A colleague of mine at work told me about a project called DN42 which is essentially what they refer to as an overlay network or a network built on top of another. DN42 is a great way to learn about networking and the internet in general through real world, out of the lab experience. Since this is still essentially a private network, they use private IP address space in the 172.20.0.0/14 which basically gives the range of 172.20.0.0 – 172.23.255.255. It is supposed to provide an experience of what it is like to be one’s own internet service provider.
Last weekend I registered for the service and got assigned a small IPv4 network block of 172.20.165.192/27 which basically gives me 29 usable addresses that can route over DN42. I got a vastly larger number of IPv6 addresses that I will never come close to using. Interestingly enough, these are also private and can only route over DN42. This block is fd0b:7449:62d2::/48 and this gives me the astronomically high number of 1,208,925,819,614,629,174,706,176! There’s no way that I will come anywhere near that number. At the same time, I got a chance to register my own DN42 domain name so I grabbed blackcat.dn42 and I’ll get a chance to set up my own domain name server.
Also at the recommendation of my colleague, I bought used OptiPlex 7050 off of Amazon for $150.00 bucks. He told me that the Core i5-6500 processor in it will be more than capable of doing the routing and that I should run OPNsense on it. OPNsense is a piece of software that can be used to turn any computer into a powerful and capable router which is what I will need to make this happen.
This is merely an introduction to the project and I will provide the technical details as they come since I will want to document the process in case something should happen to my node and I would have to rebuild it. I would also like to make this a learning experience for anyone else who might be curious or fascinated with the way networks work.
If this project becomes a success, I will have to try another one which is to create an MPLS network defined in the cloud. But that will be something for a future date. For now, it will be enough to learn some of the core parts of networking via DN42.