To connect TR to the Internet means configuring your home network router for port forwarding. This is not difficult, but first a few basics.
A typical home network is shown below:
A broadband connection can be either a DSL phone line or cable. In any case there is a modem (usually provided by your Internet Service Provider or ISP) that receives the Internet digital signals. A router is connected to the modem and the various PCs on your home network are connected to the router, either wirelessly or by Ethernet cable.
Your ISP assigns your router an Internet IP address (126.96.36.199 in the above example). The router, in turn, assigns each device on your home network a Network IP address. These are 192.168.0.120, 192.168.0.125. etc in the above example. Note that the router has the address 192.168.0.1 and that the IP addresses for the PCs all have the same set of digits in the first three numbers as does the router. Routers issue the last 3 digits of the Network IP addresses in a range, usually from 10 to 255. The router assigns a Network IP address to each device on request (such as at power up).
Configuring the Router:
A router can be programmed for the range of Network IP addresses it will assign, the Internet IP address mode (static or dynamic), and a number of other features. You can access the router configuration using a web browser such as Chrome from any PC on your home network. Simply enter the router IP address in the browser address box, as follows:
You will be asked for a password (usually admin or something similar) and then you will see a series of menus and links that allow you to configure the router settings. At this point it is a good idea to go on-line and download the documentation for the model number of the router you have. You don’t want to inadvertently change any important settings!
Router Firewalls and Port Forwarding:
The Slax 7 system for TR includes a web server that will respond to web browsers anywhere on the Internet, but your router must be configured to allow such requests to come in from the outside. This is easy to do, but different routers will call this by different names: port forwarding, WAN configuration, gaming, firewall setup, etc.
The firewall of your router controls what incoming requests from the Internet that your network will respond to. A firewall is for protection and it controls the ports into your network. Every Internet application is associated with a port number. The most familiar is the web browser that uses port 80. Other applications are FTP (File Transfer Protocol) on ports 20, 21 and Telnet on port 22.
The firewall in your router normally keeps any requests that come in from the Internet out of your home network. But you can forward a port to a PC on your network that is prepared to accept and respond to such outside requests as a server. The Slax TR system is a web page server so by configuring the router, incoming requests for web pages will be directed to TR. This is simply a matter of assigning the correct port number to the Network IP address of the PC that will handle Internet requests on that port. The local IP address of the Slax 7 TR server on your home network will be assigned by your router at LP power up. (You can determine this IP by connecting a keyboard and monitor to the Slax TR PC and logging into it.
A typical port forwarding configuration screen (from a Net Gear router) is shown below:
In the example above, the http (web page) server is configured for port 80 and is assigned to the Slax TR Server at address 192.168.0.65 on the home network. Servers for other ports can be added, and any of the existing ports disabled. All of this is just a matter of logging into your router configuration screen and working through the menus.
Some Possible Complications:
It is often difficult to know what Network IP address your router resides at since it has probably been a long time since you configured your home network. Routers come with a default address and many times this is the one you are actually using. Using the default address when trying to log into your router’s configuration is always a good first guess. Some routers have their default IP address printed on the label, or maybe you were clever enough to have marked it down if you changed it.
If you do not know your router’s IP address, look for the Windows Networking icon and double-click on the Network Connections icon, Double-click on the Local Area Connection and then go to the Support tab. The IP Address for the Default Gateway will be the router’s Network IP Address. You can use this to log into your router’s configuration screen from Internet Explorer or another browser.
Some ISPs no longer will allow incoming access for port 80 to your router from the Internet. In this case you must assign some other port number such as port 8080, and forward this to the Slax TR server PC.
Start the TR Server:
Start the TR server by logging into your TR Slax PC, navigate to folder /tr and execute the startup program ./starter.pl – this will start the http server running.
Testing Your TR Slax Server IP Address Over the Internet:
Once the router has been configured to forward the necessary ports and you have started up the TR web server, you are ready to communicate with TR over the Internet. The first requirement is to know your Internet IP address. If you have a static IP address you may already know this. If your Internet Service Provider assigns your IP address dynamically, you will need to check for your address on line.
The easiest way to find your IP address (static or dynamic) is to download and install the Chrome browser into your PC. Chrome has a widget that you can install that will detect your Internet IP address. (There are also on-line services, such ashttp://www.whatismyipaddress.com, that can do the same thing.) When you know your Internet IP address, try entering this into your smart phone. The reason for this is that you normally cannot access your own Internet IP address from behind your router firewall. By using the smart phone browser you are going through the phone carrier’s network and this will be outside of your firewall.
The Chrome browser, however, even when used on a PC from behind your firewall can access your Internet IP address. (This is because Chrome is actually operating from a server somewhere on the Internet.)
If your Internet IP address is 188.8.131.52, as in the above example, enter this into the address box of your browser, as follows:
This should take you right to the TR Player page, and you can proceed just as if you were connected to your own home network. Telnet and FTP should operate in a similar manner over the Internet.