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Connecting using Smoothwall and PCI ADSL card

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Connecting using Smoothwall and PCI ADSL card

Just thought I'd share experience of a Linux user on setting up ADSL connection to Free-Online.

I've used an old PC running Smoothwall - www.smoothwall.org - with an ISDN card to provide the connection for our home network for a couple of years. Now our local exchange has finally been ADSL-enabled, I've made the change. (And what a huge improvement it is!)

Now to setting up Smoothwall. If you've not come across this before, Smoothwall is a special-purpose Linux system that provides a secure and flexible NAT/firewall solution for a home (or office) network using an old PC. I've used a P166 with 2.5Gb IDE drive and 64Mb RAM. Smoothwall installs from a bootable CD in about about 5 minutes. For the ADSL connection you can use most USB modems, a separate ADSL router, or an on-board PCI card. I chose to go for a PCI card because the PC I had available was too old to have onboard USB.

In theory, the Dynamode ADSL PCI card that Free-Online offer with one of their ADSL bundles can be made to work with Linux, but although I did find some information suggesting that people had got this to work with Smoothwall, it did look like a lot of hassle. However, Smoothwall supports the BeWAN PCI card, which I got (great service!) from www.proteus-systems.co.uk.

So with the BeWAN card and a couple of LAN cards installed in the Smoothwall box, it was time to connect it to the line and try it out. I'm pleased to say that it worked first time, and has now been running perfectly for a couple of weeks. I leave it running 24/7, and we have 4 PCs in the house using it (a mixture of Windows and Linux systems).

For me, the advantage of using Smoothwall over a simpler all-in-one firewall/router box is in the flexibility and capability it offers. I have installed the Dans Guardian software - http://dansguardian.org - on the Smoothwall box, which provides me with flexible content filtering and a banned site/URL list of over half a million inappropriate sites. This means I can let the kids use the Internet in safety. (It can also filter out all those pesky adverts!) I've also installed a few other bits of software to do things like email spam filtering.

Smoothwall also lets you set up a DMZ so if you want to run your own SMTP mail server, web server, or whatever you can do so in a very secure way.

Any other Smoothwall / Linux users out thereHuh

Regards

- Nick