Craig Mattson (Personal Website)
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Routers for a Home (05/03/2009 10:15:07 AM)

linksyswrt100rangeplusrouter_505When it comes to software and modifications to control / add functions to a router, there are plenty of packages available. Those such as DD-WRT, M0n0wall, pfsense, OpenWRT etc... are pretty neat and lightweight packages to control QoS, Route Tables etc... as well as provide Captive Portals. This sounds all well and fine, until you require a server to act as the authentication device for RADIUS, or add a web server to activate the Captive Portal. To me, this is a waste of effort if the Router is incapable of providing a low-key Captive Portal.

M0n0wal is mostly there by providing traffic shaping pipelines and inbuilt user authentication. The only thing it doesn't do in that regard is shape the amount of data or control the amount of time a user has to access the internet. More problematic is the lack of proxy filter. I suppose at the end of the day, you can't expect much from a device using merely 8MB of Storage.

The other packages do varying levels as well, such as DD-WRT not actually producing any RADIUS-like properties. I suppose this is where a niche market may be found for the home user. I suspect there are a lot of parents out there that would like to lock down the internet and restrict the time on the internet in a capacity that their children cannot tamper with (or at least - increase the difficulty). The only real way to do this is thorugh the use of a Modem / Router. Ideally, a router should be able to block keywords (usually sufficient enough), ports and dictate time / bandwidth someone has. Ideally, given the home usage market, the RADIUS Accounting packets wouldn't have to be particularly accurate, in fact - the router can probably measure at a given point in time the average packets-per-second transmitted, and count the time connected.

One possibility is to subscribe to a RADIUS server (the device is on the internet allowing access to the internet), but surely something can be done on a router for light-weight stuff. I'm not talking super-duper GUI stuff (playing with Colours and Arial should be plenty). Couple it with lighthttpd, PHP and sqllite and we may have something usable. So yeah, over the next few weeks I'm going to investigate something like this and see how I go.

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