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Mark Lanctot
2006-05-03, 14:45
From time to time there's some confusion with new users on network design as it pertains to the Squeezebox.

For a lot of new users, adding a Squeezebox is their first step into home networking, which can be intimidating. There have been some unusual configurations posted on this forum which result in poor Squeezebox performance and can be rectified through proper network design.

In light of this, I created a series of diagrams explaining how to integrate the Squeezebox into a home network and what equipment is required.

http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?NetworkDesign

Changes are welcome. The diagrams are pretty basic, just something I cooked up in OpenOffice.org Draw. If someone has a better way of doing it, by all means...if you want the original OOo files PM me. I particularly hate the "lightning bolts". :-)

I am not a network expert so please correct any factual errors.

Hopefully we can direct new users having problems sorting out their network there.

ceejay
2006-05-04, 00:20
Mark

Very nice. I will edit the BeginnersGuideToNetworks to take out the rudimentary paragraph in there that tries to cover the same ground, and some links in to the new page.

One question I wasn't sure of: in your opening "adding a squeezebox" bit you've said "and wireless speeds are limited to 802.11b" ... why would that be?

Also, in "The optimum arrangement" you've said "You can use a network switch or a hub instead of the router". Is that right? I am definitely not an expert, but I was under the impression that if you connect a switch directly to a modem without there being a router in play somewhere that everything gets very confused.

Ceejay

peter
2006-05-04, 01:37
On Thu, 4 May 2006 00:20:21 -0700, "ceejay"
<ceejay.279uzn1146727501 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> said:
>
> Very nice. I will edit the BeginnersGuideToNetworks to take out the
> rudimentary paragraph in there that tries to cover the same ground, and
> some links in to the new page.
>
> One question I wasn't sure of: in your opening "adding a squeezebox"
> bit you've said "and wireless speeds are limited to 802.11b" ... why
> would that be?

Perhaps it's a limitation associated with ad-hoc modes? I've no
experience with that.

> Also, in "The optimum arrangement" you've said "You can use a network
> switch or a hub instead of the router". Is that right? I am definitely
> not an expert, but I was under the impression that if you connect a
> switch directly to a modem without there being a router in play
> somewhere that everything gets very confused.

Isn't the confusion due to the fact that most DSL/Cable 'modems' are
actually NAT routers themselves these days? The price difference between
pure modems and modem-router is negligable IMXP.

Perhaps it's wiser to work from that situation...

Regards,
Peter

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-04, 05:36
Very nice. I will edit the BeginnersGuideToNetworks to take out the rudimentary paragraph in there that tries to cover the same ground, and some links in to the new page.

Sorry, I didn't realize there was already something there!



One question I wasn't sure of: in your opening "adding a squeezebox" bit you've said "and wireless speeds are limited to 802.11b" ... why would that be?

Who knows...my understanding is this is a limitation of the Microsoft software that controls the network. http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/networking/expert/bowman_02april08.mspx

Perhaps with SP2 it's been updated. Perhaps not, ad-hoc networks aren't used very much these days. This is handled by that lovely MS Wireless Zero Configuration software, which was updated with SP2. I also don't know if there's equivalent software with Linux or OSX.



Also, in "The optimum arrangement" you've said "You can use a network switch or a hub instead of the router". Is that right? I am definitely not an expert, but I was under the impression that if you connect a switch directly to a modem without there being a router in play somewhere that everything gets very confused.

Ceejay

Most of the documentation I've seen for Linksys switches is that there's an "uplink" port, usually shared with port 5. You could connect the modem here. You'd get none of the niceties of a router (security, DHCP, web page configuration, re-assignable IP address) but it should work.

I don't know if it's true for all modems, but mine can handle NAT routing and DHCP. If it didn't and I used a switch instead of a router, I suppose I could go with a set of static IPs for all the devices.

I didn't want to leave the impression that a switch or a hub is the right way to go, and I hope it's worded to sway people away from it.

slimpy
2006-05-04, 06:22
Isn't the confusion due to the fact that most DSL/Cable 'modems' are
actually NAT routers themselves these days? The price difference between
pure modems and modem-router is negligable IMXP.

Perhaps it's wiser to work from that situation...

Not at all. You can use switches and hubs directly connected to your modem. In that case every device is directly connected to the WAN (internet) and needs a public IP address assigned by the ISP's DHCP server. You merely extend the WAN but you don't build your own network. From a security standpoint this is the least desirable solution. All of your devices can be seen and contacted to form anywhere in the internet. This setup is basically the same as having each device connected with its own modem.
If you plan your own private network you should do so without even thinking about your internet connection. Your network is an independant entity that does not rely on any connection to the outside world to work properly. Think about the hardware you need in an generic, abstract way. You can decide later about manufacturers and models.
Here's what you need:
- something to connect the network cables form your devices together: a switch or hub
- if you have wireless devices: an access point for wireless
- ethernet cable to connect your devices
- if you want dynamic IP assignment: a DHCP server
Now that we have an abstract private network we can consider the internet connection. The internet is nothing more than somebody else's private network: We need to connect two different networks. We therefore need a router to route traffic from one network to the other.
What about the modem? The modem is only used to do signal "transcoding" on a low level. Basically to connect ethernet to copper/coax cabling. It has nothing to do with TCP/IP. The modem is never part of your private network, even if it's physically on your property! In short: As long as the modem is the device closest to the wall socket you're fine.
Finally when we want to buy the actual hardware there are products that integrate some or all of the above generic devices into one case. If you see something like a wireless modem router with integrated DHCP and 4 LAN ports it simply means that there are 5 devices in one case: a wireless access point, cable/DSL modem, router, DHCP server and 4-port switch/hub.

Oops, this became a bit long winded. Well it might be helpful for somebody someday.

-s.

ceejay
2006-05-04, 06:33
Who knows...my understanding is this is a limitation of the Microsoft software that controls the network.


That's quite an old link. This link http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/winxppro/evaluate/wrlsxp.mspx
makes it clear that 11g networks are also fine as far as windows is concerned, and that WPA and WPA2 are also ok.





Most of the documentation I've seen for Linksys switches is that there's an "uplink" port, usually shared with port 5. You could connect the modem here. You'd get none of the niceties of a router (security, DHCP, web page configuration, re-assignable IP address) but it should work.

I don't know if it's true for all modems, but mine can handle NAT routing and DHCP. If it didn't and I used a switch instead of a router, I suppose I could go with a set of static IPs for all the devices.

I didn't want to leave the impression that a switch or a hub is the right way to go, and I hope it's worded to sway people away from it.

Not all modems are also routers - granted that most are, but I do know that the cheapo modems that come with some broadband services here are not.


Ceejay

ceejay
2006-05-04, 06:46
Mark

As a suggestion, instead of the para that says

"You can use a network switch or a hub instead of the router. A switch will not have the security of a router and will not have a DHCP server either. A hub is even less desireable - while a switch will direct packets to the appropriate device, a hub will echo all packets to all devices and it's up to each device to sort out what is addressed to it. This can lead to congestion."

we replace it with something like

"Note that the modem and router are often combined into a single box, called something like a "DSL Router". In this case your devices all plug straight into it. If your router doesn't have enough ports you can add a Switch very cheaply which allows you to connect multiple devices within your local network together. You may see reference to hubs as doing the same thing - these are now more or less obsolete, avoid them."

Ceejay

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-04, 06:48
That's quite an old link. This link http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/winxppro/evaluate/wrlsxp.mspx
makes it clear that 11g networks are also fine as far as windows is concerned, and that WPA and WPA2 are also ok.

Ah, good link. Google didn't seem to turn that up. I guess it's because ad-hoc networks aren't very common.

I'll edit. I'm not sure if the tone of the post should be encouraging or discouraging it. Ad-hoc is cheap I guess, but it offers no security and you're relying on a flaky piece of software to do it, MS Wireless Zero Configuration.

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-04, 06:49
Mark

As a suggestion, instead of the para that says

"You can use a network switch or a hub instead of the router. A switch will not have the security of a router and will not have a DHCP server either. A hub is even less desireable - while a switch will direct packets to the appropriate device, a hub will echo all packets to all devices and it's up to each device to sort out what is addressed to it. This can lead to congestion."

we replace it with something like

"Note that the modem and router are often combined into a single box, called something like a "DSL Router". In this case your devices all plug straight into it. If your router doesn't have enough ports you can add a Switch very cheaply which allows you to connect multiple devices within your local network together. You may see reference to hubs as doing the same thing - these are now more or less obsolete, avoid them."

Ceejay

Sounds good. I may modify the "DSL router" part though. While combined modem/routers are common in Europe, they are very rare in North America - usually the modem is separate.

bobharp
2006-05-04, 06:54
Mark,
Great stuff. Make sure Linksys is OK with using their graphics. Could we possibly expand with multiple SBs and house audio?
http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=23114

peter
2006-05-04, 07:08
On Thu, 4 May 2006 06:22:32 -0700, "slimpy"
<slimpy.27abnn1146749101 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> said:
>
> peter Wrote:
> >
> > Isn't the confusion due to the fact that most DSL/Cable 'modems' are
> > actually NAT routers themselves these days? The price difference
> > between
> > pure modems and modem-router is negligable IMXP.
> >
> > Perhaps it's wiser to work from that situation...
> >
> Not at all. You can use switches and hubs directly connected to your

Of course you can. But the point of a basic network setup page is use
the most common situation as a starting point. I don't know anyone who
doesn't use NAT on his home network. I used to run 4 IP numbers over an
analog leased line to my university in the past, but I don't think it
would be a good idea to include such a setup in the Wiki.

> modem. In that case every device is directly connected to the WAN
> (internet) and needs a public IP address assigned by the ISP's DHCP
> server. You merely extend the WAN but you don't build your own network.
> >From a security standpoint this is the least desirable solution. All of
> your devices can be seen and contacted to form anywhere in the
> internet. This setup is basically the same as having each device
> connected with its own modem.
> If you plan your own private network you should do so without even
> thinking about your internet connection. Your network is an independant
> entity that does not rely on any connection to the outside world to work
> properly. Think about the hardware you need in an generic, abstract way.
> You can decide later about manufacturers and models.
> Here's what you need:
> - something to connect the network cables form your devices together: a
> switch or hub
> - if you have wireless devices: an access point for wireless
> - ethernet cable to connect your devices
> - if you want dynamic IP assignment: a DHCP server
> Now that we have an abstract private network we can consider the
> internet connection. The internet is nothing more than somebody else's
> private network: We need to connect two different networks. We
> therefore need a router to route traffic from one network to the
> other.
> What about the modem? The modem is only used to do signal "transcoding"
> on a low level. Basically to connect ethernet to copper/coax cabling. It
> has nothing to do with TCP/IP. The modem is never part of your private
> network, even if it's physically on your property! In short: As long as
> the modem is the device closest to the wall socket you're fine.
> Finally when we want to buy the actual hardware there are products that
> integrate some or all of the above generic devices into one case. If you
> see something like a wireless modem router with integrated DHCP and 4
> LAN ports it simply means that there are 5 devices in one case: a
> wireless access point, cable/DSL modem, router, DHCP server and 4-port
> switch/hub.
>
> Oops, this became a bit long winded. Well it might be helpful for
> somebody someday.

Well, yes. If you want to make it seem difficult ;)

Regards,
Peter

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-04, 08:48
Mark,
Great stuff. Make sure Linksys is OK with using their graphics.

Euhm...yeah... <blush>

I would assume the company wouldn't mind free advertising of their products, promoting them for use with the Squeezebox, but then again I'm not a lawyer.

I'll ask, but as usual with e-mail inquiries to multinationals, I give it a 10% chance of them actually responding.

I wonder if I should do the same for the image of the Efficient Networks modem, but I obtained that from a reseller's site and not from Efficient Networks directly.



Could we possibly expand with multiple SBs and house audio?
http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=23114

I'll look into that.

To everyone else looking, note I've made a few changes regarding hubs, switches and modem/routers.

bobharp
2006-05-04, 09:29
I will try and find a site for free icons.
Here is a Visio stencil site:
http://www.visiocafe.com/index.htm
Google image search works well too.

Really, thanks Mark! This stuff takes time.
I hope SD gives you a BOHICA for this.

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-04, 10:07
I will try and find a site for free icons.
Here is a Visio stencil site:
http://www.visiocafe.com/index.htm
Google image search works well too.

Google image search turns up mostly corporate-branded products.

But the good news is, Linksys has officially given me permission! They responded within 20 minutes of my e-mail. Knock me over with a feather!



Really, thanks Mark! This stuff takes time.
I hope SD gives you a BOHICA for this.

Err, I hope not!

BOHICA (http://www.netlingo.com/right.cfm?term=BOHICA): Bend Over, Here It Comes Again

Unless that wasn't what you meant. :-)

bobharp
2006-05-04, 10:31
Essentially BOHICA's are what you get out of life. Yes and that was what I meant.

Attached is a better lightning bolt. Not that yours was bad or anything. Good for Linksys. I will search Cisco's site to see if they have updated their Visio stuff with Linksys stuff.

Michaelwagner
2006-05-04, 16:51
Mark: I'm not sure of the connection you're drawing between ad hoc wireless 802.11 and M$' flawed implementation of zero config.

I've run ad hoc with zero config turned off, and also with it on, on W2K (which doesn't even have zero config) and XP.

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-04, 17:00
Mark: I'm not sure of the connection you're drawing between ad hoc wireless 802.11 and M$' flawed implementation of zero config.

I've run ad hoc with zero config turned off, and also with it on, on W2K (which doesn't even have zero config) and XP.

Hmm. All the online documentation seemed to suggest this was handled by WZC. Is yours handled by your wireless NIC connection software?

Should we encourage or discourage it?

In a related topic on Windows systems, I have heard that ICS is problematic. I'm wondering if I should keep the caution about that?

I guess it would help if I actually tried either ad-hoc or ICS instead of going by secondhand info. :-)

Michaelwagner
2006-05-04, 17:04
It just worked, so I didn't question how it worked :-)

But except for very specific uses (I wanted a portable DJ system where I could wander around with my laptop and DJ to the wireless SB1 sitting over where the sound system was), I wouldn't recommend it.

MrC
2006-05-04, 17:32
Hmm. All the online documentation seemed to suggest this was handled by WZC. Is yours handled by your wireless NIC connection software?

ad hoc is simply the alternative to Infrastructure mode (which itself means traffic passes through and is controllled by an access point or like).



Should we encourage or discourage it?

No reason to - appropriate caveats are ok.



In a related topic on Windows systems, I have heard that ICS is problematic. I'm wondering if I should keep the caution about that?

In Windows 98 SE and ME, the implementation was simply atrocious, and caused folks no end of grief. The Win XP implementation is a lot better, but it is still troublesome to troubleshoot and resolve issues - there really is very little reason for anyone to use it today given the amazing low cost of hardware alternatives.

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-05, 10:15
OK, here's what I've written regarding ad-hoc then:


Though this is simple, it doesn't have the security advantages of a router (see below) and it may not be as reliable or as easy to troubleshoot if you have problems.

Michaelwagner
2006-05-05, 10:50
Mark:

I don't know enough about how WZC is implemented, but it seems to me to be at entirely the wrong level to be mucking much with ad-hoc mode (or even caring overly much).

802.11 defines 2 modes of interaction.
1 is called infrastructure mode
the other ad-hoc mode.

The names suck and aren't very evocative (at least not to me).

In infrastructure mode, so named I'm guessing because someone had to build an infrastructure, there are 1 (or more?) WAPs and all wireless device interaction is device<->WAP. The WAPs are assumed to be static, and perhaps even built into the building. The networking topology is star, like a hub. Collisions can occur. A conversation between a wireless device and a wired one consists of one wireless message per message, but a conversation between two wireless devices involves 2 messages, one to the WAP and one retransmitted from the WAP. This is good, in that it allows 2 devices which couldn't by themselves reach each other to communicate, but it double the bandwidth cost.

In ad-hoc mode, each device can talk to each other device and the topology is mesh. You don't get message doubling, but you also get decreased range.

Most literature deprecates ad-hoc mode. It seems, according to some sources, not to have gotten all the fancy encryption options, etc. I'm not sure why this is true, and I haven't even had the time to investigate and find out if it really is true or not. I'm still running 802.11b, where the fancy encryption doesn't exist anyways.

In a small, crowded environment, ad-hoc seems like the better choice, topologically (that is, if you aren't going far enough to need a repeater, why force yourself to repeat everything?).

I don't know why it gets bad press. Maybe there's a good reason. I just don't know what it is.

Michaelwagner
2006-05-05, 10:52
Oh, I forgot ... I wouldn't recommend ad-hoc *for squeezebox use* because I found it harder to set up. But that may have been an SB1 only thing. More research would be necessary before I'd carve anything in stone.

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-05, 11:03
As you see, I've eliminated all references to WZC. I just said that while ad-hoc is simple, it won't have the security advantages of a router - true because there's no DHCP, each device is connected directly to the Internet through the device that's connected to the modem. Also no hardware firewall.

I also said it may not be as reliable - true since this is all controlled by software, most of which is fairly poorly written. And I believe without specialized manufacturer-specific wireless software, in Windows, this would be WZC because WZC controls all wireless interactions if you're not using manufacturer-specific software. Ad-hoc is also not as reliable since, if anything goes wrong with the PC connected to the modem, the Internet is down for all. PCs are inherently less reliable than routers due to their complexity.

Finally, I said it would be more difficult to troubleshoot based on MrC's comments regarding ICS.

Michaelwagner
2006-05-05, 11:42
Ah ...

When I'm using the laptop and SB in ad-hoc mode, we aren't anywhere near the internet. It's just me and my SB.

But I take your point. I wouldn't operate a network that was connected to the big bad internet without at least a NAT router in between.

I think, for the common usage with a Squeezebox, ad-hoc makes no sense and I would recommend against it. In fact, I'd be tempted to put it in an annex describing setups that work but are unusual.

peter
2006-05-05, 12:29
IMHO the basic setup would be:

Modem -> Router -> WAP

What complicates things is that the modem may be integrated with the
router, the router may be integrated with the access point and lastly
all three may be integrated in one device.

And then, of course, the WAP is optional and both the SB(s) and the SS
box may be connected wirelessly either to the WAP or directly the
router. And there may not be a WAP at all...

That should describe about 90% of the setups.

Regards,
Peter

On Fri, 5 May 2006 11:42:32 -0700, "Michaelwagner"
<Michaelwagner.27cl4z1146854701 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> said:
>
> Ah ...
>
> When I'm using the laptop and SB in ad-hoc mode, we aren't anywhere
> near the internet. It's just me and my SB.
>
> But I take your point. I wouldn't operate a network that was connected
> to the big bad internet without at least a NAT router in between.
>
> I think, for the common usage with a Squeezebox, ad-hoc makes no sense
> and I would recommend against it. In fact, I'd be tempted to put it in
> an annex describing setups that work but are unusual.
>
>
> --
> Michaelwagner
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