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Networking Australia The Internet

BYO Linux Router To Australia's Fibre Network 123

An anonymous reader writes "Run a Linux router to connect your ADSL service but worried about what will happen when the Australian Government rolls out fibre broadband to your house or business? Worry no more. It turns out that customers on Australia's new National Broadband Network will be able to run their own homebrew Linux router to connect to the network and route traffic any way they please."
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BYO Linux Router To Australia's Fibre Network

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  • What's the story? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    So, when someone brings a new network connection to your house, via a standard ethernet cable, you'll be allowed to connect a device of your choosing to the end? Socking. This makes the frontpage of slashdot now?

    • Re:What's the story? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Techman83 ( 949264 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @03:54AM (#32320820)
      I know a few the tech support guys at my Provider, they're used to me sending logs from my BSD based firewall. A fair percentage of Modem/Routers are linux based anyway. The only real difference here is the termination is no longer a modem provided by the customer. You'll still need something that talks PPPoE to authenticate to the network, be it a hardware based router or a plethora of software based distro [wikipedia.org]
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by WarJolt ( 990309 )

        my dd-wrt router does pppoe. Who wants a power hungry diy router when cheap and cheerful works well too?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Techman83 ( 949264 )
          Well if you use an atom it's not _that_ power hungry and those little routers just don't have the memory/performance.
          • Re:What's the story? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by TheThiefMaster ( 992038 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @04:24AM (#32320972)

            If anyone wants to build their own router and is concerned about power usage, size, heat or noise (i.e. doesn't want to use an old desktop) I would recommend them to look into mini-itx systems. The power supplies for an entire typical mini-itx are rated lower than the cpu alone requires in a desktop. They can be made not only fanless, but completely moving-parts-free. And best of all, they're not much larger than the router you'd be replacing!

            It's not cheap though, unfortunately.

            • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

              Try a guruplug, 2 gigabit ethernet ports, 512mb ram, 1.2ghz arm cpu, boots from flash... perfect for a small router and they're quite cheap.

          • Don't have the memory/performance to do what exactly?

            The Buffalo routers that come with ddwrt pre-installed now, like the WZR-HP-G300NH, are great, USB for NAS, the works.

            • Doesn't have the memory/performance to handle a large number of TCP connections, IPSec, gigabit, more than a couple of isolated Ethernet interfaces, etc. There are lots of reasons that a 200 MHz CPU with 8 MB of RAM might not be enough router. They don't necessarily apply to every network or user, but it's absurd to suggest that no such situation exists on home networks.

            • by cynyr ( 703126 )

              400+ connections, WIFI with WPA2 streaming of 1.5Mbps video, QoS for the aforementioned, plus running a http filter for only a few of the ports, will they work with say, FIOS at full speed? yep, USB will provide enough speed to saturate gigabit, or not.

              it's not a huge cost difference to move to a mini-itx via, looks like $350 case/psu/harddrive, 4 GbE, wireless N, 64bit X86 CPU, 512MB ram, etc. That will draw 5-10W(whole board not just the CPU) at full tilt. Now the advantage here is that you can run wha

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jrumney ( 197329 )
          If you're running any servers, you have the power hungry box anyway.
          • My Pico ITX server uses only 15w, the router uses a similar amount. I was thinking if I could get a cheap USB-powered ADSL modem and Wifi dongle for it I could get rid of the router and maybe save about 30e worth of electricity a year. Nobody wants USB DSL modems and you'd almost get a wifi dongle for free on a box of matches these days so it would pay for itself within about 3 months. The only problem is I'd still need a switch and if I got one of those it wouldn't save me anything.
    • you'll be allowed to connect a device of your choosing to the end? Socking.

      I am socked, I tell you. Socked!

      Tonight at 11, "Connecting your fridge to australian intertubes. What will be the minimum legal size for chicken breasts?".

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I don't get it... is this a pun on proxies?

      • by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @04:04AM (#32320874)

        Tonight at 11, "Connecting your fridge to australian intertubes. What will be the minimum legal size for chicken breasts?".

        Dont laugh, I've already soldered an RJ45 connection to the iron. The cat is next.

        • by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @04:07AM (#32320894)

          Dont laugh, I've already soldered an RJ45 connection to the iron. The cat is next.

          I think soldering an RJ45 to your cat will probably kill it.

          I case I misunderstood you, ironing your cat will also kill it.

          • by rjch ( 544288 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @04:32AM (#32321012) Homepage

            Dont laugh, I've already soldered an RJ45 connection to the iron. The cat is next.

            I think soldering an RJ45 to your cat will probably kill it.

            Yeah, RJ45 connectors are plastic and will melt easily. Much better just to crimp it to the cat. Just make sure you get out of the way very quickly afterwards.

          • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @04:39AM (#32321032)

            I think soldering anything to a cat puts the solderer at greater risk than the solderee.

            • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @05:05AM (#32321128) Homepage Journal

              We had this pot belly stove in the corner of the living room and during the summer the cat loved to use it to survey the room at eye level but when we used it for the first time in the autumn there was this horrible screech and the cat rocketed across the living room, into the kitchen and stopped, buffing, under the kitchen table.

              The treatment for burns is immediate immersion in cold water and fortunately the bath was half full so I picked up the cat and started to "immerse" the patient in the water. I tell you, the resulting scratches lasted months.

              • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

                Well, since we are all way off topic anyway - my brother in law always bragged about his welding skills. He SAID he could weld a cat's ass to a pine board. The man never demonstrated that ability, but I pictured the scene in my mind every time I heard him bragging. I never got beyond the part where he might choose to attach his leads to a semi-conductive cat or a non-conductive pine board. Either he's just another dumb redneck, or he's a HELL OF A LOT smarter than I am! ;^)

          • Is this a bad thing? Or that we will be lamenting the loss of curiosity?

        • by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @04:52AM (#32321078)

          Dont laugh, I've already soldered an RJ45 connection to the iron. The cat is next.

          Are you using CAT-5e or CAT-6?

      • All chicken breasts will need to be appropriately covered before being allowed on the intertubes.
        Naked chicken breasts will be blocked unless an appropriate 'Proof of Age' mechanism is in place.

        Anyone having pictures of naked chicken breasts from a chicken under the age of 18 will be reported to the AFP.

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      Many FTTH terminate in a proprietary router. DSL connections require a router capable of that protocol. This connection is regular Ethernet that you can plug any capable router or computer into. No need for a FTTH router provided by the telco, no need for an ADSL router. I expect he was comparing it to the ADSL it's replacing. No more need for the specialized routers. Not important news, but interesting nonetheless.
    • I have to agree. How is this news? Here in Australia like every freaking where else, we can connect any router we want to our connections now. Why on earth would anyone think this would change when the NBN rolls out? O.o

    • The fact that it will continue to be a standard ethernet cable connection rather than a specialized modem/router connection to fiber hardware it what is news.

  • Awesome bunnies!
  • by wilfie ( 622159 ) * <wilf.linuxmail@org> on Monday May 24, 2010 @03:52AM (#32320804) Homepage
    Virgin in the UK used to refuse support until you connected a Mac or Windows box directly. Routers were 'not supported'.
    • Telstra used to have the same requirement. IIRC, you couldn't get online at all except by using their crappy connect-ware on a Windows box (and cloning the MAC address to your router didn't work).

      I was sooo glad when I moved into an area where I could get service from Internode -- "If it speaks TCP/IP and it works for you, it works for us, too." Heaven.

      So, yes, this is news.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mikael_j ( 106439 )

        I was sooo glad when I moved into an area where I could get service from Internode -- "If it speaks TCP/IP and it works for you, it works for us, too." Heaven.

        The downside to policies like that is of course obvious if you've ever worked tech support for an ISP, you get some pretty scary setups that people are trying to bring online. I really didn't mind the truly insane stuff like the guys with 15 year old Amiga towers running some binary hacked version of AmigaOS and various hacked together pieces of hardware, at least those guys knew what they were doing (even if their hardware and software did strange things), it was the guy running Mac OS 9 with IE5 or Win95

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dropadrop ( 1057046 )
          Allowing using any devices and supporting them is not the same thing.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by XMode ( 252740 )

          Bah.. That's nothing.. Our 'any router will do' policy once got me in to an argument with a customer that lasted a good 20 mins. When I advised him for the 5th time that while he had a router, he would ALSO need some form of computer to get internet pages, he demanded to speak to my supervisor.

          • When I advised him for the 5th time that while he had a router, he would ALSO need some form of computer to get internet pages, he demanded to speak to my supervisor.

            Oh, so you were that person I spoke to!

            I tell you, my trusty LA30 [wikipedia.org] is able to handle anything I throw at it. Why would I need a computer for?? Clearly you don't know what you're talking. I demand to speak to your supervisor!

    • Virgin in the UK used to refuse support until you connected a Mac or Windows box directly. Routers were 'not supported'.

      UK Virgin doesn't support routers (pron: rooters) Got it.

      • by Gonoff ( 88518 )

        They don't care what I plug into it as long as there is only 1 mac address. In fact, I know people who have recently set up with them. They got nice new Netgear wireless routers in the bundle.

        It would be sensible sometimes when fixing problems to connect the PC directly. This would help rule out some causes.

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      AT&T (known as SBC or Southwestern Bell at the time) required Windows back in 1998 or so for their DSL. Or, more accurately, they required PPPoE before it was built into commodity routers and only supplied Windows disks with their crappy PPPoE software. At least for the area I was being served. The constant PPPoE drops and about 12 months of complaints and a complaint to the FCC later, they managed to give me a DHCP address so I didn't have to do PPPoE anymore.
      • They still only officially support Windows or OSX.
        When I moved back under their coverage from a vastly better provider I had to get a tier 3 support person to set it up (previously had remote call forwarding on the line now to be used with DSL) because the old service on the line was incompatible with regular home service and you couldn't set it up on the internet.

        When she asked what operating system I was using I responded: "let's go with Windows XP". She laughed and said returning linux customer eh?
        So XP

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          Wow, one would have thought that one of the biggest ISPs would accept commodity PPPoE hardware. If I were them, I'd use the opportunity to sell a "supported" router to my customers at a high markup. But, given that it took about a year and a letter to the FCC to get my service working, I can't say I'm surprised.

          Not that it matters, but in my case, it was a matter of a weak line plus the added finickiness of PPPoE that made my connection not work from 4 pm to 8 pm on most days. but the DHCP, it worked fi
    • by c0lo ( 1497653 )

      Virgin in the UK used to refuse support until you connected a Mac or Windows box directly. Routers were 'not supported'.

      From which I understood: the only virgin in the UK is soooo kinky

    • by Skapare ( 16644 )

      Comcast tried to pull that on me when I was getting it installed. I just told them "all I have is wireless so there is no way I can connect direct". Then they said "then you'll need to get a wireless router". I said "done". I didn't tell them the router ran Linux.

    • by jo_ham ( 604554 )

      I'm using Virgin in the UK right now, and that is no longer the case. They will troubleshoot and support a router-based connection - the cable box outputs bog standard ethernet, and they don't care what you have it hooked up to.

    • They *did*, but as it was MAC address based, you just faked the MAC. I had a Linux server/router pluggin years before it was even Virgin.

      As others have said, now a days they provide WiFi routers if you ask nicely, and support any number fo machines accessing.

    • I think there's a limit to how much detailed knowledge of a homebrew furball we can expect a level1 tech to have ? We should give the guy a chance and connect something that he can help to get to working, and then when we replace it with our own system at least we can be sure that the broadband is working. The tech's job is to get the broadband to do what it says on the box, not to assist us with our inventions.
      Frankly I think it is good of them to help troubleshoot any CPE at all.
  • This is news? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Osty ( 16825 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @04:11AM (#32320914)

    Doesn't every ISP allow you to do this? Your ISP provides with a modem of the correct type (DSL or cable) and you provide your own router. If they give you a modem that is also a router, you can turn that off or ask them for a plain old modem. With many ISPs, at least in the US, you can even provide your own modem.

    I've been running my own Linux router for the past 12 years across multiple ISPs, from T1 providers back in college to DSL providers to Comcast, and have never had a problem doing so. The tech support may be clueless if you call ("Did you reboot your router?" "Let me do that ...

    • by Osty ( 16825 )

      Doh! Stupid Slashdot. That should continue:

      "... [wait 30 seconds while you pretend to reboot your router] ... Rebooted. Problem still exists"). But then you shouldn't need router-side tech support if you're going to run your own Linux router.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kestasjk ( 933987 ) *
      I'm in Australia (Perth), I have my own modem and use a FreeBSD gateway (so that I can use PF for firewalling and traffic queuing; for Skype and gaming at the same time), which I've been using for ~6 years and over two ISPs.

      So to answer your question; no, this isn't news. If the new proposed national broadband network didn't allow a router of choice that would be news, because that would be absolutely ridiculous.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cheater512 ( 783349 )

      This skips the router.

      Ethernet cable out of the wall goes straight to your Linux box. Nothing inbetween.

      • by jonwil ( 467024 )

        My guess is that the ONT will be a layer 2 device converting Optical Fiber to Ethernet, i.e. it replaces the DSL modem. To use it you will need to connect a device (either a computer of some sort or a dedicated router with a WAN port) that supports PPPoE into this wall socket.

        Your ISP will give you a public IP address which is assigned to the WAN port or Ethernet card on the device plugged into the wall socket.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Depends on the network in Australia. In the past as noted, some used unique Surfboard cable units or set up adsl units.
      To play unmetered games you had to have applications running to tell the network about your connection and ip.
      Mac and Linux support was a joke.
      The idea that you have device freedom is nice considering the lock down we hand on many networks in the past.
      P2p users can get the best rated/value units and max out their shares and memory ect.
      This is much better then getting some "safe" "lis
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 2010 @04:24AM (#32320976)

    linux users will also still be able to use the national electricity network to power their devices.

  • The summary says that you can 'route your data in way you want', does this mean that you can avoid the internet filter? Or have they implemented the filter properly (i.e. centrally)? Which would make this a non-story.

    For the record, it wouldn't surprise me if they had implemented the internet filter at consumer-router/modem level. They're bright enough to do it that way.

    • I believe the filter they want to implement will be at ISP level. I don't actually know how they plan to implement it. They seem to want to block URLs so blocking hosts would block more than intended. I am willing to bet that a non-encrypted link to an http proxy outside the country would fix the problem for you. SSL being reserved for a future time when Stephen Conroy actually listens to his advisers.

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        SSL would be opened by Australian defence and intel spooks as a default as part of their choke point NSA like grip on the few outside optical links.
        Just as SWIFT is in parts of the world and all Australian banking details are in realtime.
        The only fun part is they cannot really use much in court as everybody would then know and stop using that aspect of the net ;)
        Does Stephen Conroy want to make SSL famous and upset passive long term intel gathering?
        • On holiday recently I was confined to Malaysian internet cafés for my /. access and looking over the shoulders of my fellow internet consumers I noticed that a lot of porn is delivered by webmail so I wonder what the filterers plan to do about that? Ban specific webmail URLs?

          • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
            Webmail would be a pic attachment? - unless Australia goes for skin tone filters too, I am not sure what could be done.
            If the http link was to a listed site, the email app would be like a web browser and get the image blocked.
    • Firstly the filter isn't implemented yet; the current proposed plan will do the filtering at the ISP-level, i.e. you won't be able to bypass it from your home connection (aside from by using a VPN or getting your kiddie porn through anything other than unencrypted HTTP on port 80).

      I'm still hopeful the filter will be dropped. It doesn't seem to have much support, especially if the audience at least week's Q&A is anything to go by.

      Not sure exactly why this qualifies as "news", although I suppose it's qui

      • by deniable ( 76198 )
        The NBN isn't implemented yet either and we're betting that it won't get much further. A few roll-outs in the South-East corner and not much more. Hopefully the filter is as successful. Oh joy, Lateline is showing Conroy attacking Google. The man makes Alston look like a genius.
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      The filter works on every ISP in Australia and would 'pop' every packet.
      A url type request moving from your 'home' to the exchange would hit a a low end "Narus" like unit and would inspect every packet request vs a very long ever expanding list of adult and political sites.
      If you request the wrong site, your page is blocked and your IP would be noted.
      Not much news on what too many requests to a banned site would do?
      Hit it 3 times does the ISP go into log mode??, 50 and a state task force gets some paper
      • I wonder how hard the system would be to DDOS? Once we identify the blocked URLs deploy scripts which will query them at a great rate from a number of different systems. Also if you can identify the node in the ISP system which does the filtering try to get its attention from outside the ISPs network. That would make the DDOS bit easier.

        Maybe we can fill up a few RAID arrays with trace data.

    • We don't actually have an internet filter here in Australia, so asking "have they implemented the filter properly" isn't meaningful. But in the unlikely event that the government's plan doesn't fall in a heap and we do end up with a filter in a year or two, it'll definitely be implemented at the ISP level.

      People in Australia are free to own their own modems and computers and run their own operating systems on them. There's a huge variety of hardware in use. It'd be logistically impossible, as well as very

    • by mabinogi ( 74033 )

      they have not implemented the filter at all, and will not implement the filter.

      The filter only exists (and will only ever exist) in the imagination of Steven Conroy and non RTFAing slashdotters (ie. most of them).

  • by Eth1csGrad1ent ( 1175557 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @05:08AM (#32321134)

    ..once the filter kicks in the Internet will stop at your ISP... a bit like owning a ferrari in Antarctica

    • by Skapare ( 16644 )

      But not at the other end point of your overseas encrypted tunnel.

      • its a fair point... but wait for the scope creep. The black list will become the grey list, anonymous proxies and encrypted packets are next. The only reason they're not on Conroy's list is because none of his aides have explained them to him. NBN here we come... anyone know what the data charges are like via a sat. phone ?
        • high.
          Very very high.

        • by mjwx ( 966435 )

          its a fair point... but wait for the scope creep.

          Businesses will bury the government long before that happens.

          The filter isn't implemented and the way things are going it's less likely then ever.

          If encrypted packets become common place, ISP's will just ignore them or filtering infrastructure will simply collapse. It's a lose-lose (win-win for us) situation.

  • Why would I be worried? I thought that it was obvious that you can use existing networking equipment otherwise the NBN would be pointless if you can't use it. That's even if NBN makes it to mainland Australia.

  • by asifyoucare ( 302582 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @06:00AM (#32321272)

    How does this help? You next hop must be the ISP. Anywhere else will not be on the same subnet as your internet interface and thus cannot be a valid next hop.

    I assume the ISP will not honour source routing.

  • by ledow ( 319597 )

    Amazing. You can use an Ethernet-based device to connect to a domestic broadband network. Wonderful modern technology, isn't it?

    Hint: If posting a story where the *opposite* actually sounds more shocking, you're not posting news. You're posting things people already know. News needs to be "new", true and (usually) unexpected, unusual, shocking, controversial etc.

  • Even if for some bizarre reason your linux router wasn't supported (slow news day at slashdot maybe?), I doubt anyone would be at any real risk. Current deployment rate of the NBN should have most of Australia up to ADSL 1 levels by around 2030. Then watch as the government realises "Oh shit Australia has poor backbone connections to the US and Singapore and what we have done don't mean shit as we are all sharing the same tiny piece of pipe".
    • by deniable ( 76198 )

      Current deployment rate of the NBN should have most of Australia up to ADSL 1 levels by around 2030.

      You're a starry-eyed optimist.

    • Actually with the opening of PPC1 last year, and upgrades to SXC currently in progress, we have plenty of bandwidth to the US and Asia. International capacity is no longer the problem. The problems are:

      1) RIMs with insufficient backhaul and Telstra having no real incentive to upgrade them;
      2) Inter-city connections - plenty of bandwidth there too but overpriced thanks to the monopoly/duopoly for many routes

      If you're lucky enough to be somewhere with a direct copper line to the exchange and non-Telstra DSLAMs

  • Australia's new National Broadband Network

    "National" Broadband Network.

    Music to my ears.

"my terminal is a lethal teaspoon." -- Patricia O Tuama