The latest, most expensive routers include so many facilities you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re more like PCs than tools for networking. This thought should lead you to wonder if you can use a regular PC to do the same thing. The answer, thanks to Linux, is that you can – and it’s very easy.
There are many different Linux distributions designed specifically to turn your machine into a router or a gateway, complete with any number of enhancements.
Our favourite is called ClearOS. It’s a fantastic choice of router for your network because it’s relatively painless to configure, but it’s also extendible, taking it far beyond even the most ambitious devices from manufacturers like Netgear.
You could use it to host your cloud documents, complete with editing, host and access your email, either through a web interface or server, as well as a powerful firewall and intrusion detection.
ClearOS is unlike most Linux distributions because it offers both a free edition and a commercial edition that you have to pay for. Because some people do pay for it, ClearOS has one of the better user interfaces, and most of its facilities can be installed and configured through a web app.
It’s also easy to install, and has a great support network. This is important, because all your network’s data is going to go through the distribution, and you need to be able to trust both the integrity of the packages and services its running, and the source of those packages and the distribution itself.
Fortunately, ClearOS’s heritage couldn’t be any better, since it’s based on the billion dollar Red Hat enterprise.