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I am looking to replicated the internet (extremely small scale) using a series of switches, routers, Linux, and Windows computers that are not connected to the internet we all use. In this experiment, I plan to use public IP addresses since this experiment will never be connected to the public internet nor any system that I won't restart after testing. I'm assuming (but haven't tested yet) that even though it will see public routable ip addresses being used, Windows 7 (and maybe Vista/XP) still will show that I'm not connected to the internet. Can someone confirm this and tell me how Windows checks to see whether or not it has internet access so I can replicate this as well?

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Is there a need to physically make this? simulators like GNS3 would cover all you needs and save you a lot of money. also see Tanner's link as it answers your question perfectly. – 50-3 Aug 26 '13 at 22:36
I am doing this just learn and a little fun. I looked at GNS3 and it looks complicated. Most of what I'll be doing will be in VPS to start and when I find a few very old computers I will load them up with router software. I also have a couple of switches. I think I'll just take the hardware and virtual route over GNS3 for now but it does look interesting and provides more than I need probably. – Gabriel Graves Aug 27 '13 at 2:36
up vote 3 down vote accepted
  1. Windows has no clue you're connected to "The Internet".
    It knows your network cable is plugged in, that your network interface has an IP address (and that it's not an APIPA (link local) address), and that you've got DNS servers and routers configured.

  2. Don't use public IP addresses.
    Seriously. Don't do it. Angry network admins will break into your house and kill your pets.
    If you don't have any pets they'll kill your houseplants.
    Use RFC 1918 private address space for your experiments.

If you want to simulate an "internet" you'll need a few things.

  • Switches (and cables).
  • Routers, if you want any degree of complexity, subnetting, etc.
  • Client and Server machines.
    (These can be desktops, VMs, whatever you want/have laying around)
  • A concrete plan of what you want to test, and how you want to go about doing it.

If you would like more specific advice come up with that last one (the concrete plan) and tell us what you're trying to do, and we can probably point you in the right direction...

-- Edit From OP --

The Windows status icons are checked using the methods outlined at

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Oh you silly Linux user; Windows is creepy and does know if you're on the Internet: – Tanner Faulkner Aug 26 '13 at 20:24
@Tanner <User>Oh that's just one of those info bubble thingies - I ignore those!</User> -- That blog post tells you everything you need to know to deceive it though :-) – voretaq7 Aug 26 '13 at 20:38
@Tanner posted the link to answer my major question. I have edited this answer to show this. – Gabriel Graves Aug 27 '13 at 2:32

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