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LINUX OS - Network Routing

By M.M Joshi , Linux User Group Member , United Arab Emirates, E-mail : mmjoshi@goldensun.com


We are living in the world of Internet revolution. We have also started hearing more and more about the Linux Operating System. For example, IBM has reduced the cost on their main-frame servers substantially if you buy them with Linux OS!.

So What Linux can do in my office? Let us get started. Every company be it small, medium or big, is adapting Internet platform for their business. But this change is not an easy job as it requires some fundamental infra structural changes to the company network(of course, if it exists). The number one being, their own LAN and WAN needs to be on TCP/IP. Presuming that the company network is using the TCP/IP internally is half the job done in adapting Internet technology.

So what is the next half? The IP addressing scheme in the company network needs to use the private IP address ranges as determined by Internet standards (example: 10.0.0.0 with subnet mask 255.0.0.0 is a valid private address range, of course you can override all these using Network Address Translation but then there is a cost for it in terms of good software and administration of the software)

So the company starts migrating the network between the valid IP addresses on the Internet and the private range as approved by the Internet standards. Since this is not a job which can be done overnight in a typical medium size network, the network needs to co-exists between the two IP schemes. Hence routing comes into picture for the co-existence of both the schemes. This is where one can use Linux OS based workstation with two network cards (or as may are required subject to hardware limitation) one in valid scheme and the other being in a scheme which is being phased out.

The cost of such a solution is typically 4,200 dhs. (presuming a new PC with two network cards) whereas if the company has a router (say a Cisco 3600 series), you may end up in paying approx. 10,000 dhs. for a router module with 2 Ethernet interfaces!! and this module will not be used once the transition to the appropriate IP addressing is over, whereas the PC can be re-deployed in the office anywhere.

Thus you can see one more benefit of Linux OS!. By the way, this solution should not take more than 15 minutes to configure on a typical PC with multiple Network Cards.

I hope above scenario helps to uncover another dimension of the Linux OS benefits, i.e., Linux as a network router.

All flames to /dev/null.


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