Happy Network News

2 minute read

I started writing a completely different story last weekend, but life is like an assorted box of network cables, and here we are.

A couple of weeks ago we had a planned network outage, and after that my Ubuntu based router began to misbehave, taking forever to get a DHCP lease from my ISP anytime anything happened to it: network changes, system updates, everything seemed to trigger this issue. I started troubleshooting, trying to find what exactly caused the problem to appear, but I simply could not see what I was doing wrong. At the same time, the crappy ISP-issued router I have as a backup in case something happens to my primary one, worked flawlessly.

After leaving my family hanging without an Internet connection for much of the Sunday, I concluded I wasn’t going to resolve the issue anytime soon, so I double-checked that I had copies of all relevant config files, then disconnected my Qotom box and carried it up from the basement, connected it to a screen and keyboard in my office, tethered my laptop to my phone, and downloaded Opnsense.

Why Opnsense? I’ve used pfSense before and liked it, and I simply wanted to see what life was like on the other side of the fork. I spent some time reading up on turn-key Linux-based alternatives, but really couldn’t find anything free that looked serious enough. (Go ahead, @ me on Mastodon, tell me why I’m wrong.)

It took less than an hour to install the system and have my basic network configuration and VLAN routing ready, and then I went back down to connect the router to my network. And that’s when I saw it:

I have native IPv6!

Over the years I’ve grumbled that the communications operator for my town’s fiber network seems to have cheaped out on either competence or network gear or both, and they spent huge amounts of money on setting up a network in the late 2010’s without support for the modern protocol. But that planned network outage a couple of weeks ago was when they took their new equipment live, and suddenly I have an actual honest-to-goodness real Internet connection.

I’m planning a post on my actual router configuration in the hope of being able to share some of what I’ve learned, but in short: My ISP (Bahnhof) is providing me with a /56 address range, from which I’ve assigned subnets to my equipment, client, server and guest VLANs, and now I’ll be spending some time planning and then making my services available to that part of the Internet too.