Internet Sharing

I'm new to the unix world, but have been asked if our company could set up a high speed internet connection to our unix server in order to connect all our users without haveing to pay for all these telephone lines. I assume it is easy but unsafe. Any help from the basics to the advanced will be greatly appreciated.

Michael Stevens

I'm unsure as to whether you are trying to get your users <I>in</I> to your server at high-speed, or <i>out</I> of your server. I'll assume you are trying to allow users on your Unix machine out to the internet.

You could get a cable-modem, DSL, T1 or other high speed connection from your server to the Internet. Each user could then connect to the internet via ftp, telnet, www, etc. If you set up a proxy, they could do all this from anywhere on your local network. You will need to set-up a firewall unless you want to let bad guys in to your server from outside.

You will most likely need to read up on Firewalls, VPN's and Unix Networking to make this all work. If you are running Linux, start with the relevant HOWTO's (, otherwise you might want to invest in something like "The Networking CD Bookshelf" (link to book on below) from O'Reilly which will probably cover much of what you need to know (and much more!).

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[Edited by Neo on 11-09-2000 at 05:18 PM]

PxT gave a good reply. I'll add a few things, perhaps it will be helpful :slight_smile:

By your post, I assume that you want to have users connect to your servers/services via the Internet to save the cost of having a bunch of dial of lines; the model is very much the same (not exactly but good enough for your purposes) regardless of dial-out to the Internet of dial-in from the Internet. Either way requires connectivity to the Internet.

Before jumping off to books on VPNs, Firewalls, and complex HOWTOS, it is essential that you design architecture based on your actual needs (requirements). You may not need VPNs or even a complex firewall, if your model is simple enough. On the other hand, if your model is complex, you may need a lot of gear/gadgets/configurations.

Keep in mind that that technical people, often fascinated with the technology, forget that the more complex you design a network (any system) the more it costs to sustain, maintain, and keep secure. Every line in a configuration file increases the cost of operations and ownership.

Network management experts estimate that the costs of manageing a network (and the power of the network) goes up with the square of the number of nodes on the network (N SQUARED LAW).

In a nutshell, more important than technology buzzwords is a clear roadmap on what your company plans to do and the risk management requirements and business processes. The number one mistake that I see people make is 'too much technology' and not enough planning. Keeping costs down and acquiring a high return on investment requires investing time in planning and design before considering the technical options and marketplace buzz.

[Edited by Neo on 11-09-2000 at 11:31 AM]