How I went from a scrap PC and 2 Netgear FA311s to a router in less than 3 hours

  1. I assembled my scrap PC components into a box that would at least power up. My pieces included:
  2. I ran out to BestBuy and bought 2 Netgear FA311 NICs that were on a super sale after mail in rebate. This was a mistake. Appearantly nearly any other variety of Netgear NIC is a better choice.
  3. I installed the NICs in my scrap PC. In case you're wondering, I would suggest not getting two of the same NICs as it makes the entire process more confusing.
  4. I downloaded the Coyote Linux Wizard for Windows and extracted the zip.
  5. Informational only: I fiddled around with making a disk with the wizard and trying it in my scrap PC. I learned that Coyote Linux didn't support my FA311. I did a little googling and found Cory Wright's page which contained binary linux modules (drivers) for the FA311, which was great because I didn't have a linux box set up at the time to compile the modules.
  6. I downloaded the binary modules archive from Cory's site and extracted them to the Coyote Linux 'Files/modules' directory.
  7. I guessed that I had to edit some of Coyote Linux's configuration files to let it know that I had added those modules (after starting up the wizard and noticing that it hadn't realized the files were available). So, I dug around the Coyote Linux directory and decided to change netcard.txt and netmods.txt in the Coyote Linux 'Data' directory. I have no idea if I needed to change both.
  8. I appended the following to the end of netcards.txt:
    				National Semiconductor (Netgear FA311)
    				PCI scan (Netgear FA311)
  9. I appended the following to the end of netmods.txt:
  10. I started the Coyote Linux Wizard.
  11. I accepted the defaults for steps 1 through 3 of the wizard. You may have to specify something else.
  12. In step 4 of the wizard, I chose to enable DHCP and accepted the default number of IPs for DHCP. DHCP worked well for me, so I was glad that I used it, as it provides me more flexiblity and easier configuration.
  13. For step 5 of the wizard, I referred to the directions in the README in Cory Wright's module archive, which say to specify "natsemi" (or whatever similar text CL sticks in the drop down) for eth0 and "pciscan" for eth1.
  14. I hit the Next button and then allowed the Wizard to create the disk.
  15. Still following Cory's directions, I booted my scrap PC (maybe I should start calling it a router now) with the boot disk in the floppy drive. It ran through boot up OK until it got to the point that it tried to bring up the network cards, at which point it failed.
  16. Once the Coyote Linux menu came up, I exited it and issued the command
    ae /etc/modules
    and moved the pci-scan line above the natsemi line. Then I hit Ctrl-S to save the file and Ctrl-C to exit it.
  17. Following Cory's directions, I started the Coyote Linux menu back up with the command
    , and told it to save the configuration.
  18. I connected my router to my hub.
  19. I rebooted my router.
  20. The startup ran fine, even loading the NIC drivers correction, until it tried to connect to the Internet. Then it printed some helpful failure message. This was a good thing.
  21. I exited the CL menu once it came up and issued the command
    ifconfig -a
    to learn the MAC address of my NIC. One of the NICs (eth0) had a 192.168.x.x address and the other (eth1) had no address; this told me that eth1 was the card that would connect to my cable model.
  22. I called my cable model provided (Mediacom) and asked them to make that the MAC address that was permitted on my account.
  23. I connected my router to my cable modem.
  24. I rebooted the router. Again, everything went well until CL tried to bring up the Internet interface. I realized I had been a super genius and had connected my cable modem to the wrong NIC in the router.
  25. I swapped the network cable over to the other NIC and rebooted my router. It started up cleanly.
  26. I tried to get to the internet from my Windows box that was also plugged into the hub. It failed. I tried disabling and enabling the Window box's NIC. I still couldn't see the Net.
  27. Well, it's Windows; when it doesn't work, you reboot it. I rebooted, and suddenly I could see Net. Cool.
  28. On the router on the CL menu, I entered a supervisor password and enabled remote access.
  29. I saved (backed up) the CL configuration to disk.
  30. I opened a command prompt on my windows box and entered the command
    . Then I logged in as root and could admin my router remotely. Cool!
  31. I put the cover back on my Coyote Linux box, stuck it in a corner, and forgot about it. It'll probably only need to reboot when the power goes out. I'll proabably only ever again have to worry about it when the floppy disk degrades and is no longer readable.
Many thanks to Cory Wright for making the binaries and writing the README that made it possible for me to figure all this out so quickly. Many thanks also to the good people who made Coyote Linux. It's a killer, easy setup.
-Leif Wickland (leifw_NO[at]SPAM_bigfoot_[dot]com (22-Feb-2003)