For a couple of years I felt vaguely guilty that even when all the computers were shut down, there was still one that ran 24/7 consuming about 150 watts — the firewall. I knew that I wanted to replace it with a disc-less unit that consumed only a handful of watts, but didn’t start looking around until it began to intermittently fail (and power supply/disc replacement didn’t help). After trying different devices, I settled on the ZyXEL Prestige 334 firewall router (gee, I guess I should have dusted it before I took the picture):
This unit has 4 LAN ports, and one for my cable-modem. Its easy-to-use web configuration (wizard) interface made it a snap to set-up. Be sure to change the default password, and remember to power-cycle the unit after changing/setting IP addresses. You may need to power-cycle your cable-modem too.
I was able to download and upgrade the firmware to the latest version (3.60), and have been running for over 7 months. Best of all, it draws less than 9 watts of power (guilt-be-gone), and is completely silent (I had to put the old firewall in a closet to abate noise). Streaming greater than 10Mb (1-1.5MByte/sec) through it is no problem.
Issues: In the last 7 months, I’ve had to power-cycle it twice to restore access to the Internet, and some (not all) SSH connections to outside computers time-out when not being used for an hour or so. I’ve read some reports by gamers under heavy UDP traffic getting “NAT Session Full” errors, but I’ve never experienced this.