( Look at the bottom of the post for reference material)
I’ve debated for almost a week on what I should write about next. Building my ESXI host? Moving the massive server rack? The Pfsense build? and the conclusion I came to is that I should start with some of the basics of a home network. Sometimes it’s good to go back to basics no matter how experienced you are. So here we go, I’m going to take you on my home network adventure. I promise there are connections to the previous 2 articles.
In 2016 there are certain necessities in a modern home. Electricity, water, and internet, not necessarily in that order. In my home, having reliable internet is of the utmost importance, I work from home more days than I go to the office and the nature of my job requires that I spend a significant amount of my day exploring ye olde intertubes. Most households have a chronic case of router reset-itis and for most families this is a bearable fix. So, how do you fix this issue? Very simply: offload your services. What the hell does that mean? The answer to this question requires a bit of explanation. First off, let’s talk about the architecture of your network and what each item does. Typically, you call up your local ISP and they send you a modem, and depending on your ISP you may or may not connect a router/wap (wireless access point). So let’s take Comcast Xfinity for example, they will send you one box that has all of this built into one box. SYNERGY ACHIEVED, unless you have 5 computers, 5 phones and 5 tablets on the network (on a slow day). So now that box is doing a-lot of things, connecting to the ISP, assigning IP address, routing traffic, resolving DNS. That can be a lot of work for one small box. If you bridge that modem you can add a router and split that workload between the two boxes. In my household this setup didn’t work very well and was very unreliable. So what did I do? I used one of my servers as a Pfsense firewall/router. DUH. In all honesty this is clearly not the best use of the server’s resources, I got really excited and that was the first thing I could think to do with it. The server barely uses 10% of the memory or processing power; needless to say I have very few issues with my uptime now.