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RouteConfig
Author: Dan Schweitzer, University of Virginia, Multimedia Networks Group

Figure 1: Drawing a network configuration with RouteConfig.

What is RouteConfig?

RouteConfig is a graphical tool for configuring networks of PC routers. 
RouteConfig is intended for research groups that  run up experiments with networks of PC routers. RouteConfig helps with the time-consuming process of setting up a network configuration. 

RouteConfig remotely configures an IP network form a Microsoft Visio drawing.  In addition, RouteConfig can probe a network and generate a VISIO drawing from an existing network configuration. 

How  is RouteConfig used?

The User Guide contains information for installing of RouteConfig, setting up of routers.

  • RouteConfig starts a customized version of the VISIO drawing tool.
  • The user of RouteConfig creates a network drawing (see Figure 1). There are templates for routers, networks, and interfaces. Each of the templates can be configured with IP routing information. The configuration sets IP addresses, subnetmasks, routing table entries, etc.
  • RouteConfig assumes that each router that is part of the IP configuration has a valid IP address. This IP address is used to upload the network configuration. 
    • Example: In our testbed, each PC has five Ethernet ports. Four ports (on a single Ethernet Quadport card) are used for testbed configurations, and one port has a permanently assigned IP address. 

Other uses:

  • RouteConfig can scan a network and can create a RouteConfig drawing for this netweork.
  • Configuration drawings can be saved for later use.

Figure 2: Testbed network with six PC routers that is configured by RouteConfig.

How is  RouteConfig implemented?

RouteConfig is not a standalone program. The core of RouteConfig is Visio 2000 VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) code. 

RouteConfig has four parts: a Visio template and three DLL’s. Aside from VBA code, the template contains three generic network shapes: router, interface, and network. A user connects these shapes together to create a logical topology. The VBA code provides prompts for information and validates data during this process. The DLL’s provide outgoing communication functionality for RouteConfig. The first DLL  provides a GUI for the other two DLLs. These two are custormized versions of PuTTY’s "plink" and "scp" code. PuTTY is an open-source SSH client.

In addition to facilitating configuration, RouteConfig has a testbed "scanning" feature. RouteConfig uses SNMP to collect information from the routers and automatically produce a logical topology in Visio. This serves as a simple means to take a configuration "snapshot" of the testbed. Since entire network configurations can be saved as a single Visio document, reversion and configuration tweaks and reversion are made simple. RouteConfig uses a commercial VB control for SNMP functionality - IP Works v 4.

Requirements

  • RouteConfig runs on a PC with Win 9x/NT/Win2k and with Visio (Visio 2000 or later) installed.
  • RouteConfig can configure networks of PC routers with Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, etc. The routers need the following  software:
    • an SNMP daemon (recommend UCD SNMP), 
    • an SSH daemon.
  • To configure a router,  an account with privileges for ifconfig and route commands is needed. Also, there should be on IP interface that is permanently configured with a valid IP address, i.e., this IP address is  not configured by the testbed.

Downloads

  • Download RouteConfig Version 1.0 - routeconfig.zip: 1.24 MB
    • An installation program is provided
  • Download RouteConfig source (does not include VBA code, source is also included in routeconfig.zip) - source.zip: 350 KB
  • Download RouteConfig User Guide (PDF format, also included in routeconfig.zip) - User Guide.PDF: 25 KB

Credits

RouteConfig was the subject of three undergraduate theses at the University of Virginia. Wah Yim wrote the first version, Keith Moores wrote the second, and Dan Schweitzer revised/rewrote it.

 


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