Solaris 2.5.1 (Browsing & Email) over WAN

Posted on 1998-09-02
Last Modified: 2013-12-23
We are a financial institution based in Belize,
   (Central America). We have 8 branches located in different
   geographical locations accross the country. We will centralize administration of
   computing services at the main
   branch or HQ.
   We are currently running Netware 3.12 / Windows NT 4.0 /
   Solaris 2.5.1 over an ethernet LAN at our main branch.
   LANs are currently being installed at our remote branches.
   Our telephone and internet provider will supply our enterprise with a dedicated
   WAN link using Bay Networks ARN
   routers and frame relay.
   Enterprise WANs are relatively new in Belize. I spoke with one company that
   has implemented the same same WAN link and
   they can't send email over the WAN.
   I hope to clarify some issues and get some feedback from
   network administrators who have implemented or are managing
   similar WANs.
   Specifically I would like feedback on the following issues:

   1.] If each branch LAN has a class C (192.25.200.? ...
       192.25.201.? etc.) address, and the WAN link (which is       supposed to be
   transparent) connects all LANs via the     routers and frame relay; I am
   supposed to be able to        browse NetNeighborhood from my Win95 client at
   a remote
       branch and see the servers located at the main branch  

   2.] I should be able to send email using Solaris mail or     Microsoft exchange to
   any user in the enterprise.

   3.] How do I find out what ethernet frame types are being        generated by Solaris on our LAN? What frame types are
       supported? What is the default frame type?
   What are the considerations for setting up those functions
   successfully over a WAN using frame relay?

Question by:denmarkw
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Expert Comment

ID: 1582290
1. yes, you've to configure your router to transport netbeui, too
2. yes, you have to set up a mail host somewhere
3. Ethernet 802.2
   Ethernet 802.3
   sometimes you found Ethernet_II and Ethernet_SNAP
   but 802.2 and 802.3 are the common frames

Author Comment

ID: 1582291
I'd like to know how I would find out what ethernet frame types are being generated on the


Expert Comment

ID: 1582292
snoop -v <host>

there are much more options for snoop, try "man snoop"
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Accepted Solution

bknowles earned 60 total points
ID: 1582293
NetBEUI is not routable.  Try TCP/NetBIOS (sometimes called NetBIOS over TCP, or NBT) instead.

For email, you need to have one of the Unix machines set up as a mail hub, and it would talk to the outside world, know where everybody's email is supposed to be delivered, etc....  You'd also need an SMTP gateway package for Microsoft, and have it use the mailhub as it's "smart host".

Properly configured, this will cover email for everyone in the company, no matter where they are.  However, the trick will be to get them properly configured.

Author Comment

ID: 1582294
To bknowles:

For email, you need to have one of the Unix machines set up as a mail hub, and it
   would talk to the outside world, know where everybody's email is supposed to be
   delivered, etc....  You'd also need an SMTP gateway package for Microsoft, and
   have it use the mailhub as it's "smart host".

1.]  Please define a mail hub

2.]  Where will this SMTP gateway package be installed?

We are currently using Microsoft Mail over a dial-up connection for our remote branches.
We are considering using Microsoft Mail once we can setup browsing over the WAN.
But for browsing to work, it appears we will need to put an NT Server at each branch.
Our clients are currently Win95 and the servers are Solaris 2.5.1 on Sparc5's.

Thanks in advance !


Expert Comment

ID: 1582295
1.  A "mail hub" is a central machine whose primary purpose is to know (across the entire company/WAN) what usernames are valid and where they have their mail delivered.  It then delivers that mail locally or forwards it to the designated machine, as appropriate.  This mail hub is the machine that would be your primary e-mail interface with the outside world.

Mail hubs don't have to be particularly big or expensive machines, if they're dedicated to the purpose of being a mail hub.  If, on the other hand, they are "shared" machines where a user will log in at the "console" (the primary keyboard and monitor directly attahced to the machine), handles firewall duties for the whole network, is the central backup server, and basically does everything, then you're going to want a pretty big machine.

2.  The SMTP gateway package would be installed on a PC.  Typically, you would have a Unix machine of some sort (i.e., the mail hub) sitting "in front" of this PC, and only those users who have their mail on Microsoft Mail/cc:Mail/Lotus Notes/whatever would have their mail forwarded to the SMTP gateway PC, where the mail message would be converted into the appropriate native format for whatever LAN email package you're using.

Conversely, for any email you have that is addressed to external recipients (i.e., that aren't on the LAN email package -- perhaps they have an account on one of your Unix boxes, or perhaps they are somewhere else on the Internet), the mail would get routed through the SMTP gateway PC, which would dump it on a "smart host" (typically also the mail hub), which is responsible for finding the appropriate recipient machine where the mail is supposed to be delivered.

As for providing NT services in a robust fashion (i.e., without using actual NT servers, because they're not as scalable or reliable), I suggest you take a look at <>.  It details how Tom Limoncelli (and others at what used to be called AT&T Bell Labs) have built a relatively robust and reliable network for Wintel users, but with more reliable hardware and software than Windows NT servers.

All the software you need should already be available for your Solaris servers, which would mean that not only could you avoid an outlay of additional money for additional hardware, it would also mean that you can avoid unnecessary additional training and personnel to manage the NT servers.

If you follow the same model as the paper by Limoncelli, et al., that would preclude the use of Microsoft Mail, because it is proprietary.  In fact, I believe that it is Microsoft Mail that they talk about in this paper in the fifth paragraph of section 3.1.

Although you may feel that Microsoft Mail fits your needs today, it almost certainly won't fit all your needs tomorrow, where a more standards-based solution (e.g., Netscape mail) would let you upgrade those components which are in need of replacement.  With Microsoft Mail, it's an all-or-nothing sort of thing, with things like the Internet (and anything not explicitly Microsoft) is tacked-on at best, if available at all.

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