Originally Posted by darksideleader
P4 w/ 1GB of ram has plenty of power for a home network.
You will need to buy a ethernet card, so the pc has 2 nics, onboard and PCI/PCI-E. You also need a switch.
Your network is going to look like this
Shaw Cable Modem ---> PC --> Switch ---> Wireless Access Point ---> Wireless Devices
Switch also connects to your wireless devices.
You can turn your existing router into a wireless access point. Disable the DHCP on the WD router and give it an address in the same subnet as your PC, (PC is 192.168.1.1, WAP needs to be 192.168.1.2 etc.)
One NIC is connected to your cable modem for internet, your WAN connection. The other NIC connected to the switch is your internal LAN. If you don't want to buy a switch, your WD router can also function as a switch as well.
With this setup, DHCP is handled by the PC. All wireless clients go through your router first then to your PC.
You don't need to tell your friends all to buy their own routers...
You may have missed the part where they are dividing the 100 Mbps connection between three people evenly. You couldn't really do that with a single access point or single LAN. I agree though that they don't need to all buy a router. If a roommate wants/needs wireless then yes they would need to buy a wireless AP.
With that setup you have a pfSense box installed behind the modem. It will need atleast 4 NICs ($25 dual port Intels from ebay are my go to). One interface is assigned as the WAN. The other three are assigned as LAN1, LAN2, and LAN3. Use the traffic shaper wizard with single WAN and multi LAN.
Traffic shaper is still technically using QoS rules but I've never seen a SOHO router get close to the control you have from pfSense's shaper. You can setup schedules so late at night the rules drop allowing free flow to any device. Set rules for priority traffic from certain devices.
Watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfXImr5q-sw
and the go over the documentation here: http://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/Traffic_Shaping_Guide#Single_Wan_multi_Lan
. Yes, this can get quite complicated if your ISP has a speedburst setup. You will have to tweak this setup a lot before it will be perfect but it will work.
One of the issues I can see with this setup is all your devices are going to be on different subnets so you will not be able to share content between each other easily. If you have a shared xbox, playstation, etc... then you either decide who's bandwidth it will use or add another NIC and add some more rules.
To pull this off each person will need a switch and/or wireless access point (if they want it). 3 ethernet runs from the pfSense box to each person's equipment. A wireless router could be used instead of a switch and WAP. As mentioned you would need to turn off DHCP and QoS rules on the wireless router.
Your P4 with 1GB of RAM should be fine with this. Intel Server Pro NICs are probably the cheapest option. Try to use only PCI-E adapters if you can. Quad port NICs are going to be expensive so two duals should do it. I think SYBA has a cheap 4 port but it is missing some features and I have no idea how well it works.
This can get vastly more complicated with VPN access, squid caching, FTP access, and server access. As far as I know this is really the only way to divide a connection evenly. Uploading is a little tricky as well when dividing bandwidth. I would recommend a little more RAM if you have it around just for comforts sake. My pfSense build is a Atom D510 with 2 GB of RAM and 30 GB SSD and the only time I have been able to put the slightest amount of stress on it was with jperf experiments.
I've used the setup over at a friends place myself. It works fine for them. They rent out rooms in an apartment/house so they have 2 100 Mbps lines coming in divided out to 8 rooms. Just a single ethernet drop to each one and the residents use whatever network stuff they want to use.
There very well may be an easier way but I don't really know of any. I have the mega build of DD-WRT on my router and it can not do this effectively and I think a lot of traffic would make it crap itself when trying to pull it off. I'm sure there are appliances out there that can do it as well but are going to cost a lot more than this. If anyone knows of a better way hopefully they will speak up. Don't go running off to buy the parts just yet.