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Home wireless network setup definition

Discussion in 'Networking' started by pfwells, Apr 5, 2004.

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  1. pfwells

    pfwells Thread Starter

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    :confused: I am trying to set up a home wireless network under the following conditions:
    Computer #1 - Windows XP with attached Linksys WAP54G (wireless access point)
    Computer #2 - Win 98, added linksys ethernet adapter and WAP54G
    Computer #3 - Windows XP, laptop with built-in wireless

    All computers have ZoneAlarm software installed.

    The "native" IP addresses of the laptop and WAP54Gs were all over the lot, so I reset them all for a Class C network.

    However, I am now being asked by the system for the likes of a subnet mask, default gateway, DNS server addresses. I am in over my head! Please help, including suggestions for individual computer addresses within the network if appropriate.

    pfwells
     
  2. coulterp

    coulterp

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    Don't panic!! You just need to ensure all your PCs are on the same sub-net.

    For example, for your sub-net (LAN) you might use 192.168.0.0 / 255.255.255.0 or 192.168.1.0 / 255.255.255.0. Typically a broadband router on these subnets would take the .1 address and then hand out 192.168.0.x (or 192.168.1.x) IP addresses to the PCs on the LAN (where x = 2 .. 254, or perhaps just a sub-range of that, say .1 to .100. or .100 to .250, etc).

    (e.g If you've set for a Class C network then your are using a 255.255.255.0. subnet mask.)

    The default gateway will be whatever device it is that you get out unto the Internet with. That would usually be your router. So if that had the IP address 192.168.0.1, then all the PCs should have that IP address for their default gateway.

    But you haven't said what router and/or modem you are using. So you need to check against that. I have a feeling, as your haven't mentioned it, that you are not using a router. Post if you have queries.

    The DNS details can normally be received by the router from the ISP and passed on to DHCP clients (the PCs, etc devices on the LAN) if they are set to "Obtain their IP details automatically" (IP addresses, default gateway, DNS, sub-net mask). So you need on check that. If the DNS details cannot be passed on automatically, then hopefull your ISP has provided details and you can enter them manually either in the router (or if not router it is possible to enter them directly into interface card in each PC).

    You can find all the IP information on a PC using the "ipconfg/all" on the XP boxes. Or possibly you may need to use "winipcfg" on the 98 box.

    As far a ZA is concerned. You can set it to allow put all of your sub-net in the "Trusted zone" by identifying your network address to it. Thus if your sub-net is 192.168.0.0 / 255.255.255.0 then on each PC put the address range 192.168.0.0 / 255.255.255.0 in the trusted range in ZA (adjust as appropriate for your sub-net).
     
  3. pfwells

    pfwells Thread Starter

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    Thanks, but it appears that several other factors are afoot. First of all, I finally found some information on the Microsoft forum indicating that I had best use 169.254.xxx.xxx addresses. Secondly, I have only dial-up available to me, and as soon as the system sees a router or a bridge it insists on accessing via the network. So I am avoiding a router. Supposedly I can set up a wireless network without one.

    So, having reconfigured to 169.254.etc., the situation is that the laptop will access either of the desktops, but only one or the other, and neither of the desktops can be made to recognize the existence of the other under any circumstances I have been able to devise to date (which probably explains why the laptop will not access both.) The configuration utility on the laptop apparently sees this and tries to set up a software bridge, but after this is done nothing works so I have to delete the bridge connection.

    Of course, after I installed the ethernet port on the Win98 machine, it's access to dial-up appears to be fouled up, but I have been so busy trying to solve the other problems that I have not tried to address that one to see how bad it is.
     
  4. coulterp

    coulterp

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    The 169.254.xxx.xxx addresses are issued by Windows when a network interface cannot contact a DHCP server. It is a feature called Automatic Private IP Addressing feature (APIPA) in Windows. Such addresses are, and I quote from the MS Knowledge Base, " ... used only for private, internal addresses, and are not valid for host computers that are "visible" on the Internet. They cannot be used for computers that are linked by Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)."
    You can use these addresses for communicating (by using TCP/IP) with any other computer on the local network that uses the same addressing - but that's it!

    If you have only dial-up, then I assume it is from one of the PCs and you will be wanting to share that connection with the others. In that case you will have to use ICS and as ICS provides a DHCP service by default, then as MS say above your 169.254 address will not be viable.
     
  5. pfwells

    pfwells Thread Starter

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    coulterp - I appreciate your input and comments. I may have mis-interpreted the need for APIPA in this case.

    With respect to any internet connection, I anticipate that only one computer at a time will access the internet and would hope to keep it basically independent of any home network activity. My wife and I are not big internet people, not very practical to be anyway with only dialup and one phone line.

    Before I reverted to the 169.254.xxx.xxx addresses I was trying (arbitratily) a 197.xxx.xxx.xxx set (Class C network). For a little while I at least had each of them recognizing the existence of two other computers, although neither the laptop nor the Win98 unit could actually access the other desktop. Then in desperation I tried running the network setup routine from the XP disk on the 98 machine as suggested by that routine on the other two computers. Doing that killed the whole thing and from that point on until I reverted to 169.254.xxx.xxx each computer insisted that it was the only one in the world. (And yes, I have been re-configuring ZoneAlarm on each computer as I change things.) That is when I started looking for outside help.

    pfwells
     
  6. coulterp

    coulterp

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    A couple of points I can't help noticing.

    Normally the LAN (Local Area Network) port on an AP connects to Ethernet network devices, such as a hub, switch, or router. Whereas in your case you have connected each directly to a PC, which is unusual. In the former, more usual, configuration the AP is connected to a router or switch and it connects wirelessly to numerous PCs (for example by the built-in wireless card you have in one of the XP laptop) thereby giving them access, ultimately to the router which could be their way out unto another network (i.e. the Internet). Or, of course, you may just wish to use the AP as a means of wirelessly a number of local PCs without a care about other networks such as the Internet. If you look though the Linksys user guide you will see it is written with a slant towards having the AP on a wired LAN through a hub, switch or router; see especially Chapter 4 on that.

    Also you have two Access Points (AP). Usually one would be enough unless your PCs are very spread out and you have signal problems. Each AP can/could handle the connections of many, many PCs (each with a wireless card).

    Anyway dealing with two APs. The default IP address on these APs is 192.168.1.245, and as the Linksys documentation says "This IP address must be unique to your network." So if your APs are still in their factory default configuration then this would be an issue. This could well explain your noted problem: "... and neither of the desktops can be made to recognize the existence of the other under any circumstances I have been able to devise to date " as it is the desktops, if I am right that each, have an AP attached. In fact if the APs are left in the factory default state I don't think they will ever communicate!

    How have you set the Configuration Type of the AP (Chapter 6 of the UG)?
    Either you have set it to be a DHCP client (i.e. it expects to receive IP details from a DHCP server), but if you do not have a hardware router on the LAN and are not using software router (such as the Microsoft Internet Connection Sharing ICS software) then, unless there is something you have not mentioned, you do not have a DHCP server and the AP is not able to receive IP details from anywhere. Or alternatively you may have opted to manually enter static IP details in to the AP(s) but you haven't said. If you could give details on that and report the information on the Status Page of each AP (particularly the LAN details) in the upper half that would help trouble-shooting.

    If you do use the 192.168.1.0 / 255.255.255.0 subnet (say, by leaving one AP on the default IP address and changing the other to 192.168.1.246) then your PCs would need to be on the same sub-net, and in the absence of a DHCP server on your sub-net you will have to manually enter the appropriate IP details on TCP/IP interface in each PC. You should then be able to get the PCs to communicate (assuming the wireless side of the configuration, WEP, MAC address filtering, etc) is correctly set.
     
  7. pfwells

    pfwells Thread Starter

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    I have indeed been reconfiguring the APs as I go along. The closest I came to having everything working had the XP desktop at 197.198.199.1, the Win98 desktop at 197.198.199.2 and the laptop set to 197.198.199.3. The default linksys names of "linksys54G" were also changed to match the computer designations as instructed, which were all different and different in turn from the name of the network. Subnet masks were all set to 255.255.255.0. Otherwise nothing else was changed (other than matching ZoneAlarm to the equivalent settings).

    While the default on one of the APs was indeed 192.168.1.245, the default on the other one was 169.254.165.22. (I purchased the first one through Amazon.com and picked up the other at my local Radio Shack store.)
     
  8. coulterp

    coulterp

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    That rather suggests the the AP from Radio shack has seen some use before you got your hands on it! :rolleyes:

    You do however need to get everything onto a single sub-net, and I suggest the 192.168.1.0/255.255.255.0 is probably to easiest to go for.

    BTW: until you get the network working you could switch off ZA - especially if you're not actively connected to the internet at the time there's no need for it and it just adds another factor to muddy the waters during trouble-shooting (especially if you have to trot round 3 PCs to implement changes each time!) But if worried, you could leave it on in the PC with the dial-up.
     
  9. pfwells

    pfwells Thread Starter

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    After taking care of some other tasks I got back on the problem. While progress is minimal at best, I do have some findings.

    First of all, on the desktops with the WAPs, there are TWO IP addresses to worry about. One is the address set up in the WAP using the supplied CD. The other is the internal computer IP address set up through the system software. Of the two, the internal IP address is the most critical. You can actually communicate between computers with a WAP address for a completely different network, as long as the internal addresses are compatible.

    So first I tried the 192 addresses. After setting WAP and internal addresses on each machine to be the same, the Win98 and the XP laptop would recognize a network of all three machines. The XP desktop refused to recognize anything other than itself. None of the computers would communicate, and the XP desktop would not access dial-up.

    Then I set WAP and internal addresses to the Microsoft 169.254 configuration. Now the XP would access dial-up, and the two XP machines would show a three-computer network. The Win98 machine would recognize only itself, and again none of the machines would communicate. Error messages were varied depending on reboots, etc., but were along the lines of network connection could not be reached. Running the repair facility gave a message of Failed to query TCP/IP settings of the connection - can not proceed.

    The laptop and only the laptop tries to set up an internal network bridge when I run the network setup utility. The bridge is unfailingly ineffective and even kills the ability of any of the computers to see any other machine. (The laptop is new as of January, the other XP machine is over a year old.)

    I can get the laptop to communicate with either desktop by appropriate disabling of WAPs and reboots. I have been unable to get the desktops to communicate yet. Fortunately, having the laptop communicate with either desktop meets many of my requirements. If I could get the two desktops to communicate, that would take care of everything of real importance to me. (Distance-wise, the desktops are quite close while the laptop has been a couple of rooms away during these trials).

    I have now gotten the Win98 machine to again access the internet, although it will not get e-mail. It keeps asking for the logon information over and over, never mind that it is the same as the internet logon information. I can even be on the internet, ask for e-mail, and get the repeated query. Fortunately something else I can live with.

    Incidentally, I still need Win98. I have some legacy programs that will not run under XP, even in compatibility mode. No, they are not games, either.
     
  10. coulterp

    coulterp

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    You may be trying to vary too many parameters at once. For example, I am not sure where (which PC) the dial-up is or whether you are trying dial-up from different PCs.

    You should try getting dial-up running on one of the XP desktops with ICS to share the connection. Make that the only PC to use dial-up.

    Then I would try to get the laptop talking with that PC (because this will only involve one WAP). As you are using ICS to share the internet connection you will need to use the 192.168.0.0/255.255.255.0 subnet, so set the WAP at 192.168.0.245.

    When you have that stable I would make no other changes to that set-up when you start to add in the PC with the second WAP.

    Personally I think this where the problem lies because really you should have a wireless card in this PC and not a second WAP. For example the laptop can talk to either of the desktops because the laptops wireless card is communicating with one or other of the WAPs (the normal mode of operation for a WAP). But the two desktops fail to communicate because each has a WAP.

    There is a *very* long thread at http://www.dslreports.com/forum/remark,9439971~mode=flat~start=0, someone with a similar problem, at the very end of which they get two WAP54gs talking (I think!). The second WAP is given the IP address 192.168.0.246 - and the WAPs are set to operate on different wireless channels (one on channel 1 and one on channel 11) to ensure they do not clash. Plus account of the MAC addresses in the WAPs had to be taken account of. Even then it is still not quite your situation because the second WAP was free-standing and connecting to PCs wirelessly via their wireless cards.

    If the worst comes to the worst you might have to swap the WAP in the 98 PC for a wireless card and netwrok that way.
     
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