Open source router HARDWARE


#1

There are some good open source software router projects around: VyOS, BSDRP, FREESCO and others.
All of them have quite comprehensive soft capabilities but in other side, all of them have one common problem: lack of standard hardware they’re running on.
Every admin who decided to use open source in networking should build own unique PC-based system. It’s not good. It’s bad, I think. Mainly because of lack of community around such complex solutions, lack of docs and lack of any end-user support (imagine that one nice day admin said “bye-bye” to the company and what? Who will support his systems? Next admin? No. He will remove them and build his own “network puzzles” :slight_smile:

But anyway, some companies uses Vyatta as a software for their networking hardware: Brocade, Ubiquiti, may be some others. But all of them offer hardware. Some standartizied hardware that has common ideas, common structure, common use cases. And therefore it can be supported not only by company itself but by wide community of end-users.

And now, imagine that we have abilities to create a hardware for open-source modular router. Imagine that this hardware will support not only standard 1000Base, but 10G, 40G, SDH channels and so on. Imagine that it will support special hardware to speed-up routing tasks, to support multiservice (i.e. PBX stacking, etc), and many-many other things. Oh. I know. It’s hardware will support OpenBTS project integration and be able to run corporate GSM base station atop of it (hey, Cisco, are you scared???) :slight_smile:

So, in this case we’ll have a standard open hardware that runs open software (VyOS Multiservice Community Edition, of course :). With end-users community around it and all other advantages.

So, that’s my opinion. I’m interested in your mention of this topic. How do you think, will the open-source hardware project of such [imaginable] router be demanded?


#2

Hello Valentin,
personally I’m more interested to a VyOS usage on virtual network infrastructure but your idea it’s interesting.

So basically you suggest to elect an hardware configuration so everyone what build a DIY hardware appliance, choosing component from the “elected hardware”, would obtain a certified VyOS object, correct?

Adriano C.


#3

Sure, that’s the area where it can be successfully used. But I’m thinking of a little bit different usages: as a real hardware routers at borders or internally in some network.

Not just elect, but to produce it. It’s not so difficult to make a 19" chassis containing modular router hardware. Moreover, it’s quite simple to make standard network adapters, at least for 10G. I’m saying that because I’m doing that :slight_smile:

But I’m interested in people opinions: would the open source hardware project of such router be interesting for the community?


#4

Hello Valentin,
personally using VyOS I would buy an hardware appliance with VyOS inside. But, a part from interests and opinions, how could be possible in reality?
You have to buy and pay a specific actor, who would be this one? It’s possibile deal with a generic “community” for software, but how could it be possibile for hardware? Who exaclty should provide hardware support and warranty? (It’s a personal curiosity).

Thank you
Adriano


#5

I would direct you to have a look at our website if you’re looking for appliance hardware for VyOS. We supported many Vyatta resellers after Brocade took over and killed their hardware offerings. We intend to provide the same support for VyOS, if the project can survive long term.

https://nexgenappliances.com/en/29-firewall-appliances-with-vyatta-core

We’re working on a new version of the site, which will be live in a week or two that includes some other din rail industrial appliances for Vyatta / VyOS. http://devstore.nexgenappliances.com/17-industrial-routers

A short bio on Nexgen Appliances. We started out providing hardware appliance solutions for the Untangle UTM back in 2009 when that project was just starting to mature. We expanded our support for other projects in 2011 and now support other UTM and firewall projects. Our main business is b2b, supporting ISP and IT consultants/MSP’s with software pre-installed network appliance solutions. We have 1-3 year warranties, provide drop shipping worldwide, ship hardware appliances with software pre-installed and ready to deploy.

I’d be happy to help out where I can with VyOS. Brocade screwed a lot of people when they took over Vyatta and killed CE. There are still a bunch of people who are looking for a Vyatta replacement, and I think VyOS is intended to provide that replacement.

Cheers.
Jim Martin


#6

Sure, your routers are good enougth. But I would like to discuss open hardware routers. The main difference of any pripietary hardware is that anyone who has enough skill can do hardware modifications for their’s tasks.

Imagine that I’m very happy with your routers but I need one feature that your company doesn’t provide: an E1/PRI card. And I’m able to develop it myself. But how can I get any specifications of any internal interfaces you’re using? Mechanical, electrical, logical, etc? I think you don’t provide them for anyone :slight_smile:
Then, I’ll ask you “ok, if you can’t provide that specs then can you develop this card for me?”. And I think I know your answer :slight_smile:
So, I’ll be very sad because of I’ll need to buy another vendor’s hardware that supports E1. But that hardware is so buggy and it doesn’t feet well to infrastructure built on your routers. So I’ll go sad more and more :slight_smile:

In case of open hardware all the specs become open. Moreover, some of electrical and logical interface solutions can be made open too. I don’t say “all”, because there are many know-hows that can’t be opened anyway.

I think such project can be interesting especially for research/development teams. They often need some specific features they can implement themselves. In case of using open source software they’ll get complete solution for any tasks they have.

I think the people present at this development forum are researchers anyway, so I’m very interested in your opinions.


#7

On the 1U appliances we can do expansion cards in the rear of the chassis to support T1/E1. The small form factor, no we cant offer those features. It comes down to economics really. T1/E1/PRI are dying technologies. There is not a large market for these interfaces anymore. MPLS and fiber are really taking over areas once dominated by T1 tech.

As far as specs, and diagrams, and all that, we’re happy to share this information with our customers. https://nexgenappliances.com/en/index.php?controller=attachment&id_attachment=3

We’d also be happy to develop front facing expansion cards for the 1U form factor appliances, if there were a market. The small form factor will never have these features. In order for a unit to be successful, you have to sell thousands to recover the R&D costs associated with bringing a product to market. There just isnt a big enough market for that.


#8

I have been using Zeroshell for 5+ years and highly recommend it.

I ran one version for 4 years before upgrading it to a new version. That is the only time I ever needed to restart it. Hence it’s very stable.

I’m running it on a 10 year old Xeon server with 2 GB of ram. Behind it are 16 users besides the 60 websites, and 10 email servers. The network provider is cogent and have a 100mb fiber connection.