Self-made LAN in My New House

Roughly one week ago, me and my wife moved to our newly built house. I made sure that almost all rooms have two ethernet plugs. Actually, I set up the whole LAN infrastructure myself – which I am really proud of.

There are duplex Cat7 cables from almost every room going down to the basement where I reserved a little room (about 2.5 square meeters) for the servers rack (Triton). We have an external Wireless Access Point (Linksys) which I will turn on once the weather is good enough to sit on the terrace.

Here’s a picture of me connecting the cables with the patch panel (Telegärtner, some of the best ones on the market), using an LSA plus tool:

Connecting cables with patch panel using LSA tool

This picture shows the bottom of the server rack, where I mounted the patch panels and the Linksys switch:

Patch panels and switch

Here’s the whole baby, including one Linux file server, one server with Windows for communication and media (phone, fax, least cost router, UPnP), plus one NAS as backup storage device and a 4-port KVM switch (Trendnet TK-400K, works well for a good price) to rule them all via one monitor, keyboard and mouse:

Server rack

You bet that the server room got finished first 🙂

My third arm and second brain: IBM ThinkPad T42

The company got me an IBM ThinkPad T42 about 9 months ago, which became my third arm and second brain. The notebook is very reliable, it simply works, never had any problems with it.

I actually kept Windows XP Professional on the machine, because I am not doing that much coding anymore. Until then, I had Linux on my notebooks for over 3 years. I still have it in VMWare now. It is very convenient to have the additional IBM software nicely integrate with Windows and especially the fingerprint sensor.

I have the fingerprint sensor turned on for boot authentication and it works like a charm since a software upgrade about 4 months ago. Some consider it a useless gadget – I think, it’s a nice gadget 🙂

What I appreciate most is the solid, though lightweight case.

Derick actually recommended the notebook to me – good tip, thanks dude!

Installing PCMCIA wlan-ng on SuSe 9.0

Finally I got my new Netgear WAG511 installed on SuSe 9.0. Here are some tips:

1. Carefully read SuSe’s instructions at http://portal.suse.de/sdb/en/2002/11/wavelan.html.

2. Then, as suggested there, read very carefully ftp://ftp.linux-wlan.org/pub/linux-wlan-ng/README and procede as described.

3. Now you can configure wlan0 with Yast2’s network device GUI.
– Always check /etc/sysconfig/network/ifcfg-wlan0 if STARTMODE is still set to ‘hotplug’. This parameter might be overwritten to be ‘onboot’ by Yast2.

4. I was only able to use my Netgear WGR614 access point only after explicitly specifying the Gateway and DNS addresses for my PCMCIA card, as well as the IP address in Yast2. It did not help to specify them in ifcfg-wlan0, at least not for the Gateway and DNS.

5. After performing any changes, restart the card as root with ‘rcpcmcia restart’. With ‘iwconfig’ you can check if the access point has been found. Try ‘ifconfig’ to see if the correct IP, netmask, broadcast addresses are used. ‘route’ allows you to see if the default gateway is set. If not, type ‘route add default gw x.x.x.x dev wlan0’ which will set the default gateway manually. Configuring it with Yast2 should set the default gateway automatically upon startup or after ‘rcpcmcia restart’.

6. Enjoy your next generation WLAN based on the 802.11g standard with 54Mb/s 🙂

Thanks to Christian Zonsius who helped me getting through the final steps to make it work!