For the bulk of my professional career network computer systems, I have maintained a home network for development and testing. After a slow influx of yet more devices, I decided to reclaim the home network used in by my family and all of our lovely internet enabled devices. Reclaiming my home network during the hot summer months was a fun and enlightning.
Originally, my home network as a Windows 98 computer which I would hookup from time to time to play games with my friends. Then the home network grew to two computers when I purchased a DSL service to provide faster home internet connections. In order to protect my Windows 98 computer, I built a Linux server which served a firewall from the full-time internet connection. This Linux server was running a version of CentOS, IP Tables and NAT to protect my computer from hacking. My home network has grown subtly and out of necessity from two devices. These days, the custom built Linux firewalling server is replaced with about $25 worth of modem and router from your internet provider.
Originally, I kept my Linux Firewalling Server on the floor next to my desktop. The server only required two network connections and a power cable. All very nice and clean. My desktop computer was another issue. That computer utilized two monitor, keyboards, mice, printer connections, head phones and audio out to my stereo which boasted 450 Watts of pure joyful sound. The cabling for this computer was a nightmare to organize and the light tan paint on the two tower PC cases would no go with any household paint scheme.
Expansion beyond all bounds
Skipping ahead and to make a very long story short, my family like many others started to install smart devices in our homes to make life easier. My wife’s computer became a fixture on the network when we started dating. Next, a smart tv graced our walls. Soon our son started playing on an XBox. After a while, I noticed that I had a bunch of devices on our network, but didn’t really know anything about them. What started our as “a computer” when I was younger and grown into almost 30 devices! Things had gotten out of control.
So, lets talk about these devices…
First and foremost, there are the computers and servers that I use personally and professionally. Keep in mind, my day job is Linux Server Administration, so there is my laptop, Heathers laptop and Ryans gaming PC. Then there is my web server and a windows server which is used primarily to store digital photographs, file backup and a media server to play music. Nothing two extreme, but there just might be a second development server I use for work from time to time. All in all, lets say that there are six computers in total.
A few months ago, we updated our alarm to the Ring Alarm from Amazon. For the most part, I was very happy with the installation, features list and price. Our Ring Alarm base unit is hardwired into the network to ensure that a wireless router or bandwidth exhaustion do not cease service interruption. Our old alarm from ADT utilized the phone line and was not capable off offering any of the features the Ring System offers.
Dish network, smart televisions and more
Three smart TV’s with a Disk Network hopper system running with Joeys. This adds another seven devices, not to mention a printer, a homebridge server to track ring devices, garage door opener. Overtime, the network has just become cluttered.
The bottom line in all of this, is that the home network used to be a oddity. Now, it is common place and most people do not understand what they have, what they are doing. Most people just provide a Wireless ID maybe a passphrase issued to them by their ISP. Technology companies have done a pretty good job of helping the novice get their devices setup, or perhaps a nephew is involved.
The problem is, is that if you don’t know how is works, then you don’t know how to maintain it, or fix it when it is broken. Organizing the home network is the first step to freedom.