Software router state of the art

Kevin Day toasty at
Mon Jul 28 22:08:00 UTC 2008

On Jul 28, 2008, at 1:55 PM, Seth Mattinen wrote:
> I'm aware of Cisco IOS, then BSD-based and Linux-based platforms  
> that are actually sold as routing products. I also know there are a  
> billion "yay, router!" things out there. T1 cards are easy to find.  
> The only other place I know I could buy a T3 card from is Sangoma.  
> Maybe someone has even used it* T3 card before. Rather than reinvent  
> the wheel alone, nanog has to contain the highest concentration of  
> people that have tried various things and already know what will  
> work and what won't work. I'm not looking for OS politics, just  
> operational experience from people who have access to more money and  
> more hardware than I do to have tried more stuff.
> If my best option is still from the big players, so be it. If  
> there's something else that's just as stable, I want to hear about  
> it. I'm not adverse to some dirty work, but I just don't have the  
> time right now to jump in over my head into a software router  
> project and then fight my way back to the surface. I'm not trying to  
> create something for educational purposes, I need something suitable  
> for a production environment.
> ~Seth

We use a lot of Sangoma's stuff ourselves, both for data and TDM voice  
applications. For the most part, it's worked flawlessly. The few  
problems we've had were dealt with amazingly quickly on their end -  
one of their developers stayed well after midnight and gave me a  
custom fix for a problem that was pretty insignificant to us.

They support Linux a bit more strongly than FreeBSD, but both should  
work for what you need. Unless you're trying to install it on a 486,  
you'll have no problem handling 45mbps of traffic, bgp, nat,  
firewalls, etc. no matter what the PPS rate is.

You get the full source to their drivers, the only exception is the  
firmware loaded onto the echo canceler DSP for voice applications.

That said, they are a small company. Don't buy if you're expecting TAC  
level support contracts, glossy manuals or a GUI web interface to set  
the card up.

T3 levels of bandwidth are well inside the "no longer a problem" scale  
of software routing. Quagga or Xorp, combined with your favorite  
software firewall, nat, or other goodies and you're up. If I remember  
right, someone made a Xorp bootable CD that had Sangoma's drivers  
included, so you were up and running pretty fast.

If you want more specific info about anything, ask off list.

-- Kevin

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