[CS-FSLUG] Building An Experimental LAN

Don Parris parrisdc at gmail.com
Fri Dec 7 22:58:27 CST 2012

Hey Tim,

Thanks for your thoughts.  See my in-line replies below...

On Fri, Dec 7, 2012 at 9:39 PM, Tim Young <Tim.Young at lightsys.org> wrote:

> Hi,
> My first question is, "what sort of budget are you looking at?"

Well, I haven't struck gold or won any lotteries, so will have to keep it
in the reasonable range - cheap as possible, of course.  ;-)  10Gbit is
definitely out of the question.  The 10/100 idea is not really a bad one,
and I am not ruling it out.  However, with technology forever advancing, I
would like to run the 1Gbit internally, even though most of my connected
devices (laptops and tablets) will mostly connect via wireless.  At some
point, I anticipate having a dedicated server box, the 2 laptops and
probably 2 tablets, and 1 desktop (possibly 2).  My dream is to have a Myth
box and maybe cut out my cable service.  I want to leave room for visitors
to connect to my WAP.  My thinking on 1Gbit is that I won't have to upgrade

> I have played with a ton of equipment, from routers and switches, to other
> networking things.  A lot depends on what is the purpose of your playing...
> Routers/switches usually have multiple interfaces, web, GUI, and text.
>  The GUI depends on the vendor. Cisco, for example, has a Java based GUI
> that lets you do a lot of management things.

> Most of the big vendors, have a very different command-line ruleset.  If
> you get a Cisco, you will learn one set of commands, and if you get a
> netgear, you will have a totally different set of commands to learn.  They
> even use different terms to do the same concept.  So it can be difficult to
> jump between different vendors.

I have just taken a Cisco-based course and will have a 2nd course in the
next semester.  I know the CCNA is widely-sought/accepted.  Maybe it would
be better to have 1 device from various brands to acquaint myself with the
various interfaces & command sets?  I do want to have console (CLI) on the
Cisco box, even if it has other options as well.  Having one of each might
be confusing, but that's a hassle I can live with.  One of the major goals,
again, is to divide my LAN into 2, maybe 3 subnets - and really play with
the routing and switching options.

> Managed switches and high-end routers are relatively expensive. Meaning,
> upwards of a thousand dollars for a current device.  The nice thing about
> much of the managed equipment, however, is that the concepts and commands
> used for the commandline are pretty close to the same as they were way back
> in the 10/100 days.  Soooo...  You can try getting some used 10/100
> equipment and pay much less than if you bought something new.  You just do
> not get to walk away with having a rocking (and useless) 10-gigabit
> connection from your computer to your 3MB DSL connection to the Internet.

I think my comments above address most of this...

> There are actually tons of networking concepts you can learn.  Do you have
> anything in particular you are hoping to play with?  Do you have a scale of
> a network you are wanting to simulate?  (Vlans, DMZ, multi-device control,
> etc)

I still haven't quite caught onto the VLAN concept just yet - we barely
talked about it in this class.  It may get coverage in our next class
though, which is more about the routers and switches than about the basic
concepts.  Maybe DMZ?

One thing I would like to be able to do is to run:
<> Firewall/Proxy server (Isn't this where switches and routers start
coming into play more?)
<> Web/Mail server (have done this before)
<> Internal DNS server (have seen instructions for this, but have yet to
actually do it)

Some say build a Linux firewall.  Others say that's what routers are for.
In fact, the main reason (as I understand it) for dedicated routers is that
their flash drive is faster than standard hard disks.  But if I get a box
with a solid state drive, wouldn't that overcome most of that issue?  As
for the switch(es), I have an unmanaged switch, capable of Gbit ethernet
(picked up at a garage sale from a CharLUG member), but I would like a
managed one as well.

If any of what I am saying doesn't make sense - just be patient with me.
Again, partly, I want to play with Cisco and get more familiar with the
interface (beyond Packet Tracer, which is still a great tool).  But also to
put my networking skills to use by planning and implementing my LAN.

I understand I can get some Cisco 1600 or 2500 series routers pretty cheap
on e-Bay.  I have seen some decent prices, I admit.  But before I jump, I
want to make sure I've thought it through pretty well.

D.C. Parris, FMP, Linux+, ESL Certificate
Minister, Security/FM Coordinator, Free Software Advocate
GPG Key ID: F5E179BE
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