I’m : a programmer, writer, podcaster, geek, and coffee enthusiast.

My search for a wireless router that doesn’t suck may have ended tonight: I received and set up my new m1n1wall ALIX.2D3 system (with pfSense).

However, this probably shouldn’t be your next router. This is not for non-geeks. Even for many geeks, it’s more trouble than they’re willing to endure.

This photo was during the installation process — the case is open because I had to install the wireless card and antenna (they’re sold separately so you can choose the kind you want), but otherwise the system comes assembled into its case with the OS installed on the CF card. You can hook up a null-modem cable and control it with a serial console, but I didn’t need to — the web interface worked fine out of the box.

The box is comically devoid of any documentation or setup instructions. They don’t even tell you what the default web-interface password is (I had to use Google to find pfSense’s default). They also don’t tell you which of the three network ports is the WAN and which is the LAN, so Google came to the rescue again (middle is WAN, closest-to-power-port is LAN). Wireless isn’t enabled by default, and even after you enable it, it won’t actually let any traffic go through until you define at least one firewall rule for the wireless interface, even if it’s allow-everything-I-don’t-care.

But those were really the only snags. The web interface is very nice, and this thing has some amazing capabilities. And it’s tiny — much smaller than any equivalent Cisco thing. At just under $300 after shipping, it’s a great deal for geeks like me who are tired of crappy home routers.

I’ll reserve final judgment until I’ve used it for a while, because I don’t know how reliable it is. But as far as I can tell, these things are supposed to be rock-solid. Hopefully that proves to be true.