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LAN & WAN Reviews

The Soekris net4501

The Soekris net4501 is the base model in the Soekris line of embedded PC devices. Soekris designed the net45xx from the outset to function as routers, firewalls and wireless access points. The net4501's AMD 133 Mhz ElanSC520 CPU gives comparable performance to an Intel Pentium P100 based PC. 

Unlike the VIA mini-ITX product line, which has also been designed for compactness, the Soekris net45xx line cannot run graphical operating systems such as MS Windows or Linux/FreeBSD with X-Windows. However, what you get is a fully-functioning device 'out of the box' as all the required hardware, including CPU and memory, are part of the mainboard. A complete lack of moving parts, no hard disk or cooling fans, means that they are completely silent in operation and much less susceptible to mechanical failure. 

The net4501 is supplied as a system board with an optional metal case. When ordered together, the board comes pre-installed in the case. Board specs are:

  • 133 Mhz AMD ElanSC520 CPU
  • 64 MB SDRAM
  • CF Type I/II socket
  • 3 auto-sensing 10/100 Mbit Ethernet ports, RJ-45
  • 1 Serial port, DB9
  • Power LED, Activity LED, Error LED
  • Mini-PCI type III socket.
  • PCI Slot, 3.3V, right angle
  • Operating temperature 0-60 °C

The required 12V external power supply can also be purchased direct from Soekris, and they have recently started to ship power supplies suitable for Europe as well as North America.

The case is of good quality powder-coated steel and it is easy to get inside once the four retaining screws have been removed. The case's external dimensions are 216mm X 150mm X 30mm (8.5in X 5.9in X 1.2in), and with the board and a CompactFlash (CF) card installed it weighs just less than 750g (1.6LB). 

Soekris net4501, Front view

Figure 1: Soekris net4501, Front view

On the front are the three LEDs for Power, Network Activity and Error. Currently m0n0wall does not use the error LED, though the LED's use for indicating the status of the WAN network interface is on the 'To do/Wishlist'. 

Soekris net4501, Rear view

Figure 2: Soekris net4501, Rear view

On the rear, from left to right, are the three RJ45 Ethernet interfaces and a DB9 Serial port and the power socket.

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