[clug] Using a laptop as a firewall

Robert Edwards bob at cs.anu.edu.au
Fri Feb 22 05:16:32 GMT 2008

I used to use an old Gateway laptop with a partially shattered LCD as
a wireless router for my house. In those days, wireless meant a PCMCIA
card and I used the built-in wired Ethernet to hook into the house LAN.

I could still use the LCD quite workably as a text-only virtual

With the right settings, the disk could be made to power down and the
screen to blank (backlight off), so the power consumption went quite
low (judging by the heat given off). I actually ended up having a kind
of "live" image on the hard disk that loaded into RAM (a whole 64MB -
wheeee!) and the disk wasn't used at all after boot up. I also
experimented with using the Gibraltar live CD to boot from, in
anticipation of the disk dying completely - turned out the CD-ROM drive
broke first!


Bob Edwards.

Nathan O'Sullivan wrote:
> Like many of you I currently have a clunky old desktop computer running
> Linux that I use as my internet gateway/firewall.
> Recently I've been considering obtaining an old laptop off Ebay to use
> for the same purpose. It seems to me that a laptop would have a few
> advantages:
> - Compared to a headless desktop PC in a closet/out of the way location,
> it already has a screen and keyboard for when the gateway isnt
> responding to network traffic and you dont know why.
> - Its much smaller
> - Its quieter
> - It essentially has a builtin UPS for those who love their uptime
> Has anyone had any experience with this? Are there any downsides I'm not
> seeing, and does anyone have suggestions on old laptop brands I should
> look into that will work well with linux?
> Regards
> Nathan

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