My LAN Setup

Ok, it's 2013 and I have been really lazy when it comes to this page, things have changed significantly in the last 3 years or so, so it's time to update this page and show how far I have come since my early days of fiddling with SmoothWall.

Cabling & Network Layout

This is where the most changes have happened, I have moved house recently and have had several network points installed in the new house, all connected by Cat 6 cable.

There are four network points in the house:
  1. Upstairs Loungeroom
  2. Downstairs Loungeroom
  3. Office
  4. My Bedroom

These locations were chosen either because they were good locations for wireless access points or were in rooms where my family wanted things that should connected by Ethernet.
All of these points converge back at a small networking cabinet in the Garage, this cabinet also has a phone line connection provided by Cat 6, straight from a central line filter.

As an additional bonus, the cabinet that was installed is actually the standard NBN equipment cabinet that will be used, this means that when the NBN becomes available (less than a year in my area), the switchover will be very easy.

Networking Equipment

Believe it or not, I am still using the same Linksys AM300 modem I bought 4 or 5 years ago now, this modem has been extremely reliable for me when run in bridge mode, definitely worth the $85 I paid for it. Update: I have changed over to a TP-Link 8840T, this is another excellent modem for bridging.

The router I am using these days is manufactured by a company called Mikrotik, the equipment they make could be summed up as awesome, their software is based on linux but comes with a decent Web UI and even two other GUI standalone clients, Winbox and TheDude. I am using the RB750GL, it can do just about anything a much more expensive piece of cisco equipment can do, and it's only $60!

I have mine configured to provide a stateful firewall with Layer 7 QOS + Queues, DNS, DHCP, UPnP, DynDNS and an OpenVPN that operates on port 443, the VPN allows me to tunnel through any web proxy and either browse the web while protecting my privacy/security while working, and to remotely access my home network too.

The only downside to the Mikrotik equipment is that like cisco's gear, it has a very steep learning curve to configure it correctly, although once you have things the way you want then it basically does its job 24/7 with no problems.

For wireless access I have set up 3 wireless access points, all of them are Apple branded.
  1. Airport Express - Located Upstairs
  2. Airport Extreme - In the Office
  3. Time Capsule - In my room

All of these are configured to use the same SSID and passkey, on three different radio channels that they choose automatically, this way devices can "roam" between the different access points to get the best signal, considering that the walls and floors have reinforced concrete in them this is actually necessary for anyone to get a decent connection.


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