Help needed building a personal gateway

Discussion in 'Linux Networking' started by Mark Casazza, Nov 20, 2014.

  1. Mark Casazza

    Mark Casazza Guest

    Let me start by apologizing for my complete lack of knowledge in the command line area for configuring networks.

    This my challenge:

    I want to build a universal gateway to use in my RV to make connecting to the Internet easy. I frequent many locations with different wifi or no wifi connectivity. For the no wifi areas I have a hotspot. In the RV I generallyhave a server (Win 2008 R2), 3 laptops (Win 7), 2 smart phones (Android), and a mini tablet (Android). I want to make a universal gateway out of an Acer A0751h-1545. My research took me to ClearOS as my OS choice, but I cannot seem to configure it as needed. These are my requirements:

    * The connection to the Internet must be made with a USB NIC with a high gain antenna
    * Internal wireless must be provided by the built in wifi adapter
    * Internal wired network access must be provided by the built in wired network adapter
    * The Gateway must provide DHCP services on the LAN
    * I only want 1 internal LAN or if I must have two, I need to route trafficfrom one to the other. My devices frequently remote into each other and share files.
    * I would strongly prefer the DHCP server to remember clients and reassign then the same IP time after time.
    * I want a GUI or web based way to connect to the Internet via the wifi adapter. Connecting to various wifi sources at the command line level will bea pain and not something I can teach to those traveling with me.

    ClearOS managed to recognize all my network adapters:
    * Realtek RTL8101E/RTL8102E (Built in wired)
    * Qualcomm Atheros AR242x/AR542x (Built in Wireless)
    * Ralink RT2501/RT2573 (USB Wireless)

    But the ClearOS network configuration tools do not allow me to configure a wireless adapter as the "External Connection" The last time I explored configuring routing tables I was working in SCO Unix and I have long since forget everything I knew about command line tools and configuration files. Ifyou can point me in the right direction I'm sure I can get this going but I can't promise I won't ask some novice follow up questions. If ClearOS isnot a good choice, I would prefer CentOS as I use that as my Web Host OS and I am very comfortable with it.


    Mark Casazza
    Home of the Clear Sky Alarm Clock and Tonight's Sky
    Mark Casazza, Nov 20, 2014
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  2. Mark Casazza

    Tauno Voipio Guest

    This is just a routing/firewall setup issue. It is possible using Linux
    tools, but it may be that the graphic tools do not bend so far.

    You *do* need an address translating (NAT) firewall in the setup. The
    standard iptables package of Linux is good for this.
    This is a pain. A wireless network needs a base station, and few
    built-in WiFi adapters can be bent so far. You could get a WiFi router
    and connect it to the wired internal network instead.
    This can be done with many different tools. My favorite is dnsmasq which
    also provides a DNS cache and local network host name service.
    Both are doable. The external WiFi router solves this to one network,
    but for several adapters, it is easier to set each to a separate
    network, and provide routing between them. There is also a possibility
    to bridge the wired adapter and WiFi together, but all WiFi drivers are
    not happy with it. A bridged connection is seen as an Ethernet switch,
    with all the participating adapters in the same subnet.
    This is actually a function of the clients. A well-behaving DHCP client
    asks for the addres it had previously.

    The DCHP server can be configured so that a certain MAC (hardware)
    address will get a pre-defined fixed address.
    The NetworkManager present in many modern distributions will do this.
    It seems that ClearOS is based on Red Hat, so google for instructions
    setting up networking in RH.

    And, sorry, my recent experience is from Debian -based distributions, so
    please don't ask me for specific instructions.
    Tauno Voipio, Nov 20, 2014
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  3. Mark Casazza

    Thad Floryan Guest

    Cool! You lucked-out bigtime! :)
    Two things:

    1. Though it appears you're located in Pennsylvania, the
    ba.internet (San Francisco Bay Area (aka Silicon Valley)
    group has a ton of WiFi experts on configuration and
    hardware. I don't do much with WiFi since all my boxes
    are on a gigabit LAN.

    2. I never heard of ClearOS before, so I checked here:

    " ClearOS Enterprise is a server, network, and gateway platform
    " designed for small businesses and distributed enterprise
    " environments. ClearOS Enterprise is based upon ClearOS Core
    " which is a rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

    And CentOS is a white-box unbranded RHEL so you "should" be
    right at home using either ClearOS or CentOS.

    Though I snipped it already (at the beginning of your article) I
    noticed this:

    " I would strongly prefer the DHCP server to remember clients
    " and reassign then the same IP time after time.

    That's trivial in the dhcpd.conf file. All my LAN computers have
    fixed static addresses but I often boot Live CD and Lice DVD distros
    and I prefer the physical hardware acquiring the same IP. Here are
    a few example template entries from my dhcpd.conf noting a system's
    MAC address is the "hardware ethernet" address:

    host ubuntu {
    hardware ethernet 00:06:5B:D5:0D:25;

    # cygnus' GiGE PCIe card
    host cygnus {
    hardware ethernet 00:1B:21:B0:70:B2;
    host lanserv2 {
    hardware ethernet 00:50:43:01:D0:8A;

    Thad Floryan, Nov 20, 2014
  4. Didn't really take a close look your trials and tribulations, but
    you should be aware that there are commercial products to meet all
    your requirements. Cradlepoint is one producer of such a router. One
    of their MBR95 routers run about a $100.

    Sometimes its just quicker and easier to just buy something. I can
    understand though its not always as satisfying.
    Frank Stutzman, Nov 20, 2014
  5. Mark Casazza

    Gordon Guest

    Also leads to the lazy getting lazier. Also getting dumber as they do
    exercise their brains.
    Gordon, Nov 23, 2014
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