Monday, April 17, 2006

12. In Depth Wireless Internet and Network Guide

From NotebookReview

By: NickS


1. Wireless Connectivity

1A. Configuring Wireless Connectivity
1B. Connecting and Disconnecting With Wireless Networks Through The Start Menu
1C. Creating Different Wireless Networks for 802.11b and 802.11g connections
1D. Combining Networks
1E. Network Routing and Bridging
1F. Network Bridging
1G. Adding/Removing Connections From Networked Bridges
1H. Enabling and Disabling Bridges
1I. Removing a Network Bridge
1J. Monitoring and Fixing Home Networks
1K. Quick: Is your network connection up or down?
1L. Repairing a Connection
2. Wireless, Wireless, Securing and all you need to know!:
2A. 802.11b WI-FI
2B. 802.11A, 802.11G Wi-Fi, and the future
2C. 802.11G (Wireless G)
2D. Setting Up a Secure Wireless Network
2E. Using an Access Point
2F. Connecting to a Wireless Network
2G. Fixing WEP's Security Problems
2H. Don't Broadcast you Wireless Network
2I. Filter Mac Addresses
[b]*How To Share Your Files On Your Network*[b]
3. Creating your home network:
3A. Making Computer to Computer Connections
3B. Direct Cable Connection
3C. Using Infrared
3D. Basic Network Types
3E.Ethernet Networking
3G. Home Phoneline Networking
3H. FireWire Based Networking
3I. Using Hubs and Switches
3J. Working with Hubs
3K. Using Switches
3L. Residential Gateways and Routers
3M. Connecting a Home Network to an External Network
4. Sharing an internet connection and protecting it!
4A. Sharing an Internet Connection
4B. Connection Sharing
4C. Working with Firewalls
5. Feeling Blue: Using Bluetooth Devices with Windows XP
5A. Enabling a Bluetooth Radio
5B. Using the Bluetooth Devices Utility
5C. Adding a Bluetooth Device
5D. Configuring Bluetooth Devices
5E. Options
5F. Sending and Receiving Files Via Bluetooth
5G. Sending Files to a Bluetooth Device
5H. Recieving Files From a Bluetooth Device
5I. Removing a Bluetooth Device






1. Created: 11/5/05 Wireless Connectivity

Please note that info in the pics can be different

1A. Configuring Wireless Connectivity

If you click properties button in the Wireless Network Connections Status dialog box, and then navigate to the wireless networks tab of the properties dialog box for the wireless connection, you can confugure the clients wireless connectivity settings. You can also display this dialog box by visiting Network Connections and Double clicking the wireless connection.


Using the wireless Networks tab, you can manage wireless connections past, present, and future

At the top of this tab is the Use Windows to Configure My Wireless Network Settings chack box. If your wireless NIC is XP Compliant, this option should be checked. If, however, your laptop came with its own wireless configuration utility, you may need to leave this option unchecked and use your cards software, rather than XP's built in capabilities, to connect wirelessly.
At the bottom of the wireless networks tab of the connections properties dialog box is a section listing preferred wireless networks. The order of this list is based onXP's experience with wireless network connections it has used in the past. If you've only used one wireless connection, than that's all you see in the list, and you dont need to configure anything.
However, if you travel a lot and come into contact with multiple wireless networks, or work in an environment in which there are multiple wireless networks and you have a need to manually configure which network you should be using, you can use this section of the dialog box to override XP's built in detection abilities and specify a preference list for wireless networks. You can move wireless networks up and down in the list, add or remove wireless networks from the preferred list, or view configuration information about each of the wireless connections you've visited in the past, even if they're not currently available. To view or edit information about any wireless network, select it from the list and click properties. This will display the Properties dialog box for that connection.


You can configure a wireless connection automatically or manually, your choice

If you click the Advanced button on the Wireless Networks tab, you're presented with advanced wireless network access options. Here, you can choose whether to connect only to certain types of wireless networks (such as access point-based networks only) or whether to allow automatic connections to nonpreferred networks. For the most part, these options are designed solely for corporations that use multiple network types, and you can safely ignore the dialog box.

1B. Connecting and Disconnecting With Wireless Networks Through The Start Menu

If your using an XP-compliant wireless network adapter, you will have a special Start menu, item listed under the Connect to Item. Similar to a connectoid you'd see for a dial up networking connection, the wireless connection from the Start menu.
Why would you need such a capability? Frankly, you probaly wont in a home setting because XP will automatically connect whatever wireless connection it can find. But if you bring a laptop back and forth between home and work, and use two different wireless connections in each location because of configuration differences, this option can be a handy shortcut. Just choose Start> Connect To and then the correct wireless connection, and your in business!
To disconnect from a wireless network and disable the network adapter, right click its connected and choose disable. This is handy when you're out of range of any wireless networks and using a laptop; because it physically turns off the wireless adapter, disabling the connection also provides your system with better battery life.

1C. Creating Different Wireless Networks for 802.11b and 802.11g connections


One of the nice things about 802.11g is that it's backwardly compatible with 802.11b, the best selling wireless technology of the past few years. But this compatibility brings with it a hidden problem: Because 802.11b devices max out at 11 Mbps, using such a device on your 802.11g wireless network will slow the entire network down to a relatively pokey 11 mbps, making your otherwise speedy 802.11g devices run at just a fraction of their possible performance.
The solution is to use seperate wireless networks for 802.11b and 802.11g devices. This isn't as far fetched as it may sound. Maybe you purchased an 802.11b compliant residential gateway, just get an 802.11g access point and add it to your existing setup. Or maybe you previously added an 802.11b access point to a nonwireless router: Nothing is stopping you from adding a second 802.11g access point! Go for it!
Even price isnt a huge factor here. With 802.11g access points selling for around + or - $35-$50, there's precious little reason to hobble your 802.11g gear with slow 11 Mbps speeds just because you have a few 802.11b based devices still in use.
As with any other wireless configuration options, adding a second wireless network to your existing setup is dependent largely on the hardware you're using. But regardless of the specifics, what you want to do is configure your second wireless network as an access point and not a router. this way, it will not supply DHCP, NAT, or Firewall services to the network, but will instead defer to your network's default gateway for those services. If you can configure your access point/router to only allow certain kinds of connections, do so: For example, your 802.11g network should not allow 802.11b based devices to connect.

1D. Combining Networks

Anytime you combine two or more network types into your home network, you create a mixed networking environment, where in individual networks may or may not interoperate, depending on how you've set things up. By default, most networking components assume that they're part of the only available network, and this works fine in cases for which there is indeed only one network. But if you want to combine two or more networks, you have to do a little planning.
These days, the most common mixed network is created when you add wireless capabilities to a previously installed wired network. Wired networks-ussually 100mbps ethernet. Are great for connecting desktop PCs, esecially when they're in the same room. But when you want to work with laptops or PCs that are in a physically distant room, wired networks aren't always the obvious choice. Furthermore, not everyone has the know-how or where withal to wire their homes with ethernet. In such a case, it's time to look at alternatives, and that might require augmenting an in - office wired Ethernet network with some other networking type.

1E. Network Routing and Bridging
You use a networking technology called routing to make two or more networks or, to be more technically correct, two network segments, interoperate. A machine that bridged the two networks-that is, the machine with two network adapters-acted like a hardware router, intercepting network traffic and routing it to the correct machine on either network as needed. This routing happens every day on the internet and in large corporate networks all around the world. As a home networking solution, however, its a bit complex and requires a server operating system such as Windows Server or even Linux.

1F. Network Bridging
To make this routing possible on home networks, however, Microsoft added a feature called network bridging to Windows XP. You have two networks, perhaps a wired Ethernet network that's connected in some way to broadband internet connection, and a wireless network. But the wireless network connects to the wired network through an XP-based PC that includes both wired and wireless adapters, instead of the simpler wireless access point approach. When you create a network bridge-that is, you bridge, or connect, two different networks-XP creates a single subnet for the whole virtual network, configures the whole mess behind the scenes, and handles ugly details such as IP Addressing, dynamic IP address allocation, and the like. It's an enterprise network in a box, if you will. The results is a single IP address range for all the bridged network connections. (Remember that two or more adapters can be involved in a bridge; you can add and remove adapters from the bridge network whenever you want.) It all sounds really nice, doesnt it? Well, it would be if it worked. The problem is that XP's default method for enabling network bridging is quite broken. Thats right; it often doesnt work at all.
SO LETS DO IT THE WAY IT WORKS: Creating a network bridge
1. Open network connections. ( The quickest way is to right click My Network Places and choose properties)
2. Simultaneously select the two network connections you'd like to bridge, right click, and choose Bridge Connections.

A network bridge dialog box appears, and the connections are bridged. When the process is completed, Network Connections resembles with a new network bridge section that includes three icons: one for the two bridged network connections and one for the logical bridge by itself. You can configure bridging from this icon.

1G. Adding/Removing Connections From Networked Bridges
Adding a network connection to a preestablished network bridge is simplicity itself: Right click the appropriate connectoid in Network Connections and select Add to bridge. XP will churn and bubble a bit, and the deed will be done.
The steps to remove a particular network connection from the bridge are equally simple: right click the connection you want removed and select remove from bridge. No Fuss, no muss!

1H. Enabling and Disabling Bridges
Because a network bridge functions like a single network connection, you can choose to enable, and disable it just as you would with any network connection. When you do so, all the connections in the bridge sre enabled or disabled along with the bridge. To disable a network bridge, right click the bridge icon and choose disable. To enable, do the same but just hit enable.

1I. Removing a Network Bridge
If you create a network bridge and it's not all that you hoped and dreamed for, its really easy to remove and return to your previous setup. To do this, you must first remove each of the network connections that are part of the bridge. Then right click the network bridge icon and choose delete. Select yes when XP asks you whether you're sure.

1J. Monitoring and Fixing Home Networks

1K. Quick: Is your network connection up or down?
One good example is network monitoring. In the old days, if your network was on the fritz, you'd crack open your trusty command - line window and see what was going on. For example, you could use ipconfig.exe command line application to view your network connections and see how they were configured. The output looks something like this:

Windows IP Configuration

Host Name.........................:
Primary Dns Suffix...............:
Node Type.........................:
IP Routing Enabled..............:No
WINS Proxy Enabled............:No
Ethernet Adapter Wireless Network Connection:

Connection-Specific DNS Suffix..:
Description.............................:
Physical Address.....................:
Dhcp Enabled.........................: Yes
Autoconfiguration Enabled........: Yes
IP Address.............................: 192.168.1.XX
Subnet Mask..........................: 255.255.255.0
Default Gateway.....................: 192.168.1.1
DHCP Server..........................: 192.168.1.1
DNS Servers..........................: XXX.XX.XXX.XX
: XXX.XX.XXX.XX
Lease Obtained/ Expired..........:

Networking experts can look at this info and tell at glance whether the connection is online and configured correctly. For the rest of us, of coarse, this is just a bunch of numbers (maybe). Fortunatly, XP makes getting such information-and making heads or tails of it, much, much easier.
Here is how. Say you want to know whether your network connection is available, how long its been online, and whether its IP address is assigned properly by a DHCP server. In XP, you just have to open network connections, right click the connectoid, and select status.
Here, you can see whether the connection is connected, how long its been connected, the spped of the connection, and, if its a wireless connection, the signal strength. If you click the support tab, you see a dialog with information about the IP Address, including how it was obtained. Click Details for more info.

1L. Repairing a Connection
In case your internet isnt working but you know your network is fine, then try the repair button to Renew your DHCP lease. Easy as a click.


2. Wireless, Securing and all you need to know!:
2A. 802.11b WI-FI
802.11B operates at a peak speed of 11mbps, though you'll typically expierence speeds closer to 4mpbs to 8mbps, unless you're physically adjacent to the wireless access point. However, even at these speeds, Wi-Fi is mostly good enough: All forms of Internet services run at acceptable speeds, save perhaps online games, and local networking is speedy enough for all but the largest file transfers. 802.11B is also acceptably fast for streaming music, but not video.
Where 802.11B Wi-Fi starts to fall apart a bit is in security, which can be partially addressed becuase each wirelessly connected device has to share the 11mbps of total bandwidth, further lowering speeds if two or more users are connected simultaneously. In that way, an 802.11B access point is more like an Ethernet hub than a switch.
2B. 802.11A, 802.11G Wi-Fi, and the future
To address the limitaions of Wi-Fi, the IEEE aproved two faster wireless standards, both of which offer peek speeds of 54mbps, about 5 timess the speed of Wi-Fi. Unfortunatly, both these standards has emerged as the clear market leader. The first of these new standards is called 802.11a. This technology runs on a different frequency band than 802.11b, meaning that it has more headroom for expansion and less chance of interference from electronics devices in the home, a problem facing Wi-Fi users. But becuase it runs on a different frequency band, it is also incompatible with Wi-Fi, meaning that Wi-Fi and 802.11a hardware cannot interoperate; you can use both technologies simultaneously on the same home network card. As a result, 802.11a hasn't really taken off, exept in certain corporate enviorments. (Businesses, schools, some homes, etc.) Certainly, 802.11a isnt a viable home networking solution.
2C. 802.11G (Wireless G)
The second emerging standard, 802.11G, or Wireless G, addresses the compatibility issues by running on the same frequency band as 802.11B Wi-Fi (for this reason, the IEEE foolishly refers to 802.11g as Wi-Fi as well). But 802.11G brings with it the same problems that face Wi-Fi: Becuase the 2.4GHz frequency band used by these technologies is so crowded, the chance of interference is higher. In addition, 802.11G cant actually hit its peak speed of 54mbps; instead it is limited to 20 to 24 Mbps, still quite speedy, and certainly fast enough to handle the most strenuous networking tasks, including streaming video and pushing massive file transfers.
802.11g can also be significantly more secure than 802.11b becuase most 802.11g gear supports a newer security standard called Wireless Protected Access (WPA), a significant improvement over the broken security technology used by most 802.11b products; that technology, dubbed Wired Equivalency Privacy (WEP), can be beaten pretty easily even by unsophisticated hackers. But thanks to dynamic encryption and mutual authentication technologies, WPA pretty much solves all of the security issues with WEP.
But regardless of the technology you choose, setup and configuration will be similar.
2D. Setting Up a Secure Wireless Network
Before you can set up your wireless network, you need to consider your needs, the hardware you'll use, and the cost. The simpliest possible wireless network requires just two wireless network interface cards (NICs): You place one in a PC-typically, a laptop-that will connect wirelessly. Such a network is called an ad-hoc wireless network, and it can only exist between two PCs.
But if you think you'll ever want to use more than one PC wirelessly-and i think I can assume this is the case-you have to add a wireless access point or a wireless enabled broadband router. More important, perhaps: Ad-hoc wireless networks can't be secured. So even if your only using two PCs, you sould consider a WAP or similiar hardware-based wireless solution.
2E. Using an Access Point
A wireless access point (WAP) is a piece of hardware that plugs into your existing network with a standard Ethernet cable, and it can supply wireless networking access to several PCs. Access points are much cheaper than they used to be, and many companies, including Linksys, D-Link, Belkin, offer devices that don't cost much more than a wireless NIC. In fact, given the low price of these devices and the ease with which you can add one to your existing network.
An Access point is the logical starting point for anyone looking to add wireless support to an existing network. If your using a switch, hub, or broadband router that offers multiple Ethernet ports, you simply plug in the access points power cord and then connect it to the wired network using a standard 10 or 100mbps Ethernet Cable.
In addition to the access point, such a setup requires one wireless network card for each PC that will access the network wirelessly.
2F. Connecting to a Wireless Network
Note: This is for Windows XP users in setting up a wireless network.

One of the most best features of windows Xp is its native support for wireless connectivity based on the Wi-Fi standard. But this feature is far more powerful than simple device detection. Instead, XP clients also automatically detect any nearby wireless networks. XP also automatically connects to the fastest possible network connection.
Say you've got a wirelessly enabled laptop that also features a standard 100mbps etherent port for wired network connectivity. If both connections are active-that is, the wired network is plugged in, and the wireless network connection has detected a wireless network to which it has access rights-XP automatically uses the faster, wired network. Likewise, if you have a choice of wireless networks-mpre typical in an office situation, naturally-then XP picks the wireless network with the best connectivity.
At home, XP wont generally have multiple wireless networks from which to choose. However, XP will be sure to use whatever bandwidth is currently available.
Go to see what wireless networks are available by locating the wireless network connection icon, right click it, and choose View Avialable Networks. The displays the wireless Network connection utility. (This is a nice new feature for SP2 Users).
What you see here depends largely on your setup, but you should see at least one wireless network listed under Choose a wireless network, and it should match the wireless network you recently set up (it is hoped that you changed the default name of the network so that it isn't listed as default, linksys, etc.
If you dont see any wireless networks, you haven't set up your wireless access point correctly.
If you see other wireless networks-that is, wireless networks that you didnt set up and configure-its possible that they belong to neighbors or others nearby. PLEASE BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR AND DONT USE YOUR NEIGHBORS BANDWIDTH. IT IS ILLEGAL!, and let them know that there network is open to the world, make sure when your network is setup that it is not avialable to the world also! Once you are connected after the computer is done connecting, you should be asked to put a network key in. IF NOT, your network is unprotected. THE SHAME! The Network key is either the WEP or the WPA pass phrase you picked during setup. Then when your done typing in your network key twice hit connect. If you did it right you will be connected! Good Job!
2G. Fixing WEP's Security Problems
As i said earlier, there are two types of wireless security for home networks: WEP and WPA. The Following are ways to secure your WEP-based wireless network. Here's How!
2H. Don't Broadcast you Wireless Network
By default, wireless access points broadcast the name, or SSID, of your wireless network so that wireless clients can discover and access it more easily. However, this broadcast capibility is simply a huge target for anyone who wants to steal your bandwidth or potentially hack into your network and access your private data. Therefore, the first thing you should do is change the name of your wireless network (and give it a complicated name) so that hackers cant guess what name to use. Then stop the access point from broadcasting the name.
When you make this change, you have manually configure your XP based wireless adapters so that they know to look for the right wireless network. Here are the instructions on how too:
1. Open Network Connections, right click the wireless network connection, and choose properties. This displays the properties dialog box for the wireless connection.
2. Navigate to the wireless network tab if neccessary and click Add. This displays the wireless network properties dialog box.
3. Enter the name of your wireless network in the network name (SSID) text box and select WEP from the Data Encryption drop down list box.
4. Click OK to close the dialog box and return to the Wireless Network Connections Properties dialog box.
5. Under the Prefered Networks section, delete any network names other than the one you just entered.
6. Click OK to finish
2I. Filter Mac Addresses
The final task you can preform requires configuration only at the access point. Most access points can be configured to accept connections only from specific network adapters. This effectively shuts out other users from accessing your network wirelessly. Its called MAC filtering. And no, it doesn't mean your other Non windows computer (Apple mac, etc. wont work.
Network Adapters are identified by their MAC (Media Access Control) address, a series of alphanumeric characters that is guaranteed to be unique to each adapter. In fact, MAC addresses are so unique that Microsoft has tied its Windows Product Activation (WPA) technology to those retail Windows systems that include network adapters.
In windows XP, you can discover the MAC address of your wireless network adapter in various ways. The simplest way is:
1. Open a command-line window (start>all programs>accessories>Command Prompt).
2. Type ipconfig/all and the press enter.
The output will resemble the following:

Windows IP Configuration
Host Name.............................
Primary DNS Suffix...................
Node Type.............................
IP Routing Enabled...................
WINS Proxy Enabled.................

Ethernet adapter Wireless Network Connection
Connection-Specific DNS Suffix.
Description............................
Physical Address.....................
Dhcp Enabled.........................
Autoconfiguration Enabled........
IP Address.............................
Subnet Mask..........................
Default Gateway....................
DHCP Server..........................
DNS Servers..........................
Lease Obtained......................
Lease Expires.........................

The MAC Address is listed next to the Physical Address. If you have more than one network adapters, please make sure you enter the correct one.
After all this, you can ensure that only your wireless devices and your computers can access your wireless network.
Feel Safer? You should

How To Share Your Files On Your Network

I had to give this its own section. If you want to share files between computers now you need to do the following first. Go to Start>My Network Places> and then click "Set up a home or small office network" in the menu on the top left. Follow all the instuctions now and do this proccess on every Computer you want to Network.
To Share a file, printer, drive, folder, etc. right click its icon, go to the Sharing tab, and chack "share this folder on the network". You'll need to enter the name of the folder on the network so you know what it is on the other computers.

3. Creating your home network:

3A. Making Computer to Computer Connections
Because a home network technically requires two or more computers, the simplest home network consists of two PC’s and some sort of connection between them (usually a kind of wire). Most home networks consist of wired Ethernet or wireless (802.11b, Wi-Fi, or 802.11g based) networking. You can also create a connection between two PC’s by using a parallel cable, a serial cable, a modem, or other similar methods; such a connection is called a direct cable connection, but it is technically a network. And if it’s in your house, it qualifies as a home network.
3B. Direct Cable Connection
Direct me networking cable connections can’t compete with Ethernet – based wired or wireless network performance, but they’re simpler to set up. You don’t have to install network adapters in any of your PCs. They use existing ports on your PCs. In XP, any connection in XP – modem, wired network, wireless network, direct cable connection, or whatever is considered a network connection. You create direct cable connections in XP the same way that you create any other connection.
3C. Using Infrared
Infrared networking is a relic. It’s an early specification for wireless exchanging data. Infrared is being squeezed out of the PC market by a new technology called Bluetooth, which offers faster speeds, nondirectional connection capabilities, and other features.
Infrared require two or more PCs or other devices that have infrared ports. (Infrared ports are small reddish black windows). To connect devices via infrared, the infrared ports of each device need to be lined up. The safest method of ensuring that an infrared connection is made is to make sure that the infrared port of the devices is aiming directly at the other devices infrared port. Like direct cable connections, you set up infrared connections in XP just as you would in most other network connections.
3D. Basic Network Types
Powerful home networking technologies are a little complicated, but not really difficult. All modern home networking types are based on TCP/IP, the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol that makes the internet possible. If you’re setting up a new home network, you will probably be working with at least one of these network types. Each of these types, which I describe below, requires a single compatible network adapter in each PC. This adapter then interfaces with the network.
3E.Ethernet Networking
The most common networking type is wired Ethernet networking, which typically offers speeds of 100mbps. A more recent version, called Gigabit Ethernet, offers speeds up to 1,000Mbps. (1Gbps)
In its simplest configuration, two PCs can interface directly by using a single crossover Ethernet cable. However, this setup isn’t typical. You normally provide some sort of central hub or switch, a physical device to which Ethernet equipped PCs connect by using Ethernet cabling.
Wired Ethernet networking is the fastest networking connection available. Its downside is the cabling itself. Ethernet cabling can be unsightly in a home, and hiding the cable in walls can be invasive and expensive. Moreover, if you want to network two machines that are physically separated by great distances, Ethernet isn’t always a great solution. But when your PCs are all in the same room, or at least nearby, it’s often the best way to go.
3F. Wi-Fi Wireless Networking
One of these, Wi-Fi, also known as 802.11b, has been accepted as an industry standard and has been hugely popular in recent years, though a more recent version, 802.11g is much faster and can be made more secure. 802.11b Wi-Fi offers speeds up to 11mbps, though that bandwidth is shared among any devices attached wirelessly. Newer wireless technologies such as 802.11g now offer speeds up to 54mbps. (Ethernet based networking is capable of offering each device the full 10, 100, or 1,000 Mbps of bandwidth.)
(More on wireless in next thread)
3G. Home Phoneline Networking
Before wireless networking became affordable to average consumers, other networking technologies were created for consumer needs. One based on phone line technology, has also evolved to offer high speed solutions that rival Ethernet. This networking type is HomePNA (Home Phoneline Networking Alliance).
HomePNA networking adapters look like Ethernet adapters but offer a standard phone jack connector. To network PCs in this manner, you must first install the adapter into your computer (if it is an external adapter) or connect it to your computer via the USB port (if it is an external adapter). Then plug the phone cable into any available wall jack. Most adapters also offer a second jack connector so that you can connect a telephone; HomePNA networking does not interrupt normal telephone service. HomePNA is a practical alternative to Ethernet if you already have phone jacks where you need them. But it is far less common than other home networking schemes.
3H. FireWire Based Networking
Some newer PCs include an IEEE 1394, or FireWire port, which was popularized by Apple Mac computers. Normally used to connect digital camcorders and external storage to PCs, FireWire can also be used for networking purposes. Standard FireWire offers up to 400mbps of bandwidth, which makes it an excellent networking candidate. Even better, a newer version of FireWire, dubbed GigaWire, or Firewire 800, offers much faster 800mbps speeds.
3I. Using Hubs and Switches
Wired Ethernet cabling forms the basis of most home networks; though many people also add other networking types; especially wireless, to the mix at some point.
As I said, it’s possible to use a special crossover cable to connect two PCs via Ethernet. However, this type of connection does not allow room for your network to grow. It isn’t very flexible or reliable. It’s more typical to place a special piece of networking hardware, typically a hub or switch, at the center of your network. These devices connect two or more PCs and physically form your network. You need one Ethernet
cable running between the hub or switch and each network adapter (typically one per PC). For example, if you want to connect three PCs to the network, you need three Ethernet cables.
Both hubs and switches are plug and play and play when used with modern operating systems such as Windows XP. Simply make the physical connections and allow XP to use its default networking configurations, and your network will be up and running. The two main reasons to create such a network are to share an Internet connection and to share local resources such as files and printers. (Sorry, that will be in my next guide)
Hubs and switches offer a range of Ethernet ports. Typically, they use four, five, or eight ports, but other sizes are available, and you can expand your network at anytime by adding another hub or switch and connecting them.
3J. Working with Hubs
Hubs have historically been much cheaper than switches, but they lack one crucial feature. Instead of providing each PC with the maximum bandwidth afforded by Ethernet, hubs share that bandwidth among all the PCs on the network. This can result in much slower speeds. Today, hubs are becoming more hard to find.
3K. Using Switches
Switches are basically more advanced hubs. They offer the full Ethernet bandwidth (typically 100 or 1000mbps) to each connection, making them more desirable than hubs. And because switch prices have dropped dramatically, there’s no compelling reason to choose a hub over a switch. Note: switches are sometimes marketed as routers or home networking routers. These devices often include an integrated wireless access point, or the capability to add one later.
3L. Residential Gateways and Routers
With more people signing up for broadband Internet access such as a cable modem or Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), the market for hardware devices that connect to these connections and create home networks has literally exploded. Such devices are typically called residential gateways or residential routers. They are designed to interface a home network with the outside world of the internet. They offer an outbound Ethernet connection for the broadband connection, several Ethernet ports for your home network, and more often than not, an integrated wireless access point for wireless connections. They’re like switches with additional functionality.
3M. Connecting a Home Network to an External Network
You can connect a home network to an external network such as the Internet in two ways:

Using a PC as the gateway, your internal home network uses a hub or switch to connect each PC. One PC acts as the internet gateway and thus has two network adapters, one for the Internet network and one for the broadband (or dial-up) connection. Such a network requires a simple switch, router, or hub. I do not recommend this approach for security reasons.

Using a Residential Gateway, your internal home network uses a dedicated residential gateway that acts as both the internet gateway and the internal network hub. This approach is more secure than the one above. Therefore, I recommend that you physically separate your PCs from your broadband connection by placing a residential gateway/router between them.

4. Sharing an internet connection and protecting it!

4A. Sharing an Internet Connection
Your Internet connection and home network will be wonderful with all the good things you can do with home networking technology; after the connections are in place, its time to begin taking advantage of those connections, primarily in the form of resource sharing. And the most important resource you can share is your internet connection.
With a shared connection, all the machines on your home network can access the web, instant message, email, and all other things that are available online.
4B. Connection Sharing
The concept of sharing an internet connection dates back a few years to a low-level technology called Network Address Translation {NAT}. This technology was designed to overcome the limitations of IP addressing, in that it became apparent by the mid 1990s that the number of free IP addresses would soon be depleted by the internet. As a result, certain ranges of IP addresses were aside solely for internal use at corporations and homes. These private, internal IP addresses can’t see the outside world-the internet-without being somehow translated into more typical external IP address.
Enter NAT, a network service that sits on the edge machine of a network and translates private, internal IP addresses into a single external IP address, and vice-versa. First used in servers, and then later in desktop machines for home networking use, the NAT service typically presents a single IP address to the outside world, obscuring the number of machines on the home network can interact seamlessly with internet services.
There are disadvantages to NAT, however. Because each machine on a home network is not seen as a unique Internet host, some internet services will not work properly through a NAT connection. However, many NAT devices, including home gateways and even PC operating systems such as Windows XP, can forward certain requests to certain local machines if you want. For example: if you have a Web server on a particular machine on your home network, you can configure your NAT device to forward Web server requests to the proper machine. But other services cannot be fooled so easily. 
Introducing Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)
Microsoft first added simple NAT capabilities to its desktop operating systems as Internet Connection Sharing (ICS). ICS was introduced with Windows 98 Second Edition (SE), and also appeared later in Windows 2000 Pro, in Windows Millennium Ed. (ME), and now, in Windows XP.
ICS is basically a super simple front end of NAT. In fact, it’s so simple that one checkbox in the user interface can enable it. After ICS is enabled, you can share an Internet connection from your XP machine among other machines on your home network.
For ICS to work, you need at least two network connections, as follows:
A modem connection or network interface card (NIC), which is physically connected to your phone line or broadband connection. This connection manages the Internet connection component.
A second connection to your internal network; typically through a hub or switch; this connection; which will typically be an Ethernet or wireless network connection, manages the connection between your PC and the different computers on your home network. Each computer on the network uses this connection to get to the computer that is managing the Internet through the first network connection listed above.
To set up and configure Internet Connection Sharing, you must ensure that your physical connections are correct. Then open Network Connections by clicking Start and then right click My Network Places and selecting Properties. The Network Connections window shows you all the connections that are present in your system, including any modem connections, NIC’s (wired or wireless), or FireWire/IEEE-1394 adapters.
By default, Windows XP provides simple names for each of the Network connections. If you have two NIC’s, for example, they will be named Local Area Connection and Local Area Connection 2, which aren’t very descriptive. You should rename these. I recommend names such as Cable Modem Connection for your external Internet connection, while Local Area Connection is fine for the internal connection.
I didn’t want to get in much detail because I think you should never do this because:
I just wanted to give you an explanation of ICS if there were any questions about it.
These days, hackers are pyling the internet, looking for unshielded, directly connected computers to which they can deliver their vile malware surreptitiously. But using hardware sharing solution, like that provided by a residential gateway device, physically separates your home network from the internet and provides a level of protection you don’t get from software only solution like ICS. Better yet, residential gateways provide a number of other useful services and are extremely cheap. Everyone with a home network should be using a residential gateway.
Put simply, using a Windows XP based PC as the edge machine isn’t practical. In addition to the security risks mentioned previously, there are other reasons why you wouldn’t want a PC on the edge of your network. Your whole network will lose its internet connection, for example, if the edge PC isn’t running or something goes wrong. Instead, a hardware solution, such as a residential gateway or broadband router, can be used to shield the home network from the outside world and provide NAT/Internet Connection Sharing Capabilities.
4C. Working with Firewalls
Large corporations use a hardware device called a Firewall to protect internal networks from outside problems, including unwanted network traffic and other more targeted Internet based attacks. But with the proliferation of broadband internet connections, home users also need protection from internet borne attacks, so the hardware firewalls of the past have been downsized into software applications that are now available on PCs.
Simply diagram of how firewall works

Cable Modem/DSL/Modem ~ NIC ~ Firewall (Software) ~ Computer ~ NIC ~ Switch ~ to another PC on the local network.

5. Feeling Blue: Using Bluetooth Devices with Windows XP
Bluetooth is an enigmatic wireless technology, created a decade ago, that's always been on the cusp of breaking out. These days, bluetooth is fairly popular, more so with cell phone users than PC users, but that could change overt time. In short, Bluetooth is a wireless solution for short range communications between two devices, including PCs, PDAs, printers, cell phones and so on. It can transfer both data and voice communications, making it particulary useful for the small portable head phones you often see on cell phone users.
Unlike WiFi, however, Bluetooth isnt designed for large data transfers or Internet access, though it can be used for both if your masochistic. Because of its slow 1 Mbps data transfer limit, bluetooth is instead better used in situations where wires are unwelcome or unavailable. For example, if you travel with a cell phone and PC, you need to bring power supplies for both devices, but if they are both bluetooth enabled, you wont need to bring a third cable to synchronize your PC address book with the phone; you can just do it wireless, with bluetooth.
If your interested in using Bluetooth, you'll likely have to purchase a small Bluetooth radio for your PC. These generally take the form of USB fob, though i've seen them in various other form factors as well, including USB add ons, PC Cards, and SD cards. But as with WiFi, its always simpler and more convenient if you can simply get that feature built into the computer.

5A. Enabling a Bluetooth Radio
When you install an external Bluetooth radio or enable your internal Bluetooth module, Windows XP changes in subtle ways. First, a small bluetooth icon appears in the tray area, giving you a handy way to deal with various Bluetooth related tasks. Second, a new bluetooth devices control panel applet appears; you can access this applet by navigating to the control panel, choosing printers and other hardware, and then choosing Bluetooth devices.
5B. Using the Bluetooth Devices Utility
If you click the Bluetooth Devices icon in the tray, you will be presented with the pop up menu. This menu enables you to perform the following tasks:
Add a bluetooth Device: Before you can use a bluetooth device with your computer, you must add it to the system. For security reasons, many bluetooth devices must be locked to a certain device so that its features cannot be accessed by other nearby Bluetooth devices. Likewise, for funtional reasons, you might want to lock a bluetooth device to a particular PC. For example, you wouldn't want the keystrokes from a bluetooth keyboard to cause data entry on the wrong computer.
Show Bluetooth Devices: This option displays a list of the bluetooth devices that are associated with your PC
Send a File: Many bluetooth devices support data transfer, and you can use this option to send a file to a particular device.
Receive a File: Likewise, many bluetooth devices support recieving files as well. Your PC can both send and recieve files.
Join a Personal Area Network: Just as WiFi and ethernet equipment can be used to create a local area network (LAN), certain bluetooth hardware can create a Personal Area Connection (PAN), in which participating bluetooth devices offer their services to each other. For example, you might create a PAN that includes a PC, a PDA, and a printer (all which have to support bluetooth). in this scenario, boh the PC and PDA could exist between any of them
Open Bluetooth Settings: This option displays the Bluetooth Devices Control panel applet
Remove Bluetooth Icon: This option will remove the bluetooth Devices Icon tray.

5C. Adding a Bluetooth Device
To add, or associate, a bluetooth devie with your PC, you must first ensure that the device is on and its bluetooth radio is enabled. The following steps add a bluetooth capable Pocket PC to a PC.
1. Click the bluetooth devices tray icon and choose Add a bluetooth device from the list. The Add bluetooth device wizard appears.
2. Turn on your pocket pc (or other bluetooth enabled device) and ensure that its bluetooth radio is enabled and that the device is configured to be discoverable. The process for doing so varies per device.
3. In the add bluetooth device wizard, check the box titled My Device is Set up and ready to be found and then click next.
4. In the next phase of the wizard, XP will scan for compatible bluetooth devices and display a list of the devices it finds. Select the device you want to connect to.
5. In the next screen, the wizard prompts you for a pass key. This is like a password, and it will be used to associate the device for your PC. Select let me choose my own pass key and then enter a phrase that is 8-16 characters long.
6. Click next and the wizard will note that it is exchanging passkeys with the bluetooth device. Your PDA will beep and launch its Bluetooth Passkey screen. Enter the same 8-16 character passkey on the PDA; if you wait too long, the screen will disappear and you'll have to restart the wizard.
7. XP will find the New Hardware and display a series of balloon help windows. These very depending on the device. When the hardware recognition is done, you can click finish to complete the wizard.

5D. Configuring Bluetooth Devices
Once you've associated Bluetooth device with your pc. You can configure it further using the Bluetooth Devices control panel applet.
Click properties to view the properties sheet for this device. The most interesting information is on the Services tab: Here, you'll see which bluetooth services the device supports. In this case of the pocket pc just added, those services include Dial Up networking and Generic Serial Port, both of which have been assigned to virtual COM ports on your system. For a pocket pc, these services make it possible to synchronize the device over activesync with the pc, eliminating the needs for cables. For other devices, the services will be a bit more interesting. For example, you could use a cell phone to dial up the internet in a pinch, or interact with your system using Bluetooth keyboards and mice.
If you close this dialog and return to the Bluetooth Devices applet, you can configure other bluetooth options, using the options, COM Ports, and Hardware.

5E. Options
Turn discovering on: If you want other Bluetooth compatible devices (including PCs) to be able to discover your system via bluetooth, check this option. My advice, do not enable this option. Typically, you will configure all of your device connections from your PC and wont need other devices to discover you.
Configure Connections: You can determine whether Bluetooth devices can connect to your computer, and, if so, whether you should be alerted when a new device wants to connect. My advice: Require an alert when other devices want to connect.
Hardware
This page lists the devices that are connected to your computer, and not the bluetooth devices that are associated with your PC. You can access this information from the device manager, but this is a handy way to filter down to just the bluetooth devices.

5F. Sending and Receiving Files Via Bluetooth
One thing Bluetooth is really handy is for sending and receiving small files. For example, a bluetooth compatible cell phone can be configured to send photos it has taken to your pc. For the file transfer capability, you'll need to configure where files are sent, for both pc and the device. Naturally, how you do this depends on which device your using. The next two examples continue to use the Pocket PC we previously associated as an example.

5G. Sending Files to a Bluetooth Device
To send a file to a bluetooth device, click the bluetooth devices icon tray area and choose send a file. This launches the bluetooth file transfer wizard. Then, follow these steps to complete the transfer:
1. In the first stage of the wizard, click the browse button. the select bluetooth device dialog appears and the system searches for a compatible device. The resulting list will show both associated and nopn associated devices.
2. Select the device you'd like to connect to and click OK. This returns you to the wizard.
3. Click next to continue. Then, in the next stage of the wizard, select the file you'd like to transfer by clicking Browse and navigating to the file.
4. Click next and the file transfer will start. Depending on the device, you may need to accept the file transfer. On a pocket PC, for example, you will see an authorization req screen that will let you accept or deny this transfer.

5H. Recieving Files From a Bluetooth Device
Receiving files via Bluetooth is similar to the preceding steps, except that you choose recieve a file from the bluetooth devices pop up menu and then refer to your bluetooths devices instructions for initiating file transfer.

5I. Removing a Bluetooth Device
To remove, or disassociate, a bluetooth device from your PC, open the bluetooth devices control panel applet, select the device you wish to remove, and then click the remove button. WARNING: This funtion doesnt use any sort of "Are you sure" dialog, so make sure you're serious about removing the device before clicking the button.


Well thank you for your patience in reading this. I will update this and add stuff everyonce in a while. I hope you enjoyed it!!

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Anonymous said...

"access their school's network"? What do you mean?

LuckMC11 said...

I meant for students in college who need to access their school's network...as in their college/university network while in the college.