AstLinux Hardware

20 January 2010
Astlinux has now reached version 0.7. These pages are therefore extremely out-of-date. Please refer to the official Astlinux site:

AstLinux supports a wide range of hardware...

Basically, ASTLINUX can use all hardware which fits into your system and which is supported by the used LINUX version and ASTERISK version. Kris designed ASTLINUX mainly for use with the SOEKRIS boards, but supplies a generic version for i586-systems (MMX-support necessary).
A more detailed hardware description will follow next time, but all i586 based embedded systems should work with the distributions and matching hardware.

System examples:

Allwell STB1030/3036

These (a little older) embedded systems with a GEODE CPU can be acquired quite cheap 2nd hand in Europe (namely Germany, with DOC or CF-support and 32-128MBit RAM) for EUR 15 - EUR 60.
These boxes were produced as TV SETTOP boxes and you could surf the Internet and use your TV as a screen.
For further info see the SURFSTATION forum (in German only) and the original supplier Allwell .

A STB3036 with 64Mbyte RAM, a 32Mbyte-CF-Card and with a 32MByte USB-stick runs ASTLINUX easily when e.g. a suitable ISDN-PCI-card or a X100P is being attached . Be aware, that not all of these cheap boxes have a built-in 10/100MBit-Ethernet NIC on board. Therefore a separate Ethernet NIC probably have to be installed as well.

HP T5700 Series Thin Clients


These thin client devices happen to be great little platforms for Astlinux. I've used several, having saved them from a trip to a tech recycler. They generally offer the following specs:

  • 1 GHz Transmeta Crusoe CPU (although they range from 700 MHz P3 to 1.4 GHz VIA CPUs)
  • 256 MB RAM (SODIMM form factor)
  • 256 MB Internal Flash "Disk-On-Module"
  • 4 USB ports
  • onboard VGA
  • onboard ethernet
  • onboard audio
  • parallel port
  • serial port

The units that I have used came with XP Embedded or WinCE on the DOM. The DOM behaves just like an internal HD, so I was able to use the GENKD process to make it the boot disk. Use the Generic-586 release when targeting this device. The 1 GHz Crusoe CPU easily outperforms the Soekris Net4801 (266 MHz Geode) which is handy if you need to transcode to/from the G.729 codec.

Cracking open the case you will find that there is one available PCI slot, but the case does not allow it to be exposed. HP sells an "expansion adapter" that replaces one side of the case and allows the addition of a half length card into the PCI slot. Also, the system ram is one SODIMM so it may be easily upgraded.

SOEKRIS boards

These are one of the original target platforms for Astlinux. Manufactured by Soekris Engineering the two most commonly cited are the Net4501 and Net4801.


The Net4501 is commonly used in router applications but it's 133 MHz 486 class CPU is really too limited for running Astlinux. The Net4801 (shown above in an optional case with PSU) is truly the best suited to Astlinux. It specs out as follows:

  • 233 to 266 Mhz NSC SC1100 single chip processor
  • 32-256 Mbyte SDRAM, soldered on board
  • 4 Mbit BIOS/BOOT Flash
  • CompactFLASH Type I/II socket, 8 Mbyte FLASH to 4 Gbyte Microdrive
  • UltraDMA-33 interface with 44 pins connector for 2.5" Hard Drive
  • 1-3 10/100 Mbit Ethernet ports, RJ-45
  • 2 Serial ports, DB9 and 10 pins header
  • USB 1.1 interface
  • Power LED, Activity LED, Error LED
  • Mini-PCI type III socket. (t.ex for optional hardware encryption.)
  • PCI Slot, right angle 3.3V signaling only, dual PCI slot option planned.
  • 12 bit general purpose I/O, 20 pins header
  • Temperature and voltage monitor
  • Hardware watchdog
  • Board size 5.2" x 5.7"
  • Power using external power supply is 6-20V DC, max 15 Watt
  • Option for 5V supply using internal connector
  • Operating temperature 0-60 °C

There is a release of Astlinux compiled expressly for the Net4801 hardware. These systems generally boot to the CF card, using the USB connector to mount a memory stick used as the key disk for config details. In fact, it can handle a small HD if that's your preference. The availability to three network ports makes it possible to use Astlinux in "router mode" where it acts as your router and handles traffic shaping to optimise the handling of VOIP traffic.

An article giving an overview of setting up Astlinux on a Net4801 was published Here in January 2006.

As of 2/2007 NSC has announced that they are ceasing to manufacture the CPUs found in the Net4801. Soekris have been expecting this and plan to replace the older models with a new Net5501 model. This is expected to spec out as follows:

  • 433 to 500 Mhz AMD Geode LX single chip processor with CS5536 companion chip
  • 128-1024 Mbyte DDR-SDRAM, soldered on board
  • 4 Mbit BIOS/BOOT Flash
  • CompactFLASH Type I/II socket, 8 Mbyte to 32 Gbyte FLASH or Microdrive
  • UltraDMA-100 interface with 44 pins connector for 2.5" Hard Drive
  • Serial ATA 1.0 interface for Hard Drive, with +5V and +12V power header
  • 1-4 VIA VT6105M 10/100 Mbit Auto MDIX Ethernet ports, RJ-45, protected with 2KW/100A TVS
  • 2 Serial ports, DB9 and 10 pins internal header
  • USB 2.0 interface, one internal, one external port
  • Power LED, Disk LED, Error LED, Network LED's
  • Mini-PCI type III socket. (for t.ex. hardware encryption or wireless controller)
  • PCI Slot, right angle 3.3V signaling only, dual PCI slot option

Availability is listed as March 2007.

Created by: krisk17, Last modification: Wed 20 of Jan, 2010 (17:38 UTC) by tomchadwin
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