[MUD-Dev] Mud Network Setup

J C Lawrence claw at kanga.nu
Thu Mar 2 20:06:02 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000

On Thu, 2 Mar 2000 20:55:02 -0500 
Jon A Lambert <jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com> wrote:

> What networking hardware are you using, routers, cards, modems,
> etc.?  

I don't use modems.

NICs: I've become rather fond of the Intel EEPro 10/100.  They're
well supported under Linux, handle duplex/simplex negotiations
flawlesslyq and are generally very fast.  On the reverse side, while
I've had nothing but success with 3COM in their ISA days, I've had
nothing but niggling problems with their PCI cards.  Tulip based
cards seem a generally good bet (I've not suffered there), but I've
had little experience there as well.

Switches: HP makes some very nice equipment.  Hot pluggable, full
(and well done) SNMP support, remote console, etc.  Been a while
since I've bought one, but they were comparitively reasonably priced
last time I did.

Hubs: Arlotto make the only 4 and 8 port 10/100 ethernet hubs that
I've never had any trouble with.  NetGear are also good, but I've
had a number of dead hubs from them along with a couple odd
behaviours that might have been their fault that I'm now a little
wary. LinkSys in particular has proven erratic over extended
periods, dropping ports and rate settings unexpectedly.

Low end routers: El-cheapo i486 and pentium boxes with a couple NICs
work well.  There's a rash of such PCI 4U rackmounts going cheap
here in the Valley as a number of labs clear out -- they make very
attractive firewall/routers.  I have an i486-33 sitting beneath my
desk as the router/firewall for the home LAN that's serving
excellent duty for a net cost of $25 in parts (admittedly the
rackmount stuff is a tad more expensive).  Its a cute box really:

  # cat /proc/loadavg 
  0.21 0.06 0.02 1/28 2316
  # cat /proc/cpuinfo 
  bogomips        : 16.38

I almost never see system load rise above 0.5%.  The 0.21 above is
just the result of the crypt load an SSH session (it _is_ a rather
wimpy i486).

Cases: Silicon Rax makes probably the best commodity rackmount cases
out there for 2U and 4U, tho that's not saying much.  Boomrack and
the rest have truly horrible hardware densities in comparison, and
typically far worse cooling to boot.  SR does need a better line of
power supplies tho.  ObNote: The box I'm typing on now is in a SR
4U, and Kanga.Nu is in one of their older 2U cases.  In particular
Intel's 2U (resold by Penguin Computing FWLIW) is a horrible piece
of work mechanically, cooling, feature wise etc.  On the 1U side
I've really not seen anything particularly interesting in the
commodity space.  VA still make the highest hardware density 2U
rackmounts in their FullOn series.

For non-rackmount cases go for SunCheer.  Extremely good cooling (if
a bit noisy), very well engineered, good default PSUs, scads of
internal room, and a pleasure to work with.  I'd use more of them if
they weren't so expensive ($130ea).

> What is the general cost of that setup?  

Quoting from http://www.kanga.nu/home.html, Kanga.Nu is:

  Kanga.Nu is a rather boring looking 2U rackmount (graphic above)
  with dual Intel PIII CPU's, 512Meg of RAM, and four 9Gig SCSI
  Ultra-3 drives.

Total cost to me for that lot happened to be $0, but market value
would probably be somewhere in the $2K range today.  It is of course
a little over powered for the job its doing.

> What type of network connection and what was the install cost and
> monthly, yearly cost are you paying?  

Kanga.Nu is sitting on a 384Kbit DSL at Larry McVoy's under
BitMover/BitKeeper's wing.  In a month or so I'll either get 724K
DSL here at home (moving soon), or I'll move it over to a tier 3 ISP
for a likely colo cost cost of ~$120/month with redundant T1

It is possible I'll colo at LinuxCabal, who are probably the
cheapest of the colo sites around here, but are also not very well
connected and Verio (their upstream) has a history of being rather
unamusingly capricious in their enforcement of the "anything we
decide we don't like" aspects of their AUP.

> What sort of internet service providers do you have a favorable
> opinion of with regards to connection reliability, cost, domain
> registration, etc.?

My current ISP is Interquest.  I'm not sure I can find much good to
say about them.  In particular their connectivity (PPPoE alas) is
unstable (it ain't my end), their news servers are so behind date
its not funny (I haven't found a group yet which contains posts
newer than 10 days), and worst of all, large chunks of the 'net
appear to consider their IP space to be unroutable (often encluding
banner ad sites making many web sites unvisitable).  I can't say
anything abou ttheir mail services as I don't use them.  Cost is $35
for a shared T1, giving me 70Kbyte/s - 80Kbyte/s most days, bursting
to 170Kbyte/sec of late nights and early mornings.

For Silicon Valley dialup: Rahul.Net aka a2I Communications (some of
you will remember Rahul Dhesi from the old Decus days) is
impeccable.  I used them for several years for a dedicated IP dialup
at $68.month.  More tellingly, I've yet to find a single Rahul.Net
user who complains of their service in any regard.  Check the
ba.internet newsgroup for evidence.

>From what I can tell PacBell are worth avoiding for DSL in the
Valley.  (They've also started moving everything to dynamic IPs
which is a crying shame).  The problem is not with PacBell as an ISP
(although they aren't wonderful, but with their DSL connections
ervices.  There are many ISPs who resell PacBell's connectivity.
I've had a couple PacBell and Northpoint engineers spend a few hours
telling me horror stories of the PacBell backend setups.  Of the
other CLECs, Covad seems to have a much better deal in general with
Northpoint pipping them if you happen to be situated correctly (I'm
not).  Technically I've been most impressed with NorthPoint out of
the three.  Cost is highly variant depending on phase of the moon.

Name registration: I've been well pleased with NUNames (the .NU
registrar) for some $25/yr.  InterNIC is worth avoiding at almost
any cost.  For the big three TLDs, Register.Com seems fairly good by

DNS services: GraniteCanyon was once a workable and valuable system.
It appears to have rotted.  I'm about to move Kanga.Nu's DNS from VA
to EasyDNS who appear (from all accounts I've read) to run a
respectably competent system.  Cost is ~$25/mo.

J C Lawrence                                 Home: claw at kanga.nu
----------(*)                              Other: coder at kanga.nu
--=| A man is as sane as he is dangerous to his environment |=--

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