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Home Network Problems


purplespider
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I'm having a terrible time trying to get my home network to work, heres what I have:

 

one main PC with internet access and wireless PCI card

a second PC joined to the main PC with a crossover ethernet cable

and 2 laptops both with wireless PC cards

 

All run Windows XP Pro appart from one of the laptops which is on XP Home.

 

So I'm trying to get the other PC and the 2 laptops to connect to the main PC and share its internet connection.

 

All the hardware is working properly because they have all at one point or another succefully used the internet connection of the main PC over the network.

 

But they are now all doing strange things:

 

Supposidly I should just have to run the "Network Setup Wizard" on the main PC and then on all the other machines and it should work. But it don't. When I go to "View workgroup Computers" on one of the other computers I does 1 of 3 things:

 

1- just displays no computers atall

2- only displays the current local machine

3- Comes up with a message saying "Mshome is not accsessible. You might not have permissions to use this resource. Contact the administrator of this server to see if you have access permissions. The list of servers for this workgroups is not currently available" Mad!!!

 

(I've made sure they all the the same workgroup name)

 

I just keep getting more and more frustrated trying to fix it!!

 

Has anyone any ideas what could be wrong? :dance:

 

Cheers

James

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Hey there Spider,

 

Personally, I recommend a router. I've found that routing via software can be troubing at times. I'm not wirless, but I do have my own network and it's been stable as a rock.

 

I operate my internet connections and my phone system over this little guy. It's been up 24/7 for months and months. Never caused me an issue.

 

Compare that to my software routing of sometimes working and sometimes not, tinkering with settings, a computer that needs rebooting brings down the entire network for about 5 minutes.

 

Prices have come down too. Just my Opinion ...... said the fly to the spider.

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Cheers HC, to be honest I had never actauly considered a router as I never knew what one was really. But from the sounds of things it does seem that I may need one. So what exactly are they and what do they do?

 

I still don't understand how sometimes my network works and sometimes it doesn't, just seems very strange to me. :S

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I must add that the laptops appear to connect to the wireless network fine, (ie it says its connected, shows the name of the network and signal strength etc) but it can't find any other computers, it just does those 3 things i mentioned in my first post.

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Short answer: A router is a piece of hardware that sits between your cable/dsl modem and your computers.

 

The router can be a hardwired device and/or wireless. It also acts as a firewall between your machines and the internet. Being behind the router adds another level of security if you don't open all the ports on the router to let the bad stuff through.

 

I personally use a D-Link wireless router on my home network. At work I have an SMC hardwired router.

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Do you think I need one for getting my network working?

 

I should have also mentioned I'm only on dialup (well 64k ISDN) cause we are too far from our exchange to get broadband/ADSL :dance:. Will a router still work with dialup?

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I agree with HC and gaberville here -- a router will get you up and running really easily, while mucking around with software networking will only lead to suffering (and that leads to the dark side, and so on... or was it the other way around?).

 

In your case, a router will act as a central point of distribution for the internet connection for your four PCs. The setup is relatively simple: You'll set up the router by telling it to perform network address translation and assign local IPs to your four PCs; set up each of your PCs to use DHCP; plug in the desktop PCs to the router's network ports; point the wireless adaptors on the laptops to the router and tell them to also use DHCP (this step will vary a bit depending on security settings; I recommend setting up pretty strong access control, which means you'll have to identify the hardware addresses of all your ethernet adaptors and generate a wireless encryption protocol key -- none of this is hard to do once you have the router). Your incoming internet connection then plugs into the router, and will handle (quite transparently, from the PCs point of view) everything from there. Like Bruce says, the router will also add some firewall capability -- on the subject of security, you'll want to configure your router pretty carefully.

 

Look for a multi-port wireless router, which has both ethernet ports and wireless capability. Since you already have wireless adaptors in the laptops, you're mostly home. You should be able to get a good router at just about any computer store these days for $50 to $70. Some people argue that you should try to match the router manufacturer to your wireless cards, but that's not really necessary. I've had really good experience with a Microsoft MN-520 router. Others swear by home-office routers made by Linksys, Netgear, and D-Link.

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but will a router work with my dialup connection?

Good question. Dialup makes this more complicated. I think it will work: One PC is used to dialup, and it's also set to share its internet connection via DHCP; you then run an ethernet cable from the desktop to the router's "in" port, and the router then provides the connection to the remaining desktop and the wireless laptops. It's less sleek this way, for sure, because you have to manually dialup on the master PC, and only then can you go sit in the yard with the laptop.

 

I don't actually have experience setting up a network quite this way, so others will have to weigh in on whether it really will work!

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Hmmm, ok, thats no problem, cause thats what I do at the moment anyway.

 

Sounds like I'll have to go wi the router then, although it would be good if there was another solution because its not going to be a heavily used network and getting a router for it seems a bit too much, but cheers for your advice guys! Much appreciated.

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Hi Purplespider, to get your wireless network actually working correctly all around you will need a wireless router w/ethernet ports. This will let the laptops, wireless, communicate with the desktop, wired to the ethernet ports. You may also need to install ICS (Internet Connection Sharing) services to share the dialup internet across all computers. It is possible to share dialup but I hear its painfully slow.

 

Another site to help understand and help setup your network is here:

http://www.practicallynetworked.com/networking/

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Hi Again,

 

I had a client back about 3 years ago use a router for dial-up. So I know it exists.

 

My definition of a router, by the way, is like a power strip to electricity. It just makes more plugs out of the one you have. Usually one router gives you 4-5 plugs for the same connection.

 

I haven't set up a router with a dial-up connection, but I'm sure they exisit.

 

Good luck!

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A router is a device used to "route" information around a network, it acts as the traffic cop, computer A is here and computer B is way over there. They use natting to assign IP's to all the computers when they connect. It also has a connection for the cable/dsl modem and it will allow all the connected computers to share the Internet. Since the cable/dsl modem is connected to the router it is easily shared between all computers connected to the router.

 

With Dialup its a little different, the Internet is not on the router so the router can't distribute the Internet around to the other computers. The internet is located on one of the computers and needs help going across the network and thru the router to the other computers. So you need special software to allow sharing to the other computers on the Network. You either need Proxy software or ICS services. ICS comes with Windows ME or Windows XP and is free and is simpler to use and setup. ICS = Internet Connection Sharing.

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HC,

 

That is more of a hub definition, as Madman described the router can direct traffic to a specific machine.

 

Purple,

 

It should look like phone line to modem in first PC, out NIC on first PC to router and then router will distribute to other computers

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Check out the Netopia line of ISDN routers. They have a 10base-T hub built in, so you should be able to connect your ISDN line to the 'outside' of the router, a WAP (Wireless Access Point) to the 'inside' of the router, then connect all your wireless enabled computers to the WAP. The ISDN router will handle sharing the internet connection. This is kind of the old tech way to do it, as there are now wireless ISDN routers:

 

Look at this product:

 

http://www.sercomm.com/IR706H.htm

 

or in the UK:

 

http://uk.insight.com/apps/productpresenta...A2600W&src=KELK

 

Search Kelkoo.co.uk for wireless ISDN router.

 

Kevan

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Cheers guys, I've been trying to get to working without a router nut I can't get it all working at the same time bits of it work and other bits don't. So I'm looking into what type of router to get, I'll check them out kevan_j cheers.

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