Scripting News for 6/18/2007

Today’s links 

News.com: Yahoo’s Semel steps down, Yang takes over.

Jerry Yang blogs about the Yahoo!

A 1999 picture of Scoble 2.0 at age 5.

Jeremy Toeman: USPTO launching P2P patent review.

My first software review was in the NY Times, in 1983.

Marc Canter enjoys the relaxed lifestyle of Trieste.

Kottke reviews Ratatouille. Sounds like a good movie!

Dvorak: “Wake me when Matlock comes on.”

Another networking puzzle 

After all the michegas about AT&T last week, I decided to order a second Internet connection. I was pretty happy with their high speed DSL, but if they’re going to gang up on customers with the record industry, I want to be sure I have an exit planned out.

So I ordered a Comcast network interface. It should arrive in a few days.

The question is can I have both network interfaces running on the same LAN?

I was thinking if I plug the Comcast box into a G4 desktop that has two Ethernet jacks, while the other is plugged into the big switch I bought a few weeks ago (and it’s working great, btw) that’s connected into the DSL line, that somehow all my computers would be on both nets at the same time?

I figured some of the network gods tuned into this station may have some ideas.

Is there any way to make use of two net connections on one LAN? Or does it necessarily mean two separate local nets?

Comment here, please.

And sorry for destroying our culture, Andrew. :-)

Driving test 

I have to take a written driving test tomorrow. They have example tests, which is useful. I’ve never failed one of these tests, but I’m getting a fair number of the practice questions wrong.

One thing that’s really cool about the DMV site is they tell you what the current wait time is at the local office, and other nearby offices. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a California DMV.

BTW, according to Andrew Keen, posts like this are ruining our culture. Sorry for that.

36 responses to this post.

  1. You would need a multiple WAN router.

    Like,
    http://www.edimax.com/en/produce_detail.php?pd_id=209&pl1_id=3&pl2_id=65

    Never tried it though.

    Reply

  2. I think you just need one a dual WAN ported router like Dlink’s DI-LB604 Load Balancing Router – see
    http://www.dlink.com/products/?pid=452

    Reply

  3. A very cheap but very manual route is to have two network “Location”s, one with network A on top, and the other with network B on top. If network A goes down, switch to the Location with network B instead. Note that ALL outgoing traffic will only use the one interface.

    The key is your default route. In Terminal, do a “netstat -r -finet” (-r for routing tables, -finet to only show the family IPv4 not IPv6). When your computer wants to send traffic somewhere, it looks in the routing tables to find out where to send it. If the destination IP address isn’t otherwise listed in the routing tables, then send it via the *default* route and hope for the best. In Mac OS X, the default route is the interface listed at the top in the list of enabled interfaces, when you go to System Preferences, Network Pane, and click “Network Port Configurations” next to the word “Show”.

    A more involved solution would require software (some hack/script to watch the status of the network, or commercial software like IPNetRouterX – http://www.sustworks.com/site/prod_ipnrx_overview.html ) or hardware (like a router).

    Reply

  4. Aaron, they have it on Amazon, but according to the reviews, it doesn’t work too well…

    Reply

  5. Posted by Ryan Trudelle-Schwarz on June 18, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    Check out the Linksys RV042. Fantastic router and has dual WAN links:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833124160

    Reply

  6. I use a Linksys RV042 to connect to DSL and Cable simultaneously. I can’t say how it compares to other Dual WAN Routers, but I haven’t had an problems with it.

    Reply

  7. The Linksys RV-042 does work well, however… try that one out from Amazon.

    Reply

  8. Another vote in for the DI-LB604.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Adam Brand on June 18, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    We have the Hotbrick LB-2 and it works like a charm:
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=930112&CatId=584

    It does Load Balancing and automatic failover as well. You can also have it use the faster DSL uplink for outbound traffic by default if you want.

    You will need to add a rule to this to allow SSL to work (so one SSL request doesn’t come from one modem and then the other). I called their tech support and they were pretty helpful.

    Reply

  10. Check out Cringely’s back writings, he does the same thing at his home. If I recall correctly, he uses both simultaneously.

    Reply

  11. Posted by heavyboots on June 18, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    Another vote for the HotBrick LB2. It’s not perfect–there are issues with holding sessions open for us–but in general it is not bad and more importantly, it hasn’t crashed once! I used to like LinkSys until they ended up being the box that randomly crashes all the time.

    BTW, HotBrick & Edimax both run the same embedded software, or at least for the higher-end offerings. I downloaded the manuals for both their 8-port multiwan products recently and the PDF is exactly the same except for the logos.

    Reply

  12. Funnily enough I just now finished a DMV nightmare. 7 hours in all with travel and rain and tornado warnings. I had to take the driving test, too, because I’d let my license expire. I had to do traffic school when I lived in Calif., so I know the rules of the road are pretty much the same as they are in Illinois. The test may be harder, dunno. I think the key is to choose the safest-sounding answer, and you almost can’t miss with checking all of the above. I only got one wrong.

    Reply

  13. Posted by heavyboots on June 18, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    Er, I should specify I was not using the specific model of LinkSys used above though, so maybe their software has improved!

    Reply

  14. If this is ruining our culture, thank you Dave Winer.

    Reply

  15. We use a Draytek Vigor 2910, works great! http://www.draytek.co.uk/products/vigor2910.html

    As Adam Brand mentioned, one thing to be careful with is making sure SSL traffic goes down one connection – before the Draytek we had something similar from Netgear but although we had it set up to send SSL through only one of the connections, it would flip between the two randomly thus throwing us out of some sites. Tried latest firmware and Netgear support but couldn’t seem to get anywhere and so we ditched it for the Draytek which had very good reviews at the time.

    Reply

  16. Posted by Jean Doute on June 19, 2007 at 1:11 am

    If you’re sending mail out from your LAN you may need to bind SMTP to one broadband provider or the other.

    Reply

  17. Andrew overlooks computing possibilities enabled by the Semantic Web. What do you think?

    Reply

  18. Posted by michael on June 19, 2007 at 5:59 am

    I have this setup (cable+DSL) and find it’s easiest to just have two separate networks. The cable network (slightly faster) powers my ethernet and a WiFi network. The DSL powers another WiFi network. Since most of my machines have both wired and WiFi interfaces it’s easy to switch between them.

    My server machine (Mac OS X Server) is connected to both networks and is reachable from both networks to I can easily backup to it and share files that way.

    My wife and I both work at home so the redundancy has proven very useful during the few outages we’ve had (they are more and more rare, but they do happen).

    Reply

  19. My server machine (Mac OS X Server) is connected to both networks and is reachable from both networks to I can easily backup to it and share files that way.

    I’m leaning that way myself. The question is how do I get machines on both networks to connect up to the server machine. One of my providers gives me five static IP addresses that I could assign to machines on my LAN. I don’t know how to connect up file sharing to machines that don’t show up under “Network” in Finder windows…

    Reply

  20. Posted by Mark Smith on June 19, 2007 at 6:29 am

    We’ll try bonding our lines together. Thank you for eliciting the hardware solution responses.

    Good luck with Comcast. They use AT&T for the majority of their network.

    Here are some other considerations: their uploads are not as fast unless you opt for their $150-200 per month plan. If you need fixed IP’s, Comcast is more expensive than AT&T. In our tests, speeds are not as consistent with Comcast. The speed can be better but can also be much worse.

    We had a four year old 6Mbps/5 public IP SBC account which did not require PPoE. AT&T terminated that account so they could switch us to an account which requires a specific email address. This does appear to be a move to tie a specific user to a service. The only defense would appear to be to leave your wireless wide open. Our service was down for more than 10 days.

    Reply

  21. Posted by michael on June 19, 2007 at 6:51 am

    I plug in both networks. I used a PCI ethernet card to add a second ethernet port to my old PowerMac, but a USB 2.0 network adapter like the Netgear FA120 works fine for Mac Minis. Newer Mac Pro’s come with two ethernet ports already, so you can skip this step if you have the latest hardware. Note that these are two distince networks, they don’t share the same wiring (one is mainly a WiFi network, but has one ethernet cable running from the router to the server).

    Once the hardware is in place, you go to the network control panel and enable the second port and assign it an IP address. Both my PCI card and the FA120 don’t require new drivers so this is pretty painless.

    Although most of my machines use DHCP, I set up the server with fixed addresses: 192.168.1.222 on one network and 192.168.99.222 on the other.

    Mac OS X Server file sharing is smart enough to make it’s services available on both networks. You can either use the fixed addresses to access it – or better yet access it via Bonjour in the Finder. It will have the same name on both networks. I keep an alias to the main volume on the server on my MacBook Pro and it connects to volume from either network since the paths are the same.

    I also use this setup to share my LaserJet network printer. I added a printer queue to the server for the printer. The printer queue is visible on both networks. Voila.

    Reply

  22. Mac OS X Server file sharing is smart enough to make it’s services available on both networks. You can either use the fixed addresses to access it – or better yet access it via Bonjour in the Finder.

    These are the steps I don’t understand.

    Reply

  23. Dave,

    I drew up a diagram for you that I think might work out for what you are trying to accomplish along with a short explanation. Hope it helps.

    http://www.virtualomni.com/?p=296

    Reply

  24. Dave – Arek (above) taught my OSX Server Admin class. Good guy to get to know on the more technical side of implementation. Wholly endorse his cred and abilities should you want to pursue this with an assist from outside. Peace/Out. Gerald, Tulsa

    Reply

  25. Posted by michael on June 19, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    Dave

    I sent an email with more explanation, but I’m not sure you got it. So I put the contents of it on my blog: http://homepage.mac.com/mpeirce/iblog/

    There is also a network diagram added to help explain it a little better.

    Reply

  26. Michael, thanks for all the effort you put in, but I’m lost.

    I guess there must be some software I don’t have.

    I need to do some research. I kind of assumed all the software I needed came with Mac OS X. I guess not?

    Reply

  27. Posted by michael on June 19, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    I run “Mac OS X Server” on my server Mac, not the stock Mac OS X. It costs extra, but the included admin tools are very helpful. The server version of Mac OS X has additional software included beyond the admin tools too (which motivated me to install it).

    Still, I’ve plugged in other Macs running regular Mac OS X into multiple networks and been able to access files over Personal Fire Sharing just fine. Are you sure you have the two ethernet networks enabled on your server machine?

    Reply

  28. Michael, I haven’t gotten the second line yet. I’ve ordered it, but the hardware hasn’t arrived yet.

    I want to take a different approach. I’m going to write it up in a few minutes.

    And thanks for the help!! :-)

    Reply

  29. The setup that you talk about in your 1:37 PM posting is completely doable, with one caveat. Your ISP has given you several static IP addresses to use, those are only going to be accessible from their network. If you move to a colo for your server, you’ll have to get a static IP from them (not the ones that your ISP gives you). But with that, you should be able to access that co-located server over AFP by simply going to the finder, clicking the Go menu, then Connect to Server, then type in the IP of the server in question, whether over the internet or local network, that should work just fine. Security may not be the greatest in terms of sending unencryped AFP traffice across the Internet, but it will function.

    Reply

  30. Go menu, then Connect to Server, then type in the IP of the server

    That’s what I was looking for.

    No problem with getting a new IP address, that’s what domain names are for. :-)

    Reply

  31. Glad it helped. If you are interested, I can set up an account for you on my OS X box so you can get a feel for what its like… just shoot me an email with the user/pw you want and i’ll get it up for you.

    Reply

  32. Posted by Michael Maggard on June 19, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    Can you ship a MacOS X box off somewhere to use as a server? Sure.

    Is this the best use of it? Probably not.

    Why?

    A remote server is a pain to administer remotely. For a MacOS X box administration generally means a Apple Remote Desktop (akaVNC) window over a reverse-ssh-connection. Or forego the niceties of the Mac GUI and go command-line. In either case you’re SOL if the box entirely wedges up and getting someone to walk to the cage & reboot it doesn’t suffice. Besides which, as a basic remote file server a Mac is nothing special.

    Seriously, why pay to have a perfectly good Mac sitting in a colo costing yet more money when you can get the same results at a pittance?

    File serving is file serving. We’re past the days you had to have a Mac at the back end; now Macs are, as far as networking is concerned, just another *nix.

    With that in mind consider one of the gazillions of shared hosting services. For a fraction of what your own colo will cost you can get GB’s on someone else’s, backed-up, managed, with on-site staff responsible for keeping the thing going for you.

    Which leads to the other three issues:

    Reliability. Depending on a remote server is living dangerously in a world with backhoes, brownouts, and Denial-Of-Service attacks. By keeping the Mac as a local server you’ve always got a copy of your files at hand.

    Speed. Getting to a remote file can be s-l-o-w. On a good day “broadband” is a tiny fraction of LAN speeds, on a bad day you’re drinking through a straw, the same straw half your neighbors are rabidly bittorrenting heaven-knows-what over. By keeping the Mac as a local server you’ve always got quick access to your files (off-site mirroring works fine at nearly any pace.)

    Backup. Hard drives lose their magic smoke (it must be magic ‘cause after it comes out they no longer work!) Bitrot makes formerly pristine digital copies unusable after rough treatment. Contracted-for backups are discovered not to have been working–when you request a restore. By keeping that one more copy local you’re doing your bit to fight entropy. (Obviously this isn’t the same as keeping archived copies of files, which will save your bacon if you realize a week too late you really did want something you blithely deleted in a 3am writing fugue.)

    My personal strategy?

    I sorta use the bought-hosting system.

    I use Hamachi. It’s a free cross-platform VPN tool from LogMeIn. The 3rd party Mac client requires some attention to install, but it’s effective & stable. In return it creates an AES-encrypted VPN between all of the client machines, one that even gets through most firewalls without intervention.

    Last year a buddy far away from me and I made a full backup of our local drives to external ones, then shipped those external drives to each other. We each set up accounts for each other, shared the external dries, and set them to be synced regularly. Now I’ve got a remote drive that is only at most a few hours out of sync with my home one.

    I also did the same on a service I use for blog & web hosting. It’s a full virtual Linux box, so I installed Hamachi on it. A few minutes later and it too appeared as another shared drive on a private IP through an encrypted connection. The advantage is it’s downstream connection is a magnitude faster then most ISP’s upstream speeds, so this is my preferred away-from-home copy of my files.

    For synchronization I currently use the free Unison package. It’s thorough, efficient, and understands Mac-isms. However with MacOS X Leopard coming in October I anticipate being able to use my remote drives with it’s built-in Time Machine archiving system.

    Oh, the other advantage? Because Hamachi is a machine-to-machine VPN things like iTunes work perfectly well over it; it’s a “local” connection. Thus my library of podcasts, music, and videos is handily available on my laptop from every ‘net connected hotel, lounge, and coffee shop. And, if I want to add folks to my VPN I can send them a network name and password and we’ve got collaborative space, quickly, easily, and securely.

    Reply

  33. Posted by michael on June 20, 2007 at 5:14 am

    > If so, my problem is solved because I have five static IP addresses from one of my ISPs. And if I can just put up a server at a fixed location, that solves the problem.

    Not really. You can certainly access the server at the fixed address from both the cable and DSL networks, but on one of those networks you will be routing out to the internet to get there (much slower!). And if the network with the server on it goes down, you can’t reach it from the other network. So you wouldn’t get any redundancy.

    Just plug in the server machine in to both the cable and the DSL network (using the two ethernet plugs). That’s the only way to be able to access it if one of networks goes down.

    If you are having trouble making that work, you need to troubleshoot it to see where you have something setup wrong. It really should work just fine (it does in on my home network with both cable and DSL and a server connected to both networks).

    For file access speed you really do want the server connected to both networks via you gigabit ethernet.

    Reply

  34. Dave,

    I think what you essentially want is to access a co-located remote server (in whatever OS you choose) as if it was on your network.

    How about a VPN solution? You might lose speed a bit, but you gain security through the encryption and you and your network doesn’t have to be on the same network for it to work.

    You can connect all of your home network if, for example, you had a Linux based router (instead of a hardware one) and you could run a VPN solution on it.

    VPN is not that easy to configure but when it works it works well.
    Try OpenVPN (which is open source, of course) http://openvpn.net/

    Try this link (http://chrisp.de/en/rsrc/openvpn.html) to make it work on Mac.

    We have OpenVPN in our office. Took a little bit time to configure but works like a charm!

    Reply

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