Edimax router Loadbalancer

By Tim Quax on 29 september 2006
I had a small hosting thingy, back in the day, which meant 4 servers were stashed in my bedroom. With servers i mean Pentium 3 desktops, almost earning their pension but not before I turned them into servers. You can see the trouble that one might have with such a setup. Spreading websites over too much servers, and those pieces of junk keep dying on me.

The solution? Putting Linux on a router, so I can install Loadbalancing software on it. That way, the router will be the communcation point for all websites. In this setup I could create a fileserver and use the rest for processing power. The software on the router divides all requests on the available hardware, thus creating a stable environment in which i can repear junk without downtime, and overall maintain a reasonable access time for the websites.

The router

I used the Edimax BR-6104K router for this job. Main reasons are, the router costs 20 bucks, and there's already a Linux-based firmware installed on the machine, which makes the cross compiling a bit easier.

There are just two disadvantages:

  • It doesn't have USB ports
  • It's 5 bucks cheaper than the BR-6104KP that does
Edimax BR-6104K router

So we solder!

This router has the same PCB as the version with the usb ports, which means that the connections are in place, and I can solder the ports on the router. The USB ports are required in this mod, since the 32MB storage on the router is not enough for my purposes. After all, this router will be balancing the load for a bunch of dying old servers.

So, what has to happen:

  • I need to be able to plug in a USB stick; I need to solder the ports onto the PCB;
  • Create a Linux distro to put onto the usb stick;
  • Create a custom firmware to make the router boot from the usb stick.

Edimax BR-6104K router inside

So that's what I did

Fast, huh? I soldered the connections on the PCB (see image below). I chose the distro Damn Small Linux for this little projects, mainly because it's small, and it can do what I want it to do. I installed the distro on the USB stick.

I then made a firmware that can boot from the first USB port. In case someone else wants to do this trick I'll put it at the download section later.

So when I got it to boot the Linux distro on the usb stick, I installed lightweight loadbalancing software on the thing, and spent an entire night hooking it up to my servers, along with creating a fileserver and making the other servers use it.

Edimax BR-6104K router USB soldering

Rick on Tuesday 29-06-2010

Hi, love your site. Very impressed and thanks for sharing your knowledge. I was wondering if you could tell me what program/programs you have used to edit the firmware file. I'm interested in modifying my firmware file for an edimax 7416 expander. Any info would be greatly appreciated.


AnArKo on Monday 28-02-2011

Hi, I need the USB boot firmware for hack my edimax. I like to put an USB flash memory for hdd and usb WIFI card. I want to boot an mips linux distro.

carmelo gio on Wednesday 14-09-2011

wow tnx a lot for th idea.. but honestly, i just need the driver for this device. can you please send me some.. :((

here's my email. jun_gio2000@yahoo.com

tnx a lot please please please help..
david mora on Friday 31-10-2014

saludos, tengo un problema, no puedo entrar al menu principal ya que le cambie la direccion ip del router y se me olvido la que le puse. que puedo hacer para ponerlo originalmente de fabrica de nuevo o como entrar al menu interno de otra forma

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