Posts Tagged ‘Wireless’

Home Networking Is For You These Days.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

A few years ago building a home network was strictly for professionals and true computer geeks. The cost, the complexity and other factors made it a very rough road for anyone else.

But that has all changed. Today, the costs have come down on every component. Wireless is not much more expensive, and sometimes less, than cabled gear. A bit of Cat 5 Ethernet cable costs not much more than plain stereo equipment wire. A hub costs a few dollars. Even routers, once $200 or more are now available for little more than the cost of an ordinary switch. At the same time with broadband, speeds have increased dramatically.

Reliability has improved for both cabled and wireless networks. The latter were once just for experiments by hobbyists. A cordless phone call, a wall or just a solar flare hiccup could easily knock your network offline. Distances were limited to a few meters, making wireless networks much less attractive for networking the whole home. Now, they can cover the whole of a large, two story home with ease.

But perhaps best of all, besides the lower cost and better performance, home networking is now simpler than ever. Today’s gear comes with better instructions, ones that don’t assume you are a computer or networking expert. The software and hardware both are simpler to configure. The diagnostic tools are easier to use than in times past.

At the same time, most people have increased their basic computer knowledge by leaps and bounds. With the Internet, cell phones, iPods, iPads, and tablets being a daily part of everyone’s lives, the intimidation factor is at an all time low. Everyone today knows how to use email. Most people know what HTTP or HTTPS is, how to ping something and other things once considered esoteric. Discussing routers, IP addresses and other aspects is no longer just for wild eyed guys with glasses.

Security consciousness has been raised, too. As a result of thousands of articles on credit card or identity theft and other computer related issues, people are much better informed and more cautious. They may not follow all the standard recommendations touted by security professionals, but they’re no longer indifferent. Anyone who has ever been hit by a computer virus, which is just about everyone today, has seen first hand the need for some efforts in this area.

There are still a few minor hurdles to overcome. The biggest one is usually just absorbing a fair number of unfamiliar terms, such as protocol, NIC (Network Interface Card) and other related words. Once that wall is breached, the rest is pretty straightforward.

Even adding an Internet connection to the home network, so that it can be shared by all systems instead of just one, is very simple today. A little bit of homework, sometimes a modest amount of troubleshooting, and you’re in business. So get in gear and start hooking together those computers owned by each member of the family. You’ll find that printer sharing is easy. You’ll be able to pass files without emailing them from one system and downloading them from another. You’ll find your security enhanced. Most of all, you’ll have the same kind of fun that used to be limited to computer experts. Who wouldn’t want that?

Watch for future articles that will help you with your Home Network.

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What Is a Home Computer Network to you?

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Your home network is a computer network you have in your home. True, but not very helpful? Let’s look a little deeper.

Most people know by now that in order for one computer to share information with another, it’s necessary to connect them together in some way. Those connections and the computers that are part of them form a network. Just like a spider web, when the trapped fly tugs on one part, a signal is sent to the spider at the other end.

In the case of a home network, the web is made up of either cables or wireless signals. Those two basic options make up the difference between what is called a cabled or wired network versus a wireless network. As recently as five years ago, a lifetime in the computer world, the wireless option was complicated and expensive. Today, wireless home networks are often less expensive and easier to create.

At different points along the web there are junctions called nodes. Those nodes can be in the form of computers, switches or routers.

Switches provide a place to plug the cables in that allow a physical connection between communicating computers. Routers perform a similar purpose but with more functions, such as the ability to connect multiple networks together and (as the name suggests) route traffic intelligently between them. In many cases, computers themselves can perform those functions. Software within the system can use the network cards in each computer, with a simple switch in between, to allow communication between them. Though routers have become commonplace, that’s still possible and if your needs are fairly simple it can be the cheapest, easiest way to create a home network.

But computers, switches and routers aren’t the only possible components of a home network. Familiar devices that go under the general name of peripherals are often part of the home web.

One of the reasons for undertaking the expense and effort of creating a network is often to share folders, printer, fax or scanner among multiple computers. If you splurged for a color laser printer or a fax machine at home, you save money by only needing to purchase one device each, instead of multiple printers and faxes for each computer. A home network allows sharing those devices. As part of the basic home network system, you’ll often want to include software and/or hardware known as a firewall. A firewall allows for passing some information sent by trusted sources, but blocks other types of data, or unfriendly malware, viruses, etc that are sent from any other source.

With wireless networks or any home network connected to the Internet, they are a must. Fortunately, routers typically contain some inherent firewall functions. Even software within the OS today can usually perform that function. Putting all these different pieces together in a coherent way that allows you to send and receive files, share printers and more is the process of creating a home network.
Of course, doing it in a way that doesn’t get you tangled up in a sticky web requires a bit of homework.

Probably by the year 2015 all of your appliances in the kitchen along with every entertainment device you have in the house will be connected to the internet.

Watch for future articles that will help you with your Home Network.



Turn off Your Wireless Router When Not In Use.

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Why would you want to do this? When your router is powered off, your network cannot be compromised. Consider doing this when you go on vacation or you will not be using you network for extended periods of time. Just turning off your PC may prevent the PC from being attacked, but it will not prevent someone from breaking into your network via your router if it is powered on.

Another Security Tip.

Get in the habit of changing your router password every 30 to 60 days. Also change your PSK (Pre Shared Key) several times a year. Changing these two settings may just kick that un-detected guest off your network (take that neighbor!). Limit the maximum number of DHCP users allowed on your network to just the known number of PC’s in your house. Limiting this setting can be an indication of someone on your network to you if one of your PC’s cannot obtain an IP address from your router.
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Force Vista To Connect To Wireless Network When SSID Is Not Broadcasting.

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

There is actually an easy fix to force Vista to connect to Wireless Network that is not broadcasting it’s SSID (Service Set IDentifier)

1. Just open up the Network and Sharing Center by clicking on Start, type the word network in the Start Menu search box and click on Network and Sharing Center link in the search results. Or go to Start \ Control Panel \ Network and Internet \ Network and Sharing Center.

2. In the left navigation pane, click on Manage wireless networks.

3. Then right click on your wireless network connection and select properties.

4. Click on the check box next to Connect even if the network is not broadcasting and click OK to save the change (no reboot is necessary).

5. Now when you need to connect to wireless network, when SSID is not broadcasting, Vista will make the connection all the time.

Note: As far a security goes, there is no real advantage to hiding the SSID since many programs can see your wireless device when it is not broadcasting. It does not hurt to enable it, but will not deter someone who is network savvy.

Any Questions? Click Here.

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