Author Topic: Zentyal 4.0 4G Internet Gateway  (Read 1126 times)


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Zentyal 4.0 4G Internet Gateway
« on: February 23, 2015, 06:44:16 pm »
Zentyal 4.0 4G Internet gateway

One thing i love about linux is it’s ability to surprise me by doing what I want just by fiddling with it. Here’s a little background on my situation, I live in very rural Wisconsin and i have a very tech savvy family who likes to use the internet. We live on a road where there’s no DSL or Cable provider and our only option for internet is either Satellite or 4G providers.

We were originally a Wildblue internet customer until we got caught in what i call the “endless throttling” loop. At the end, we were paying roughly $140 a month for just internet and our usage just skyrocketed. I have kids that need it for school and we like to stream Netflix, Pandora, etc. I know that killed it but whatever, it’s my internet, why should i scrimp and worry about each gig. I did that for a while and realized i became the internet police, yelling at kids streaming Youtube and whatnot and decided that went too far. So after a year or two about stressing about bandwidth and billing cycles I said goodbye to Wildblue and didn’t look back. From what I understand, Hughesnet isn’t any better so we didn’t even bother with it.

I’m the sysadmin for a government entity here in Wisconsin so i have a Verizon MiFi Jetpack and a Galaxy S5 with unlimited data. So i thought to myself, why can’t i use these things at home to get everyone on the internet? I have desktops, laptops, and an Belkin Wireless router which all need access to the internet to feed the other devices. About two years ago, i did some research on hooking either of my 4G devices up to get internet to the house. Sure i could have bought wireless cards and just left the Jetpack on as a Access Point but my house is semi-wired and i didn’t want to waste money buying unnecessary wireless paraphernalia. I also have a server and Cisco switch downstairs so.. yeah wireless was out.

I did a little Googling for other like minded people who wanted to hook their hotspot via USB tethering to another device and have it serve more than one machine. I found hits here or there about people successfully using Smoothwall or another software firewall but the configuration and device recognition part was a bit of a bear. Then I stumbled upon Zentyal. I originally started on an old cruddy Gateway mini-tower with 512mb ram and a P4. It was slow and unbearable but i eventually got a tiny ZOTAC ZBOX Mini PC ZBOX-ID41 with 4gb ram and an Atom processor. I tossed in a 250gb 2.5” laptop drive and installed the newest 4.0 Zentyal.

I can put either my S5 in USB tethering mode or my Verizon Jetpack (turned off wifi and forced ONLY 4g) and plug it in the top USB port on the Zotac. It shows up as a network interface, which i set as External WAN.

Zentyal automatically picks up and sets the Gateway and DNS for me.

The only caveat is getting it to work. If i need to switch from Jetpack to Phone and vice versa, it requires me to shut down the PC and plug in the new device. I have to wait for the machine to boot back so i can log in, verify the new device and external IP is listed. Then i have to unplug it from usb and retether. It then shows status UP, EXTERNAL. At that point, another 30 seconds or so and i can again browse the internet. This isn’t a complaint, this is my attempt to help the community with something cool i discovered about Zentyal.