Owning My Data: The Equipment

Owning My Data: The Equipment

This will be a quick post. Here is a list of equipment I have purchased to build out my network. This post includes a description of the equipment and why I purchased it.

Ethernet Crimper & Cable Tester:
What: A tool to create my own Ethernet cables
Why: It can be cost effective to create your own cables. It also gives me some flexibility to create different sizes. The Cable Tester allows me to test cables before I install them.
Setting it up: Crimping cables is super easy. I started making cables back in 2003 when I was in High School. 15 years later, the process hasn’t changed. There are several tutorials all over the web.

Unmanaged and Managed Network Switch:
What: Essentially a switch turns one Ethernet port into many
Why: A switch allows me to use ethernet wires to connect to many more devices than I could through a router alone. Wired connections are more stable and secure than wireless, so switches allow me to have a more consistent network connection.
Setting it up: Easy. These are essentially Plug and Play. The Unmanaged switch has some expanded capabilities, such as establishing VLANs, that I plan on playing with in the future.

Powerline Ethernet Adapters:
What: Allows me to use the copper powerlines running through my home as a wired network connection.
Why: This gives me the ability to have a wired network at home, avoiding the cost and effort of running Ethernet throughout my apartment. There is some signal degradation, so I do experience slower speeds than pure Cat5e cabling.
Setting it up: Easy. I plugged the adapters into power outlets near my equipment. I then [lugged my Cat5 cables into the adapters. Boom. Wired network.

Libre Computer Board ROC-RK3328-CC
What: A Raspberry Pi sized computer with 4GB of RAM, USB 3.0, and a Gigabit Ethernet Port
Why: I want to host my own version of Netflix at home. To make sure this was doable, I need something beefier than a Raspberry Pi. After some research, I decided on this board, but I do question this. I probably should have gone with the ODROID-XU4, it has fare better support. However, the Renegade board has been a learning experience that’s taught me far more about Linux than a well-supported board would.
Setting it up: This was an interesting experience with several hiccups. I’m still learning the ins and outs of this computer. Essentially it’s the same as setting up Raspberry Pi. I burned an OS to an SD card. For the Renegade board, I had the option of using Ubuntu 18.04, Debian 9, or Armbian (Debian 9). I decided to use Armbian. It seemed to have the most support. After my first boot, I set up everything like I normally would.

Issues Setting up Computer Libre Renegade:

There was one problem that took me forever to figure out. This machine was not being issued an IPv4 address, only IPv6. After much tinkering, I discovered that the /etc/network/interfaces file kept being overwritten on reboot. Here’s what I did to fix it.

First I went into /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf and made the following changes:

managed=false
To
managed=true

And added the following lines:

auto eth0
allow-hotplug eth0
# iface eth0 inet manual
iface eth0 inet dhcp

I rebooted and everything worked!

More equipment will be added over time, but for now here’s a list of what I have running: