Network Connections for Dummies

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Thread Starter
Dec 1, 2005
Hi ... I've posted here before and received some very helpful assistance. Please keep in mind, I've only had the computer for a year and it's only for personal/home use.

I'll try to get to the point, but want to provide as much relevant info as possible:

* Windows XP with SP2. I have purchased McAfee Security Center and use their firewall (and have disabled the Windows firewall). I have remote assistance disabled and take a lot of security precautions (as much as I can figure out anyway).

* I have about a million questions about security (i.e. which Programs can a hacker use to access computer) as I have an ex-husband who is a computer expert and his favorite hobby is spying on my activities. I find it very hard to stay a step ahead of him! But I'll address them one (or two) at a time.

Two weeks ago, I purchased a wireless for my daughter. When I looked into giving her access to my internet service (before I attempted to hook up the Linksys Router. Until I get some issues cleared up, I won't hook up that router), I noticed some differences to my Connection information:

NETWORK CONNECTIONS: Up until around a month ago, network connections showed: LAN or High-Speed Internet/Local Area Connection/Connected.

Now I have:

NETWORK CONNECTIONS: LAN or High-Speed Internet/Local Area Connection/Connected/Broadcom 440x 10/100 Integrated Controller.

I have no idea where the "Broadcom" thing came from. I know it's an adapter, but am not sure what it is or why it is part of my connection. I can see it's icon on my control panel and I'm trying to figure out how long it has been there.

When I look at the configuration, it shows a driver date (5/2003) ... is that the date it was born?


This could be totally normal, but when I look at my IP Address, there is a "subnet mask" IP Address associated with it. Why? Does everyone have this or is it just something that's used if you're sharing your connection or computer?

I know this stuff is really elementary to most of you, but you gotta start learning someplace.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!


On the "computer name" tab in System Properties, it shows that I belong to the workgroup "MSHOME" and on the same page, It gives me an option to join a workgroup. It kind of contradicts itself. Is this normal?


Mar 23, 2005
Sarah, the Broadcom adapter has probably been in your computer since before you acquired it, unless you added it. Why its designation didn't used to show in Network Connections is a mystery--usually it shows on the third line or so. The 5/2003 is the date of the driver; there may be an updated driver (with a more recent date) but if you are having no trouble, don't fix what ain't broke.

MSHOME is the default name the modest company MicroSoft assigns. If you set up a workgroup between your and your daughter's computer you'll probably want to change it to a more personal or meaningful name. But it doesn't really matter as long as it is the same on both computers.

When you connect and configure the router, leave the wireless encryption disabled until you get a successful connection with your daughter's computer. Specify a SSID (network name) that you like. Then enable WPA encryption with a non-guessable passphrase of 20+ characters. Of course, you will then have to reconnect with the computer specifying the same passphrase. Also change the default password that is used to login to the router.

Keep a note on your passphrase and password. Tape them to the bottom of the router, unless people you don't trust have access to your house.

With the router's firewall, a password on your router's login and WPA encryption on the wireless, nobody can hack into your computers. Your only worry then is malware that you inadvertently "invite" in by clicking on unknown links or opening unsafe email attachments.

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