Wireless networking quandry (noob question)

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Hello all,

I have no experience setting up networks wired or otherwise but a friend has
just bought a new Gateway laptop and Netgear wireless modem/router and wants
me to set it up for her. The laptop (a Intel Centrino) already has a built
in wireless card and has already detected 2 unsecured networks in the area
(which I haven't accessed!!).

She already has a desktop but would like to get rid of this and just keep
the laptop. I've read an FAQ that says the router/modem has to be plugged
into at least one computer via an Ethernet cable but after the network has
been setup the none of the computers needs to be plugged in?

So is it is possible to just use the laptop to initialise the connection,
using the settings from her ISP etc , then unplug the cable? I know there's
a lot more to it than this but I just need to know the basics first before
going onto find out about VPN and what not.

TIA

BillL



Re: Wireless networking quandry (noob question)


[quote]
She already has a desktop but would like to get rid of this and just
keep
the laptop. I've read an FAQ that says the router/modem has to be
plugged
into at least one computer via an Ethernet cable but after the network
has
been setup the none of the computers needs to be plugged in?"
[/quote]

Correct.

[quote]
So is it is possible to just use the laptop to initialise the
connection,
using the settings from her ISP etc , then unplug the cable?
[/quote]

yes
Connect the laptop to the router via an ethernet cable .most routers
will allow you to use either a crossover or straight through cable.
check the manual to confirm.

set the laptop to get  an IP address via DHCP and it will get one from
the router, open a browser and enter the router address which is
usually http://192.168.1.1 or similar .

login using the defaults which are usually admin - admin.

configure the internet connection . usually this just means entering
the account username and password and possibly the PVC settings which
for the UK are VPI  =0 and vci = 38  and the type is PPPOA (maybe PPPOE
in the US , again check the manual ).

make sure the internet connection works and you can surf the internet
using the wired connection.

next set up the wireless.

while still wired to the router open the router admin page and click on
the wireless tab. enter a name for the wireless network,
this is called the SSID and is case sensitive,

leave the rest at the defaults for now,

on the laptop open the wireless client software and scan for available
networks.

you should see the network name -SSID - you entered earlier.

try and establish a connection which should just mean double clicking
on the name.

you should get a succesful wireless connection and both cards -
ethernet and wireless - are connected  to the router and should have
DHCP ip addresses.

confirm this by opening a command prompt (start->run->cmd) and entering
ipconfig /all (on xp and 2000 anyway ) .

you should see both cards listed each with an ip address in the DHCP
range eg 192.168.1.10 and 192.168.1.11

now either pull out the ethernet cable to the wired network card or
disable it using the network control applet/.

you should be surfing the net via wireless only.

leave the cable unplugged and permanently disable the ethernet card
(this can be reversed at any time),


Re: Wireless networking quandry (noob question)


I almost forgot.

Now you are surfing via wireless you want to tighten security unless
you want everyone using the connection - some people do.

Go to the router setup page again and click on the wireless tab and
look for the security tab. You have two choices - WEP or WPA-PSK.

I use WEP and I think the chances of a neighbour cracking it are very
remote - although not impossible unlike WPA-PSK.

So you really should use WPA-PSK if you are security paranoid,

I use WEP because I have linux clients and I havent gotten WPA-PSK
working on those yet so I am stuck with WEP

for WEP select a 128 bit key . in hex this is 26 characters which can
be from any of the 16 hex characters 1234567890ABCDEF

so an example key would be

1111122222333334444abcdef

this key is not case sensitive.

enter the same key on your laptop client after choosing the encryption
type as WEP. this is easy to find and setup.

WPA-PSK

back at the router to configure wireless security settings,

for WPA-PSK (pre shared key)  choose TKIP encryption and enter the
pre shared key or secret such as 12345abcde

this is case sensitive unlike the WEP key.

on the client choose WPA-PSK and enter the secret pre shared key
12345abcde. remember the case.

thats it.

WPA-PSK  is uncrackable (so far) and WEP Is crackable so if your client
card supports it - and it should for XP - use WPA-PSK

PS

The network name or SSID is case sensitive.


Re: Wireless networking quandry (noob question)



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Thanks very much, this is much more straight forward than the manual!

Cheers,

BillL



Re: Wireless networking quandry (noob question)


Of Course it is Bill.

Some manual's tend to be too techy and should include a
simplified How-To or Walk Thru such as the above.

Plus it also shows why a teacher is invaluable as someone who has spent
months/years reading the manuals and implementing the stuff is in a
great position to offer concise instructions to a beginner .

Just ask Jeff.


Re: Wireless networking quandry (noob question)


wrote:

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Once upon a time, I used to write the manuals for the hardware I
designed.  Through trial and error, I learned that there was no
possible way to write a single manual that satisfied every possible
user and customer.  The geeks wanted techy detail.  The users wanted
plug and play.  The lawyers wanted massive disclaimers.  Shipping
wanted a packing list.  Sales wanted it to sell accessories.
Marketing wanted it to be an applications guide.  Support wanted it to
reduce the support load by including lots of troubleshooting advice.
QA wanted to a few pages of certifications.  The military wanted it
readable by a high skool dropout.  The desktop publishers thought that
huge margins all around made it more readable and was more than happy
to remove content to add additional margin space.  I don't know who
threw in the "read me first" page.  If an elephant is a horse designed
by a committee, some of my manuals were elephantine in size.  Nobody
was happy with the results.

What I found hilarious was at the time (late 1970's through 1980's)
the form and style of consumer electronics product manuals were being
established.  There was no formal organization in charge or
orchestrating the effort.  What was happening was that every company
was copying the style stolen from some other company, on the
assumption that the other company knew what it was doing.  Nobody was
happy with their documentation and the competition always seemed to
have a better idea.  I could honestly say that documentation style was
established with a Ouigi Board.

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Agreed.  Experience is the best teacher.  That's why my domain is
"LearnByDestroying.com".  You don't really understand anything until
you've destroyed it and had to resurrect and fix it.  Lack of
experience is also why support people cannot offer much in the way of
assistance.  They haven't gotten their hands dirty and therefore have
only someone else's experience to follow.

I have a simple style for setting up complex devices.  It's similar to
your step by step procedure with *LOTS* of examples.  In my never
humble opinion, people learn from examples, not from explanations.
Therefore working examples are required.  I also separate the "do
this" from the explanation why they are doing this.  Many people do
not want to be bothered knowing why you need a WE128 key of exactly 26
hex digits.  Tell them to type in 26 hex digits, and promise them it
will work.  They'll do the rest.

I don't have any relevant examples of how to write a setup and install
procedure online.  The closest approximation is the Windoze 95/98/ME
setup instructions for MRTG software at:
  http://www.LearnByDestroying.com/mrtg/docs/w95mrtg.htm
It's 5 years old, gone through a few revisions, and works every time
if followed in the order shown.  Wireless router manuals could be
written in a similar style, but rarely are.

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I needed the rant...



--
Jeff Liebermann    jeffl@comix.santa-cruz.ca.us
150 Felker St #D   http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060    AE6KS  831-336-2558

Re: Wireless networking quandry (noob question)



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Infortunately after an hour and a half of frustration of trying to use the
Netgear DG834G to connect with the Laptop (via a wired connection) my friend
has decided both the laptop & router are going back to Dixons (I know, I
know Dixons for crikes sake!) as soon as she can get them there.

Got it all connected and typed in the address of the router in IE and got
server not found/DNS error. Used CMD>ipconfig /all and the DHCP address is
listed but doesn't want to connect. The 'troubleshooting' guide for the
laptop was horrendous (didn't mention what you did when this happens) and
there was no troubleshooting guide on the CD that came with the
router/modem.

I think somethings telling me to keep away from networking - I'll build the
PC but peeps are on there own if they want to use more than one ;o)

BillL



Re: Wireless networking quandry (noob question)


Thats a bit extreme.

If the laptop got a DHCP address then it can obviously communicate with
the Netgear.

Perhaps it didnt get an address and the cable was wrong.

what address did it list ?

was it 192.168.x.y or 169.x.y.z ?

post the ip of the router and the laptop.

Dixons ? You are in the UK ?? I could do with a bit of work :-)



Re: Wireless networking quandry (noob question)



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The address of the router is 192.168.0.1.  to be honest I haven't recorded
the IP address of the laptop but there is another address listed which is
192.168.0.2. I wont have time to do anything with it today so I'll have to
leave it for a day at least.

BillL



Re: Wireless networking quandry (noob question)


wrote:

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The current crop of Netgear routers are some of the easiest I've found
to setup.  The Wizard is a bit obnoxious, but has guessed correctly so
far every time I've tried it.  If there's a failure to deliver a
useable DHCP address, it almost always involves a wiring issue or that
the router has been previously setup (i.e. store return) and not at
defaults.  Try checking the cables and using the reset button.  Look
at the lights to make sure you have a proper connection.

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Nope.  Computah networking is easy.  Doing support by remote control,
via a 3rd party, with no numbers to work with, is what's difficult.


--
Jeff Liebermann    jeffl@comix.santa-cruz.ca.us
150 Felker St #D   http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060    AE6KS  831-336-2558

Re: Wireless networking quandry (noob question)


"Nope.  Computah networking is easy.  Doing support by remote control,
via a 3rd party, with no numbers to work with, is what's difficult. "

At least Bill told us the stuff was bought at Dixons :-)


Re: Wireless networking quandry (noob question)



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That's the interesting bit - my mate paid the guy who sold her the stuff to
come round and set it up, guess what he got it working!! The only thing he
did is switch Norton security on (I'd switched off all the firewall SW -
figured this would just have caused problems?) and this seemed to make all
the difference.

Once the wired connection to the laptop was setup it was simply a matter of
unplugging the lan cable, entering the ISP details and away she went :o)

BillL



Re: Wireless networking quandry (noob question)


how much did she pay him ?

curious to know the going rate as I could do with some homers.


Re: Wireless networking quandry (noob question)



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I'm not really sure if its the going rate but it was 20 (he was around for
about 30 minutes). I've seen various rates quoted by people posting on
'general' news groups ranging from 14 to 20 per hour. I've thought about
it my self but only offering syware/trojan/virus removal or hardware
installs (not networking - oh no! ;o) for some beer money etc.

BillL



Re: Wireless networking quandry (noob question)


nice work. does he advertise in the local paper or yellow pages ?


Re: Wireless networking quandry (noob question)



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No my mate just went into Dixons and said she was having problems getting
the router/modem connected to the laptop (wireless or wired) so he popped
out. He did mention him and some mates had talked about setting up a
business but nothing has happened so far.

BillL



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