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Should I build my firewall?

Last response: in Networking
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February 24, 2010 10:08:28 PM

My condo building just upgraded our infrastructure and I now have a 100mb wan connection. I had to take out my Netgear small business firewall/vpn becuase it was bottlenecking everything. I am trying to figure out what to do now.

I was about to start assembling my new NAS and thought about going to a motherboard with a dual gigabit NIC and creating a firewall/storage device. What i do not know is will they both work well on the same device? is the firewall going to effect my ability to read and write to the NAS because of the NIC?

HELP!

More about : build firewall

February 24, 2010 10:48:02 PM

I don't see an issue, assuming I understand your intent.

It sounds like you want to configure that machine as an Internet gateway. One network connection runs to the ISP, the other network is connected to your LAN. As long as you are running a gateway on that machine (e.g., ICS), then it will work just fine. Everyone on the LAN connection uses that gateway (and DHCP server) for Internet access, including your implementation of NAS on that same machine (it’s already on the LAN connection).

Now whether all this is actually necessary is another issue since I didn’t quite understand why your Netgear (a router?) was “bottlenecking” anything (and by extension, why this solves that problem, whatever that problem is :)  ). You lost me a bit there.


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February 26, 2010 4:53:13 AM

A, my appologies. I should have said throughput. I thought i researched my selection well but I overlooked the Wan to Lan throughput which forums have reported limits of 14 to 19 Mbps. So what i am trying to determine if I can build my own firewall with a high throughput, hopefully on an open platform.

My next question is if I can also use the machine I plan to be the media server as the firewall or if that will effect my read and write ability to the server which will be used to stream HD video, itunes, and also run time machine backups.

Thanks,

Trevor
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February 26, 2010 1:21:50 PM

taprimo said:
A, my appologies. I should have said throughput. I thought i researched my selection well but I overlooked the Wan to Lan throughput which forums have reported limits of 14 to 19 Mbps. So what i am trying to determine if I can build my own firewall with a high throughput, hopefully on an open platform.

My next question is if I can also use the machine I plan to be the media server as the firewall or if that will effect my read and write ability to the server which will be used to stream HD video, itunes, and also run time machine backups.

Thanks,

Trevor


I don't know what WAN limitations (14 to 19mbps) you're referring to. Let's create a typical scenario so we have something to work with.

ISP<-- ??? -->(wan)[router](lan)<--wire-->(lan)[pc]

The WAN is just an Ethernet port. On most consumer grade routers it's going to be 10/100mbps (but you should always check the spec). If your ISP is providing 100mbps, then the WAN port is capable of handling it. However, there’s a caveat. Since Ethernet is never 100% efficient, you would probably tap out in the 70-75mbps range, so in this particular scenario you would benefit from a Gigabit (1000mbps) WAN port. Of course, that's only going to be helpful if the router's switch is also Gigabit, and the wired desktop/laptops are also using Gigabit Ethernet adapters.

Now if you want to create your own router/gateway to address this issue, you certainly can. Personally I would look for a commercial Gigabit router (WAN & LAN). I just can’t see building a computer for these purposes. But if you’re up to a DIY solution, go for it.

As I said before, there’s no problem in supporting the gateway AND any other local network services on the same machine. Nothing says you MUST build a standalone machine just to support the gateway. It just means you will have TWO network adapters on the one machine, one for the LAN, and one for the gateway (WAN). The LAN connection will use the WAN connection like every other computer on the network. And like every other computer on the local network, its applications and services (NAS, media server, HTPC, etc.) will be subject to the rules of the firewall WHEN ACCESSING THE INTERNET (i.e., WAN).

I sense you may be overthinking it. As if something is fundamentally different because you happen to be running other processes on the same machine that’s running a gateway. There isn’t. It’s just an issue of capacity, efficiency, convenience, etc.

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Best solution

February 26, 2010 4:48:13 PM

netgear wndr3700

500mbit WAN<->LAN and uses less power than an actual computer routing and probably costs less.

and it's running on a linux distro and will have custom linux support even after netgear stops supporting it.
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February 27, 2010 3:37:03 AM

WOW! How did I not find that model when I was researching before my purchase? I appreciate the information.

Trevor
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March 5, 2010 1:10:45 AM

Also might want to consider some of the more commercial higher end firewall / routing solutions... ASA5505 (No gigabit though, but still quick), Juniper SRX210 (has gigabit), etc...
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March 5, 2010 3:18:32 AM

Best answer selected by taprimo.
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