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Need advice on creating "Super Router"


MarkJohnson
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Hello Everyone,

 

I came across this Super Router article a few weeks ago when installing my WHS 2011 and realized my router I bought a few months ago was only a 10/100 :(.

 

I decided to build this super router instead of buying a premade router.

 

I currently have a GigaByte H55N-UB3 mini-ITX with 4GB G. Skill ECO ram (1600MHz @ 1.35v) and a i3-550 processor.

 

I bought a dual port PCI NIC card from here on the forums to test out pfSense and Untangle. I also setup xenserver and WHS 2011.

 

Now I need help combining all these together. Right now, I don't have a dual nic card for my mini-ITX as it only has a PCIe x16 lane. But I am ordering a new MB and will get a MicroATX board for the server and sell the H55N and probably come close to breaking even. I'm also ordering a smart switch (NetGear GS108T-200NAS) might be overkill, not sure. but price was right and it has tons of features and has good reviews everywhere I've looked.

 

I can do some testing on my gaming rig (Intel DP67BGB3, 2600K @ 4.2GHz, 16GB DDR3-1600 RAM), until my parts arrive. I can get XenServer installed. But not sure on how to go about setting up 3 virtual machines and how to get pfSense and Untangle to work together, and keep WHS 2011 separate.

 

any links other than the super router sticky would help me a lot. I'm new to servers in general but have worked with computers for a quite a few years, so I have a fair understanding of computers.

 

-=Mark=-

ps. s the dual core with HT going to be enough for this? Or will I need a quad? I do a lot of online gaming, so I need lowest lag possible.

Edited by MarkJohnson
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Going to let the VM experts chime in but in terms of the router performance, even an atom will outperform the router you can but off the shelf. The Core I3 will be more than enough. Look forward to hearing your experience.

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Guest no-control

Create the VM's one for each. When setting up the VM's 1 core per machine is enough, 256-512 RAM for PFsense, 1-2 GB for Untangle, 1-2gb for WHS. use the onboard NIC for virtual LAN and use the intel NIC for in / out. The i3 will be more than enough I run 6-10 VM's at once on my i3 without issues. gaming performance should be fine but if you want you can add more RAM to the VM's to see if there is a performance inprovement. You would need A LOT of network traffic to use up 512MB of RAM on a router, especially since most of your network chatter is on the switch and never sees the router.

 

Basically you'll run your WAN cable into the intel Nic1 port and run a CAT6 cable to your switch from the LAN2 port. PFsense will use these as the in and out for routing. use the onboard NIC for any other VMs you have this is your firwall, default gateway, DHP server & DNS forwarder. Untangle will be a pass through filter only (Transparent Mode). WHS will just sit on the network like any other device.

 

I would try UT first then once you're comfortable with it. snapshot it add PFSense and put UT into Transparent mode. If you don't like it just reload the snapshot and it'll be like nothing changed.

 

Honestly it'll be much simpler if you just pick 1 either PFsense or UT. Not trying to change your mind or anything, but it can become a bit overwhelming at first.

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Two schools of thought on this project for me. If you have an old P4 laying around, you might try setting up either pF or UT on one of those first to do some testing and then migrate everything into an VM Box later. The only issue with having all that on one box is that is the "mother ship" goes down, the entire network at home goes down.

 

I have to build a new SBS Standard box in a couple of weeks and have been toying with the idea of throwing it and several other machines into an ESXi server. However my issue is with me not being there all the time, if the main rig even reboots, I lose it all since there will be no way for me to even remote the ESXi server (local connection only). My situation is not typical.

 

You also need think about wireless access and how you will incorporate that into that into the new network. The old router without DHCP turned on and a static IP within the new scope will work.....just thinking out loud.

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I set one of these up when GA did his blog post and appeared on the BYOB podcast. One of the confusing parts for me was setting up the virtual nics and the physical nics. I don't have a ton of experience with VMs though. Keeping track of all the IP's and mac addresses that were assigned throughout the setup helped a little. Keep your progress posted and I will try to assist anywhere I can.

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I set one of these up when GA did his blog post and appeared on the BYOB podcast. One of the confusing parts for me was setting up the virtual nics and the physical nics. I don't have a ton of experience with VMs though. Keeping track of all the IP's and mac addresses that were assigned throughout the setup helped a little. Keep your progress posted and I will try to assist anywhere I can.

Haven't done a VM in a while, but I do recall that making a diagram of the config is very helpful in keeping track of what is where.

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You are going to need a minimum of 3 physical NIC's, which it sounds you have, although a 4th would be ideal since you are putting WHS2011 in there. One NIC goes to the modem and then comes in to the pfSense VM (WAN connection). You then need to create a virtual network between pfSense and Untangle and use this as the "out" of pfSense as the LAN connection. Then setup Untangle to use the virtual NIC as it's WAN connection and the other physical NIC as the LAN connection, which should then go to a physical switch that the rest of your network is connected to.

 

As mentioned before, I would use the Intel NIC's for pfSense and Untangle and then use the motherboard NIC for the XenCenter connection and for WHS (although that may not be possible in the setup).

 

Xenserver makes it very easy to copy and backup VM's. So once everything is set up, backup the VM's to somewhere else on the network and if you lose a drive you can restore the VM's from that once the computer is back up.

 

As for lag, Untangle is going to be the wild card here. pfSense is FAST, but Untangle can add some lag and does need some computing power. So, I would create a pfSense VM that runs without Untangle and another that runs through Untangle. That way you can switch between router setups very easily if you find Untangle causing to much lag. Also, as no-control mentioned, you can also create an Untangle VM that doesn't need pfSense and try that also.

 

The beauty of doing this virtual, is that you can have multiple router VM's set and switch between them pretty easily as you find just what you like. Also, creating snapshots in Xenserver is pretty easy and is a good idea to do before making any big changes to the VM.

 

Someday, when I can make the time, I will finish the other 3 parts to that article. :(

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Initially, I got the xenserver and untangle working somewhat. But I was losing connection after a while and then xenserver locked up. On reboot, I would have the same happen. I remember making changes to the router, so I reset the router to factory defaults and now I get no internet at all.

 

I then added a second two-port nic to see if that helped and it gets even worse. I think I'm getting lost with all these addresses and after writing them down, I'm even more confused.

 

Right now I have thing setup as follows:

 

<modem><super router><Linksys router><protected PCs>

 

I have the super router connected to one of the lan ports of the linksys router and nothing is plugged into the WAN port, so it acts like a switch. Is this correct? and if so, what other settings does the linksys need changed?

 

I installed xenserver with all defaults and untangle in router mode. This is my only setup I'm working on right now. I've reinstalled 4-5 times now and get different problems each time. usually I can't get internet, but after adding the extra nic, I can't even log into UnTangle with webui or can't get on the internet, not even from the xenserver side.

 

let me know of any mistakes, and I'll keep experimenting and reading.

-=Mark=-

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OK, this time I see it switch nics on me and changing the mac address.

 

so xenserver installs everything fine, but then I install untangle and it list different mac addresses for each port, but when it uses eth0 for modem, it list a different lan port and has an ip address 192.168.1.145. I don't know how to change port to eth1 or whichever one it is. the mac address is useless because it is completely different xenserver.

 

Hopefully someone knows the trick to make these port stay assigned.

 

Thanks

-=Mark=-

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