Please share resources to learn about routing protocols and LAN/WAN setup.
April 27, 2007 7:01 AM   Subscribe

Please share resources for learning about routing protocols, WAN/LAN setup, etc.

I can set up a basic network using private IPs. I can understand how larger networks are, in principle, operating, but I need a much better technical understanding of these larger networks and "best practices" for setting them up. I would love to hear what resources you use.

I took a Cisco class a couple years ago, and I learn other things as I go using internet resources like Wikipedia and HOWTOs. I understand basic routing, but don't understand routing protocols. I understand IP address spaces and subnets, but don't fully grasp how you actually dole out subnets or connect them to each other.

Can you share some good resources, books, websites, so on, to better my understanding of how to set up large networks that use a mix of public and private address space? Resources that cover multiple "what-ifs" are extra helpful, as I'll be working with pre-existing networks that are definitely not set up in the ideal fashions.

The software being used is Linux, and the hardware varies dramatically from location to location, if that matters.
posted by odinsdream to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
O'Reilly is usually a great resource for anything geek related. Brief overview of routing protocols is here. Just look around and you'll probably find some info you can use.
posted by white_devil at 10:00 AM on April 27, 2007

white_devil; I'm hoping for some specific recommendations of books or sites that have been useful to others. I've been looking into a subscription to O'Reilly's online book service, too, but would really love some recommendations.
posted by odinsdream at 10:12 AM on April 27, 2007

Some good stuff at cisco if you poke around.
posted by white_devil at 10:24 AM on April 27, 2007

I can't offer a good one-stop-shop answer right now, mostly as I haven't found one. The Cisco manuals are good, but obviously somewhat manufacturer-biased. There are plenty of study guides available in varying levels of legality all over the internet.

One of the things that helped me quite a bit is subscribing to mailing lists that discuss this kind of thing. The North American Network Operators Group is the canonical one, but I also lurk on ipv6-ops and isp-colo, as well as a couple of related newsgroups. Just lurk for a bit, see what the elder say/do/complain about. You'll absorb quite a bit from just context, and the references you don't get are usually easily googled.

The biggest problem about saying 'best practice' in a large-network context is that depending on your definition of 'large' there simply aren't any. Once you get to a certain size, there are no real guides for how to best set things up. Sure there are best-practices for the elements you're employing, but the architecture is very much a case-by-case basis. Take Comcast, they're transitioning to ipv6 internally because they have too many nodes. They're writing the best-practices in a lot of ways.

By routing protocols, do you mean BGP or TCP/IP? Unless you're doing your own transit or multi-homed networks you shouldn't really need to touch BGP.

As for public/private addresses, I'd have to say that you should probably decide on one as an eventual goal and try to base changes/additions in that direction. I.e. either decide that your network will be non-addressable (the usual) except for designated DMZ nodes (servers) or try for an end-to-end network. Unless you have lots of clout with ARIN or a lot of unused address space (you don't work for Haliburton, do you? :)

And then there's ipv6. Don't neglect it, especially if you're expecting to do anything like a large change in the near future.

Gmail is in my profile if you want to take this off-site, but be warned I'm not an expert or particularly credentialed in the large-scale stuff.
posted by Skorgu at 1:42 PM on April 27, 2007

This site is packed with info: link
Here's a couple more: link, link
These should provide some good info on routing and routed protocols. Good luck.
posted by bda1972 at 1:55 PM on April 27, 2007

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