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Home network modifications - advice requested

Last response: in Networking
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September 26, 2006 2:14:18 PM

Having moved home from a cable area to an ADSL only area I have had to change my home network.

I own a Linksys BEFSR81ver2.0 which is currently being used only as a LAN-side switch. My internet connection is via a USB only ADSLmodem supplied by my ISP (D-link DSL-200) connected to one of the machines on the network and then shared across the network. In total I have 5 computers running various operating systems including 1xWin98se, 1xWinME(please don't laugh), 2xWinXPhome, 1xWinXPpro (hence an 8-port switch), perhaps later 1xlinux if I can find the time.


I wish to change the topography of my network.


My needs will become:

1 Ethernet connected ADSLmodem (UK compatible) (immediate need)

2 Ability to restrict internet access to individual machines on a timed basis. (immediate need)

3 Ability to remote-control the up-time of individual machines. (immediate need)

4 Content protection for at least one machine. (immediate need)

5 Move USB printer from internet-connected computer to the network. (short term)

6 NAS (medium term)

7 Wireless (no need at the moment as cables are all in place,but a nice-to-have for the longer-term only)

8 Keep noise and electric bills down.

9 Keep desk footprint small.


Some of these can be achieved through hardware and/or software but as with most people I am budget conscious and need the most result for the least outlay.

My research so far has shown the Linksys AG241-uk (£40-£50 depending on source) to be a viable option for ADSLmodem (point1) as it includes connection control for individual addresses on the LAN (point2). This would mean the existing router would still be used as only a LAN-side switch, but it is small and power thrifty (point8,9)

I have found a few references that suggest the BEFSR81 is slow compared with other 8-port router/switches out there - any truth to this? and how would I go about testing it?

I also possess (currently unused) a Netgear FS608 8-port 10/100switch.

For the access control I have not yet found a single-application solution that I am happy with and the various Parental Control software reviews that I have read appear to be very subjective and in many instances, contradictory.

Point 8 knocks down the idea of a dedicated internet/print/NAS server built from an old computer, although I might revisit this idea if an overall solution is compelling. I tend to switch all machines off when not needed and usually over-night.

Any advice would be appreciated, especially for the immediate needs.


Thanks,

Flying-Q
September 27, 2006 5:32:04 PM

Looks like you pretty much know what you need.

As far as partential control. Zone Alarm and McAfee suites do a pretty god job at that. When you start doing word filtering with a router, it's kind of like a proxy server. Some work pretty good others do not. The problem you will run in to is that all web sites have a rating.

I'm using a netgear VPN FVS338 bussiness class router. It is loaded with features. It gives me 3 different schedules. I have full control on what see's the web or not. I have several pc that are not allowed. I can assign users to groups and put schedules on the groups. This router has a approved web site list. So you could restrict users to just the sites on the list.

Most routers these day have most of these features. Most Linksys routers can be reloaded with a after market firmware, that gives you a lot more control. dd-wrt is one of the most common.
September 28, 2006 7:34:16 AM

well you don't want much do you ??? :D 


alot of the netnanny type software out there is either A> easily defeated or B> Ineffective or both



you may wish to give IPCop a look... PERFECT If you were thinking of messing w/ the linux later anyway

you could pretty much hit all you goals w/ IPCop (w/ DansGuardian addon that is)

http://www.ipcop.org/index.php
Related resources
September 28, 2006 12:36:35 PM

I like Clarkconnect Community Edition.
It has loads of features. It works as a router, gateway, server and firewall and it will run on an old computer (Linux based).

http://www.clarkconnect.com
September 28, 2006 1:08:02 PM

Thank you all for your replies. They have all given me food for thought.


Quote:
As far as partential control. Zone Alarm and McAfee suites do a pretty god job at that. When you start doing word filtering with a router, it's kind of like a proxy server. Some work pretty good others do not. The problem you will run in to is that all web sites have a rating.

I'm using a netgear VPN FVS338 bussiness class router. It is loaded with features. It gives me 3 different schedules. I have full control on what see's the web or not. I have several pc that are not allowed. I can assign users to groups and put schedules on the groups. This router has a approved web site list. So you could restrict users to just the sites on the list.

Most routers these day have most of these features. Most Linksys routers can be reloaded with a after market firmware, that gives you a lot more control. dd-wrt is one of the most common.


I'm using ZoneAlarm on one of my machines at the moment but it does not give me the functionality I'm hoping for. MacAfee also shows good specs on their website but again not what I'm after.

The VPN FV338 is a very nice router and I have read good things about it, but that still leaves me needing an ethernet ADSLmodem. Any recommendations?

dd-wrt looks to be a very capable package for a firmware upgrade but the compatibility list is virtually all routers and no gateways/ADSLmodems so I still need the modem.

Quote:

alot of the netnanny type software out there is either A> easily defeated or B> Ineffective or both



you may wish to give IPCop a look... PERFECT If you were thinking of messing w/ the linux later anyway

you could pretty much hit all you goals w/ IPCop (w/ DansGuardian addon that is)


After looking at numerous packages out there I am inclined to agree with you on your first point! The over-riding feeling I get from reviews is that these 'nanny' packages go too far in blocking and constantly need tweaking to get them to do what you want.

I've looked at IPCop as a longer term project for inclusion in a linux box that would also become my print server and NAS, but being linux only and requiring a whole machine to run on (no VM as far as I can tell) it defeats points 8 and 9 in the short term.

Quote:

I like Clarkconnect Community Edition.
It has loads of features. It works as a router, gateway, server and firewall and it will run on an old computer (Linux based).


I've just taken a look at ClarkConnect and it looks to have roughly similar funtionality as IPCop. Definitely one for me to investigate for the longer term.

I seem to be leaning towards a solution involving a Gateway/ADSLmodem/Router. Any recommendations?

Flying-Q
!