Server shoe closet
How can one circumvent the cumbersome tangle of cables and establish a foolproof local network within the confines of an apartment, ensuring a robust Wi-Fi signal permeates every room?
Solution #1: Expensive devices with Wi-Fi seamless roaming
Solution #2: old laptop, 8-port unmanaged switch, Wi-fi routers
Let us delve into Solution #2: an economical approach that entails repurposing neglected items that have long been relegated to the shelf or deemed unsuitable for everyday use.
What elements might prove useful for this endeavor?
RJ45 network sockets
Twisted pair cables
USB to RJ45 network adapter
Uninterruptible power supply (UPS)
Once we have constructed the network architecture, it is prudent to attend to the aesthetic aspect of the matter. Concealing the cables and the primary devices, which inevitably generate some heat, within a shoe closet is a prudent course of action. A hole shall be fashioned in the rear of the closet to accommodate the cables. One of the shelves inside the closet shall be exclusively allocated to our equipment, while the remaining shelves shall serve as shoe storage. The elevated temperature within the closet shall aid in mitigating unnecessary humidity and temperature fluctuations, thereby benefiting the properties of the footwear.
As for the software, I recommend employing the Kerio Control Software Appliance for the laptop. Kerio Control amalgamates cutting-edge firewall capabilities, encompassing a network firewall, router, intrusion detection and prevention, gateway, antivirus, VPN, web content and application filtering. It boasts a user-friendly web-based administration console, facilitating effortless management. Furthermore, it incorporates load balancing and bandwidth management features. The specifications entail Debian, GNU/Linux kernel, and x86/amd64 architecture, with system requirements encompassing a CPU of 500 MHz, 1.5 GB RAM, and 8 GB HDD space for the operating system, logs, and statistics.
The built-in setup wizard expedites the installation process of Kerio Control. It prompts the specification of the interface designated for local connection (linked to the switch) and the interface destined for internet connectivity (linked to the ISP's equipment). The software shall automatically enable DHCP, DNS, configure NAT, and establish rules for remote access to the web admin console. Subsequently, it is advisable to reserve DHCP addresses for the Wi-Fi routers and configure traffic filtering rules (e.g., prohibiting access to 18+ content).
Seamless Wi-Fi roaming
Deactivate the Wi-Fi functionality on the ISP's equipment. Allocate a reserved address to each Wi-Fi router, disable the built-in DHCP, and configure a consistent network name, password, and security settings for all the Wi-Fi routers. Finally, connect one of the LAN ports (typically colored yellow) of each Wi-Fi router to the RJ45 network socket.
Connect the ISP's equipment, laptop, unmanaged switch, and one of the Wi-Fi routers to an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). Given the low power consumption of these devices, a power strip with five outlets may suffice (although the manufacturer does not explicitly recommend it).
The UPS guarantees continuous operation and safeguards against power fluctuations. Kerio Control software ensures stability, flexibility in configuration, and local network security, while also providing network traffic monitoring, load balancing of internet connections based on traffic type, and restricting access to hazardous or unwanted websites. Moreover, it facilitates a robust Wi-Fi signal in every room, with wireless clients seamlessly transitioning between the most potent access points based on signal strength. The available LAN ports in the Wi-Fi routers can be utilized to connect other devices reliant on wired connections, such as personal computers.
Furthermore, this setup promotes orderliness, as the cables and devices remain discreetly concealed. Additionally, it enhances the storage environment for shoes, bolstered by favorable temperature conditions.
Usage and Endorsement
I have personally implemented the aforementioned scheme for over two years, effectively distributing the load between two network interfaces sourced from distinct internet service providers. Local network users are classified into two groups: trusted individuals, identified by MAC addresses and granted access to all devices within the network, and guests, who are solely permitted internet access with speed limitations and content filtering.
During the summer season, the temperature within the shoe closet registers at approximately 33-34 °C on the equipment shelf, while the temperature on the shoe shelves ranges between 25-27 °C.
As a final bonus, during instances of power grid failures that afflict the entire household with darkness, one can quietly continue utilizing the internet for an additional hour by relying on the singular active wireless network within range.