Temporarily Changing the Default Gateway to a Virtual Station

When testing a virtual station and you need to verify with a browser that you can reach a captive portal page, or browse the Internet–you want to change the default gateway of the system to the gateway that the virtual station was assigned. This is a manual change, because when the virtual station associates, the default route of the system doesn’t change. If it did, you’d probably lose connection between the LANforge resource and your management station would probably be lost.

After checking your associated station, you can write a script to help set the new default gateway. Here’s an example with some fixed values:

#!/bin/bash
echo "Please do this command in screen"
# - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - #
# Use this script to modify your routes to allow a station      #
# to become the default route. Should maintain route for your   #
# existing connection to management laptop through eth0.        #
# This script is an example to be modified.                     #
# - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - #
set -x
ip a show eth0
ip a show sta100
ip route show

# this adds address to station, referred to below
# ip a add 10.45.1.23/24 dev sta100

# make static route to old gateway
ip route add 192.168.45.1 dev eth0

# make static route to mgt laptop
ip route add 192.168.45.2 dev eth0

# now update default route to go out sta100
ip route change default via 10.45.1.23 dev sta100

sleep 1s
ping -nc2 192.168.45.1
ping -nc2 192.168.45.2

# adjust this to your work time window
read -t $((2 * 60)) -p "Press Enter to end and reset"

# and set the route back
ip route change default via 192.168.45.1 dev eth0
ip route show
ping -nc2 192.168.45.1
ping -nc2 192.168.45.2

Notice that the script suggests using screen.  Why use screen? Because if your terminal session disconnects, the script will continue and reset the previous default gateway. If the script is interrupted (by session disconnection or control-c) your default route will remain running across your AP. (We add default link-local routes to our laptop to help mitigate this.)
There is a default .screenrc file in /home/lanforge. You want to run the script as root. This will work: sudo ./change_gw.sh

This is an example script with some logic to help detect the default gateway, your ssh connection, and you tell it what station to use:

#!/bin/bash
# - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - #
#  Use this script to modify your routes to allow a station     #
#  to become the default route. Should maintain route for your  #
#  existing connection to management laptop through eth0.       #
#  This script is an example to be modified.                    #
# - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - #

if [ -z "$3" ]; then
   echo "Use this script to assign a station on this system to be the new default gateway."
   echo "Usage: $0   "
   echo ""
   echo "Your manager-ip is the LANforge resource in mode 'manager' or 'both' and might"
   echo "not be the machine hosting the virtual station."
   echo "Example, sta3000 on resource 3, manager is 192.168.1.101:"
   echo ""
   echo "./$0 192.168.1.101 3 sta3000"
   echo ""
   echo "Please do this command in screen"
   exit 1
fi

def_gw_dev=`route -n | awk '/^0.0.0.0 / {print \$NF}'`
def_gw_ip=`ip a show $def_gw_dev | awk '/inet /{print \$2}'`
def_gw_ip=${def_gw_ip%/*}
echo "default gw device: $def_gw_dev $def_gw_ip "
sleep 3
manager_ip=`who | perl -ne '/\(([0-9.]+)\)$/ && print "$1\n";'`
#ip a show $def_gw_dev
echo "This is the station you requested:"
ip a show $3
sleep 3

#  make static route to old gateway
echo "ip route add $def_gw_ip dev $def_gw_dev"
ip route add $def_gw_ip dev $def_gw_dev

#  make static route to mgt laptop
echo "ip route add $manager_ip dev $def_gw_dev"
ip route add $manager_ip dev $def_gw_dev
sleep 3

# now update default route to go out sta100
cd /home/lanforge/scripts
sta_gw=`./lf_portmod.pl --manager $1 --card $2 --port_name $3 \
  --show_port --quiet yes \
  | awk '/ IP:/{print \$6}'`

echo "* Changing default gateway in 3 seconds *"
sleep 3s
echo "ip route change default via $sta_gw dev $3"
sleep 1s
ip route change default via $sta_gw dev $3
sleep 1s
ping -nc2 $def_gw_ip
ping -nc2 $manager_ip

# adjust this to your work time window (in seconds)
#  $(( 2 * 60)) == 120, 2 minutes
read -t $((2 * 60)) -p "Press Enter to end and reset"

# and set the route back
echo "changing route back to previous default gw..."
ip route change default via $def_gw_ip dev $def_gw_dev
ping -nc2 $def_gw_ip
ping -nc2 $manager_ip
echo "...done."
#

To use the script, you would say:

sudo ./change_gw.sh 192.168.100.41 3 sta3000

You are probably going to need to alter the script. If you hit Ctlc in the script you will need to reset the routes by hand.

For actually using Firefox, you need to operate this from the desktop of LANforge resource hosting the virtual station. So if, in this example, sta3000 is on resource 3, you need to get on the virtual desktop of resource 3. Open a terminal from the virtual desktop or ssh to resource 3 and start screen as user LANforge.

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Captive Portal Testing

A popular feature of the LANforge WiFIRE feature set is captive portal testing portal-bot. If you’re considering doing captive portal testing, the first thing to know is that you are not going to be automating a bunch of web browsers (that would be madness). You will be writing a perl script. More specifically, a perl .pm extension to our portal-bot.pl script.

Portal testing can be complex because it normally involves re-creating whatever JSON/AJAX/REST call chain the web pages does with a perl script. This process looks like:

  1. Establish laptop with serial connection to LANforge system and with an Ethernet cable
  2. VNC to LANforge and change default gateway and use browser to document login HTTP process
  3. Write a portal-bot extension that mimics that behavior
  4. Incorporate a logout mechanism

It is very useful (and a requirement for long-running capacity testing) to have an API call to the captive portal controller that will log out a session. Otherwise you cannot repeat the test for each station without manually intervening at the captive portal controller to log out one/some/all logged in stations. This logout mechanism could be web-based or could be ssh based, so long as the mechanism can be unattended.

Please review some of our existing portal-testing documentation:

Controlling ARP Solicitations

When your network endpoints are not changing during testing scenario, transmitting ARP packets at the default rate is arguably wasted bandwidth. You can tune the Linux networking stack to extend the time between ARP broadcasts.

These tunables are in /proc/sys/net/ipv4/neigh and are divided by default and per-device settings. The knobs I find that are useful are:

  • base_reachable_time: a guideline on how often to broadcast for ARP updates
  • gc_stale_time: threshold in seconds on when to consider evicting an arp entry
  • locktime: minimum time to keep an ARP entry

You can set twist these knobs for two ports in a shell script like so:

for f in /proc/sys/net/ipv4/{enp2,enp3}/{base_reachable_time,gc_stale_time,locktime} ; do
    echo 300 > $f
done

This changes the values to 5 minutes.