Originally my router/PBX this Dell P4 was installed with some of the earliest Digium PCI analogue cards. This card supported both FXS and FXO modules, and i used them both in various configurations. One of the FXS modules is what allowed my housemate’s old rotary phone to connect to the house phone system. I loved testing the system by ringing his phone. The ringing of its actual bell, was a delight. That dell survived the infamous flood (by already being decommissioned). I think I paid over $200 for this card alone. Now i run Asterisk off my Raspberry Pi with a total hardware cost considerably less than that.
For nearly 10 years, all my home internet traffic has flowed through the capable interfaces of Nitrogen. Through the years linux routing grew increasingly more powerful, but this little Dimension PC did not. It’s 700Mhz Celeron CPU and PCI network interfaces (literally nothing onboard) had always met my needs. However in these times of ever increasing speeds, i began to wonder. After a few pesky error messages, “eth0: Too much work at interrupt” i knew it was time for an upgrade. From ipfwadm through ipchains, and eventually to iptables, this unit continued to teach me the linux kernel firewall. QOS, Network monitoring, intrusion detection, even Tor’s anonymous proxy relay, we’d been through it all together. What am i going to do with him now? Replaced with a newer (but far from new) PC. Rebuilt from the ground up to be tighter, faster, and i don’t even mind saying… prettier. Now i have Phosphorus. Nitrogen will receive the most honorable sendoff i can give it. To be stripped of its few remaining useful parts and recycled. No moment of silence for this one. It was recognized with a 5 minute internet blackout. While i reset my cable modem.