The amazing Chinarouter
I've been sitting on this bad boy for a while now but today I finally got a chance to set it up. Technically, its name is the NEXX WT3020H, but that's not particularly catchy so I've been calling it the Chinarouter. It's got two 300Mbps ethernet ports and 802.11n. It's tiny, it's USB-powered, and you can flash it so it runs Linux. The price for all this? Around US$15.
The OpenWRT wiki page was a little daunting but in reality it was just a matter of downloading the image, opening the web UI and hitting "upgrade firmware". I spent a bit of time messing around with settings, but the result is incredible. I now have a cheap, pocket-sized tool I can throw at any problem that has a vaguely networky shape.
I'm currently using it as an OpenVPN router after approximately following these instructions. One port is plugged into my regular network, and traffic from the other port and wifi are both put through my VPN before they hit the internet. No more messing around with client settings or draining extra battery on my mobile devices, I just connect to the "vpn" wifi network and my connection is secure.
I'm completely blown away by all the possibilities of this thing. You want to add wifi to a device that only supports ethernet? The Chinarouter can do that! You wanted that magical TOR-in-a-box that got shut down? It was literally just a Chinarouter with some custom firmware. I've even got a plan to use it to do network audits that I'll probably write about later.
Seriously, I am so in love with this thing. Between the Chinarouter and the new Raspberry Pi, the number of tiny Linux boxes in my house is getting ludicrous. If this is the future, I'm in.