At home, I currently run two DSL lines. Right now, we just have two separate LANs, one connected to each line, with my wife's devices attached to one, and my devices attached to the other. For a while now, I've been thinking about setting up a load-balancing routing solution to give both of us access to both lines.
I have the opportunity to acquire a refurbed Cisco Catalyst 2960 at a ridiculously low price. I also have access to a (nominally) spare quad-core 64-bit PC with 8GB of RAM. I say "nominally" because I'm thinking about setting it up as a media center / gaming rig connected to the TV in the den. That's largely beside the point, but it bears pointing out that keeping the PC available for my other needs would be a good thing.
Is it going to be a more-effective solution to drop a few bucks on the 2960 and go through the hassle of learning how to set it up (and then setting it up), or would I be better off putting a secured Linux distro (e.g. gentoo-hardened, or something) on the semi-spare PC and running the load-balancing via
Either way, I'm looking at a learning curve, and a good amount of time fannying around getting the damn thing working -- there's a good chance I'd spend almost as much cash on the PC-based solution getting good-quality network cards, and maybe fast HDD tech (though it seems like RAM and cores would be more important than disk IO).
What are your opinions?