Living Outside The Box Born-Again Techo-Geek Renaissance Man

9Jun/160

Untangle Router Thoughts Redux

Sometimes, when you say something and you eventually turn out to be proven wrong (even if it takes 3 years), you have to eat some humble pie.

For the record, the team at Untangle have created an awesome product. I originally didn't use it/like it because there were no affordable home-based versions, and the free version was lacking in features.

However, I'm pleased to say that with Home version pricing for their full product, Untangle is now a serious contender for DIY budget-minded home techies. Here's the rundown on mine, which I built for a grand total of about $150, including the computer, NIC, and a 1-year subscription to Untangle NG (Home license).

The basis for this machine is a tired, refurbished Dell Optiplex I picked up on Amazon for $75. It's not anything spectacular, but for just running a software firewall, it's perfect. It had 2 PCI slots and 1 PCI-express slot, which means you shouldn't have any trouble finding network cards to put in it. I opted for a Rosewill dual-port network card, and since I had a couple extra PCI Intel Pro/1000's sitting around, I threw them in there, too. Plus the onboard LAN port gave me five total network ports I could play with.

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I'm a fan of Rosewill (which is a store brand for Newegg, I think) and have used their products in the past with zero issues. This NIC comes with drivers, and both low and high-profile brackets. It's Realtek-based, and works out of the box with Untangle 12, Linux, and everything else. Highly recommended.

Once I had the machine assembled (and had fixed the cracked case trim from rough shipping) all I had to do was burn a DVD of Untangle NG 12.0, pop it in, and fire it up.

Installation was very similar to what I experienced on my previous attempt with Untangle, which is to say it was simple and straightforward. I went ahead and added all the modules I wanted to use, even though at this point they were still in Demo mode.

Once I had the machine up and configured, I went to Untangle's website and ordered the "Firewall NG Home" subscription, which I then applied to my server's name (in the Dashboard's Server List). I rebooted the server, and all the modules showed up as active immediately.

The whole process took about 30 minutes, including installing the NIC, the OS, and everything.

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

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