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I want to learn about software routing

Discussion in 'Networking' started by meirionwyllt, Oct 10, 2008.

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  1. meirionwyllt

    meirionwyllt Thread Starter

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    This idea might seem crazy to some, but hear me out...

    I currently have a pretty standard wireless-g adsl router, with a wired file server, a wired media server, and three wireless clients running off it. I want to look into software routing, and having my file server carrying out as many of the functions of my router as possible, therefore having my server as the router, sharing the internet connection out to the wired and the wireless clients. My two reasons for this is, 1) to learn more about networking, and 2) to upgrade my router the cheapest way possible, i.e. I want to move towards ADSL2+ and Gigabit LAN. So, my (pobbibsly rather naïve) plan is this:

    1) Buying a simple ADSL2+ USB2 modem (or PCI, whatever) - so RJ11 in, and USB2 out to the back of my server
    2) Buy 2 PCI Gigabit LAN cards – to supply gibabit lan to my wtwo wires servers
    3) Buy a PCI Wi-fi adapter (draft-N) – can a wi-fi adapter be used as a wi-fi transmitter??
    4) And a software router, such as http://www.nat32.com/ (do I need a third-party software, or are there tools within Windows to do this??)

    And what about operating system - is Windows XP Pro sufficient for handling all this routing and all the other things that routers can do nowadays, or would a WIndows Server upgrade be necessary.

    I know this all sound a bit of a hassle to set up, but I approach it as more of a learning experience, hoping that it will provide a significant increase in the transfer rates of my wired LAN. I just want to know if it's possible, and if it will be quicker having the PC as my router, rather just buying a new ADSL2+/Wireless-N router. I like the idea of having the above components as separate entities, so that they can be more easily upgraded, like when Wireless-N proper comes out, rather than having to buy another router.

    Can you discuss how plausible the above is, and the pros and cons etc.

    Thanks in advance for the debate.
     
  2. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Immediate con. You better make sure you harden the heck out of that Windows file server and move any files you care about off that server. Because you're exposing that box out to the internet.

    If you want to really learn about the guts of networking, either buy a used commerical grade router or buy some simulation software. There are various places where you can get a basic Cisco package for cheap to start you off on the world of networking. Two places I know of... www.networkhardware.com and www.teksavers.com. I've personally purchased 3 routers from Network Hardware and have had very good experiences with them. Both places offer a year warranty on their used gear.
     
  3. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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  4. meirionwyllt

    meirionwyllt Thread Starter

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    OK I realise there are better ways of learning about networking, but I would still like to look into a cheap way of incorporating gigabit LAN and wireless-n into my network, whilst keeping upgradeablilty.

    I appreciate your concern with security - I would even consider getting a dedicated PC for use as a server (I work in IT and we are throwing out 1.8GHz P4s all the time). The gigabit LAN cards I could get for £8 each, £10 for an ADSL2+ (non-routing) modem, then £20 for a wireless-N access point, and I've seen many open source firewall/routing apps.

    [Since my last post I've realised that I would have to exchange the PCI Wi-fi adapter for a Wi-fi Access Point with a cable to my first floor so that the signal can reach the whole three floors]

    I know I'm exhausting this subject, but is what I'm suggesting above plausible for a cheap solution?

    Otherwise, since my wired router would needs to be on a different floor to my wireless access point I would need to pay loads for a gigabit router and a wireless-n access point.

    Any comments?
    Thanks for your time.
     
  5. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Don't know if Astaro supports wireless NICs but you should look into this package. It's free for home users. It's a hardened Linux based firewall which you just burn the ISO image to a CD, boot it up, and follow the install instructions.

    If it were me, that would be the way I would go about doing this project. But keep in mind, there are no software based solutions that I'm aware of that gets really into the guts of routing. What I mean by that is if you want to really learn about routing, you need to get familiar with the various important routing protocols like OSPF, BGP, and EIGRP. You'll need a business class router to get that functionality.
     
  6. meirionwyllt

    meirionwyllt Thread Starter

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    thanks for that. A linux based system isn't something that I'd previously considered, but I can already see the benefit of this, plus it'll give me valuable linux experience.

    thanks for your comments.
     
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