Once again I had to use my Geek-genes to solve a bunch of problems with a kind of fly flap: A Do It Yourself GNU/Linux Firewall, Router and Gateway for the home network. While most people do not seem to have problems with these tiny little routers and Wifi-Access Points that they get from their Internet Carrier, I recognized that the number of connection-issues correlates with the number of Computers and mobilephones you have at home.
A dedicated machine acts the primary gateway for all devices and allows remote connections via OpenVPN, which is really useful: I can backup my Laptop via Internet 🙂 It took me several days to get it up and running, but that project pushed my Linux and networking-skills beyond somewhere they never have been before and our network issuses have been solved.
Computer hardware is really cheap these days so I could by a kind of high-end equipment for its tasks. An IBM eServe 336 costs me around € 60 on eBay plus shipping from Germany and that bit of hardware (Dual GBit NICs !, SCSI Raid-1 !!, Intel Xeon 3 GHZ !11) should work at least for the next ten years.