Cater Hero

Making a VLAN

August 14th 2011

Tomorrow I will have a brand new internet connection, sorry Clear, but your 4G WiMax isn’t cutting it in my new english basement! With >400 ms response times, writing this post on my new Linode VM is slightly painful. After the jump I’ll detail what exactly I have in mind.

So, Comcast is a pain in the you know what. For whatever reason, they could not hook up my new apartment because my upstairs neighbors already have service with them. Therefore we got Direct TV with a Clear 4G WiMax hotspot. It may be the bricks, moisture, low level of my apartment, whatever, but the connection speed hovers around 750Kbps download, and ping latency is a joke.

This lead me to broker a deal with my neighbors to pump up their service with Comcast to a 105Mbps plan. Tomorrow I will run a CAT6 Ethernet cable from a switch into my new Dual Band Buffalo router, and be done with it. If you are thinking of building a VLAN, below are the parts I purchased, and I’ll detail the steps to setting it up.

A quick side note, since both my neighbor and I work from home from time to time, we needed to make sure our network traffic was secure and partitioned. With this in mind, I remembered the utility of VLANs from my Telecomm/Enterprise Networks course (thanks Dr. Spina) and decided this was the best option. Creating a VLAN will effectively secure our connections from occupying the samesubnet, and will cut down on broadcast messages (shouldn’t really be an issue with such a small network).

  • $52 - GS150e Switch, 5-port - Newegg.com
  • $11 - CAT6 Network Ethernet Cable - monoprice.com
  • $32 - CAT6 RJ54 Jacks & Boots/Crimping Tool/Testing Kit - Amazon.com
  • $90 - Buffalo WZR-HP-AG300H AirStation (Dual Band goodness) Newegg.com

And here is a ghetto topology I threw together in google docs, didn’t have Visio handy at the time: VLAN Topology

The fun parts of this project for me are configuring my Buffalo AirStation as it is a very feature full device. Another fun thing is manufactuing the CAT6 cable and running it through the wall, I went with 100 feet, so I hope I don’t mess up too much and lose my slack! On this note, my coworker Matt cautioned me on the high attenuation rate of Ethernet cables as they approach 100 feet, however he was mistaken. Ethernet attenuation starts to creep in at 100 meters (330 feet), and I’m not certain, but I think CAT6 UTP may have a greater distance (150 meters?), I have to check my notes. I’m more worried about making a bad endpoint and getting cross talk which would degrade my throughput considerably.

The final unknown in the project (as I have already manufactured cables and configured routers) is the VLAN tagging at the switch. I’ve yet to experience this process, but I can’t imagine it beeing more complicated than port forwarding on a router. We shall see. The great thing about this switch is it is cheap because it is an unmanaged switch that comes with software you install on your computer.

That’s all for now, excuse the typos if there are any, it is hard to type with all this lag! Tomorrow I will get some of that fast internet and never look back. Initial speed tests were showing around 90Mbps down and 10Mbps up :) this will be my fastest home connection to date.

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