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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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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 Tips From the PracticallyNetworked Forums

In the Practically Networked Discussion Forum Highlights we take a look at some of our members' computer and networking questions and provide you with an easy-to-digest overview of several ongoing or resolved networking issues.

Up for discussion this week is advice on LAN reconnect issues and using batch files with the "net use" command to keep mapped drives and printers. Other topics being discussed include how to troubleshoot browser disconnects on a wireless network, as well as technical-how to tips that lead to an interesting discussion on the security risks associated with adding a public hotspot to a business LAN.

The Practically Networked Forums Spotlight highlights several of the most active or interesting topics from the more than 27,000 posts in the Practically Networked forums. From here you can follow the links to each discussion of interest to offer your own advice, or to ask your own question to our forum members if you are in need of a little networking assistance.

Practically Networked Forum Statistics For October 29, 2007
Threads: 8,022
Posts: 27,134
Registered Members: 10,845

Our Last Count - October 15, 2007
Threads: 7,998
Posts: 27,050
Registered Members: 10,788

This Week's Highlighted Topics

Practically Networked Forums > Practically Networked > Wireless Networks

Thread:  LAN Reconnect

Forum member bhm22mc says they have sales associates coming in and out of the office, and plugging laptops into a Linksys G. For some reason  the mapped drives and printers don't come back automatically. Bhm22mc asks other forum members for details on reconnecting to the LAN. Forum members suggest using batch files and also point out an excellent online resource for using batch files to get tasks done quickly.

Hi All. I have salesman coming in and out of the office. When they power on their laptops they hook into the Linksys_g without a problem, but their mapped drives and printers don't come back automatically. They can double click the "disconnected network drive" and it re-connects but not the printer(s). I have to map the printers because our main app still uses LPT(*) mapping.

Any help appreciated,

You might consider a batch file with the "net use" command combinations.
Any good links for creating "batch files"? I'm new at that. Thanks for the reply.
Microsoft TechNet: Using Batch Files in Windows NT
"In this article, I'll discuss the use of batch files and how they can help you get many tasks done quickly."

Practically Networked Forums > Practically Networked > Wireless Networks
Thread: (RON) Dropping browser connections

Forum member ronzz1 says they have WPA on their wireless network, but for whatever reason, the laptop has suddenly started dropping browser connections. This happens with several browsers, and even after a network card driver update. Several forum members are able to offer ronzz1 some suggestions as to why the browser connection can drop.

I have WPA security on my wireless network, and just a couple days ago, my laptop suddenly began dropping browser connections. I've tried IE, Firefox, and Opera. My laptop is a Toshiba Satellite. I downloaded the latest drivers for my network card, with no improvement. Any suggestions?
Run a Constant ping test from your cmd prompt (start -> run -> cmd -> ping *gateway IP address here* -t) to see if its the browser that's dropping or the actual internet connection.

Try moving your laptop closer to the router and see if the connection still drops. save your router settings to a .cfg file and update firmware (then re-apply the .cfg file so its the same). you will need to do this from a wired computer to the router.

(Related forum discussions with useful advice)

PN Antenna Extension Thread

Encryted Connection not holding Thread

Wireless connection intermittently dying

SMC 2835 Disconnection Problem


If this is a Linksys router, it is possible to be too close, also. If so, you would probably want to be at least 5'-6' away. It sounds dumb, but it makes a difference.
A correct channel/antenna (combination) will yield a result that does not compromise distance coverage performance, if needed.

Practically Networked Forums > Practically Networked > Routers/Hardware

Thread:  Internal shares safe/separate from hotspot?

Forum member CruelSun wants to add public wireless access to a lobby area some distance away from a secured business wireless to provide Internet access and file sharing to his small business. While our forum members are able to offer the technical advice to do this, it comes with a very strong warning -  mixing a business LAN with public access is not generally advised as it introduces new security issues that need to be considered.

I have a cable modem connected to a Linksys WRV200 to provide internet access and file sharing to my small business. The business wireless is secured. I would like to add public wireless access to a lobby area some distance away from the WRV200. Due to the construction/layout of the building, a separate WAP would have to be installed near the Lobby area.

How can I add public wireless without allowing access to my network shares or otherwise compromising the security of my business LAN?

It is not really advisable to mix a business LAN with public access. Whilst it is possible to configure such setups for security you would always be at risk. Far better to install a separate internet service for your public users.
Agreed on all counts, but If I can avoid the additional monthly expense of a second cable modem, I can live with a reasonable amount of risk. How would you accomplish this task if it was not feasible to install a separate internet service?
It is problematic to achieve at a low cost with a single ISP since it requires more equipment. You should not mix business wireless users with public wireless users connecting to the same WRV200.

As an example in the configuration below the existing WRV200 could be used to provide the 'business firewall -> business wired/wireless AP'. The 'gateway (router/switch)' could be a 2nd WRV200 with the 'public AP' a Linksys WRE54G WirelessG Range Expander .

ISP -> gateway (router/switch) -> business firewall -> business wired/wireless AP. ISP -> gateway (router/switch) -> public AP.

If I understand your example, I would install a new router (R#1) to the cable modem, then connect the existing WVR200(R#2) to one port of R#1, and a new (public) WAP to another port of R#1.

ISP -> Router1 -> Router2 ->(business Wired/Wireless LAN)
ISP -> Router1 -> WAP (Public hotspot)

  • Does this require any special configuration on R#1?
  • Does this require any change to the configuration of R#2?
  • I guess I should assign a static IP to the R#2 WAN side, as I will have to forward some ports from
  • Would it enhance security between the LAN segments to set each Router's Lan side IP scope differently (,

An Afterthought...
Would this example work as well, and keep the business LAN safe without the added complexity and latency of being two routers deep?

ISP -> Router1 -> (business Wired/Wireless Lan using
ISP -> Router1 -> Router2 ->WAP (Public hotspot using

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