You can learn quite a bit from maintaining a homelab. This type of in home experimentation has deep roots in the scientific revolution where significant progress has been made outside of conventional institutions.
Primarily you can learn the fundamentals of computing and networks, but there is a critical secondary benefit in experiencing maintenance on complex systems where you have the design choice for that complexity. Professionally you may not have as much latitude to reign in complexity as you may have to cover edge cases you don’t particularly identify with. Within your own lab you can explore edge cases and decide if their relative maintenance burden is worth the enhancement.
- Plug Baroque Cycle again?
Internet Protocols #
- What is Routing?
Internet Connectivity #
- What is an Internet Service Provider
- What are Municipal or WISP providers?
- What does it take to Start your own ISP
For my address there is sadly only one option for fiber. However there are providers that have fiber nearby that are considering rolling out Fiber to the Home, notably 123.net with 10Gbit service. I’ve made contact with several companies to express interest and linked them to the neighborhood association so that they could explore prospective density when speculating on bringing service.
Choice: ATT Residential Fiber
These next sections skip ahead a bit with some topics, but are related to ISP choice.
ATT Gateways #
ATT fiber deploys with a “residential gateway”, a device that does a form of media conversion. In early deployments the gateway would be separate from the ONT. In these deployments the gateway could be bypassed. In more recent deployments, where XG-PON is possible, the gateway has the SFP Fiber Terminal baked in and cannot be bypassed.
Bypassing these gateways is interesting as it requires learning about EAP and 802.1x. There is also some 802.1p and strange use of VLAN
0. There are two ways to bypass:
- keeping the gateway connected via L2 and proxying the EAP requests to it
- exploiting the gateway and extracting it’s certificates so you can EAP directly with the ONT
To learn more about this consider the following articles:
I am in an area that is likely to switch to XG-PON so I am unable to utilize these methods. Detroit notably had the older style of connectivity which would allow for bypass, but Grand Rapids seems to have slightly more modern infrastructure.
ATT Static Address, Cascaded Router #
You can purchase static IPv4 addresses from ATT. The ordering process can be done via any sales mechanism, sometimes requires a truck roll, and ultimately requires the mothership to change configuration on your gateway. I’ve purchased a /29 which will give me five usable addresses. If you look at a
/29 you’d expect to get 8 addresses, however there are some reserved addresses:
- the network address itself (first address)
- the network broadcast address (last address)
- a “gateway” address (second to last address)
This leaves you with a usable five addresses. By default you get a dynamically allocated address from ATT, mine currently is a
/23. The static addresses appear to be routed to that dynamic address.
To have all this work properly for a router behind the gateway you must do the following:
- configure “IP Passthrough” under the “Firewall” section of the gateway
- make sure your router is connected and has made a DHCP request
- configure “Cascaded Router” under the “Home Network > Subnets & DHCP” section of the gateway
- “Cascaded Router Address”:
- “Network Address”:
Static Network provided by ATT
- “Subnet Mask”:
255.255.255.xwhere x is your subnet mask size
- “Cascaded Router Address”:
- Ethernet and the 802.3 working group
- Standards of twisted pair cable like Category 6
- Fiber-optic, SMF and MMF
- Everything you always wanted to know about Optical Networking
- Passive Optical Network
- Don’t be messy, use labels
Network Segmentation #
- What are IP Addresses, Subnetworks, and CIDR Notation
- What is Network Address Translation
- Plan for Subnetworks, segmentation gives you granular control
- Plan for L3 tunnels (e.g. Wireguard)
- Diagram how these networks interact