forge

VLANs to the Rescue

Many moons ago I started a journey into having VLANs at my house. A VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) for those developers out there allows you to partition traffic off on to certain switch ports. I got the functionality with a set of NetGear WAG302 access points. I need a set because I have a separate building on my property. The WAG302 has both 802.11a and 802.11g support. Generally I try to use 802.11a since there’s less interference compared to the 802.11b/g. Anyway these guys support multiple SSIDs and VLAN tagging. The idea was to have a secure wireless for my stuff and then a public wireless for guests — that wouldn’t be on the private network.

That of course meant I needed a switch (or switches) that support VLANing. Enter the Linksys SRW2008 (8 port) and SRW2016 (16 port) switches. I’ve had them for a while — from when I switched to a Gigabit infrastructure. However, I hadn’t done anything because there hadn’t been a pressing reason to fire up the anonymous wireless.

However, I ran into a challenge. My new office space was setup with Cat6 twisted pair … no coax. I have the AT&T U-verse service which allows me to deliver to the TVs (boxes) via Coax or UTP. Of course, those boxes need to be attached directly to the home gateway — and I need my firewall to pickup the VPN to my co-location center. (Bluelock absolutely rocks.) I use a SonicWall TZ170 (it’s the predecessor to the TZ190 which is available today.) Everything I have is behind the TZ170 so I can use the site-to-site VPN.

So enter the need for a VLAN … one that would tie my U-verse home gateway into the receiver in my office — three switches away. After fighting with authorizing the trunks to the VLANs (Why do we have to authorize a trunk to a VLAN?) I finally got it working. It’s VERY cool. Now all I need to do is get Media Center to recognize the U-Verse and I’m all set. If anyone has any tips … I’d love to hear them.