Again, more than a year went by since I last posted on this blog. One reason for the silence was that most of my activity (which mostly consists of random stuff I find or found out) went to my Soup/tumblelog instead. All my longer writing was soaked up by something else which kept me busy last year: In early 2009 I started to work on my diploma thesis to finally finish my studies.
My plan: To create an embedded device working as an IPv6 gateway behind an existing IPv4 NAT router. That is, it was supposed to provide IPv6 connectivity via a tunnel and advertise the assigned prefix to the local network. While that might sound easy to the average linux-savvy geek, this device is supposed to work without reading any manpages and setting up oddly named daemons via weird text files. Plug in the device (which configues itself via DHCP), start up your browser and discover the gateway’s configuration interface without too much hassle (read: using something like Bonjour or UPnP), two clicks, entering a username here and a password there, click Apply and IPv6 is available. Any troubles caused by IPv6? Just unplug the device. That sounded more like the plan.
Additionally, enabling the new protocol without any preparations would expose any existing IPv6-enabled devices (did you know that most network enabled printers do support IPv6 since ages?) to the whole world instead of only the semi-protected local network. So this new device was supposed to offer the same default security a NAT router has (blocking any/most incoming connection while allowing anything going out) but giving the user the possibility to disable (or adjust) the firewall for his own (hopefully protected) endpoint and thus enjoying the advantage of real end-to-end connectivity (yay!). The perfect way to achieve this would be an IPv6-enabled version of UPnP IGD or NAT-PMP, but a browser based configuration interface driving a ruleset based on the client’s MAC address is a start.
September 2009 it was finished: Almost 120 pages (even 170 pages including metadata like the bibliography) describing the OpenWrt-based device. And a new implementation of the firewall as I discovered that the one available in OpenWrt didn’t support IPv6 (the resulting code was recently merged into OpenWrt to replace the existing firewall). Both my thesis and the code are available online.
Another month and a final exam later I got my degree and may now call myself Diplom-Ingenieur (FH).
Friends told me there was a nice summer 2009. Behind my screen I didn’t really see much of it, so yet another month later I was gone south to catch some sun: Gone for a bunch of months to Australia and New Zealand, finished with a stopover to visit some friends in South Africa and Swaziland on the way back home. (When I came back some weeks ago, friends told me there was a really cold winter as well.)
Now I’m back home in Hamburg, pondering over the future. Shall I continue and extend my freelancing or go for an employment at some interesting company? After some thinking I guess it will be the latter. Preferably an open source friendly place which works on embedded and/or networking stuff, somewhere in Northern Germany. There are some interesting places in Germany but it seems like the last criterion could be a showstopper. We will see…
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