My home network worked really well. It was stable, fast, and simple. I had a standard consumer-grade wireless router, a modem better than the one provided by the cable company, and a switch to hook up the ethernet to various rooms. The server holding my media and running a couple small websites sat in the front room and routed all of the port 443 and 80 traffic coming into the house. It wasn’t the most bare-bones network, but the frills were limited.
But what’s the fun in that? Nothing unique, nothing to tweak. Nothing to learn.
I fell into an opportunity to pick up an older 2U server at a reasonable price and couldn’t resist the urge to spend some time sinking into the posibilities it provided. Why have a simple home network, when you could run a software-based, highly configurable router instead.
Why run a single server, when you could have a Kubernetes cluster of VMs instead?
My consumer-grade router has been relegated to a dumb wireless access point, and I find the inexplicable need for hardware which supports VLANs. This is not a thing houses need. But after dusting off some of my highschool CCNA texts, I can’t help but imagine the improvements to monitoring and access control they would bring.
Today my home network is not as stable, nor simple. I have put hours into configuration and troubleshooting, with surprisingly little to show for it. That is, other than the knowledge and enjoyment that comes from learning and experimenting in an environment unrestricted from the requirements of practicality. As I tinker an build my little home network I continue to learn so much about networking, linux, and even technologies I used every day at work such as Docker and Kubernetes.