Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Wired -> Wireless LAN migration

  1. #1
    Dungeon Master alpha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Norfolk, UK
    Posts
    1,700

    Question Wired -> Wireless LAN migration

    Looking for a little bit of networking advice following a recent house move. Pre-move, my setup was:

    Code:
    Internet --- Wired router --- FreeBSD server --- Wired switch --- Boxen
    It was an awesome setup. NAT gave me the security I needed, and with port forwarding I had remote access to emails, VNC on each machine etc. The FreeBSD server does all kinds of things for the LAN, such as DNS, WWW caching proxy, IMAP, Samba and a ton of other stuff.

    Now, I'm thinking drilling holes in the corner of the ceiling of each room in the new house and trailing ethernet cable across the loft and back into the room with the switch/server is annoying. If I could go wireless, it would save me some work and would be more practical. At the moment, I have a bodged setup which is far from ideal, just whilst I get my house in order:

    Code:
    Internet
    |
    Wireless router --- Box 1 (wireless USB dongle)
    | (ethernet)
    FreeBSD server --- Wired switch --- Box 2
    This is because box 2 is in close proximity to the server and the switch (and has no means of wirelessness), whilst box 1 is on the other side of the house.

    Is it possible to get a setup identical to the wired one at my previous house, except with wireless hardware? My guess was that all I needed was to replace the wired switch with a wireless switch and get a wireless card/dongle for each computer, thus:

    Code:
    Internet --- Wireless router --(ethernet)-- FreeBSD server --- Wireless switch --- Boxen
    ...or am I duplicating hardware here? Can I get the new wireless router to act like a wireless switch? It is the one sent to me by my new broadband provider, but it looks much more configurable and user-friendly than my old wired router.

    One important aspect for me is NAT. I want NAT for security reasons. The examples above all only include two computers, but in reality there are several. I just need to finish unpacking.

    Thinking about this, it might actually be quite simple but I've got so much on right now that even simple stuff is baffling me.
    Last edited by alpha; 10-16-2007 at 12:43 PM.

  2. #2
    Dungeon Master alpha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Norfolk, UK
    Posts
    1,700
    Or am I overcomplicating?

    The wireless router connects to the FreeBSD server by ethernet cable. If I just get a wireless adapter to replace the server's second wired NIC, wouldn't that work?

    Code:
    Internet
    |
    Wireless router
    ||        \     \
    server    Box 1 Box 2

  3. #3
    Administrator Bok's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Wake Forest, North Carolina, United States
    Posts
    22,127
    Blog Entries
    13
    In your second setup though, the server is not acting as firewall, though it could do everything else easily enough..

    Can't you just do

    Internet

    ||

    Wired router

    ||

    FreeBSD server

    ||

    Wireless

    | \ \

    boxen

    ??

    I do something similar with some of my boxen though with a

    wireless

    ||

    Wireless

    |

    wired

    configuration

  4. #4
    Dungeon Master alpha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Norfolk, UK
    Posts
    1,700
    Hmm. I think your first suggestion is virtually the same as my last suggestion, but I did a bad job of illustrating it. Let's try again:

    Code:
    Internet
    |
    Wireless router
    |(ethernet cable)
    FreeBSD server
        |(wireless NIC)
       /|\
      Boxen
    The FreeBSD server currently has two wired NICs. One connected to the router, and the other to the wired switch for communication with the wired LAN. I'm proposing to replace the second wired NIC (connected to switch), with a wireless NIC (for WAN comms).

    Would that work?

  5. #5
    Administrator Bok's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Wake Forest, North Carolina, United States
    Posts
    22,127
    Blog Entries
    13
    Absolutely. I was just confused about the first wireless from the internet, but it's irrelevant anyway

    Would work fine like that. Of course make sure everything is getting an IP from the freebsd box as it is the gateway, but I'm sure you know that .

    Bok

  6. #6
    DinkaTronic Shish's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Gateshead UK
    Posts
    882
    Have you gone to Sky Alpha?
    If so, the Sky router is actually a Netgear DG834GT which is a fairly decent and configurable home firewall/dhcp/Super G (108Mbps) router and 4 port 10/100 switch with settings for both incoming and outgoing blocking etc. The only thing is, the adsl modem firmware is set by Sky and not upgradeable and Sky are behind by about 1 upgrade. A lot of Adsl companies are using the same thing and with Sky and several more you can get up to (providing you're close-ish to an upgraded exchange) 16MBips for cheap and that also gives you 768kbips upover which can still be useful even if you can't get the full speed on download, especially if you're VNC'ing in from the internet.
    I have four machines in a large-ish house which serve video and all I've done, after going mainly wireless, is feed the 10/100 into a second Netgear RangeMax Next with 300MBips and extended coverage to ensure the 3 other machines have enough bandwidth to share HD video and can get the benefits of more speed at distances which would knock a non extended range router down too far for a video type feed. The second (RangeMax) wifi is the earlier Draft 1 RangeMax which has what looks like a plugin wifi card but seems to give better speeds than the later one with no visible aerials.
    Several of my neighbours can pick up both for several hundred yards when I've had both wifi's switched on and all have been able to get sufficient bandwidth for HD or at least enough for a good feed speed. The only thing we've all noticed tho' is that the RangeMax operates on a fixed channel (6) but other (5) people in the area have been able to shift their channels away from mine (with some help and explanation from me) and they can still get their Super G speed in their house and garden. Unfortunately, when operating the 2 Netgears, the main incoming one is also fixed to channel 6 if you want Super G enabled but we have tried the two separated by wired 10/100 across a big lounge and with different sub nets for wifi on each and it is still possible to get the video feed running to different machines. Of course, if you have an XP or Vista machine (and probably Linux or BSD) with 2 or more subnets running to different machines for whatever reason, you can bridge the subnets to enable the machines to share data from each other or a central machine with 2 or more nics in.
    I also use the RangeMax USB plug ins which are so easy and adequate for me but there are now loads of other and cheaper companies doing them as well as Super G and, as long as all are on Super G and the same chipset as each other (RealTek or whoever) you can get adequate speed and compatibility. You do only get WPA coded wifi and Mac protection but I think that is adequate for home useage along with, maybe, no broadcast, strong passwording and the other features of the current crop of routers. Channel bonding would be nice if it ever becomes available to home users but with a home server like BSD and maybe Smoothwall or similar it should give more than adequate security for a home system, even with port forwarding for internet use.
    I used to be on cable/Fibre connect to the cabinet with 10Mbips (now 20Mbips) but the upstream was only 380/400'ish kbips so sharing to the daughter's and sons' or other internet was a bit painful even with the less crowded cable networks. 768kbps up seems to give me a lot more headroom and large downloads to their houses via different networks (sometimes get a large chunk of lag... notice for internet gamers...and a bit of speed loss due to more crowding on my side) seems much better and a lot cheaper. Sky's internet is actually done by Easynet so it's a big outfit with a lot of higher speed and ADSL2+ converted exchanges so as long as you've got BT copper and not ally wires and are not too far from an exchange, 5-8 Mbips with 768kbps upstream (just about guaranteed on most connections) should be possible over most BT exchanges whether converted or not and a lot cheaper or even free on Sky with their current offers. Still stuck with a BT line tho.....
    Anyway, that lot should keep you going and all from personal experience as I don't work for anybody nowadays whether SKY, BT, whatever. You could go hardware firewall such as an older secondhand Pix or something but config can be a pain and I don't think many home users have too much in the way of unbacked up personal data to worry about and make it worth the price and config time and they can be a steep learning curve tho' pre-set configs can be found for a lot of commercial type routers and firewalls and some earlier gear is available from a surprisingly large number of second hand refurb dealers.
    Like an ol` 8086, slow but serviceable.
    One advantage of old age...nobody can tell you how much cake you can eat


  7. #7
    Dungeon Master alpha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Norfolk, UK
    Posts
    1,700
    Nah it's Orange, not Sky. I wasn't looking for any inclusive or multi-service deals - just broadband. "Up to 8MB" has worked out to be 2MB from my new house, which is double what I had at the last place so I can't complain. No noticable difference for browsing, as expected, it's just a nice boost on fast torrents. Upstream still sucks a whopping (theoretical max.) 288K so seeding to a 1.0 ratio takes around 20 times longer than it takes to download.

    I've got three TP-LINK TL-WN550G cards on the way to get things going wirelessly. I chose that card because it uses an Atheros chipset which FreeBSD has excellent support for, also they use some kind of extended range technology. On my budget, they seem to fit the bill for the right price.

    My setup was pretty rock solid security wise when it was wired. I won't be making any changes in that respect.

  8. #8
    Dungeon Master alpha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Norfolk, UK
    Posts
    1,700
    Well, all the equipment eventually arrived and is now in place and functional.

    The only main problems I encountered were: 1) forgetting to put the wireless LAN on a different subnet to each of the wired NICs in the FreeBSD server and 2) getting DHCP to work properly. DHCP was allocating an address for box 1, but box 2 was sitting there with 0.0.0.0. In the end I went for static IP addresses, which was how I had things when it was all wired anyway.

    The final network topology is exactly as we decided on. Unfortunately, I'm getting quite poor signal strength considering I'm only in a small house. I intend to move the server into a large cupboard in the middle of the property to get a good signal strength to all rooms, though I'm not sure if that will be very effective.

    Anyway, thanks for the tips.

  9. #9
    Free-DC Semi-retire gopher_yarrowzoo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Santa Ana, CA
    Posts
    3,979
    Yeah that's the thing with wireless it's very, very dependent on where it's place and what is in between the box and the wireless access point / router.
    Thick walls in older houses and foil backed insulated plasterboard in modern ones are 2 great killers of wireless network frequencies.
    Yeah getting DHCP to work right is a freaking pain in the nuts, if you don't do it every other week.
    Semi-retired from Free-DC...
    I have some time to help.....
    I need a new laptop

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •