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Protect Your Network with the Linux-based Untangle Gateway

Getting Started

  • July 27, 2009
  • By Eric Geier

In the past few months, we've discussed (among many other things) ZeroShell. Its a live CD that turns a mundane PC into a router and provides numerous servers and features for your network. Well, now we're going to discover the Untangle Network Gateway. Another open source solution, it installs onto a PC to help you protect, control, and monitor the online activities of all your small business or home computers.

Untangle provides a user-friendly solution that concentrates more on managing your Internet experience rather than provide network functionality. If desired, it could work well with and complement other open source router projects like ZeroShell, RouterOS, or DD-WRT.

Not only can the gateway replace your router by providing a DHCP server and Internet sharing, it can protect all the computers on the network from the Internet threats. Here are some of the features you'll get for free:

  • Web Filter controls where users can surf.
  • Spam Blocker catches spam at the gateway.
  • Virus Blocker detects threats from the Web, email and FTP.
  • Spyware Blocker stops Websites and files from infecting users.
  • Ad Blocker removes detected ADs while users are surfing.
  • Protocol Control lets you control peer-to-peer, port-hopping, and other traffic.
  • Firewall provides protection against hackers and you with more control.
  • Reports give you many reports on activity in PDF and HTML formats.
  • OpenVPN lets you securely access your network via the Internet when away.

Laying down some cash can get you premium support and better Web, virus, and SPAM protection. They also offer WAN Balancer and Failover Apps, so you can have redundancy for your Internet access. Plus they offer Apps to improve the network policies, remote access to the network, and remote control of computers on the network.

You can either install packages of these Apps or install individually. You can visit their site for more details on their free and paid features. All the premium features are available with a 14-day free trial.

We're going to be working with the dedicated server software, however they also offer a solution that runs on Windows PCs, which they refer to as Re-Router Technology.

Getting started

First you want to get a computer together that at least meets the minimum requirements: a generic Intel/AMD 800Mhz PC with 512MB of RAM, bootable CD drive, a dedicated 20GB hard drive, and 2 Ethernet cards. Then you need to download the CD image (ISO) file and burn it onto a CD.

You have two different ways you can integrate the Untangle Gateway into your network. You can replace the router with it to do the routing and NAT for Internet sharing. Another way is to keep your existing router in place and hook the gateway between the router and the rest of your network.

Either way you should have an Ethernet switch. If going the first route, you'd hook the gateway up between the Internet modem and the switch, and then you'd connect computers to the switch. If keeping your existing router, you'd put the gateway between the router and the switch.

If you are replacing your existing router, you can use it's built-in switch as the switch that computer can connects to of the Untangle Gateway. First, disable it's DHCP server via the Web configuration utility. Then connect an Ethernet cable between the Internal port on the gateway and a switch port on the router (not the WAN port). Plus if it's a wireless router, users can access the network and utilize Untangle by connecting via Wi-Fi.

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