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My current plan is to take an old desktop and turn it into a hardware firewall/server. Then I'm going to need something on the LAN side to handle all the Ethernet cables' connections.
I've been looking at the electronics stores and I see a variety of hubs, switches, and switching hubs. What would be best for handling the traffic of about 10 PCs/Internet connected devices? Any suggested brands/models that you've found reliable?
To answer your question, no, it's the DHCP server on the router as far as I can tell. Switching from dynamic to static routing has stabilized things for the time being.
I don't like having all of these functions being controlled and limited by the firmware on this router. This is a good excuse for me to finally separate these functions so that I can selectively upgrade when I want. Right now if I wanted to use a new wireless standard I'd have to get a whole new router anyway. It's time for firewalls, wireless and routing functions to be separated on my home network.
SonicwallI'll have to take a closer look at those. The thing is that I do have an extra PC and it's on all the time acting as a pseudo server now anyway. My idea was to throw on a Linux distro like ClarkConnect and run my firewall, print server, Samba server, etc., off of that.
gigabit LANThat's another way I'm heading. I've got the whole place wired with cat5e with jacks everywhere. It's getting time to start buying gigabit LAN cards. The hub, switch or switching hub I get will have to be up to speed in that area.
I dont like hardware devices that try to be too many things at once, switch, hub, firewall router etc, best to use best-of-breed network kit like Cisco routers and HP swiches.
I also wouldnt put any other services on the firewall/PC except perhaps VPN - not even printers. Isolate it as much as possible from the LAN.
I also wouldnt put any other services on the firewall/PC except perhaps VPN - not even printers.
I'd say the same.
With your PC, you may find something like m0n0wall to be useful. I run it in several locations, using old junked PCs. You just need a PC, 2 NICs, a CDROM (or flash drive) with some writeable media (I use floppies). The OS is stored and booted from the CD, and the config is read from the floppy. Web-enabled configuration, etc. It's a pretty slick setup. There's a competitor which is very similar which uses the newer pf firewall that I haven't tried yet, but may be worth it. The advantage to this system is that there's no Hard drive that will fail on you. ;)
Ideally, your router/firewall will have no services running on it that are available to the outside world. If you need to provide something to the interweb, then set up a proper DMZ. It may sound like overkill, but believe me, it's worth the trouble.
I got an SMC, only because they sell a litte rackmount kit for it.
Most new motherboards have gigabit Ethernet included. So, your next computer will be gig-E.
Not that you'll really notice - unless you are copying large files or disks across your LAN.
Have to assume that gig network adapter cards are now pretty cheap. Keep in mind that this will nearly saturate a conventional 32-bit/33mHz PCI bus at full throttle. So, it's a bit of a stop-gap to ungrade an existing machine, unless you happen to have PCI-X slots. (Internal adapters on motherboards don't suffer from the 32-bit/33 mHz problem.) If you have a PCI disk controller, the PCI bus WILL be the bottleneck copying files between machines.