Soekris is a well known name in the hobby community for making appliance class embedded systems. It is one of the reference designs listed on the m0n0wall site. It seemed like a good configuration to test.
Soekris sells the net4501 in a metal box with a power supply for just over 200 dollars. This is 3 or 4 times the price of most mass produced products. The box and the board appear well made.
The net4501 m0n0wall image fits on an 8 meg CF card but the smallest I could find was a 512 meg card for $20 after rebate. The image was written to the CF card with the m0n0wall provided utility and the system was assembled.
Configuration was a snap following the m0n0wall instructions. A LAN address was given via the serial port and the rest was done with the web browser. Configuration was similar to any of the routers tested and involved setting the WAN address and a few LAN parameters. The defaults were just fine most of the time with the only parameter that needed to be set being the WAN address.
Throughput was 17.1 Mbit/sec as advertized and power consumption was 4-5watts.
The soekris net4501 running m0n0wall provides a highly configurable, low power three port router in your hands for just over 200 dollars. Its throughput is acceptable for most home users though somewhat lacking for the fractured lab's needs. The 200 dollar price tag makes it expensive for what it does.
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