6.2 Remote configuration
In this part you will see how a home gateway can be configured remotely from another device by using the web interface built into the gateway.
Now watch the video below, which is about 2 minutes long.
Routers don’t have a screen or keyboard, so it isn’t obvious how you configure them. ‘Professional’ networking equipment often has a console connection so a network engineer can plug their laptop in and configure it directly. A home gateway won’t – but we do now have a network connection from the desktop to the gateway, so I can configure the gateway from my desktop.
Home gateways offer a web page interface to configure them. I can open a browser on my desktop and type in the IP address of the gateway. This gateway is challenging me for a password, which I fortunately know. It’s often written on a label on the gateway itself.
So here’s the configuration interface – remember I am looking at this on my desktop’s web browser, but I am now interacting with the gateway itself. (And by the way this means that the gateway is actually working as a small web server, serving up web pages.)
There are a number of tabs to choose; I’ll look at ‘Basic setup’, and scroll down a bit to see the local network setup – IP address 192.168.0.1 and subnet mask 255.255.255.0.
Remember that the gateway is a router and so it has two network interfaces – this is the LAN side, but there is also an interface to the rest of the internet. So this will need to be configured to work for your ISP, and so is not something you would normally change – I’ll assume this is setup correctly.
A home gateway, like other communication equipment, doesn’t have a screen or keyboard attached and must therefore be configured from another device on the network. You connect to the gateway’s configuration pages using a web browser. You need to know the IP address or name of the gateway to connect to it.
The gateway contains a simple web server in order to produce the configuration pages.
Activity 2 Think about
Can you configure your home gateway from the other side of the world?
You’ve seen how to access the gateway’s configuration web pages by typing its IP address in a web browser. We used the inside address gateway on the LAN which is normally a private address; since private addresses cannot be routed across the internet, you wouldn’t be able to connect to it from outside your own home network.
However, it may be possible to access the configuration pages using the router’s outside IP address – which can be reached from anywhere on the internet. Since this is a security risk, this access is usually disabled; if it is enabled, then it is very important that the admin password is secure.