Wired/Wireless Internet

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joe1167

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Hi,
You have a really helpful site, I've learned a lot. I'm a newbie and this is my first time posting....here goes. I have a Dell desktop with Verizon Broadband DSL which uses a Westell VersaLink Gateway Modem/Router. My desktop is running Windows XP. I recently bought a Dell notebook and would like to set it up wireless so I can access the internet anywhere in the house (within reason, of course). According to the specs, the notebook has a 56k modem integrated card and an Intel Pro Internal Wireless 802.11 b/g 54mb ps. The notebook also runs Windows XP. My question is.....how do I go about accomplishing this? I'm new at this and would like to learn how to configure this small residential network with maybe some add-ons in the future. Any help is very much appreciated. I know this is probably very minor for most, but for me it's more than I've ever done so it's a start. Thanks very much for anything you can tell me.
Happy new year! :)
-Joe
 
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As long as your Westell VersaLink Gateway Modem/Router has more than 1 port you can simply add on an wireless access point. Depending upon the size of the house and the makeup of the walls (is this open floor plan or thick concrete walls?) you may need more repeaters or additional wired access points.
 
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BTW since you indicated your current wireless adapter is wireless g you would want to buy wireless g equipment.
 

TerryNet

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I think that the Westell VersaLink Gateway Modem/Router is wireless. If I'm right, and if the wireless is on by default, all you need to do initially is connect the laptop.

On the Dell laptop the blue LED indicated whether the radio is on or off. The toggle switch is the Fn+F2 combination (F2 has the blue antenna symbol). (This paragraph assumes your Dell is similar in this respect to mine.)

You'll have the choice of using Intel's wireless utility or Windows' WZC. IMHO Intel's is superior.

Like StumpedTechy implied, get your laptop connected to the internet wirelessly first. Just "simple" steps after that to secure the wireless and to enable file and printer sharing.
 

joe1167

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Nov 3, 2003
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Hi Stumped and TerryNet,
Thanks for replying to my post. Terry, the Westell VersaLink Gateway Modem/Router is wireless. The wireless LED is always on so, like you said, it is wireless by default. As far as connecting the laptop, that's what I do not know how to do (sad...I know). I gave it a shot today and thought I may have messed some settings up so I did a system restore and all is okay. However, like I said, I am basically new to this and I'd like some help (if possible) with basically introducing my Dell notebook (XPS 140) to the modem/router and forming a small network (just the 2 computers at this point). When I attempted to connect the notebook today, it was asking about settings, a name of the network, etc. and I was lost pretty quickly. So I guess I'm asking for step-by-step directions on what to do to get the notebook and wired desktop in their own little network. If you can help, that would be greatly appreciated. If you'd like to email me, please feel free. My email is:
jalt67(at)aol.com.

Terry, in your reply you wrote:

"Like StumpedTechy implied, get your laptop connected to the internet wirelessly first. Just "simple" steps after that to secure the wireless and to enable file and printer sharing"

That's exactly what I'm trying to do.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I really want to learn how to do these things (networking, etc.) so any advice I receive will be used and retained so as to not come back in the future and waste anyone's time by asking the same questions.
Thanks again for replying and I hope to hear from you (and anyone else who cares to impart some wisdom). All the best and a Happy New Year to all.
-Joe
 

TerryNet

Terry
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Suggest you edit out your email address, unless you are getting insufficient spam.

You've lost me real quick--please be specific about what you're doing. Is the integrated radio (wireless adapter) enabled (i.e., is the blue LED on)? Are you using Intel's utility or Windows' WZC?

If you don't have the answers to the above, please look in Network Connections. Does a Wireless connection show there? If it does, the 3rd line should identify your wireless adapter. Any red marks or other error indications? Right click on it and choose 'view wireless connections.' If you get a whine about Windows has been preempted by anther utility, that's good--then use the Intel utility. In either case, how many wireless networks can you see? Is one of them from your router?
 

joe1167

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Nov 3, 2003
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Hi Terry,
Here's the deal. A quick review. I have a wired Dell desktop and Verizon DSL with a Westell Modem/router combo. On the back of the modem/router there are 4 ports; E1 through E4. I am currently using E1. As far as hardware on the "main" computer, that's all I have. I bought a Dell XPS notebook with a 56k modem integrated card and an Intel Pro Internal Wireless 802.11 b/g 54mb ps. Both computers run Windows XP. That's where I currently stand. What I want to do is have the laptop be wireless and make a mini network with the 2 computers. I went into the network connections on the desktop and there is no wireless connection present. This is where I get lost. I have no idea of what to do to each computer in order to link the laptop wirelessly and create a network with the two computers. I also would like to the computers to share a printer. I don't know a thing about what to do now; e.g. what settings have to be changed on each computer, creating a workgroup, naming it, etc. I don't know if I need any other hardware or just the modem/router. So basically what I'm trying to find out is how to form a little network from the very first step. In another words, say I went out today and bought a desktop and a notebook and just took them out of the boxes and said I'd like to make a network and have the notebook wireless. What do I do? I need step one and on. Sorry this is so long but I'm just trying to explain to you what I have and what I want to do.
Thanks Terry
-Joe
 

TerryNet

Terry
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"I went into the network connections on the desktop and there is no wireless connection present."

Joe, you haven't said anything about having wireless capability on your desktop, and you probably don't. I am assuming that you have the desktop connected to the modem/router via ethernet? Am I correct? If so, leave it alone for the moment; it's best to have (at least) one computer wired anyhow.

My post #6 refers to your laptop, which does have wireless capability.

You can find general networking tutorials by searching the Help and Support Center, the web, bookstores or libraries. Briefly:

Step 1. Get desktop connected to router via ethernet; make sure you have internet access on the desktop. [You've got this step done, right?]

Step 2. Get laptop connected to router using the Intel Pro Internal Wireless 802.11 b/g; make sure you have internet access on the laptop. [See my post #4 and #6.]

Step 3. One of us will post steps for file and printer sharing after you succeed with Step 2.
Terry
 

joe1167

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Nov 3, 2003
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Hi,
Sorry but I had to put this little project on hold for a little bit. I'm working on this again and here's where I stand.....I got the laptop to connect to the network wirelessly. However, it states that it is an "unsecured wireless network". What can I do to secure the network? Also, I would like to set up the network so that the laptop can connect with the files and the printer on the main PC. Any further help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
-Joe
 
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Hello joe1167, here's what I suggest you do since you and I have basically the same setup. To do this open IE and type in your IP address which should be 192.168.1.1 and this will open the Westell Versalink homepage.

Actually, there's a lot you can do to secure your wireless LAN. Most of these tips apply to 802.11b based LANs, since they're the most prevalent. But some tips are just good network security practice and can help no matter how you build your LAN:

1) Don't use TCP/IP for File and Printer sharing!
Access Points are usually installed on your LAN, behind any router or firewall you may be using. If someone successfully connects to your Access Point, they'll be on your LAN, just like any of your other clients. But since they'll be using TCP/IP to make the connection, you can easily deny access to MS File and Printer sharing by using a protocol other than TCP/IP for those services. That way, they may get access to your Internet connection, but they won't get access to your files! See this page for instructions on using NetBEUI for File and Printer Sharing.

2) Follow secure file-sharing practices
This means:

Share only what you need to share (think Folders, not entire hard drives)

Password protect anything that is shared with a strong password.

3) Enable WEP Encryption
802.11b's WEP encryption has had a lot of bad press lately about its weaknesses. But a weak lock is better than no lock at all, so enable WEP encryption and use a non-obvious encryption key. Look for and use products that support 128bit WEP. Prices have come down on 802.11b equipment so there's no need to buy something that doesn't support 128bit WEP. See this page (http://www.practicallynetworked.com/support/wireless_encrypt.htm) if you need help getting WEP to work.

4) Use WEP for data and Authentication
Some products allow you to separately set the Authentication method to "Shared Key" or "Open System". Use the "Shared Key" method so that encryption is used to both authenticate your client and encrypt its data. See this page for more info.

5) Use non-obvious WEP keys and periodically change them
While the limitations that some wireless client utilities have don't help (hexadecimal only support, single keys, forgetting keys, etc.), don't make it easy for potential snoops to get onto your LAN by using simple keys like 123456, all ones, etc. Changing the keys periodically is more difficult, because it requires sending out information about the new keys to users and that can be a security problem in itself. But changing keys periodically can help keep your LAN secure, so consider getting a procedure into place to do it.

6) Secure your wireless router / Access Point (AP)
Your router or Access Point should require a password to access its Admin features. If it doesn't, get one that will!
Also, change your password from the default and use a strong one!

7) Disallow router/ AP administration via wireless
Unfortunately, this feature is usually only present in "Enterprise-grade" APs, and shuts off the ability to administer your Access Point from wireless clients. But if your router/AP has it, use it!

8) Use MAC address based Access and Association control
Previously available only on "Enterprise-grade" products, many routers and Access Points are being upgraded to have the ability to control the clients that can use them. MAC addresses are tied to physical network adapters, so using this method requires a little coordination and maybe a little inconvenience for LAN users. And MAC addresses can be "spoofed" or imitated/copied, so it's not a guarantee of security. But it adds another hurdle for potential intruders to jump. If you already have a product that doesn't include this feature, check your Manufacturer's Web site for a firmware upgrade.

9) Don't send the ESSID
ORiNOCO and Apple call the ability to stop their products from sending out the network ESSID the "closed network" feature. Other manufacturers are adding this ability, so check your Manufacturer's Web site for a firmware upgrade. Note that the feature doesn't have a consistent name, so check your product's documentation.

10) Don't accept "ANY" ESSID
ORiNOCO and Apple's "closed network" feature also won't accept connections from clients using the default "ANY" ESSID. Other manufacturers' products have the ability to not accept clients with an "ANY" ESSID, but you'll need to check your product's documentation, since there's not a consistent name for the feature.

11) Use VPN
Of course, if you really don't want to take chances with your data, then you should run a VPN tunnel over your wireless connection, too. You may take a throughput hit, but isn't your data's security worth it?

Hope this info helps you, let us know how things work out.:)
 

TerryNet

Terry
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bingo24's post is not entirely incorrect, but it's a lot of work to pick out the valid points. Most of his "security" measures make it hard to use your network and do nothing to keep the bad guys out. WEP encryption is better than nothing but with the right tools and knowledge it can be broken in 3 minutes. Just use WPA encryption as below.

For security access your router via your browser on the desktop. If you haven't changed the router's login password from the default, do so now.

In the wireless section, if the SSID (name of network) is still the default, pick a name that you like. Enable WPA (WPA-PSK or WPA-Personal) encryption and supply a 20+ character passphrase. You will then need to reconnect the laptop using the same passphrase. By "router" I mean your "Westell VersaLink Gateway Modem/Router."

File and Printer Sharing is entirely independent of this, and I will post instructions in a moment.
 

TerryNet

Terry
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Addendum to previous post: tape a note with your router's password and the WPA passphrase to the bottom of your router, or somewhere else you can find when your memory fails (or am I the only one who forgets things?).

Run the Network Setup wizard (found in Control Panel of Win 2k Pro or XP). Tell it each of your computers connects to the internet via "residential gateway" and that you want to enable file and printer sharing. Windows XP firewall will be properly configured by the wizard. You must uninstall or properly configure any 3rd party firewalls on each machine. Unique computer names and same workgroup, of course.

The Shared Documents folder is automatically shared. Any other folders or printers you want to share, just right click on them and sharing ... .

When you first go into My Network Places there will be nothing there. The first time you click on 'View Workgroup computers' will probably result in great disappointment. It takes awhile (20 minutes; even hours) before all the computers in the workgroup get up-to-date and accurate lists of the other computers. Often you can speed up this process via Search for other computers, and a few computer restarts.

When computers show up in My Network Places, double click on one to see its shares. If that includes a printer, you can right click on the printer to connect to it.
 

joe1167

Thread Starter
Joined
Nov 3, 2003
Messages
11
Hi Everyone,
Thanks TerryNet and bingo24 for your help thus far. I'm almost done with this. However, I've run into a problem with the router username and password. Do you happen to know how I might go about either recovering the router username and password or changing them? For the life of me I cannot remember the info for the router. TerryNet, I was all set to record my info to paper as you suggested when......too late. So, you certainly are not the only one who forgets these things. I have so many usernames and passwords in my head that I'm drawing a blank. If you have any suggestions, I'd appreciate it very much. As far as the actual computers and network go, I'm just about done but I'm trying to figure something out regarding the network. If I can't figure it out, I'll let you know and you'll probably know the answer off the top of your head. But, I'm really trying to learn this stuff as I go so I'm going to give it a couple more cracks to see if I can figure it out. Any help with my bout of amnesia is appreciated. Thanks!
-Joe
 

TerryNet

Terry
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"Any help with my bout of amnesia is appreciated."

I've heard that hypnosis can help unlock these suppressed memories, but have no personal experience. :)

Joe, sorry for the bad news but if you've forgotten the router's password the only solution that I know of is to reset the router (modem/router in your case) to the default factory settings (hold the reset button for 10 seconds or so until the LEDs start flashing). Obviously you then have to completely reconfigure it. Before the reset look at all the status pages you can access and write down any settings you'll need--especially the way the beast connects to your ISP (dynamic IP? PPPoE?, etc.).

Terry

spiriggan--please read the forum rules about not hijacking somebody else's thread, and then initiate your own. Thanks.
 
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Obviously you then have to completely reconfigure it. Before the reset look at all the status pages you can access and write down any settings you'll need--especially the way the beast connects to your ISP (dynamic IP? PPPoE?, etc.).
Actually Terry if he can't remember the password he won't be able to log in to get this information.

More than likely your going to have to contact your ISP and then do the dreaded hard reset.

BTW I find taking screenshots of your router config and leaving them in a known directory to be the best way to ensure you never lose your settings on your router should you have to hard reset.
 
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