Home Networking Versus Voluntary Simplicity

by Mike Stankavich on October 23, 2009

Home Network HQI love adding sophistication and complexity to my home network.  I suspect that’s typical of technophiles such as myself. But a few months back, I realized that I was adding complexity that didn’t have any value to me whatsoever other than scoring geek points around the water cooler.

I still have some simplification to complete, but I’m gaining on it. I got rid of my Windows Server Active Directory domain and stopped hosting my websites from home over FIOS. I also consolidated my file share and backup servers down to a virtual server running Windows Home Server.

I still have a custom Linux router with SSL VPN in front of the Verizon router and a LinkSys 802.11n wireless router, and the virtual host server box that’s currently running Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V and some virtuals. And I have three network printers, two desktops and two laptops for family members, and a Mac Mini and a Thinkpad for myself.

In future posts I plan to discuss the specific value I get from each component of the network along with some things I have discovered that others may find useful. Although it may seem like a nice-to-have, I actually find my VPN very useful. And I really like having two ethernet jacks in every room that are already connected to the network and ready to go.

I’m finally learning to ask myself whether I REALLY need a new toy before I go out and buy something new and shiny. If it doesn’t deliver a capability that the family or I will actually use, or if it’s going to require a lot of maintenance, I just don’t need it.

If there’s anything you would like to hear more about, please let me know in the comments.

Liz October 26, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Keeping the number of gadgets to a minimum is a smart move.

My experience with routers and other gadgets is that they seem to have a life of about 18 months (I think manufacturers maybe plan that on purpose) so that every box I have is something that needs to be maintained, updated, and replaced.

Regarding future articles, one thing I struggle with is keeping my laptop safe when traveling. I’m terrified of Wi-Fi connections and I’m very interested in portable VPNs. I want to make sure I have everything I need to be secure without over complicating matters.

Other topics: Web site Backups and Setting up telephone conferences. Feel free to write about any of those subjects. 🙂

Mike Stankavich October 26, 2009 at 7:38 pm

Liz, thank you for your insightful comments and guidance about what you find of interest. I absolutely agree that many tech gadgets seem to be loaded with planned obsolescence. One of the things that I am gradually learning is that if something is still working and I am still getting value from it, it really isn’t necessary to upgrade.

I’ll write more about my VPN setup in the future, but I will say that my current setup is more about giving me access to things inside my home firewall than providing security for my laptop when on a public network. I rely on three layers of defense for public network security – firewall software, antivirus software in case something gets through the firewall, and full image backups daily so that I can restore from bare metal very quickly if necessary.

As I have mentioned to you and a few other friends, I’m working on a blog backup product which I hope will prove to be useful. I’m no expert on teleconferences – I just use dimdim.com for personal or the corporate service for when I’m at work. But if I get a chance, I’ll ask a friend that does a lot of calls what they use.

Liz October 27, 2009 at 10:10 am

After having my blog attacked *twice* I can tell you a blog backup product is one needed item.

I think dimdim is a simple and convenient tool to use and the sound quality impeccable. I like cheap and simple. 🙂

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