OSX Server+Gateway Setup+15 minutes=Awesome

Just got the green light to implement an OSX server (Xserve running 10.5 Leopard) as a gateway at one of our school sites to replace one of our ancient Novell servers that was choking down our bandwidth (the replacement of the server confirmed that). I have only good things to say about OSX server software--incredibly easy to setup. For those of you who have not setup an OSX server as a gateway, here's some tips that I got from Apple's documentation:

  • The NAT service needs to be on (obviously) but in our environment, it was important that we choose the option to forward all IP addresses so that we could see traffic from individual computers, since all sites are on different subnets, but connect back to our office (through Charter provided connection) for internet, filtering, etc.

  • In order for NAT to work properly, the firewall has to be on for the "packet divert rule" to be enabled, which is vital to NAT's functioning. This was my first mistake before reading Apple's documentation. A firewall between sites would be nice, but I just enabled it for NAT to work and allowed everything through it to minimize any issues we might have accidentally blocking stuff.

  • The initial configuration of the network cards is vital to the proper working of this setup. From what I found, the first network card has to be the one that has the outside IP--not the internal one serving out DHCP. You can reorder the network cards if you go to System Preferences and modify the Network devices.

I hope this helps some if anyone is planning on setting up a OSX Server as a gateway. It's pretty straightforward. The hardest part is making sure you have all the right numbers to plug in ;)

Screenshots may be coming depending on if I can find them ;)


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