My home network

Cube first came into existence somewhere in December of 1995 when Tiaan and Roelof shared an apartment. At the time, Cube was not connected to the Internet, but a small internal network existed based on one old Unix machine, two windows machines and a 10MBit HUB.

Connection-wise, Cube has grown, first becoming connected to the Internet in 1996 via a dedicated analogue leased line running at 26.4 kbps. The Uplink provider, at the time, was LeClub Internet. During 1997 Tiaan settled in a house, moving all equipment there, and Cube got its own domain name. When Roelof left his employer, who graciously provided the uplink, the connection moved to Internet Solutions. In 2000 Roelof left Cube to live in his own house because Tiaan got married.

In January of 2004, the local telecoms company introduced ADSL and in August of that same year Cube switched over to a 512kbps DSL connection to the Internet after being connected at (a very unstable) 26.4kbps for more than eight years. Update: upgraded to a 4096kbps DSL connection after six years of 512kbps connectivity.

All the equipment you see here is used for my home network. The system has seen many upgrades over the years, but today, CubeNet looks more or less like this:

Right at the top you can see an old Cisco 2509-series router that I managed to patch up from a variety of different broken routers. On top of the router is the DSL modem and a 1200 bps radio TNC.

Below the Cisco router is a four port KVM. Below that KVM are two Truteq devices that I hacked into a DSL router+firewall and a mail server. Both boxes run Slackware Linux (see below). They're called FW and MINI respectively.

Then follows an 8-port 100MBit Cisco Catalyst 2908 managed enterprise switch which forms the backbone of the Cube network. It connects the servers, access points and workstations together.

AKNOT, the top-most server, is a Windows 2000 Server box. It's an oldish 800MHz Pentium-III machine with 384MB RAM. The real worth of this machine is it's 120GB RAID array. It's where I store most of my valuable data. In order to be more "Green" this machine will be decomissioned soon.

ZORG, in the middle, is my main (and stable) development Unix box. Currently it runs Slackware Linux 12.0. This is a 2.0GHz Dual Core Pentium-IV with 4GB of  RAM, two 250GB SATA2 disks in a RAID1 configuration (using 'md'). It also shares mounted storage with AKNOT.

ICE, right at the bottom, runs Slackware Linux 12.0. It's a Pentium-III with 512MB of RAM. It handles two WiFi connections. One destination is just under 1km away and the other is about 5.5km away. It basically just acts as a router and has enough PCI ports for more long-distance WiFi connections. It has 370GB of non-redundant storage.

On top of the Catalyst, to the right is a Trimble Ace II GPS receiver which supplies an accurate PPS pulse and time stream to ZORG, which also acts as my time server.

The entire system is housed in a 19" cabinet in my "lab". Each server sits on its own shelf for easy access and removal. The whole cabinet is powered by a 2KVA online UPS that sits downstairs in the garage.

A new addition to the home network is a Seagate BlackArmor NAS device, for large capacity central storage. A truely neat device for redundant (RAID1, RAID5 and RAID10), mass storage.

Server Cabinet

Besides the Cisco switching and routing equipment, there are two "custom" boxes that I hacked together using some older prototype equipment we made at work.

The LCD displays still work and are very handy to display things like IP address, data transferred, HDD temperature, machine load and so on.

The top "box" runs Slackware Linux 12.0 and it contains an 80GB laptop hard drive. It acts as mail server (sendmail + pop3) for the Cube network.

The bottom "box" also runs Slackware Linux 12.0 which is installed on a 1GB compact flash card. The internal SBC has two NICs. One is used for the PPPoE connection to the DSL modem, the other connects to the built-in 8-port switch, which is bridged to the Cisco backbone switch. This box runs my DNS, DHCP and Squid proxy services.


Desktop System

My desktop machine is called VITO. It's a 3.0GHz Pentium 4 with 2GB of RAM, plenty of hard disk space and a dual-headed nVidia display card. It sports two 17" Samsung LCD monitors.

It runs XP as a base operating system, but runs an Xwindows front-end for my Unix boxes - that way I get the best of both worlds - Unix power and Windows delights (Doom3, etc).

The other machines on the LAN include BLOMPOT and, occasionally, SKYLAB (my work laptop). BLOMPOT is Susan's new machine (an Acer wide-screen laptop) that she uses in her downstairs study. The machine runs Windows XP and she uses it for lots of TeX editing, web-browsing, e-mail and some Picasa work, and lately Google Earth!

Also, not shown here, is a machine called TETRA, a dedicated co-located VPS server in Dallas, Texas, in the USA. TETRA runs Slackware Linux 12.0+patches and host DNS, mail and caters for some of the high-volume traffic that I require from time to time. Be sure to check out if you want your own dedicated Linux server for only $20 a month!

Last updated on 26 September 2010.