[Gllug] ADSL router/firewall/wireless/modem recommendations

t.clarke tim at seacon.co.uk
Mon Jul 31 06:22:15 UTC 2006

I did a bit of research on the ETEC router I am using at home (which was pretty
cheap) and discovered it uses a pretty-much 'one chip' solution from Texas
Instruments  - the AR5 or something like that.  The chip does the whole ADSL
modem and LAN router thing and uses embedded Linux as its operating system.
It seems that the chip and the Linux software supplied by T.I.  (incl some
proprietary stuff apparently) is used in quite a few different ADSL routers.
I would imagine that the features on routers using this chip will vary only
slightly between manufacturers.   It works well in a single-IP/NAT situation.
However, as far as I can make out from the documentation and a certain amount
of fiddling you can't do  multi-IP with it, as you can with the Vigor we use
in the office.  The Vigor allows one IP address on the WAN and multiple
public IP addresses on the LAN in addition the the usual 196.123.0.....
private addresses   - so you can have a config something like:
WAN IP address:
Public IP address block:   /
Using  IP as the router's own address on the internal LAN
and    IPs as machines on the LAN with public,
directly routable addresses.
The Vigor allows you also to assign the WAN IP address manually whereas the
ETEC apparently only picks up the LAN address from the ISP via PPPoA.

For home use the ETEC seems good,  and cheap,  and seems to sync at a slightly
higher speed on the line, due probably to the 'advanced' signal-processing
features of the the T.I. Chip.

So, before buying a router, it may be worthwhile doing some googling to try
and find out what its internals are!   Support may also be an issue as well
- manufacturers support seems to vary wildly these days from very helpful to
downright useless (depends sometimes on luck of the draw on who you talk to
within the support team!).

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