Hour 2-10: Research & New Router

This blog post is a little weird to be honest. I've lost track of how much time I've spent on this endevour. I also believe that you should count research/learning and not just active work. If you can't find value in learning then maybe your learning the wrong stuff.

Anyway what have I done since? SOOOOO many things. lol

I will make sure to do a updated diagram one day but I've added/fixed the following in my homelab:

  • portainer: keep track of the containers running on the server
  • pihole: manage dhcp (don't think I need anymore)
  • EdgeRouter: manage dhcp and half switch

After I got the UI for portainer and pihole setup I realized I really hated opening ports on my router. I want to take this time to note that there was no real install for pihole or portainer. They are apps available on casaos so it's more like a click and go.

The process of opening ports got me wondering if there was a better way and so I asked social media. One of the people that helped me start my devops journey suggested I look into the edge router and tailscale. After doing my own googling I thought this was a great idea. I bought the edge router and by was that an adventure.

Installing EdgeRouter

Man oh man was this install crazy hard for me. I know you don't usually expected a router install to be hard but it took me 2 hours to figure out everything. This whole experience let me know that being the networking person is not ideal. Throw them IPs across the fence for me and I'll use them as needed. lol

Anyway the Edgerouter is really small and perfect for a small homelab like mine. I hope I say this right but the EdgeRouter works as a level 3 router with a level 2 switch built in. In non tech terms that means that I can use the router directly once I plug in the cable form my ISP and then I can also connect other devices to the device. I kinda understood this when I started but also maybe I didn't once I started reading the instructions.

Where I made my mistake and what took me the longest to figure out was the whole port thing. I needed to find a computer with an ethernet port slot (thankfully I have my old college computer), and then I needed to set that computer to a static ip. I've always head of doing that but had never done it so of course I went to youtube.

Oh yea! This whole time I was without wifi because me being a cowboy just plugged everything up according to the picture and well...yea took my whole network off line. Anyway once I did the proper google and youtube search I was able to set the static ip to setup the EdgeRouter to start moving data.

I must say as a non-detailed networking person I don't understand why this wasn't a plug and go type of deal. On the other hand I do know Ubiquiti products to be for the network-y people. Even though this took a long time I was pretty excited to get everything set up and I felt really cool about it. I truyl don't want to do this again but I'm glad I got the experience of setting this up in case I ever want to get serious about setting up a small server rack.

Future Work

The following are things I plan to do by the end of the year. I will hopefully set these up and blog about them step by step v doing big long form blog post like this. I also have this crazy deadline because I want to upgrade my phone, so no cool lab, no phone. lol

  • install tailscale
  • close off open ports on my general router and use tailscale
  • Buy a better general router
  • create some vlans or something similar
  • finish the setup of next cloud