Two-in-One embedded linux box

Posted a new idea at GizmoForYou.com

(copying the text)
Today I had a need to test a DSL connection in the lab (15 minutes walk from my working place), and I had an idea what could be saving lots of my time: a device consisting of two independent linux systems, connected by some kind of a terminal link.
One box emulates a user’s PC connected to the ADSL modem: sends DHCP requests, gets its address and default gateway there, as well as DNS setings.
The other box is connected to the lab’s LAN where I can access it remotely, and connect to the first one via a serial console.

Another possible use case: a secure jumphost into some remote network. Exposing the box to the Internet and accepting the risk of it being DOSed or even cracked, the managed system is not affected (provided that there’s an additional level of authentication between them).

Another (impossible) kind of use case: connect two cameras and emulate the work of two halves of the human brain 🙂

Requirements so far:

  • Portable enclosure with external universal power supply
  • Two MIPS or ARM CPUs able to work in big endian mode (BE should provide better network performance over LE, especially in IPv6). Ideally the BE/LE mode would be configurable by a jumper for each core. Intel IXP as a candidate for the CPU
  • Each core having:
    • CPU power comparable to 400MHz ARM9
    • at least 128MB RAM
    • 128MB flash
    • SD or microSD card slot
    • USB2.0 host
    • Two 10/100 Ethernet NICs. Ideally with 802.1q support on each NIC
    • 5V serial console (DB9 or RJ45 in Cisco pinout)
  • USB2.0 OTG ports on each core wired back-to-back to each other.

The end user is responsible to configure the back-to-back USB ports as a Serial or Ethernet connection at their wish (Linux gadget drivers are supposed to allow that out of the box).

Interesting option would be a plastic enclosure box and enough space to place a 3G or Wifi USB dongle inside it. Then at least one internal USB host port is also needed (ideally, two 🙂 )

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