[TriLUG] Consumer-grade dual-home Internet connection options
rkelleyrtp at gmail.com
Wed Dec 30 11:18:41 EST 2009
I would start with pfSense (software firewall distro) in a dual-wan config. The hardware specs will be minimal (Intel Celeron with 1G ram and a quad-port NIC), and there are lots of resources for setting up pfSense (official docs, wiki, forums, etc). Just point your browser to http://www.pfsense.org. As you know, you will still need a network switch to connect all your client machines to the firewall box.
As for the 2960, I can help you out configuring the switch however you like (yes, for free). However, the Cisco is probably overkill for home use. One thing to keep in mind is power consumption. A consumer-grade off-the-shelf 16-port GigE switch (D-Link, Dell, etc) will no doubt draw much less power than a Cisco enterprise-grade switch and can be had for well under $200 (check out newegg.com). In the end, both devices will give you the same home-user functionality - unless you need some unique feature from the Cisco box.
Feel free to unicast me with your email/phone. We can always setup a screen share so I can walk you thru the config of both the Cisco and pfSense boxes...
On Dec 30, 2009, at 10:47 AM, Paul Bennett wrote:
> 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 iproute2 and friends?
> 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?
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rkelleyrtp at gmail.com
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