Archive for category Networking

Network Upgrade

For the past couple of months, I have been running a network which was kind of stitched together in the most strange ways. This post reminds me of a buddy of mine with whom I sometimes get into discussions about networking vs. programming. While I have always thought of networking as interesting, it has always seem like infrastructure stuff for me: it is kind of like building a house and maintaining the structure in such a manner that it does not fall apart. Programming on the other hand is like painting the various rooms of the house and other aesthetic stuff like gardening and such. The point of the analogy is simple: networking, less ground shifting changes after installation while programming there are changes which can possibly be rapid. In explaining his liking for networking, I get to learn more about networking and hopefully join in the fun of designing and putting one in place.

The network I setup was composed of a D-Link Access point which is then connected to a desktop that functioned as a gateway. It worked except for the amount of heat that resulted from the need to keep the desktop on for the better part of the day. On top of that, there are just way too many wires around to make for a nice view. For some strange reason which I have not yet figured out, Windows Vista machine could not connect to the old network.

Running the desktop as a gateway was incurring a huge electricity bill so I have been planning to replace the AP with a router so that I can turn on the desktop only when I need to use it. Last week I bought a Linksys Home gateway whose configuration was straight forward as would be expected of a product to be used at home. The gateway combines the functions of a router, access point and ADSL modem. It is a small network but having the gateway has made things much simpler.


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Networking progress

Networking is not my strongest suite so it is with some excitement (yeah) that I note the progress that I am making as far as my small network setup is concerned. This blog entry was type from my desktop which is planned to be part of the network – actually the central part of the network. It is suppose to be the gateway to the web but so far I think my Windows installation needs to be redone.

I have some networking theory as the foundation of my adventures into network but that is about where it all ends. Yes, I have setup computers to access a Wi-Fi network a couple of times, including machines that were in other languages (like Danish) but I digress. This is my first time setting up a network and the first opportunity I have ever had to configure some network devices such as an access point.

The problem

The problem with the desktop is that I cannot create a new connection. This is what I need in order to connect to the service provider. So I have gone through the normal procedures (warning: not step by step) of going to the Control Panel and then to the Network Connection applet. From here I launch the new connection wizard but when it comes to the part where I am suppose to select how I connect to my service provider, the first two options are greyed out; I am left with the option “connect using a broadband connection that is always on”. Well, the Internet connection I have requires the use of a username and password. I don’t know what’s causing this but I have attempted checking Windows networking components which didn’t work. So the only conclusion I have come to is that I am finally being haunted by the countless beta software I have installed over the life time of this PC.

The current hack

I have a laptop in the network and that is where I have been able to create a new connection without any problem. So the current configuration I have is as follows: the desktop connects to the access point and since the laptop connects to the wireless network, I have shared the Internet connection on the laptop.

This is not an optimal solution of course because if the laptop is not in the network then bye bye internet connection so I still need to figure out how to create a new connection on the desktop and have it setup as the gateway for the network.

Reinstalling Windows is a simple enough process but I have some good data on that hard disk so I would rather not format the hard disk until such time that I can spend some quality time backing up the data I have.

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This week I setup my first network though the network is not yet completely done. I am not a fan of networking generally but I have come to appreciate the need to have rudimentary knowledge of setting up a small network and managing it. With my first network, I hope I will be in a better position to gain practical knowledge in setting up a network and managing such a network.

My first network is not huge: it comprises of a desktop computer, a D-Link DWL 700AP Access Point and at least two laptops. Other laptops will most likely come into and go out of the network. Initially I had problems accessing the AP’s web interface so that I can configure it. After an hour of googling I found a solution to my problem: I was not suppose to give the machine’s NIC card the same IP address as the default IP address of the D-Link AP. Such knowledge definitely belongs in the equipment manual but hey live and learn I suppose. It goes without saying that the machine’s IP address should be in the same range as the AP’s default IP. So, I finally got the AP’s configuration interface and setup all the aspects of the wireless network. I still need to do some further configuration before everything can work as I have envisioned.

My desktop computer dual boots Windows XP Pro along with Linux (I just upgraded to Fedora Core 5). So far, I have not been able to setup a connection on the desktop; it is about time I format the hard disk anyhow. It has never been formatted since it was bought about two years ago. The hard disk is of course a gold mine in itself so I need to back up much of the data I have, both under Windows and Linux and then go ahead with the formatting. I will probably dual boot again but this time I want to install Ubuntu along side Windows XP. Ubuntu has been famous as a desktop distro and I am not sure how good it is as a server. The latest release (Dapper Drake or Ubuntu 6.06 LTS) can be used as a server and being a Linux distro, it inherits the features of Linux as a server platform. Hmm, Ubuntu is based on Debian if I remember correctly.

Back to my small network: I need to have the machines talk to each other before bringing out the victory parade.

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