Things I may want

This relates to my latest (shudder) hardware project: a home firewall/router based on a PC Engines apu1c4 SBC.

The apu1c4 is a really amazing little single board computer (SBC). It ships with a 1 GHz AMD G Series T40E dual-core 64-bit processor, 3 x 1 Gb/s Realtek NICs, and, in the model I bought (from Mini-Box, product page here), 4 Gb DDR3-1066 DRAM. It also has an onboard standard size SDHC card slot, an mSATA and 2 Mini PCI-e expansion slots. It’s those 2 last slots that are the source of my trouble. I did fill one of them with an Intel Centrino 6235 mini-card, because, after all, every home router needs to at least be able to double as a wireless access point (never mind the security implications).

PC-Engine-apu1c4-b2

But I still have one empty Mini PCI-e slot (the mSATA slot is being held in reserve for the moment I decide that booting off a Class 10 SDHC card was a really stupid idea). What to do?

Here are a few things I’d like to try:

1. A 3G/4G wireless transciever with a SIM card slot for “emergency” connectivity when my ISP’s network is unavailable.

2. A Mini PCI-e Time Code Receiver card I could use to sync my own home ntp time server.

3. Something else I haven’t thought of yet.

Over 15 years ago a bad experience with then state-of-the-art laptop network hardware (hardwired, not wireless) led me to swear off involvement with computer hardware for the rest of my career.

Guess I’ve gotten over it.

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About phil

My name is Phil Lembo. In my day job I’m an enterprise IT architect for a leading distribution and services company. The rest of my time I try to maintain a semi-normal family life in the suburbs of Raleigh, NC. E-mail me at philipATlembobrothersDOTcom. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own and not those of my employers, past, present or future (except where I quote others, who will need to accept responsibility for their own rants).