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Old 04-05-2008, 12:42 PM   #1
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Registered: Apr 2007
Posts: 7

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Setup a Linux network with 1 server, 4pcs wired & wireless, wireless router, & hub

This is my situation:
I am extremely new to Linux, but I really want to get away from Microsoft Windows so I am willing to do about anything to get onto Linux and off of Windows.

At my house I have the following:
1 - pc with 2 gigabit network cards (would like it to act as a server)
2 - other desktop pcs (would like them to act as clients)
2 - notebook pcs with both wired & wireless capability (would like them to act as clients)
1 - netgear wireless router (with a secured connection)
1 - 8 port switch or hub
1 - 6MB(DL) / 1MB(UL) broadband connection to the Internet coming into the house
- Internet connection sharing is being used (it is just not working the way that it should)
- All pc's have Windows XP installed as the only OS

Current setup is through Windows XP and I hate!!!!!!!
Current setup is like this:

- I have the Broadband source coming into my house and plugging into 1 of the Gigabit network cards on the server (supplying the internet to my LAN)
- I have a network cable connecting the 2nd network card on the server to the WAN port on the back of my wireless router
- I have a network cable connecting 1 of my desktop pc's to port 1 on the back of the router
- I have another network cable going from port 2 on the router to port 1 on the switch/hub
- I have another network cable connecting my other desktop pc to the switch/hub
- I have both wireless laptops connecting directly to the wireless router

This is what I would goal:
- The server and all client pc's to form an actual Local Area Network (preferably with Static I.P. Addresses...not DHCP)
- My 1st pc to be setup as a server and do everything that a server does
- The server gives or denies access to other pcs
- The server track and monitor all websites that my kids are visiting
- The server to block access to certain websites that I don't want my kids going to
- All of my other pc's be setup as Linux clients (whether it be wired or wireless
- I would also like their to be file sharing across the LAN
- and there to be a print server and a network printer on the LAN
- and there also be an external HDD (kind of like a Network Attached Storage Device).
- And finally, I would like it so that when you are on any client pc and you visit a actually goes to the webpage and allow the webpage to open correctly.***** I am not getting this on my current setup. Currently, When I am on any pc and I go to any webpage there is a problem...I get a "Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage". After I get this error I have to press the F5 Refresh key from approx 2 to 3 times and the webpage magically appears but it is not in the correct looks jacked up (i.e. the fonts are wrong, the pictures, if they show up, are in the wrong place, etc). After I press the F5 key usually about 1 to 2 more times the website will come up and look absolutely perfect.****** Again let me say that this is currently happening on every website and it also affects me connecting to my ISP’s mail server…so it is hard to even check e-mail.

Please help me get away from Windows and get onto Linux.

What do I need to do to get started?

Which version of Linux should I use?

Thank you,

Old 04-05-2008, 03:33 PM   #2
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Distribution: SuSE 10.0 - 11.4
Posts: 347

Rep: Reputation: 30
My setup is pretty similar, although at this stage I have a mixture of Linux and Windows clients.

I've used SuSE as my server for many years as it contains all the various server applications and the admin tool YaST can set most things up for you. The latest version openSuSE 10.3 is very easy to set up and you can get a basic set up working completely from the GUI without resorting to editing configuration files.

My server has one external NIC connected to the ADSL modem/router and two internal NICs - one connected to a switch for the wired network and the other connected to the wireless access point. That way ALL traffic has to pass through the server. Apart from running the main firewall software (SuSEfirewall2) I run Samba (Windows server equivalent) and Squid (web proxy server) and ensure that all web access goes through that. There are add on packages (Squidguard) and configuration tweaks that you can do to Squid to enforce who can access the internet and when and also enforce parental controls. I personally haven't gone to those lengths (yet) but I do know that there are lots of possibilities.

I also use 'sarg' to run daily reports on web usage.

I use Samba for filesharing because I need it for Windows clients. I also run a DHCP server for the wireless clients.

Although you want to go from Windows to Linux, I'd do it in stages. Set up the Linux server first and get that working the way you want it (and get used to it yourself) and then move the clients to Linux one by one. That way you may limit downtime and frustration!

I think that any modern distribution will do what you want - it's going to be a question of what you like personally. For servers I always use SuSE probably because I know how it works - for desktops there are lots of distributions specifically tailored to make them easier. In particular getting the multimedia working can be a pain so choosing a desktop that has it all working from the beginning will make life easier. That said I think all the major distributions have the ability to add the additional third party multimedia codec etc.

Good luck.


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