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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.

• Do It Yourself: Roll Your Own Network Cables
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.

• Tips for Securing Your Home Router
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.

  Most Popular Reviews

• 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.

• Iomega StorCenter Network Hard Drive
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.

Supercharge Your Wireless Broadband Router

The Linksys WRT54G line of wireless broadband routers and its competitors, may be the bargain of the 21st century when combined with DD-WRT — Broadcom-chip-based open source firmware.

by Carla Schroder

Looking to supercharge your cheap blue box? The Linksys WRT54G line of wireless broadband routers and its competitors, may be the bargain of the 21st century when combined with DD-WRT — Broadcom-chip-based open source firmware.

The bargain of the century is the Links WRT54G line of wireless broadband routers and its many rivals: Buffalo WHR-G54S, ASUS WL-520g, Belkin F5D7230-4 and others. These little four-port boxes will set you back less than $100, and some are even less than $50. On their own, they're not much to get excited about — they're just inexpensive, consumer-oriented broadband routers with fair-to-middling firmware. But you can turn your cheapie box into a $500 powerhouse by replacing the stock firmware with DD-WRT.

DD-WRT is Broadcom-chip-based open source firmware written for 802.11g wireless routers. Although it's designed to fit on dinky devices with as little as 4 megabytes of storage and 16 megabytes RAM, it's a feature-filled powerhouse. Among its many capabilities include the following:

  • Name services
  • Dynamic DNS support
  • NTP timeserver
  • QoS Bandwidth Management
  • SNMP
  • SIP Proxy
  • VLAN
  • Wireless hotspot
  • WPA/TKIP with AES, and EAP (translation: meaningful WPA2 wireless security)
  • OpenVPN client and server

And, of course, bales of more useful stuff. DD-WRT comes in several free-of-cost editions with different features. Commercially supported versions are available as well. The commercial edition has additional features, like per-user bandwidth control and PPPOE-Relay. The developers will also contract for custom work.

Be sure to follow the installation instructions carefully when installing DD-WRT for the first time, to avoid the possibility of bricking your router. Visit for all kinds of how-tos and links to supported devices.

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