The Birth Of Hecate (The Wireless Router, Not The Goddess)

After much struggle (see the post entitled “my new wireless router”) I gave birth to a new wireless router. Her name is Hecate, after the Greek Goddess of crossroads, wilderness, ghosts, Wicca, etc. (see the wiki entry). The system board is a Soekris 4801-60. I found a great wireless card and antenna (and pci to pcmcia adapter) at netgate.com and followed some very helpful tips that I found at this ultradesic site. It took a lot of work, including some case modification.

Here are the parts (click for full size):

Hecate's Parts

As you can see (can you?) I needed a usb to serial adapter because I wanted to use my powerbook to install openbsd onto the soekris. I also needed to get a null modem adapter and a serial cable (DB9 female to female). I spent too much money on the null modem adapter and cable because I went to radio shack instead of ordering from a place on line (I was anxious!).

You can also see that I needed to use a PCI to PCMCIA adapter for my wireless card. This is only because I could not find a well-supported PCI wireless card (supported on openbsd). I also could not use mini-pci because I have a vpn1411 card in there (more on that later – it has some major issues!). The use of this PCI->PCMCIA adpater required some case mods…

Hecate Case Mod From TopCase Mod From Corner

Luckily my stepfather happened to have a hacksaw handy ๐Ÿ˜‰

So with the case all ready, I needed a way to make sure that the metal case bottom did not make contact with the solder from the PCI to PCMCIA adapter card. Wouldn’t want to risk a short! I used wide, clear tape and put a layer on the metal in the area where the board will sit, and to provide support I used a foam ear plug (the kind used to protect your ears from loud noise) that I cut into three pieces:

Ear plug separatorsEar plug separators from corner

I still don’t have a cover for the case yet… I’ll figure something out ๐Ÿ˜‰

Once the modding was done, I used the info from the ultradesic site that I mentioned above, and things went well for the most part. I did run into a problem not mentioned there, namely if you want to use tftp and pxeboot to install openbsd on your soekris, you need to have not only dhcpd and tftpd running, you need to have rarpd running as well. Once I set up rarpd along with dhcpd and the tftp server, all was well.

I’m debating about whether or not to post all of the software configuration stuff that I did – there’s just so much! Everything I did not know I found via google or man pages (openbsd has THE BEST man pages!). So far I have a working dhcpd on my wireless interface, which uses WEP to keep unwanted people out (for now). Dhcpd is also running on 2 of the 10/100 ethernet ports on the box. I have my first ethernet port configured to use dhclient to get an address, so that I can plug my cable modem in there.

Some basic pf config and a bridge interface make this little box the firewall/switch I was looking for. I am still working on it though – the plans are to run bind and squid, to get dns and some caching – hopefully improving my network performance a bit. I also plan to use openvpn to connect my machine with those of my friends. In time… time ๐Ÿ™‚

Stay tuned to culmination.org to see how the project is coming along!

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