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Work work, route route

We have survived the first day of school. We should even survive the (delayed) opening day at Hartford Public High School tomorrow. The good news is that I managed to keep the school construction-induced hysteria from infecting my shop until the very last day of last week. But, there was HPHS with two uncompleted IDFs and a cabling contractor starting Friday afternoon what should have been done last Monday, and the Boss was beside himself. After a six year streak, my record of having my crew's work done by the Friday before Labor Day and not having to work the weekend has been broken. Fah. I will give my troops comp time and take them to a good lunch.

After the zoo that was yesterday (first day of school stuff at work, and dealing with a dead refrigerator at home), I gave myself leave last night to hide in the spare room and tinker. I'm a lot closer to done with rehabbing a PC for thecoughlin. I also spent some time on a project that has been on my back-burner for ages: a Linux router.

I've been meaning to look into routing with Linux for several years. Last night I took a spare PC (an old dog of a Pentium 166), slapped two NICs in it, and loaded Slackware 9.1 on it. (I would have done Slack 10, but it wouldn't boot from the CD, and I had diskettes for Slack 9 already made.) While the install was running I did some Googling and found Zebra; a set of daemons that makes a Linux box look an awful lot like a Cisco router. Building and installing Zebra went clean and sort of quick -- it's an old box after all!

A basic Zebra config is dead easy, even if you don't know much about Cisco's IOS. The example files are good. OSPF worked right on the first try. The route table has all of the routes I expect to see, and the other routers on the network are seeing the test box's one route.

After doing some more advanced fiddling with the config I decided to do some speed tests. Now, my tools for doing this at home are somewhat limited. On one side of the Linux router I had a P4 2.4 GHz Win2k server and a PIII 600MHz Linux server, on the other side I had a P4 1.8GHz Win2k laptop. On the first pass, I did SFTP transfers from Linux server to laptop. Both of the router's interfaces were plugged into 10Mbps hubs (I don't have spare 10/100 hubs at home). I was pleased to see throughput topping out reliably at 7.5Mpbs -- 75% utilization on 10Base-T, which is supposed to start breaking down above 30%. This was a special case, though (only two stations talking on either side of the router).

For the second pass, I did some rearranging. I cabled the Linux router directly to the house's main 10/100 switch, and connected my laptop to the router with a crossover cable so that everything would be running at 100Mbps (albeit at half-duplex on the laptop link). This time I did a series of large file FTPs from the Win2k server to the laptop (a 640MB CD image and such). Throughput topped out at 69Mbps! And that's with a 166MHz Pentium as the router! On real hardware with more test systems to generate traffic, I bet I could drive line-rate (full 100Mbps) all day long. Next up will be scamming a server chassis and a pair of gig cards at work. :-)


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 7th, 2006 01:18 am (UTC)
166 P
Is it the other toaster? If so, yeah. It was a loyal box when it was cutting edge.
Sep. 7th, 2006 01:24 am (UTC)
Re: 166 P
Yep, that's the one. Those 166MMXs just keep going and going and going...
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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