Monday, January 12, 2009

Using Vista as a Router

Cuppa got himself a desktop for development work, and it is not unexpected the OS of choice is OpenSolaris. Mainly for the safe-keeping of the data.

I do aware there are Internet-based storage services like dropbox, however I feel much safer and can sleep better knowing my data just sit by my side, instead of sitting thousand miles in data centers that I don't know.

During the setup of my desktop I learned the importance of utilizing resources that I have. The case in point is only my laptop (running Vista) has wireless capability, while my OpenSolaris box doesn't. Initially I was thinking to get a wireless interface or a wireless-to-wired device. However it is not very efficient and I don't want to shell out more money just to get myself connected. I figured maybe Internet isn't very important, I can download everything using Windows and throw them to the Solaris box. While I stared at my laptop, it dawned to me I could use the Vista laptop just as a bridge. Bingo! part of the solution resolved.

Next, how should I connect those two? I recall I have a switch with my friend, but that means I gotta wait until weekend to get it back. While taking shower, I asked myself why I needed the switch and thought about straight and cross cables. Suddenly the word 'PHY' crossed my mind and I remember for most modern Ethernet PHYs, the types of cable no longer matter. This is one of the advantages of working in small companies where I am exposed to different aspect of engineering, I learned that modern PHYs actually have abilities to detect the cable type and do the swap internally. In fact, you can now just use straight or cross cables where you please. I pulled out a straight cable and paired the two devices up. Now all my computers are networked and I don't have to spend an extra dime, PLUS I have a solid OpenSolaris with the trusted ZFS for all my files.

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