Setting up a test network

This is a (rough!) list of things to be done to set up a test network. The idea is to provide as much as possible of the functionality of the commodity network in as isolated a way as possible, primarily for training purposes though also perhaps to allow experimental features to be turned on and tested.

Linux router(s)

To ensure that we don't disrupt the commodity network's spanning tree, the test should run in its own broadcast domain. This is most easily done using a dual-homed Linux router, with one side on the test network and the other on the commodity network. This machine might as well also be the "network infrastructure server" for the test network. Other than through this (and any other similar) Linux router there should be no connection between the test and commodity networks, thus providing isolation.

Setting up a netinf server

Instructions/links to be added...

Test network core

Once we have a netinf server in place it's time to move on to the test network's core. For this we might as well use the ex-Forum and ex-AT core 54xx switches, as they have most of the functionality that a test network would need. In the first instance one core switch would suffice, though in the longer term it would be useful to add more so that spanning tree interactions can be tested.

Setting up a core switch

The 5412s are unfortunately rather big and heavy, but we do have three of them. The remaining 5406 is a bit smaller, but might be called on to replace core3 should that fail. Either way, the switch(es) should be reset to the factory defaults and then configured in the usual way.

Instructions/links to be added...

Test network edge

The test network also needs some edge switches. We have an assortment of old switches which could be used, though unfortunately they don't all have all of the facilities we might want. There are lots of old 2900s (which won't do IPv6 things, but do have 10GbaseCX4) and 2610s (which will do most things, but don't have 10Gbps interfaces). A 54xx could also be used in edge-switch mode for the purpose.

Setting up edge switches

Instructions/links to be added...

What to use it all for?

Beyond just setting up the physical switches, as above, which will entail finding out about the way the netinf servers and the configuration tools are put together, some thought at this stage will have to have been given to spanning-tree.

Given a working physical network, the next obvious thing to do would be to to set up IPv4 routing. At this point there is a slight risk to the commodity network, as it would be possible to inject bogus routing information there, but with a little care it should be reasonably safe.

IPv6 is the next obvious thing to look at.

Back at the physlcal level, just add more switches and watch the spanning-tree behaviour.

Etc etc etc...

-- GeorgeRoss - 08 Jan 2019

Topic revision: r1 - 08 Jan 2019 - 11:05:21 - GeorgeRoss
 
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