MB compactflash card, plug it in, and you've got a commercial-grade router that will support two subnets that does things a $100 "gaming router" can't touch. Completely silent, smaller than any Linksys. If you must use generic PC parts, buy an $8 compactflash-to-ide adapter to boot the system off of and skip the CD-ROM and floppy ordeal. The whole configuration saves as a single XML file so if hardware ever breaks you can boot m0n0wall off another pile of generic parts, upload the XML file, and you're back up. Yeah, its more expensive, but a true geek will appreciate all the extra features. m0n0wall can do some really cool stuff for it's size and friendlyness. I've dumped Cisco for all my small-to-medium sized network setups in favor of m0n0wall and haven't looked back.

Unlikely use of time and effort, better solutions. (4, Insightful)

Sv-Manowar (772313) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210865)

Gamers aren't likely to spend time they could be gaming with installing, configuring and maintaining a router setup. It's far more sensible, in today's age of commodity broadband routers, to pick up a Linksys WRT54G or similar from a local supplier and use that instead, a simple and out-of-the box solution that should require fairly little maintainance after installation and won't require an entire machine sitting humming away in the corner just to route packets. The WRT54G specifically makes a great case for this, because it can be flashed with different open source firmware to improve its flexibility and stability.

In other situations, the dedicated machine would probably have a numerous array of other uses, making it a more useful overall package, but since this article focuses on gaming the box running FreeBSD is unlikely to be able to be used for gameplay, so its pretty much relegated to packet routing and other miscellaneous duties. That, to me, seems like a complete waste in this instance

Re:Unlikely use of time and effort, better solutio (1)

datafr0g (831498) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211042)

I agree - for the majority of gamers.

But then, they probably wouldn't be reading Slashdot or have an old PC and a couple of NIC cards lying around.

Enter the slashdot geek!
Gamers who read slashdot are probably more interested in alternative OS's than the mainstream and want to learn something that helps them with their gaming hobby - plus they should have the parts already and be comfortable setting it all up from a hardware perspective. It's a good guide for those who game and have an interest in OS's other than Windows.

Re:Unlikely use of time and effort, better solutio (1)

mrbcs (737902) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211095)

I'd do it if it would actually allow me to play online games again. I hate anything from Linksys but my latency is so horrible I can't play anything online anymore ;-(

Re:Unlikely use of time and effort, better solutio (2, Funny)

muzzmac (554127) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211366)

I'm a bone arsed lazy WRT54G owner. Can you show me where to get firmware to do this? :-)

Good , but at a cost (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13210871)

I have played implmenting packet priortization in the same method they use on here (except on linux using dsl_qos_queue -

It works great but there is one major disadvantage. In order to have the queue on your side work, you must lower your upstream so that there is no buffering/queueing happening on your ISP's side.

This is a problem becase it is that exact ISP buffering that allows you achieve higher upstream transfer rates. In my case (768 Kbs up), I lowered my maximum upstream from close to 80k to closer to 70k in order to reduce the ISP's sides queueing.

I still have the system in place beacause it effectively allows my to be using alot of upstream bandwdith and still have fast download (and SSH console echos!). I sure would like to get that extra 10k back though ...

pf.conf ruleset (1)

swilly2006 (845163) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210879)

Does anyone know where one might find a copy of exactly how the router goes about queueing the packets?

I for one run an openbsd router, and I bet many others that run pf as their router firewall would be curious to see the specific rules that are coming into play.

I have queueing somewhat set up now, but I would like to see a professionally done example.

Re:pf.conf ruleset (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13211050) []

That should do it. I've been using ack prioritization since a couple months after the artitcle was released. I've noticed recently that I still get good pings when torrenting and playing RTCW:ET.

Have fun.

Beware TPB

Re:pf.conf ruleset (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13211075)

pf can do this very very well.
i dont know example links, but let me give you some pointers.

think about the type of traffic thats bad for gaming and the type thats good.

make a queue for ack packets and traffic to known ports for your games, and give it higher priority, and then make a queue for ftp/bit torrent/http,etc and give it low priority.

if you google you can find info on ports that games like wow/counterstrike/doom/quake/etc use and play with it a bit.

also, make a queue for your gaming machine and give that top priority if that applies to you.

good luck hope this helps.

This is news? (1)

Ryan Amos (16972) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210891)

I made a QoS Linux router two years ago; it's nothing special. Just set a bandwidth restriction via iptables on your net connection slightly lower than the max. Then use some sort of QoS scheme to prioritize certain packets in the internal queue. There are plenty of howtos and pre-rolled scripts for this; if you're operating a Linux router then you probably already have the tools (maybe you'll have to recompile a kernel if you're using an old kernel.) FYI this system made a business cable connection work in a house of 31 college students, so speed isn't a problem.

Re:This is news? (1)

yamum (893083) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210946)

Uhm... I know I was skint when I was going to university but I don't think we ever tried getting > 10 people in our house, even if the rent ended up $15/week.

Re:This is news? (1)

billdar (595311) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211307)

our fraternity house easily supported 40 in 25 rooms... shared a single dsl line (1.5Mb/356k).

Thats how I was introduced to linux, needed a gateway I could manage so 20+ napster lovers didn't interfear with my counterstrike...

Wow. That sounds. Really interesting. (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210918)

Gaming routers allow users to use their full bandwidth for downloads and other high bandwidth apps, and low latency applications at the same time. By keeping packet queues on the router side, rather than the modem side. Users are able to achive great pings in online games, while fully using their download bandwidth. This is a great alternitive to expensive gaming routers on the market today.
Paying no mind to grammar and spelling of the original post (go /. editors!), and the ever-present-death and cheezy TCP/IP stack of BSD, the article was interesting. I wasn't even aware that "expensive gaming routers" - or a need for them - existed, but I expect this sort of thing would be handy at work, since we've only got a fractional T1.

Ok, so maybe it's only interesting because I'm sitting up on a Sunday night reading /., but at least it might give me the opportunity to put that old P233 in the corner to some use when my next router dies.

smokin' (0, Troll)

milktoastman (572643) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210954)

Now now now, baby marie! Look who came in from the real world to express my enthusiasms for game routers (me). This is a story about games, so don't get so serious. I just wanna have fun with game routers...and have fun chattin' up about game routers, so don't let my tone get you all bliched up at me like it has before. Now, I don't think I can afford one of these. Sue me. I'm sorry you can't use my house for a fun zone. Get off my case, samson. Just let me go to sleep...the long sleep...the permanent the game, I mean. I'm happy with my life, Shambler.

Re:smokin' (1)

william_w_bush (817571) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211137)

mmmmm, crack /drool

m0n0wall (4, Informative)

tymbow (725036) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210964)

Guys (and the few but very welcome gals), before we all start flaming about how hard it is to set up OpenBSD/FreeBSD and a firewall for a newbie, please take a look at the m0n0wall site. m0n0wall is completely self contained and is very easy to set up. It is completely web interface driven and is managed in much the same way as a consumer broadband router is. m0n0wall is, in my humble opinion having used it for a number of years and loveing it, and excellent firewall product and is very capable. If you have not seen it, grab a copy and have a look. Cheers, Tim.

Yes but there are some problems (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211088)

I got an embedded device to run m0n0wall on. A friend convinced me because the feature set was better than even Cisco's PIX firewalls, and the hardware was less than a PIX 501, even with my discount. The one thing it has that I really wanted was filtered bridging.

Ok so get the m0n0wall, set it up and it's golden... Sorta. Everything works great but every few days it crashes. Just stops passing packets and responding to input, needs a reboot. Ok so I take the web servers out from behind it until I can work it out. And it stops crashing. Hmmmmm.

I do more testing and it seems to have to do with the number of sessions it gets. I can do as much bandwidth as I like, no problem, but if I do a lot of sessions, it'll go down. P2P apps bring it down fast, the web servers slower, but still happens after a few days. New betas do nothing.

Ok, fine so it has another mode that will work, 1:1 NAT. So I set that up for my computer. Well I can get out to any system on my network, but outside the m0n0wall, but not to the Internet, nothing is being passed to the gateway. I try and try and can't solve it. So I get the guy who recommended it to come help me, maybe I'm doing something stupid. He works on it for about 2 hours, to no avail, same problem I had.

So it seems that the m0n0wall has some major bugs. Things like filtered bridging are listed as "advanced features" and "unsupported" which apparantly means "They have bugs that we can't figure out, so we are going to blame it on you."

Now, not saying it doesn't have it's uses. My friend uses it to do NAT and traffic shaping, which it seems to do very well. However don't be fooled by it's feature list, not everything works as it should.

So I'd recommend it for situations where you have one IP and want NAT + more features, but I'd recommend against it for server firewall duty. Bite the bullet and get a PIX or Netscreen. They do have less features and cost more, but all the features work as they should.

No content article, why posted? (2, Insightful)

batkiwi (137781) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210966)

Basically it tells you to install m0n0wall, activate the shaper, and they'll post again sometime on how to make rules for specific games.

Why was this posted now, instead of in a few weeks when there's some actual content?

distro? (2, Funny)

becauseiamgod (559722) | more than 9 years ago | (#13210989)

argh reading "FreeBSD distro" sounded so, so wrong to me.

This might be too much to ask. (0, Troll)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211002)

Did the $0 solution of turning off the warez while you play become some sort of lost art?

I need some info (1)

doc modulo (568776) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211005)

I'm going to set up a traffic shaping firewall with (OpenBSD's) "pf" on FreeBSD to prevent having to slap my kid brother when he wants to download something his MSN friends want him to download.

I'm guessing that building my own rules for pf will teach me the most.

Of course I'm going to do my own research but I think it's only smart to ask experts for advice as well.

My question, how does the traffic shaper choose which packets to prioritize? Of course UDP will be put at the front of the queue and TCP will be kicked to the back but are there any other ways of recognizing game packets besides port? Size or some other properties? Do P2P apps (eMule) use TCP or UDP? I really don't want to fuck around port numbers every time a new game comes out, aren't there better ways, like not promoting game packets but demoting all other kinds of known ping killers. Something that analyzes other qualities of packets, like content?

Also, does anybody have a link for pf rules that implement weighted fair queueing? To be clear, I mean that if 3 PC's use internet, the DSL line will be divided by 3. If only 1 PC uses it, it will get all of the bandwith.

Help a fella out would ya? If not for me, do it for my little bro.

And of course I'll read the pf manual. Thanks in advance.

benchmarks please?? (1)

Dr Kool, PhD (173800) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211015)

I have a hard time believing that using a PC to do routing will be faster than using custom hardware.

Re:benchmarks please?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13211132)

although custom os/hardware like that found in a cisco will definately get you more bang for your cpu, the fact that even old crappy pc cpus are often more than 10-20x faster than the cpus in the off the shelf routers, you can be sure that using a pc is a HELL of a lot faster.

if done right a $500 openbsd box can route as fast as a $10,000 router.

Re:benchmarks please?? (2, Informative)

Kiaser Wilhelm II (902309) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211203)

i doubt it. really expensive routers have custom ASICs that are designed specifically for ROUTING. the latency of your PC box router vs a real Cisco or Juniper router will be noticed when you put it into production in a major backbone.

there is a reason why these companies put R&D effort into making custom hardware for routers.. just becuase you can do the same functions in software doesn't mean its just as good.

Re:benchmarks please?? (3, Informative)

YCrCb (707622) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211249)

T-3 at work. Shared among 3 sites. No special queue or anything else. 37Mb/s for 28 minutes.
Router is FreeBSD 4.11, PIII 450 with 2 3COM 3C905B's Around 1100 lines in ipf rule set. Not very well optimized, I have 1 group. I have NAT enabled, but this is not using NAT.

Does this help for some numbers?

Spare parts router (1)

stevebenson (904032) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211071)

To be honest with yo uI would rather just by a new router then biuld an out of date and slow router.Cool article I guess if your in needof one and dont have the cash but have the parts. Anyways was wondering what else you knew how to biuld from spare parts it still makes my stomach feel like I got butterflies in it knowing that America sent a man to the moon with less power then my xbox just always makes me think what else can be done instead of trahing the old system

Gaming router?!? (1)

tonsofpcs (687961) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211081)

Wow! Finally! Just what I always wanted! A router that can play games!

Oh, and why do they suggest a hub? That ruins the point of a good router. Get a switch.

Why not use a switch? (2, Informative)

raistphrk (203742) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211087)

While I'm all about the FreeBSD solution here (m0n0wall is a great package), the idea of using a hub instead of a switch is just asinine. In a gaming environment, where bandwidth is critical and having delays in play can make the difference between a frag and getting fragged, having seperate collision domains is a must. A gaming network should use switches to ensure that collisions won't affect gameplay.

Re:Why not use a switch? (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211138)

There is a small yet vocal group of idiots who have convinced themselves that hubs have lower latency than switches. Good luck trying to convince them otherwise.

hubs are faster (1)

jmilezy (904134) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211317)

Hubs do have a lower latency than switches. If you're familiar with the OSI model, you'll find out that a hub is a Layer 1 Device that deals with simply 0s and 1s. A switch is a Layer 2 Device that deals with hex MAC addresses. The simple fact that a hub does not have to look up a switch port address in the CAM (content addressable memory) table to decide what port to forward a frame makes it much faster than a hub. By design, hubs are technically faster than switches. At the same time, for a large number of PCs (over 25~) or so switches are faster because they will prevent network collisions due to the fact that switches seperate collision domains and hubs do not, in that respect. Seperate collision domains will drastically lower the rate at which a NIC will need to run the CSMA/CD back off algorithum when it sees that another NIC is trying to transmit data on the wire. CSMA/CD back off algorithum selects a random number of milliseconds for the NIC to attempt a retry to send its data.

One more thing.. (1)

jmilezy (904134) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211333)

Also, switches typically use methods to check for frame errors. "Cut Through" and "Store and forward" will be typical switch forward methods. I believe there is one more, but I can't remember it off the top of my head. Store and Forward will check the CRC section of the frame for errors which slows switches down even further than hubs. Cut Through does no checking of the CRC for frame errors.

Re:Why not use a switch? (1)

mewphobia (630153) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211340)

A switch is just a switched hub. It doesn't matter if you use a switch, they are just stating minimum requirments for this thing to be useful. Sure, a switch would be better, but if you're sharing a connection around the home, and your packets are being prioritized, it doesn't make much a difference.

BSD is dying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13211098) be used by gamers!

Two items (1)

chriso11 (254041) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211142)

I was wondering about using 2 USB thumbdrives instead of a cd/floppy combo. Simply put one drive in write protect, and store the config on it. The second thumbdrive could be used for logging purposes.

I also wonder what would be a low power (in Watts) video card to use. I couldn't find anything on google in a brief search.

fai7zor5 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13211169)

didn't know that I had a gaming router (3, Interesting)

bullterror (412884) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211173)

I've been using monowall for probably almost a year now, for a couple different routers. Here's why I like it. Put 3 net cards in a computer. 1 for the diesel modem, 1 for the LAN, and one for the wireless access point. Block all traffic from wireless to LAN, and then allow only VPN traffic in. You have free unencrypted wi-fi for friends and neighbors, and encryption for yourself far superior to WEP.

I hope he's better at programming then at hardware (2, Informative)

Pollux (102520) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211222)

For this project, I recommend no less than a 486DX2 133Mhz processor with 64 megs of ram

Because there sure is a lot wrong with asking for a 486 DX2 133MHz. Ain't no such thing exist.

First, saying that the chip is a DX2 implies that the motherboard opperated at a 66MHz bus speed, which no 486 had the blessing to experience (66MHz bus speeds didn't happen until the Pentium line). The 2 in DX2 implied that the CPU operated at a frequency twice that of the bus speed (DX2 66MHz = 33MHz bus speed). There were certainly DX4s though, where the CPU frequency was 3x that of the bus speed (why it wasn't the DX3, I don't know). DX4 75MHz (25 MHz bus) and 100MHz (33MHz bus).

Second, the only chip manufacturer ever to release a 133MHz 486 processor was AMD (a true DX4, 33MHz x 4), and by that time, but the Pentium left all 486s in their dust. There was no market for it, and it was laid out to pasture. I doubt anybody still has one running. Well, perhaps except for these guys [] .

Re:I hope he's better at programming then at hardw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13211267)

Dude, chill out. It will serve you well.

Re: AMD DX4's still running... (2, Interesting)

neurocutie (677249) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211284)

Actually I'm still running several AMD DX4's, with various versions of FreeBSD. A DX4 133 is about the same speed as a Pentium 100 and allowed many to upgrade their CPU speed without changing their motherboard, so actually there was a decent market for them, for a while anyways. AMD made 486's that could be clocked to 40Mhz bus speeds, and so the DX4 was actually capable of 160Mhz, which generally beat out Pentium 100's for many things (except floating point). Such machines have plenty of horsepower to run simple websites.

Re:I hope he's better at programming then at hardw (1)

klipsch_gmx (737375) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211344)

There were certainly DX4s though, where the CPU frequency was 3x that of the bus speed (why it wasn't the DX3, I don't know).Two possible reasons:

- "DX3" was already granted a worldwide copyright.

- Intel had just lost a trademark lawsuit against AMD, where AMD was saying you couldn't trademark an "obvious" number such as 486. Therefore they chose DX-*4* for a clock-*tripled* chip, as it was non-obvious.

More info [] at Google Groups.

Nice, but... (4, Interesting)

hecian (828253) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211227)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but :

Traffic shaping only affects UPSTREAM data.

There's unfortunatly no 100% effective way a simple user could get rid of the queues at the ISP side during heavy downloads. ICMP Source Quench were supposed to be an answer to this, but the potential exploits lead many admins to simply filter them out. IMHO, 'gaming firewalls' could ease a bit latency on assymetric lines (ADSL mostly), but true QoS can only be achieved if _both_ ends do shape their traffic (the above applies to IPv4).

As far as I've seen by experimenting myself, the benefit of such an assymetric setup is to prevent excessive pings (several seconds). Playing a FPS during heavy use is still a no go as it implies irregular ping, and an average of 100-150 ms. However, it's quite a nice setup if you plan to play some MMORPG or want to get connected through SSH.


Re:Nice, but... (1)

Nugget (7382) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211281)

Well, you're right AND you're wrong.

For udp traffic, you're completely correct. No about of incoming shaping on inbound udp traffic will allow you to throttle the data rate. This is because udp traffic is connectionless and basically "fire and forget". With tcp traffic, though, especially with well-behaved applications, inbound traffic shaping is quite effective.

I run pf on an openbsd bridge that sits inbetween my dsl hardware and my network and it shapes my inbound traffic very effectively. I can flood my inbound pipe with scp file transfers from the outside world and still use my VoIP telephone and interactive ssh with virtually no noticeable impact.

It's well worth doing and in practice it's quite effective even on inbound traffic.

The Real Issue.. (2, Informative)

jmilezy (904134) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211253)

The real issue with these kinds of routers is the fact that the cable/dsl modems themselves are not interactive once their data queue becomes filled. Sure, traffic shapers are execellent and I've read [] which has great information for linux. Cable/DSL connections are asymetrical, and when you send data from your pc to the actual cable modem, you send it at 10/100megbit (whatever speed the nic in your pc and cable modem agree on) Your ISP will limit you to 512kBit upload for example. The modem cannot send data to your ISP as fast as you can send it to your modem thus the data queue fills very fast and your modem has trouble keeping up. These shapers can simply slow down the rate at which your PC sends data to the modem and thus stopping the filling of the data queue in the modem which will allow it to be more interactive. That is the biggest problem you'll have with cable/dsl connections for a few users. Sure, more detailed protocol based shaping can and should be used to reserve bandwidth on a larger scale.

XLink Kai (1)

Trejkaz (615352) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211261)

It seems like no "gaming router" would be complete without the ability to run an XLink Kai [] server.

Unfortunately, XLink Kai won't run on FreeBSD...

informative Q3ickdick (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13211321)

progress. I8 1992,

Slashdot...where English comes to die. (1)

BuddyJesus (835123) | more than 9 years ago | (#13211376)

By keeping packet queues on the router side, rather than the modem side. Users are able to achive great pings in online games, while fully using their download bandwidth.
By reading Slashdot, rather than other news sites. People are able to achive great knowledge in English, while fully surrendering their higher brain functions.

Cmon, a sentence fragment AND a spelling error? What on earth is an achive?
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