Linux WAN Routers
The intent of this article is not to say that Linux routers will make traditional routing hardware obsolete. When considering routing hardware, make sure that the tool fits the job at hand. If you have a T-3 to the Internet or want to tie together remote sites with ATM, you probably need to be shopping for equipment designed explicitly to switch and route packets at those speeds. By the same token, why go to the extra expense and trouble to deploy a special-purpose piece of hardware, along with all of the inconveniences that come with it, when you only need to route 128Kbps or even 1.5Mbps?
Because no one can foresee all of the demands that will be placed on their routing environment, flexibility and expandability are desirable in any solution. The Linux kernel is rapidly supporting increasingly more sophisticated types of traffic-shaping and packet monitoring. Routing hardware, including the processor, can be upgraded inexpensively. Furthermore, this same hardware can provide additional functions. Finally, a Linux router comes equipped with a complete set of familiar tools for monitoring and customization.
For a minimal investment in hardware and time, you can try a Linux router for a new link or to act as a backup for your current link(s). If you are new to data communications or need support, you are more likely to find a Linux hacker who can read (which is all it takes to get a Sangoma card running) than to find a BigName router guru. Typically, Linux folks are pretty friendly and willing to help. After all, some of this stuff is just neat. For business environments, the availability of Linux talent is increasing, and training for this environment is substantially less expensive than for closed-systems. Because Linux is open, your investment of time and capital is better protected. Give it a try. You will not regret it!
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