Author Topic: Network setup?  (Read 1717 times)

WSabey

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Network setup?
« on: June 05, 2012, 11:43:49 am »
Hi, I'm looking forward to setting up a Linux MCE system on a spare computer I have, but I'm a little confused about the description of the network layout on the Network Setup wiki page (wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Network_Setup). The diagram of an "existing home network", with router and switch being separate devices, linked by CAT cable, looks like an unusual setup to me. In my experience, router and switch (and WAP) are typically integrated into one unit (Netgear DG834G in my case), which would make the described setup impossible to implement. Is this a locational thing, with separate modems and switches being common in the US? This kind of thing happens fairly often in my experience, with different standards in different parts of the world, and I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on this please? (Advice on a solution would be greatly appreciated too, if possible)

posde

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Re: Network setup?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2012, 01:03:10 pm »
It is fairly common in the US to have a cable modem. In Europe you mostly have routers with builtin AP. LinuxMCE likes to be the center and gateway. What I did was setup the ISP supplied router in front of LinuxMCE, and make the core receive all its traffic. And added a few APs around the home on the internal network.

JaseP

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Re: Network setup?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2012, 03:35:56 pm »
To put it simple...

If you have a router/modem combination, nothing that connects to that will be on the LinuxMCE internal network. If you get a second router to attach to your core, you must turn off its DHCP router server, and let LinuxMCE do that job.

That way, you'll have 2 access points, one external (internet only, maybe a wifi printer or SAMBA share or two if you have any of those), and one internal (LinuxMCE with all its multimedia and home automation goodness).

All devices you want LinuxMCE to interact with directly must be connected to the internal network.* Otherwise, if you don't want to change your existing function, you'll have to use static IP addresses, and may lose significant DCE router functionality.

I recommend a second router with its DHCP turned off. I actually have 3 routers, ... one external with no wifi (a MCV Vera with wifi turned off) and two internal (with their DHCP turned off).

* Note: in my setup, the core has its own Aeon Labs USB Z-wave stick. So, it talks "indirectly" with the MCV Vera for Z-wave functions. The LinuxMCE core is essentially a secondary Z-wave controller.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 03:51:41 pm by JaseP »
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jamo

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Re: Network setup?
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2012, 03:45:09 pm »
Code: [Select]
You'll still want to go with the setup in the diagram shown. Just think of your Netgear unit as the broadband router in the diagram. You will plug one of your LMCE machine's NICs into one of the ports in the Netgear, and the other NIC into a port on a nice shiny Gigabit switch ;-)

This gives you the added advantage of being able to use the spare ports on the Netgear to connect other PCs or devices you don't want to be part of Linux MCE "directly" to the internet. You can also use the wireless access point as you normally would. However, for devices like media directors that you want to netboot off your LMCE core/hybrid machine, you will want to plug them into the other ports on your new switch. Then your core machine can be in control of their IP addresses and everything else it wants to.

I really would advise that setup... I use it and it works very well. But you don't need to go buying the switch until you're up and running with your first machine and know what other devices you want to start adding.

Hope that helps

James

WSabey

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Re: Network setup?
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2012, 04:08:29 pm »
Thanks for the speedy replies guys. It looks like I need to scrounge up a second router to use for the internal network (I'm thinking I'll probably connect everything to that unless it has some kind of issues), and then disable the radio on the external and the DHCP server on the internal, right? I figured this would be the case, but it's really nice to get some confirmation. I'm rather wary of screwing something up and losing my internet connection, troubleshooting without that would not be fun.

JaseP

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Re: Network setup?
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2012, 04:26:45 pm »
You don't necessarily have to turn off the radio in the external router. You can leave it on, but change the channel and SSID of the internal to distinguish the two (you don't want devices roaming unwittingly between the internal and external networks). That way, you can allow guests to connect to the external (turning on device isolation, if you don't have internal network traffic moving across that, for example). But you can have a second access point that has access to LinuxMCE resources.

You can change the external router's SSID and WPA2 password to something different, and make the new internal router's SSID and password (and channel) the same as the old one, so existing devices will just auto-connect to the internal network as they've done all along.

Oh, and YES, the internal router must not have DHCP turned on. Otherwise, you won't get network booting of MDs, or the automagical detection of devices that LinuxMCE knows to expect (IP cameras, certain security systems, etc.).
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 04:31:45 pm by JaseP »
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Techstyle

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Re: Network setup?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2012, 06:00:49 pm »
Thanks for the speedy replies guys. It looks like I need to scrounge up a second router to use for the internal network (I'm thinking I'll probably connect everything to that unless it has some kind of issues), and then disable the radio on the external and the DHCP server on the internal, right? I figured this would be the case, but it's really nice to get some confirmation. I'm rather wary of screwing something up and losing my internet connection, troubleshooting without that would not be fun.

Wsabey,

with regard to the device you put on your internal network, if it is a router rather than a switch then you could follow the general instructions in the wiki page below even though your device may differ:

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Linksys_WRT54G

hopefully this helps

WSabey

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Re: Network setup?
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2012, 04:02:51 pm »
You don't necessarily have to turn off the radio in the external router. You can leave it on, but change the channel and SSID of the internal to distinguish the two (you don't want devices roaming unwittingly between the internal and external networks). That way, you can allow guests to connect to the external (turning on device isolation, if you don't have internal network traffic moving across that, for example). But you can have a second access point that has access to LinuxMCE resources.
I suppose I could do that, but things on the external network wouldn't be able to see anything on the internal, wouldn't they? It sounds like they would be two separate networks.

By the way, I just noticed you mentioned Z-wave earlier; Would you recommend them? I was thinking of perhaps getting some Z-wave devices as they sound cool, but my brother said he wouldn't trust them as it's not an open standard.

JaseP

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Re: Network setup?
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2012, 08:02:30 pm »
The two networks would be largely separate, except the fact that the internal would get it's DHCP from the external router, but serve up DHCP to all the internal devices...

Z-wave is good, and about as open a home automation system as you're going to find... I'm not aware of any truly open home automation standards. Plus, Z-wave peripherals are relatively inexpensive. I'd recommend using a primary controller like a Micasaverde Vera (or Vera Lite), and giving your core an Aeon Labs USB inclusion controller so LinuxMCE can act as a secondary controller. Others may have differing opinions on that though. By the way, since Z-wave forms a mesh network, the more devices you get, the better it works.
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WSabey

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Re: Network setup?
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2012, 03:53:39 pm »
As I don't really need all the features of a router for the external interface, I've been looking for just a DSL modem to maybe save some money, but many of the ones I've found use USB rather than ethernet; would LinuxMCE be able to recognise and use these, or would I be better off sticking with ethernet and a second NIC, like the wiki diagram?

JaseP

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Re: Network setup?
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2012, 03:59:58 pm »
Ethernet. Core with 2 nics. Stick with what works. Don't reinvent the wheel (unless you can code, in an amazingly brilliant fashion, and can contribute it to the project, that is). If buying new hardware, make sure it's compatible (don't know,... ask). If you have existing hardware, try it and/or ask... Someone will help you, or die trying.
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jamo

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Re: Network setup?
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2012, 04:09:45 pm »
As I don't really need all the features of a router for the external interface
True, but if you're thinking of using your MODEM/ROUTER/AP combo for your internal router/switch you might want to consider the fact that you really don't want to compromise on speed in your internal network. Not sure of the specs of the above but in most cases it will not perform nearly as well as a half-decent switch so rather than buy a dedicated cable modem and use the above as your internal router/hub/switch, keep the above and buy yourself a switch. Gigabit networking is a wonderful thing on your internal if you can do it.... ESP with your first LMCE setups because you will do plenty of rebuilds of MDs, reboots etc and you'll be tearing your hair out if your internal network is slow.

The other comment I have is that you *can* communicate between the internal and external networks... it is not recommended but can be done and can work fine in certain scenarios. Currently my security IP camera is actually on my external network but is still a device on the internal (I've just given it a fixed IP). I will move it to the internal at some stage but I had it externally while I was setting up and still wanted to be able to access the camera when my CORE was down.

In addition, My Web Orbiter is accessible from my combo MODEM/ROUTER/AP - I use the Wireless from this to connect from my mobile phone and browse to the web-orbiter running on the CORE. Likewise with Webadmin. Works nicely.

WSabey

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Re: Network setup?
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2012, 07:05:57 pm »
Ethernet. Core with 2 nics. Stick with what works. Don't reinvent the wheel (unless you can code, in an amazingly brilliant fashion, and can contribute it to the project, that is). If buying new hardware, make sure it's compatible (don't know,... ask). If you have existing hardware, try it and/or ask... Someone will help you, or die trying.
Heh, my coding is somewhat less than amazingly brilliant; if the distro doesn't contain USB modem drivers, I'm certainly not going to try to write them myself.

Does it matter which NIC connects to the internal and which connects to the external networks?

JaseP

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Re: Network setup?
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2012, 07:59:56 pm »
I believe the system can intelligently figure out which is internal and which is external, based on which is serving up DHCP, and which is not... Unless I am mistaken,...

Typically, you'd probably want to default to connecting the onboard NIC to the external router/modem/whatever, and the card-based NIC to the internal network... At least that's what I did. That way, you can figure out what wire is going where without trying to trace it. I think that in the earlier versions of LinuxMCE, there may not have been a routine for determining which was and wasn't the upstream connection and which was the downstream. I also like to use color coded Ethernet wires as much as possible to denote which connections are infrastructure/back-bone and which are to Media Directors.

Check out the Wiki,... it can answer a lot of questions...
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WSabey

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Re: Network setup?
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2012, 08:04:42 pm »
Ah, I wasn't very clear there was I? I meant in terms of performance, say if one NIC is faster than the other, would that be better on the internal network? A gigabit interface isn't terribly relevant if all it's connected to is a 8Mpbs uplink, so I would have thought the better card (if I can figure out which one is better) should be the internal interface. I'm not terribly knowledgeable about network layout though, previously I just plugged everything into a router, so I thought I'd better ask.