LAD: LateralAccessDevice

takes you back to before the Internet

How It Works | Download LAD | Support | LAD Security | Features & Uses | Resources

Hardware Recommendations

WARNING! YOU DON'T NEED TO UPGRADE YOUR BROWSER!

It is all about efficiency. We make a product that works for you, as opposed to the other way around. You see, we have a certain philosophy when it comes to the usability of technology: make state-of-the-art technology work for you. It's that simple.

You may have noticed that our website is designed in such a way no one needs to upgrade their browser to comfortably view it (we tested it with Netscape version 7.2, circa 2004). Bloated technology delivers inefficiency, not features, and provides more places in which malware, bugs and other digital nasties can hide (do you really feel safer or better served, now that your online banking takes ten times longer to load than it did ten years ago?). We achieve results through efficiency and flexibility.

rephrase banking - consider banks have been around for hundreds of years. Even a computer just a few uears old struffles with online banking, yet what more do you get from that bloat? as a customer? Yet, ten years ago or further back it was just fine. Better way to phrase? But by twenty year standards you are using a supercomputer just to make sure you can pay your utility bill. Absurd isnt it? Ever wonder why?

The whole idea behind offering LateralAccessDevice in the form that we do is to allow you the same flexibility in hardware and snappy performance that we would want for ourselves. This can only be achieved through efficiency in everything... and eschewing all those amusing but superflous widgets.

This is not to say that we are old fashioned — unless striving for simplicity and usability over fluff and flash makes us that. The ability to use the tools that you already have is the hallmark of a good product, and an efficient one, too. We only hope that we can stay on this path, where adaptation remains on our side and the benefits on yours.

There are two main approaches to the hardware you use for LAD. If you have an old computer laying around, most likely it would work, with the addition of a network card. While LAD requires that the processor have certain features, most processors and motherboards in mass production since 2011 have them. If you are not sure whether your old computer will work, try it out — the LAD installer will automatically detect whether yours has the required components.

The second option is a new mini-computer, various versions of which are available from a number of vendors. They typically cost from $100 to $200. Many of these small profile chassis are based on the Intel J-1900, which we have found is quite suitable for LAD, and feature two, four, six, eight or ten built-in Ethernet ports, oftentimes using Intel's i210 or i211 chipset. The advantage of these is that they are small, quiet and use very little power (and they don't have fans). You just need to be sure to get one with at least 4GB of RAM.

At the minimum, you will need a computer chassis with at least one USB port, at least two Ethernet ports, a motherboard with a 2-core processor, a SATA HDD and 4GB RAM. No keyboard port is required; monitor ports are optional (a computer monitor may be connected if you would like to monitor the progress of the installation, however, this is not required).

Motherboards

While we do not have any specific brand or model of motherboard to recommend, the motherboard should have at least a dual core processor. Most motherboards with processors manufactured after 2011 would likely work, however, you will likely have better results with more recent ones. In any case, before installation the LAD installer will check the compatibility of your motherboard (and other hardware).

Memory

Depending on the motherboard, LAD will work with most configurations with as little as 4GB of RAM.

NICs

If your motherboard does not have at least two compatible Ethernet ports, you will need a network interface card to bring the total number of Ethernet ports to two or more. The greater the number of Ethernet ports you have, the greater the number of devices you can connect directly to LAD (see various connectivity options).

You will see below that the list of supported network cards is a bit limited and may wonder why. The answer is simple: many are not worth supporting for LateralAccessDevice. It goes back to our philosophy of efficiency and results (see sidebar): there is no point in supporting chipsets that are not suited for the context in which LAD operates, though they may be suitable for other applications. Hence we have narrowed the recommendations to several popular Intel chipsets (but not all Intel chipsets -- different teams at Intel developed or licensed the various branches of their chipsets, and some are more successful than others).

We have tested LAD with the following NICs:

  • Intel i210 series
  • Intel i211 series
  • Intel i350 series
  • Intel 82574L
  • Intel 82583V

USB Sticks

No particular brand or model of USB stick is required. If you have any data stored on the USB stick that you want to keep, be sure to copy it elsewhere, as burning the image of the installation module will destroy any data saved on the USB stick.

HDDs

For hard drives, we have found the most practical to be SATA HDDs, as they have proven cost-effective and reliable and are widely used. No particular brand, model or capacity of HDD is required, other than that it must have SATA AHCI storage, however, we would recommend no less than 64GB (LAD will work with less, but you would likely find the results less than satisfactory). The larger the capacity of the hard drive, the more data you can retain.

LAD stores all of the data that passes through it and generates reports an aggregates. When it runs out of space, it automatically begins overwriting the oldest data with the newest, which makes is so that theoretically you could use any size HDD. However, the larger the HDD, the further the lookback period you will have. For many a 500GB to 1TB size HDD would prove to be a good match, however, as explained in this article on the usefulness of packet capture data, having a longer lookback period could be worth the cost of a bigger HDD,

You may also use SSDs, but in general SSDs tend to not last as long as HDDs since LAD constantly records data in the form of packet capture, logs and reports. While SSDs are faster than HDDs, they do have technological limitations in terms of how many times you can write to them. They are not guaranteed to fail after the published number of write cycles, but the chances increase (it depends on many other factors, as well).