Did you know that a Windows Server can act as a router? Even better, did you know that a Windows server could be configured to exchange routes with a Cisco router? In this two part series, we will show you how to configure both the Windows server and the Cisco router to exchange routes. Let’s find out how it is done.
Why would you want a Windows Server to exchange RIP routes with a Cisco Router?
There are a number of applications for these two different network devices to exchange routes. Here are some possible needs for this:
- You have a Cisco router on your network and need a second router but all you have is a Windows server.
- For testing / lab purposes
- Because Windows servers cost much less than Cisco routers
- To have a Windows server exchange routes, not only with a Cisco router, but also with any other device that runs RIP (like a Cisco PIX, ASA, or small firewall)
In the diagram below, you can see our sample network. In this, part 1, of this series, we will be configuring the Windows 2003 Server shown in the diagram. In Part 2, we will configure the Cisco router.
This configuration was performed on a Windows 2003 SP1 Server that has two NIC interfaces. It was demonstrated using VMware Workstation with two virtual interfaces – one going to my normal LAN and the other going to the VMware Host Only network. However, the steps would be exactly the same if they were performed on a PC with two NICs, connected to two different LANs.
Why use RIP?
RIP is a great protocol for small networks. It is included on more network devices than any other routing protocol and it is easy to configure. Sure, this scenario could be the same using just about any other routing protocol that both of your network devices can run.
Configure Windows 2003 Server to function as a RIP router
To configure your Windows Server to function as a RIP router, go to Start | Administrative Tools | Routing and Remote Access, like this:
If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to configure Routing and Remote access, by right-clicking on the server, like this:
I chose Custom Configuration for the configuration type, then LAN Routing.
When you are finished, choose to Start the Remote Access Service.
Now that RRAS is installed and started, expand your server in the RRAS console. You should see the IP Routing section. Click on General. You should see your interfaces on the right hand side.
Right-click on General and click New Routing Protocol.
Now choose RIP Version 2 for Internet Protocol and click OK.
There will now be a RIP section under IP Routing. Click on that section.
Right-Click on the RIP section and click New Interface.
Click on your first interface, let’s say "Local Area Connection", and click OK.
Leave all the defaults as they are and click, OK.
Repeat this for the second interface.
When you are done, it should look like this:
The configuration of the Windows 2003 Server’s RIP routing protocol is complete.
The next step in this configuration is configuring the Cisco router that will tackle this in Part 2 of this series.
In summary, configuring Windows Server Routing and Remote Access (RRAS) can be complex. Many people would say that it would be even more complex to get a Windows “router” to talk to a Cisco Router and exchange routes. However, in this series, we will demonstrate that it is really not that difficult. Check out Part 2!