A short list of cheap but useful network devices to have handy.

Here is a snort list of useful, off the shelf, network devices that sell for around $50. Not necessarily stuff that you would want use long-term in production, but more for the one-off projects or for troubleshooting. 

First off is a 5-Port Gigabit switch from Netgear (the GS105Ev2).
It is interesting because it supports port mirroring and only costs about $35. That’s a really good price. It obviously isn’t going to replace a real network tap and you will lose traffic if the upstream plus downstream you are copying are together more than 1Gbit of traffic (but that’s a problem you always have when mirroring ports 1:1). It is dirt cheap, fanless and small enough to throw in a bag, can’t go wrong with this one. Need a temporary tap to monitor traffic? Just pop it inline and you are good to go.


If you are more of a DIY kind of person, I’d suggest the ESPRESSObin.
It sells for about $50 and is a single board computer with Gigabit network interfaces and a SATA interface. It is based on ARM architecture and runs Linux.
Since it has multiple Gbit interfaces and you can hook a HDD up to it you have a wide array of possibilities you could use it for. A lot of network traffic monitoring situations come to mind, where you would want to keep copies of the traffic in question for later analysis.


Another little useful device is the EdgeRouter X from Ubiquiti.
As the name suggests it’s a router and sells for about $55 The nice thing about this device is that it runs Linux (or more specifically a fork of Vyatta), so you can dig into it to get it to do things not available on the GUI.
5 Gbit ports, RIP and OSPF routing protocols, usual SOHO features like Firewall, VPN, QoS. Behaves a lot like a switch with some routing functionality. Unfortunately I couldn’t get port mirroring to work reliably but aside from that it’s still an impressive little router.


Native tcp/udp sockets in bash cheatsheet

Bash has a nifty feature to open tcp and udp connections and read/write data to that connection. The Advanced Bash Scripting Guide and the bash man page offers some information and examples, and google has some odd examples, but all in all there isn’t much variety of information on the internet on the topic. This feature is enabled in Bash at compile time with the flag –enable-net-redirections

It works by assigning a connection to a file descriptor with exec. Protocol must be udp or tcp, hostname must be either an IP or a FQDN. Use any free file-descriptor (3 or higher usually).

Use &- to close the connection instead of leaving it in the CLOSE_WAIT status.

Basic Example:

You may have noticed that the cat will hang around a while after delivering the content. As long as the connection is established it will sit there and wait for data, which can be quite a while depending on the daemon on the other end. If you want to avoid having to wait, kill or ctrl-c the cat  you can use read with an input timeout.

In the example if read has to wait longer than 2 seconds (-t 2) it will abort reading from the network connection.

If you only want to read a single line you can use head:

Although this will have the same timeout problems as cat if there is no more data but the connection is still established, it is useful and quick if you know exactly what kind of result you are expecting.

You don’t have to read the response right away, it will be buffered until you get around to accessing it (even if the other end terminates the connection).

MySQL selecting IPs via CIDR

Quick little snippet here for selecting IPs from a database based off a CIDR subnet. First off a table structure with some test data:

Now let’s say we want all IPs from the subnet, using a simple 173.192.175.% would provide false results since you don’t want the whole /24.

If your IP is stored as an unsigned int (good for you) than you can use this snippet to search for matching IPs:

If your IP is stored as a varchar (for whatever reason), the only difference is a inet_aton() around the IP field.

No matter which one you use, the result will be: