Re: Comcast & Routing

From: Ronald W. Heiby (
Date: 08/04/03

  • Next message: Bill Diamond: "Printing to a print server via CUPS?"
    Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2003 16:37:55 -0500

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    Saturday, August 2, 2003, 3:33:49 PM, Lee wrote:
    > 1) Establish the LAN using private IP addresses and a hub.

    You want to use a router with a built-in hub/switch. If you already
    have a hub/switch, then you can get a router without one built in and
    save a very small amount of money.

    > 2) Connect the hub to the cable modem.

    Connect the router to the cable modem.

    > 3) Connect to the Internet directly from the Linux box, then configure
    > the Windoze box to use the Linux box as a proxy server so I can surf the
    > web from the Windoze box (all my email etc. will go to the Linux box).

    No. Unless you plan to use the Linux box as the router (two Ethernet
    cards), then you want it sitting on the *inside* network. Both systems
    know that to get their packets where they are supposed to go, that
    they must go towards the router. The Linux box needn't be concerned
    with what's going on with the other box, unless you explicitly want to
    experiment with setting up and running a proxy server. (Or, perhaps
    the Linux box has lots of free disk and you want to experiment with
    performance of having it cache web pages.)

    Email is another matter. It will be tricky to get your Email to "go to
    the Linux Box". Less tricky will probably be setting up fetchmail to
    "have the Linux Box get" your Email.

    The other fellow, who started this thread, was indicating that he saw
    no performance difference using the router. This says to me that he
    likely has things configured wrong. He probably got snookered by the
    Comcast line about how you need to pay them for an IP address for
    every computer in your home. He then probably configured each of those
    computers with their own IP, and they all think that the only way to
    get to them is via the Internet link, implying that the routing tables
    are hosed.

    What he *should* have done (and it probably is not too late) is to
    realize that only those computers that are actually connected to the
    Comcast network need their own IP address. In my household of
    *several* computers, only one computer is attached to the Comcast
    network. It has its own IP address that it gets from the service. The
    computer is made by a company called Linksys, their model BEFSR11. My
    Linksys computer is also connected to my home network, but that is no
    concern of Comcast's. (Linksys also has model BEFSR41 with a 4-port
    switch built in and the BEFSR81 with an 8-port switch built in.
    According to the prices at, the BEFSR41 is the "sweet
    spot" right now, just a little more expensive than a month's worth of
    Comcast Internet service in my area.) If I ever catch grief from
    Comcast about my choice of computer to be sitting on their network, I
    will be happy to put together a dual Ethernet Linux box to replace it.
    However, I found nothing in their Terms of Service that attempted to
    restrict the type of computer so attached.

    For simple things, you tell your Linksys computer (router) that it
    should be handling the forwarding of DNS requests and acting as DHCP
    server. Then, your other systems all come up and ask for a DHCP server
    to tell them how to behave, and life is good. I wanted a few things
    beyond this, so have set up a Linux box as the home network's DNS
    server and DHCP server. In-home DNS cacheing is a good thing. Note
    that Comcast probably would have a knee-jerk reaction to the presence
    of servers, but A) they are not connected to their network (although
    some are accessible via it), and B) they are not for public use. So, I
    figure that they have more important concerns (like not having the
    service fail five minutes after their ad touts it as never
    disconnecting and being "always available").

    > Also, if I want to share my printer between the two machines, in you
    > guys' experience is it better/simpler to hang the printer off the
    > Windows box or the Linux box?

    I have not seen any difference. However, I cheat. I use a *real*
    printer that does Postscript. :-) In general, though, I have found
    that adding duties to UNIX/Linux boxen to be no big deal. On the other
    hand, the more you ask a Windows box to do, the more trouble you are
    asking for.


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