Thursday, August 10, 2006


While growing up living in a dialup only area and having more than one computer in the house has forced me to use a few different dialup gateway options. My first experience with internet on two computers in my house was with Windows 98se Internet connection sharing. This got the job done but didn't do much else. I later upgraded to Windows 2000 and this was an improvement allowing port forwards and all that happy stuff but still left room for improvement.

Time passed and I was able to get a Cisco 805 router that was able to connect external modem, this was highly configurable, however lacked a friendly web interface, and caching options. I was able to use clarkconnect behind the Cisco to help cache pages to ease bandwidth problems. Clarkconnect is a all in one Linux gateway offering web proxy, dhcp, dns, file sharing, mail and more. While this setup worked ok, until the Cisco started acting up and I needed to look at replacement option. One of the biggest downfalls of the clarkconnect box was it didn't support dialup directly.

Here comes Smoothwall 2.0 to save the day. Smoothwall supports almost all WAN connection types including dialup, ISDN, DSL, PPPoE, and Cable. I have had smoothwall installed at my parents house for years now, it has been working fairly nicely. I have been running it on a old P150 laptop with an external 56K modem.

Since then I have moved out of my parents house to an area where I can get cable internet. I have been trying to get setup to do more computer repair out of my house. One of the things I want to try to do is setup a caching proxy that will hopefully cache windows updates and other files I use often like Adaware and Spybot. I would rather have my proxy cache them from a remote rather than put them on a USB thumb drive, or CD because that way I will make sure I have the latest copy. I also hope that it will cache windows updates. I personally don't feel that my Internet connection is that slow, its just nice to have LAN transfer speeds on file downloads. I figured I would give Smoothwall a chance for the job to see how it works. I went over to the website and see that Smoothwall Express 3.0 is in Alpha so I thought I would give it a try. I took a spare computer added a second network card and installed away. Setup was rather simple and from the limited testing I've done so far it seems to work nicely. I think I will give this a try for the short term and see how it works.

For the long term I have a bigger project in mind that might require me more configuration options to allow for web based user tracking and wireless security. Hopefully stay tuned for more details about Smoothwall and future gateway options.

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