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Hour 18. Implementing Network Routing

What You’ll Learn in This Hour:

A routed network or internetwork is actually a network of networks. An internetwork consists of different subnets; each subnet uses a router as its connection point to the other subnets in the internetwork. Windows Server 2008 provides the Routing and Remote Access Services (RRAS), which enable you to configure a server as a router.

Windows Server 2008 and Routing

When IP networks become large, they are typically segmented into subnets to keep local data traffic on each segment and to make the most out of available network bandwidth. Networks that are made up of multiple sites (geographic locations) also use subnets to divide the various parts of the network into one internetwork (a network of networks).

The device that joins separate segments (subnets in the case of a TCP/IP network) into one network is called a router. A router is an intelligent networking device that can determine whether data should stay on the local segment (subnet) or be forwarded to another subnet on the network.

Most internetworks use dedicated routers (a number of vendors provide routers, such as Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks, and 3Com). These routers provide a hardware solution to routing and switching data between subnets and have their own proprietary operating systems. Routers providing hardware routing are designed for medium- to large-sized networks.

Windows Server 2008 provides a software solution for routing as part of the Routing and Remote Access Services. The only extra hardware needed to deploy a server running Windows Server 2008 as a router is a second network interface. A server with multiple network interfaces (or a network interface and a modem) is referred to as a multihomed computer.

Windows Server 2008 routing is ideal in a situation where you don’t need to deploy actual routing hardware (a router) but still want to subnet a network. For example, you might have a network where a segment consists of users that share sensitive information and you want to keep that data on that particular segment. Or you need to connect a small branch office to the main network using inexpensive Wide Area Network (WAN) technology (say broadband or DSL), and want to use a server running Windows Server 2008 as the connecting point (the router) between the two segments. Windows Server 2008 is basically a low-cost option in cases where the network segmentation doesn’t require a dedicated device.

Windows Server 2008 also enables you to take advantage of a single Internet connection for the clients on a LAN. The Windows server basically functions as the gateway between the Internet and the LAN. Network Address Translation (NAT) can be used to assign the IP addresses to the clients on the LAN so only a single public IP address is needed for the server’s connection to the Internet.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the basics of how routing works on IP networks. We can then explore the various aspects of configuring a server running the Windows Server 2008 Routing and Remote Access Server as a router and then look at taking advantage of Network Address Translation.

By the Way

To create subnets on an IP network, you need to have some understanding of how to determine the range of IP addresses for each of your subnets. See Hour 7, “Working with the TCP/IP Network Protocol,” for information on configuring TCP/IP and working with subnets.

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