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Network Planning

Posted on 2000-02-03
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Hi all,
I need to know if the following is possible, and if so how?

I currently have a small NetWare 4.11 LAN running IPX/SPX and Win98 clients running Novell's Client 32 to connect.  I'd like to connect a Linux box (RH 6.0) with 2 NICs to the LAN.  One NIC configured with an IPX address, the other with a IP address. Connect the IP NIC to a router which is connected to a frame relay circuit from a local ISP.

On the Linux box I'd like to run Apache for our website.  And also Oracle Web Application Server; which will query an Oracle 8 DB on the NetWare Server.

My initial question: What is necessary on the Linux box for my LAN workstations to connect to the Internet?  Can Linux perform IPX-IP translation/"routing"?  I do not wish to assign IP addresses on the LAN if it can be avoided.

Thank you for your input
Jim
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Question by:JTrink
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jlevie earned 300 total points
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First, there should be no problem running Apache on the Linux box, or the Oracle App.

Now as to making the Internet accesible to the Win98 clients. The answer will depend on what kind of ISP service you've got. One possibility is that you've been assigned a network block of addresses that's large enough to allow an IP address for each of your internal machines. The other posibility is that you've only been a single IP (for the Linux box), or a small block (a netblock of 8, 16, etc) that isn't enough for all of the clients.

In the case of a large pool of IP addresses, you'd simply set the Linux box up as a router, enable IP on the inside NIC and install a TCP/IP stack on each client and assign each an IP.

The second case is a bit more work and there are two ways to do it. You could set the Linux box up to NAT an inside private address space onto a single external public IP. Or if all you want is Web access for the clients, it could be set up to proxy web services. There are advantages & disadvantages to each method.

Properly set up with IP Masquerading (NAT) and firewall features, a full (or as much as you wish to provide) range of Internet services are available to the clients. It will be a bit more work to set up, but you can have very fine-grained control of what services are available. The local network security level, with respect to the Internet can be as good as you want.

A proxy server for web services is a bit easier to set up as far as the Linux box is concerned, but it can't provide the full range of Internet services. A proxy server doesn't really improve network security. It takes firewalling features on the interface to the Internet to do that.

In all of these scenarios you do have to set up TCP/IP on the internal clients and assign each an IP. There's no such thing as an IPX<->IP translator (though IPX<->IP<->IPX routing is possible via tunnels). Internet access means that the client has to have a TCP/IP stack and IP address.

For a fairly static network I'd use manually assigned IP's. If the network was very dynamic (frequent additions, deletions of machines) I'd consider running a DHCP server on the Linux box.
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by:JTrink
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Thanks for the thoughts jlevie. I know I've heard/seen of some product that handles IPX/IP packet translation.  I'm going to continue looking...
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by:jlevie
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I believe that the IPX<->IP gateways you have heard of are for allowing Novell clients to access servers running Novell protocols over IP.

Regardless, you'll still need a TCP/IP stack on any win client that is going to accesss the Internet. The software for web browsing, email, ftp, etc. all uses TCP/IP protocols, and those protocols must be available on the client for the software to run. I probably should have made that more clear in my answer.  
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by:JTrink
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No, I found what I was looking for There's a product called Instant Internet from Bay Networks.  It connects an IPX LAN to the Internet via 1 IP address.  The Instant Internet box allows for 50 or 100 concurrent users (depending on the price you want to pay.)  It does not require you to load TCP/IP on the workstations, simply plug the unit into your network and it'll grab the valid user accounts from NDS.  The station also has managment capabilities, denying websites, newsgroups, email capabilities, etc.
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