Windows Server 2008 as a LAN Router Running RIP

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If you're designing a virtual test or evaluation network and want to get into complicated network scenarios you will eventually need to segment out your virtual network.

To do that you need something functioning as a router, since this may be virtual machines, you can't just plug-in a hardware solution. This will allow you to mimic a much larger network and teach you how things might be done in a mid to enterprise sized environment.

For this walkthrough I will show you how to turn a Server 2008 box with two network interfaces into a router.

How to Install Routing on Windows Server 2008

I am going to be running this demo on a cleanly installed Windows Server 2008 virtual machine that is configured with two network interfaces both set to "Local Only" in Virtual PC 2007.

It currently holds no role information and will only function as a router. We will also configure RIP routing protocol so it can talk to other routers on the network.

1. Start Server Manager.

2. Click on Roles, and then click on Add Roles.

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3. Since this is a clean install we get a Before You Begin warning page telling us that if we're going to install a role on a server to make sure it is secure. If you get this page, just click Next.

4. On the Select Server Roles page go ahead and place a check next to Network Policy and Access Services. Click Next after you're done.

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5. The next page gives you an overview of the Network Policy and Access Services and everything that you can do with it. Read through the various options and click Next.

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6. The Select Role Services page now comes up and we are going to go ahead and place a check next to Routing & Remote Access Services.

Note that you cannot just click on Routing because it is dependent on the Remote Access Service also being installed; then click Next.

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7. You are now asked to confirm your installation selections, review everything and then click on Install.

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8. After a few minutes you should see an Installation Results page and the outcome hopefully is Installation Succeeded, review any messages and then click Close.

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9. Now in Server Manager you can see in roles that Network Policy and Access Services is now installed, but it is in a down state because no devices are associated to the service.

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Go ahead and close out Server Manager as that now concludes the install of the Router service on the Windows Server 2008.

How to Configure Routing on Windows Server 2008

Ok let's go ahead and get routing enabled and configured by associating some of our network adapters with the service.

1. Click on Start, Administrative Tools, Routing and Remote Access

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2. When the Routing and Remote Access MMC starts you will notice that the server has a red down arrow showing that it is currently offline.

Right click on the server and select configure and Enable Routing and Remote access.

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3. The Routing and Remote Access Server Setup Wizard will now come up, go ahead and click Next to get started.

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4. There are quite a few default options for this service that include:

  • Remote Access
  • Network Address Translation (NAT)
  • Virtual Private Network (VPN) & NAT
  • Secure Connection Between Two Private Networks
  • Custom Configuration

We are going to choose Custom Configuration and click Next.

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5. In the Custom Configuration screen you can choose several services, but for this demo go ahead and place a check next to LAN routing and then click Next.

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6. Again you will see a summary of your selections and you can go ahead and click on Finish.

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7. Next a pop-up window will tell you that Routing & Remote Access service is now ready to use, and you can click on Start service to start it.

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8. After a few seconds the service will start and the wizard will close. You can see in the Routing and Remote Access MMC that the server now has a green up arrow which shows that it is in a enabled state and functioning.

If you expand out the IPv4 folder and left click on General you will see the network interfaces listed in the right pane. Now right click on General and select New Routing Protocol.

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9. The New Routing Protocol window will contain 4 available protocols:

DHCP Relay Agent

IGMP Router and Proxy

NAT

RIP Version 2 for Internet Protocol

For this demo we are going to choose RIP Version 2 for Internet Protocol, though if you wanted the router to pass DHCP information you would also want to enable DHCP Relay Agent, but for this demo it is not necessary.

Make your selections and click OK.

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10. You should now see the RIP protocol under the IPv4 folder in your Routing and Remote Access MMC.

If you select it, you will find no information on it, because we need to enable the network interfaces we want this to work on. Go ahead and right click on RIP, then select New Interface.

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11. You can now add either interface, but not both as you can only approve one interface at a time. For this demo we are going to be working on Local Area Connection, select it and then click Ok.

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12. The RIP properties window now comes up to be configured.

There are many different options you can configure in this window, but unless you are using other types of routers in your network with RIP you can just leave the defaults in place. Go ahead and click Ok.

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13. Go ahead and repeat steps 11 and 12 for Local Area Connection 2, and then you should see both interfaces under RIP in the Routing and Remote Interface MMC.

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You have now configured the Windows Server 2008 virtual machine to function as a router between its two network cards. As I mentioned this can help you setup a segmented network that will allow you to emulate a corporate environment for testing and learning.

While this article focused on setting it up for a virtual environment, it would also work the same way if you configured this on a physical server.

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Contributor

Dave Lawlor

(MCTS, MCP, A+) has been working in the IT field since leaving the U.S. Army in 1996.  Working his way up from printer hardware repair to running a corporate datacenter for a multinational corporation, Dave has seen many environments throughout the years. Focusing on web sites and search engine optimization the last few years, with the release of Server 2008 it has renewed his passion for the Wintel platform and server technologies. David also runs Windows-Server-Training.com where he posts free videos and walk-throughs for a variety of server technologies. David currently works as a freelance technical consultant and writer for a variety of companies in the Chicago area.