I’m still recovering from a month-long business trip, but I have managed to reconfigure my home LAN. For those that like this sort of thing, here’s the 411.

For the last five years, I’ve relied on a 386 SX Slackware Linux box to be my IP Masquerading firewall. It did the job well and survived power outages and even a fried power unit.

But all good things must come to an end and the days of 386 machines has long passed.

I bought a copy of Red Hat 7.2 because I wanted to upgraded some of my other machines. I don’t always buy Red Hat disks, but I thought it might be a good time to throw Linux companies some bucks. I wouldn’t want Red Hat to give up software to focus on selling hardware. ;-)

Originally, I was going to build a new firewall with either a celeron 400 box or a cyrix 166 and RH 7.2. I then remembered that Linksys (and others) where making IP sharing hubs taylored for DSL home use. I was a bit skeptical that a $130 appliance would be as flexible as building a firewall myself, but I gave it a try anyway.

I’m glad I did.

The Linksys 4 port Etherfast router is not only easy to setup (I had the basic connection sharing done in less than 2 minutes), but it has a few really cool features that I didn’t expect. The first of those is port forwarding. This is great for hosting a web site (like Daisypark.org). It also can do DHCP for your network (although this is disabled if port forwarding is enabled). It also can put on of your private LAN machines is a DMZ so that all the ports on that machine are accessible to the world through the public IP. The route logs connections and these logs can be directed to an internet machine (through syslog, I think).

By using this one appliance, I was able to decommission both the 386 and a 12 port hub that the old firewall plugged into. I reformate the celeron 400 to be a simple RH 7.2 workstation for my bedroom (which is the only air conditioned room in my place!).

Now, all I need is to replace the 14” monitor with something larger.

[Original use.perl.org post and comments.]