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Home Network Troubleshooting Tips


This tech-recipe contains useful methods for troubleshooting network problems with both wireless and LAN/routers (wired).

Wireless Networks Tips

Always secure your wifi using WEP (64 or 128 bit) or some form of security. However, remember that the more security/encryption you put on it, the more bandwidth the security will consume. Thus your wifi network will slow down. I recommend 128bit to be on the safe side.

-Another good security tip to avoid being wardriven is turning mac address authentication on in your wireless access point/router. This option allows only the specified MAC address to be on the wireless network (MAC = physical address of the network card/pc card).

-The Windows wireless network connection is sufficient. I tried to use third party ones, but they were inadequate. In the network setup, be sure to use the exact WEP key you used in your wifi access point/router. If you are not concerned about saving power or running a batteries (i.e.,laptop with a pc card), change the power management setting for the network card to CAM (always on) rather than having it power off when there is no network traffic.

-If you have a laptop and your friend/co-worker also has one, use your infrared ports. They can transfer at sufficient speeds and are plug-and-play if you are running Windows XP. You can send files back and forth with ease.
This allows instant file sharing with no wires, just aligning of ports.

LAN/Routers (Wired) Tips
-If you have problems connecting to a shared folder on the network and are using a router, try a reboot on both machines, if it is possible.

-Remember that NTFS shares cannot be viewed on Windows 95/98 computers. A third party program might allow for this, but not without it.

-Permission levels on folders can come into play on shared network folders. By default, Windows XP hides the permission setttings in Windows Explorer. To turn on these options, open WIndows Explorer, go to Tools > Folder Options > View (tab), and at the very bottom, uncheck Use simple file sharing (Recommended).
Once you do this, you can control and easily modify the permissions, owner or files and folders. BE WARNED! Read about how this all works before you do some work, just in case. Also, denys will override allows for permissions always.

-Use a crossover cable if you want to network two pcs directly to each other.

-If you have two routers and want to use them both on the network, you can use a setup like the following example to have one act as a switch.
(This a diagram):
I have a cable modem, 4 port router, 4 port router with wifi AP and about 6 pcs in our network

…. |
…. | (WAN port )
R O U T E R 1
……. | | | ……. |
……. | | | ……. | (connected to normal port, as if it were a pc)
……..3 PCsROUTER2 w/802.11g AP 3 PCS via WIFI
…………………. |.. |.. |
…………………. |.. |.. |
………………… 3 Other PC s

The key here is to disable the DHCP server on Router2, and if it has the option, have it act as a switch/hub. Router1 will still dishout IPs to the 3 pcs connected to Router2. The connection from Router1 to Router 2 is like the Router1 to pc. Just plug the cable into Router1’s port, and then plug the other in to Router2’s port (not the WAN).
NOTE: You will want to configure the settings for Router2 before you hook it up. Once it is on the network, it can be hard to get to the IP to set it up.



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