building your own hardware

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After searching around for an inexpensive board with:
    2+ megs ROM
    8+ megs RAM
    3 ethernet ports

that costs less than the soekris boards with 3 nics I'm looking into
assembling my own. I'm prototying a simple home VPN system.

Questions - how do you go about this? Are there really inexpenisve
storage options and processors to look into (System on chip? ARM?)

If you happen to know of a board that meets these qualifications, or how
to have a board custom made (in quantity probably) please let me know.

Josh


Re: building your own hardware
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there are lots of inexpensive boards with these specs

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makes it hard (as you no doubt have found out)
are you sure you really need 3 ethernet ?

SnapGear only released a 3 port VPN firewall this year, prior to that, 2 ports
had
always sufficed.

You can certainly get 2 port boards for sub $50.

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I don't think you'll be able to make a 3 port board yourself for less than the
price
of the soekris (unless you're counting PCB design and initial board bring-up as
100%
free) but good luck.


--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Damion de Soto - Software Engineer  email:     snipped-for-privacy@snapgear.com
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Re: building your own hardware
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The Ethernets are a problem - I doubt that you'll find a cheap sollution
with 3 eths...

You can try using a pc104 board with one/two eths and buy an additional
pc104-based eth board...

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The only thing you need to estimate well are the CPU and RAM usage for
your sollution - the flash/rom can be upgraded later (but this is rearly
needed)...
ARM7, PPC8xx and SH3 boards are pretty cheap...

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There's a huge number of pc104 hw vendors :))

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Re: building your own hardware

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What do You mean inexpensive ? ;-)

Some options
you can always connect third eth via pcmcia/CF or add nonPCI chip like smcs
'111 or cirrus cs8900

Intel ixp255 - probably obsolete 2eth
Intel ixp425 2eth bga package

Mayby Motorola quicc device would be choice some of them has 4eth device
AFAIK

less powerfull, arm7tdmi
Samsung sn5n8947 2eth 208tqfp - I suggest this one, but I'm afraid 7tdmi
architecture wont be powerfull enough to support ssl coding online.

There is new atmel at91rm9200 it's arm 920 arch chip 1 eth only but with 2
usb host so you can use usb - eth dongle or cf eth card

Jarek




Re: building your own hardware
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For the storage, Compact Flash might be the sanest, because the pin
spacing is fairly wide.  Either that, or DiskOnChip, but I think that's
more expensive.

For the processor, you have lots of choices.  The real trick will be to
find something you can sanely hand-solder.  No BGAs for you....

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First you have to get it designed.  I'd recommend EAGLE, if you want to
do the design work on Linux.  (cadsoftusa.com)  You'll either need to
buy the Standard version to be able to make a board big enough to hold
all the parts, or you'll have to string together a few smaller boards.

Getting prototype PCBs made will be expensive.  I wouldn't try
hand-etching them.... you're going to have too much SMD stuff to even be
thinking about hand-etched boards.  Expect to spend $100-200 per board
run.  That's good incentive to check your design carefully before
submitting it for prototyping.

How good are your soldering skills?  You're going to be dealing with a
lot of small SMD stuff.  Most Ethernet chips and CPUs are going to have
pin pitches well under 50 mils.


Re: building your own hardware
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What do you mean by quantity?
For a Home VPN, you might want to consider the AT76C711,
Two Ethernet MACs and a WLAN MAC in a single chip.
but this is only for serious project with considerable volume.
(You should be talking 10s of thousands)

How do you plan to use the NICs.
WAN,DMZ,Local ?

Then performance of the CPU starts to be interesting and the
ARM9 in the AT91RM9200 might be called for.

There are PowerPCs with múltiple Ethernets as well.

--
Best Regards,
Ulf Samuelsson   ulf@a-t-m-e-l.com
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Re: building your own hardware
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This would not be Linux, but did you take a look at the Ubicom 3023
processor. Same has four EII interfaces (100 MBit Ethernet with the line
adaptation to be added externally) and comes with an SDK that supposedly
makes it easy to create a VPN device. Cost for the chip some $15, line
adaptation and flash needs to be added (RAM is provided internally).

I did not use the 3023 (which is to be released to sales soon), but I am
very happy with their 2022 that is supported by the same SDK (that is
based on GNU  tools).

-Michael

Re: building your own hardware
How about this one:
http://www.seattlewireless.net/index.cgi/LinksysWrt54g

pojen

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