While I was messing with Routers & virtualisation products, I came across FREESCO which is an open alternative to routing products offered by Cisco, 3-Com, Accend, Nortel etc. While all of these companies offer products that are well made, the overhead and overall costs can be expensive.FREESCO is open source, stable, inexpensive, easy to use, extremely versatile and flexible ... and best of all, its is FREE.
FREESCO is based on the Linux operating system. And incorporates many of the features of other Linux distributions into software that fits onto a single 1.44 meg floppy diskette. It is also possible to run it entirely from RAM, in which case no disk activity occurs after startup. FREESCO works on any IBM compatible PC (i386 compatible spec or higher) and can be optionally installed to a hard disk. In practice this means Intel 80486SX or better, with 12 MByte. Preferably more than 16 MByte to enable servers.With FREESCO, you can configure:
- a simple bridge with up to 10 Ethernet segments
- a router with up to 10 Ethernet segments
- a dialup line router
- a leased line router
- an Ethernet router
- a dial-in server with up to 10 modems (with multiport modems).
- a time server
- a dhcp server
- a http server
- a ftp server
- a dns server
- a ssh server
- a print server (requires TCP/IP printing client software)
FREESCO also incorporates firewalling and NAT, which are resident within the Linux kernel, to help protect you and your network. All of these features can be used in conjunction with each other or individually.
More recent versions of Linux software (e.g. Apache 2) are often not available for FREESCO because they are not compatible with FREESCO's kernel. Also, newer hardware (such as Gigabit Ethernet cards) may not be usable under FREESCO due to an absence of their drivers for the 2.0.x Linux kernel. FREESCO does not at present support load-balancing.Also, FREESCO does not support USB.