What is a Wireless Router? Well, it is a Basic Networking Device which connects all your Wired or Wireless Devices together and connected them to internet or WAN. It is basically a computer which manages all your connected devices on a local network and allows them to connect to the internet via the gateway.
If you are an average consumer, you are probably going to buy a simple easy-to-use and high-performance router. But if you are tech-head like me then you are going to build one using a “Real” desktop computer and by using the real desktop computer you can do things that no consumer grade router is capable of. Without spending thousands on enterprise-grade routers, firewalls or gateways.
Further you can tweak all the stuff about QoS, Proxy, VPN, Traffic Rules, Squid Caching or even install a real-time antivirus on your router to keep all the suspicious malware and viruses away from your local network.
So what actually do you need to build your high performance router? An old PC and some network interface cards to begin with. Speaking of which, every tech-savvy person has some lying around in their storage. You can add more hardware to your PC to upgrade your self-built router to match your network requirements in future. That is the beauty of building a router for yourself from scratch.
For the software or “firmware” part of your router, you are going to install a network-based firewall distribution on your hardware. pfSense is a free network firewall distribution which is based on FreeBSD OS and has custom kernel with third-party software packages or “add-ons” to add more functionality and features to your high-performance DIY router.
Installing and configuring pfSense on your hardware is very simple. Check out this video in which Logan from TekSyndicate explains the whole process of installing and configuring the pfSense. You can follow along this video to build your high-performance router.
So you have learnt to build your own high performance router which can do Multi-WAN, Server Load Balancing, VPN, QoS and much more stuff and your networking game is on top from all of your friends. This will not only make you seem more pro but in the real world, you can actually get a lot of network based performance out of it. The best part is that you do not have to spend a lot to benefit from it. It’s really affordable.
See the complete list of pfSense features here.
Your new high performance router might not look as sexy as a Nighthawk R7000 but it does a lot more than any of the consumer-grade networking solutions. Further you can buy a decent rack mount case, a 1U mountable network switch, add some UPS (to make your network stay up even in blackouts), or build yourself a simple storage server into one network rack.
This will not only help you allow to clean up the mess of cables that usually comes with networking but also will improve its maintenance and make it look professional.