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APNIC Box – Linux on a Mikrotik 532a, Part 1 – The Device

Filed under: General Linux — davidapnic at 1:04 pm on Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I put this device together for fun sometime around the start of 2007. The ideas that spawned this was using OpenWRT on a Linksys WRT54G access point. A surprisingly powerful and full Linux distro with all kinds of advanced capabilities running on a Linksys wireless router which I’d previously thought to be a reasonably dumb device with computing power more comparable to a calculator than a PC. The project opened my eyes to embedded devices, and I wondered what device base I should start with. To cut a long story short and for reasons that I can’t even remember anymore I came across the Mikrotik Routerboard 532A and decided that I should start with that.


APNIC Box Image 1

APNIC Box Image 1

Here’s a picture of the device from the outside with some labels, view the full image to see them.

1. Status LEDs. Blue at the bottom left shows it’s on, orange at the top right shows that there’s wifi activity.
2. Ethernet (eth0)
3. Standard Serial Console (57600, 8 N 1)
4. Ethernet (eth1)
5. Ethernet (eth2)

You’ll notice a PicoLCD unit from on top of the device, I’ll dedicate a separate section to that. For the moment, eth0 connects to a switch and my local lan on the range. eth1 holds a public IP and is connected to my first ISP via a ADSL2+ modem (I generally get about 14mbit down and 1.5mbit up stable), and eth2 is connected to the same provider via a separate ADSL2+modem (I get about 16mbit down and 1.7mbit here). The ISP does not bond these connections – I wish :-). They are two entirely separate connections to the same ISP. This isn’t for redundancy as realistically unless you use cable which isn’t available in my area, any fault will usually be with BT (the network/telecoms provider) and so using two separate ISPs won’t really add any great redundancy factor. BETHERE (my ISP) are the only UK ISP that I know of to offer the 24mbit down/2.5mbit up service. Anyway, I guess the speed difference over the two lines is down to one connection to the exchange being slightly shorter or maybe cleaner *shrug*

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