Getting started with DN42

A week or two ago I became aware of DN42, a private network run to teach people how to use BGP. DN42 users connect to each other using site-site VPNs and then use BGP to exchange routing information. As someone who learns best from hands-on activity I simply couldn’t resist.

This blog post will discuss getting connected to the DN42 network using a Cisco router, be it physical or in a virtualisation solution such as GNS3/VIRL. At a high level there are three main steps:

  1. Create a number of “objects” in order to allocate a network address that you advertise in BGP;
  2. Configure your router so it can access the internet;
  3. Locate a suitable network to establish a VPN with and then form a BGP adjacency;

I’ll try and cover off the various DN42 specifics, but do not plan on covering basic router configuration tasks.
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Log-off terminal services session remotely

There are times when you want to quickly log-off a number of terminal services sessions without having to log on to the server itself, perhaps because of the following error:

The terminal server has exceeded the maximum number of allowed connections.

Microsoft provide two useful command-line tools to view and terminate sessions, qwinsta (Query WINdoes STAtion) and rwinsta (Reset WINdows STAtion).
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Faster than Gigabit on a budget

For some time now Gigabit has been the de-facto speed for networking equipment. The days of vendors getting away with selling Gigabit at premium is mostly gone. The only real exception to that seems to be Cisco, who inside on providing Fast Ethernet (100Mb) ports on many of their devices and charging a premium for Gigabit.

Ten Gigabit is becoming more widely available in enterprise environments, but comes at a cost that is out of reach of many home labs and those on a tight budget. Depending on what you need to achieve there are low-cost options for getting your feet wet with 10Gb or faster.

Those on a tight budget are likely to consider LACP to aggregate multiple GbE connections in order to provide more available bandwidth. Unfortunately this isn’t always suitable, especially so if you need a single connection to consume much of the bandwidth. Thankfully assuming you only need to connect two hosts together there is a better way.

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