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I have a server, 4 PC's, a network printer, a switch and an ADSL modem. Currently the server runs Red Hat 9 and sits between the internet and the other PCs like in

I have bought a new server PC to replace the old one, and I plan to install Fedora Core linux on it. The server acts as web and file server. The PCs all run Windows.

Alternatively, I could connect the new server and all PCs to the switch, and connect the switch to the modem. (Sorry, couldn't find an image.)

What are the pros and cons of these network layouts? Eg. in terms of reliability, security and flexibility?

I am not a Linux guru but know of (and am not afraid of) iptables, dhcpd et al.

Thank you for any tips, pointers and links.

EDIT: Found a photo for second layout.

alt text

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migrated from Jan 7 '11 at 14:24

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Found an image for the second layout: I would rather update my question, but have no idea how... – James M. Jan 7 '11 at 23:32

In one setup if your server fails, you lose your connectivity, in the other if the switch fails, you lose your connectivity, but then that applies to the first one also.

I used to use your current setup, now i use your proposed setup. Very little changed, except its a little easier to draw now :)

Given a choice id say go for the proposed setup. It's a little harder to get a good idea of throughput as you dont have a "gatekeeper" machine. - but then if you have a decent router, or you flash it with open source firmware, thats not a problem.

It also makes NAT related issues a little easier if you want to forward traffic to client machines.

Essentially it boils down to what's the pros and cons of sending your net traffic through one machine.

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Well, either config will work, with the single point of failure issues mentioned by Sirex. If everything is routing through your server and you have a good understanding of iptables then this setup will give you more firewalling options for the rest of the network, which may be helpful depending on what you need to do with the other machines, and also depending on how good the firewalling options are on your current ADSL 'modem' - and if it IS a plain modem, as opposed to an 'ADSL router', then it will probably have no filtering or firewalling of its own.

One other consideration is that with the server being the internet router for the rest of the network it will have to remain powered up to give all the other machines 'net access (ie: the cost of electricity) - but that may not be an issue.

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