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• Microsoft Vista Home Networking Setup and Options
The most daunting part of upgrading to Windows Vista may be trying to figure out where in the layers of menus the networking and file-sharing options are hidden.

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It may not be something you do everyday, but having the supplies and know-how to whip up a network cable on the spot can be very handy.

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Seemingly minor and easily overlooked settings can still have profound security implications. Here are some steps you can take to make sure your wired or wireless home router and by extension, your network is as secure as possible.

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• Microsoft Windows Home Server
If you have a home network, you'll welcome the easy file sharing, remote access and the image-based backup features of Windows Home Server.

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Iomega's fourth generation StorCenter Network Hard Drive brings many of the features found in higher-end storage devices down to an attractive price.

• MikroTik's The Dude
This free tool delivers many of the same capabilities that you'd find in pricey network monitoring tools. As long as you don't mind tinkering, The Dude is a decent network utility that should be worth the download.



Networking Notes: Netgear's Storage Central Goes Turbo

The network-connected two-drive storage device brings — in addition to 'turbo' speed — SATA disks, Gigabit Ethernet and disk mirroring. Plus: the latest in 802.11n, iPhone mania rages on and more.

Networking Notes

Hardware

Netgear announced worldwide availability of the Storage Central Turbo (SC101T). The original SC101 was released in the fall of 2005 and provided a network-connected two-drive storage device that proved popular among consumer and SOHO users. The new "turbo" version brings SATA disks, Gigabit Ethernet and disk mirroring to the mix. Password security is also available for the volumes provided by the device.

Suggested retail price is $199, and it requires Windows 2000 SP4 or later systems. Non-Windows users will want to show some care: The device is network connected, but it requires Windows-only drivers for client access.

QuickerTek on Monday introduced the nQuicky PCI, a PCI 802.11n expansion card for Power Mac systems using G3, G4 or G5 processors. Suggested retail price is $149.95. QuickerTek provides a number of 802.11n upgrades for older Macs, including USB adapters for iBooks, and internal cards with installation kits for iMacs, Macbooks and Mac minis.

Marvell announced 802.11n Draft 2.0 certification for its TopDog line of WLAN products. Marvell's chipsets drive a number of consumer devices including Netgear, D-Link and Gateway.

"We commend Marvell for achieving Wi-Fi certification for TopDog," said Wi-Fi Alliance managing director Frank Hanzlik in a statement. "Having met the rigorous requirements for Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 802.11n draft 2.0 is quite an accomplishment, and reflects Marvell's commitment to interoperable, protected next-generation Wi-Fi technology." Take a drink!.

A converged Wi-Fi Blackberry received FCC approval late last week. The new device offers 802.11a/b/g networking as well as traditional GSM/EDGE connectivity. Reports indicate it could work with either AT&T or T-Mobile's mobile networks. A Q4 release seems likely.

Software

iPhone mania proceeds apace, with JiWire announcing an iPhone-optimized (read: skinned) version of its Wi-Fi Finder directory.

Linux kernel 2.6.22 was released, reportedly representing the largest collection of changes to the 2.6 kernel's codebase since its release. Most notable to networkers, a brand new wireless stack:

"WiFi vendor Devicescape donated the new 2.6.22 wireless stack to the Linux kernel, which adds 802.11g support and improved quality of service support for VoIP prioritization."

Connectivity

Earthlink announced the availability of "Freestanding DSL." Sometimes referred to as "dry-pair DSL," what Earthlink's offering is a way to get a DSL connection without first having a live voice connection through the local phone company.

Introductory prices for the new service start at $14.95 for a 1.5Mbps connection and $19.95 for a 3Mbps connection, but at the six month mark change to $40 and $45 respectively, with a $150 early termination fee. The initial offering is available in Verizon territory, including parts of California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington state, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia and Wisconsin.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project released its Home Broadband Adoption Report for 2007. Internetnews.com relates that "Pew's latest research shows 47 percent of Americans have a high-speed connection at home, compared to 42 percent in early 2006 and 30 percent in 2005. After exhibiting relatively strong growth between early 2005 and early 2006, home broadband adoption in 2006-2007 grew at its slowest rate in recent years."

Finally, this week the Associated Press released its own connectivity report (of a sort) indicating that "guests just expect Wi-Fi at KOAs," the large chain of commercial campgrounds. KOA's happy to oblige, with a directory of its Wi-Fi-enabled sites.

If hyper-chlorinated pools and tenting in the shade of road behemoths that consume your monthly mortgage payments in gas each day aren't to your taste, get your own RV and consider the more expansive list of free RV park Wi-Fi hotspots at WiFiFreeHotspot.com.

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