2018 Router Introduction

2018 has arrived, and with it a myriad of site issues that I have only just now got around to fixing (eg broken comments). Some big changes have been going on in my personal life – one of which is moving into my own place!

With that, it means I now have full control over what I get to have in my pad! So, it’s time to have something I’ve wanted for a good while… my own custom network infrastructure!


Above – my new network setup. The bottom shelf is the new router (topic of the next series of posts) and the network switch. On the next shelf up is the 2016 NAS (Still going strong!) Above that is a network printer that was too big to get in shot.

So… the internet comes into the living room, into the modem (more on this later) and I have a 15m flat white Ethernet “Cat7” lead running around the skirting boards into the office. I’ve always subscribed to the fact that hardwired ethernet is the most reliable form of connection. WiFi is… well… WiFi and I have had issues with Powerline in the past – so the best way to go is hardwired ethernet.

A closer look at the box – the case is the “M350 Universal Mini-ITX Enclosure” that can be found at various sites. It’s probably the smallest Mini-ITX case I could find!

This should give you an idea of just how small the case is – it’s barely large enough to fit an Mini-ITX motherboard. The one you are looking at is the Gigabyte GA-J3455N-D3H – with a soldered Intel Celeron J3455. I will go into the reasons why I picked this one in the next posts about each component!

For power I’m using a Pico-PSU and an external 12V FSP power brick – I’m not asking much from them in terms of power so they should last a decent length of time! The RAM is just a 4GB stick of DDR3L that I had lying around that I could throw in.

The back of the unit – barely large enough to fit the standard IO shield! You can also see the DC-in jack on the rear too. We have on the back a couple of video outputs for the initial setup of the box and, most importantly, two gigabit LAN ports for the networking (one for the internal LAN, and one going back to the router). I have loaded up OpenSense onto the USB drive plugged into the back – once it’s booted it doesn’t really need to access the drive so a cheap 32GB USB drive is all that’s needed there.

The main interface of OpenSense is above – I really like the interface and flexibility you get! I have had to learn (often the hard way) on how to properly set up the network. I’ll go into more details in future topics!

That’s it for now – a bit of a teaser! Over the next few days I will be uploading a series of posts about this box and my network!

Vega 56 Introduction
The 2018 Router - The Case

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