[SOLVED] Looking for router SBC suggestions for high expandability/modularity

Mar 1, 2021
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I've been considering building my own router for a while now and am looking for the right SBC, or maybe even super small motherboard. I considered using one of my old PC's but I want something more compact. I'm trying to find something as expandable and modular as I can and nothing I've looked at thus far has really fit the bill. I'm thinking of something that can be easily upgraded so I don't need a new router every few years. Maybe something with a lot of PCIe or M.2 slots. The idea is I can just add cards to expand functionality (ignoring software for the time being). For example, if I decide to have a cellular backup, just add a new card. If I need more parts and don't want to add a switch, just add a new card. If a new Wifi standard comes out and it's time to upgrade, add a new card. I've looked at ODYSSEY-X86J4105 and it seems promising but I don't know if it's expansive enough. I'm also concerned about any potential bottlenecks. I was even thinking about something like a cryptomining motherboard with all those PCIe slots but I don't want something that big and a full size PSU. Any one have any ideas or suggestions?
 
What function in a "router" do you actually want.

For your average person all the router does is use NAT to share single IP address you get from your ISP to mulitple machines. In many ways a general purpose computer is inferior at that task. Modern routers have a hardware NAT acceleration function that even bypasses the router CPU. I doubt you can get a NAT acceleration chip.

All the other function like wifi you are likely going to get better performance actually using a commercial router and use it as AP. But this again comes back to why do you not just use the router itself rather than trying to invent your own.
 
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The thing is that the hardware for a router is the trivial part because it's all driven by the software. If the software doesn't support x processors anymore--upgrade. If it doesn't support x card anymore--upgrade. So you can never have what you are looking to do in terms of something infinitely upgradeable as the software will continue to dictate hardware changes.
 
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Mar 1, 2021
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And in general, the thing on orangepi with arabian may be suitable, although I don't know what about the board extensions, but it seems to support additional ports http://bestcell.solutions/s42_dk/
I think that might be close to what I was looking for. I'd prefer something other than mini PCI-e but that's not a big deal. Plus some of the built ins are what I needed so less expandability is needed. Although I'm a little surprised the ethernet isn't gigabit. UPD: I did not see the full description, there is gigabit ethernet but it is not written in what quantity
 

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