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Wireless LAN Woes

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Wireless LAN Woes

Hi there. I have ventured into the world of wireless networking, with the two PCs in our flat. The first PC (XP Home SP1) has a 3Com Wireless Router connected via RJ45, and my PC (XP Pro SP2), the second PC, has a Belkin PCI Wireless card. All was good, and we connected to our ISP, my card recognised the wireless network and we can surf happily. The only problem we have got is setting up a LAN between the two of us (to access files, printers etc).

The network wizard I am using is the wireless network wizard is pretty much useless. Can anyone provide a simple walkthrough on how to go about putting us on a network? Is it just a case of going throught the normal network wizard (not the wireless one) and both of us having the same workgroup and giving each other a name. We can turn off all firewalls, so things like that shouldn't be a problem. The confusing part is the WAP/WEP encryption and things like MAC addresses and SSIDs. When I have networked before it has never been that complicated. literally the computers have just appeared on the Network Places. Can anyone offer any advice or help? Thanks in advance!
2 REPLIES
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Wireless LAN Woes

The reason for the complication is security.

With a wired network, you had two systems and a peice of wire. You knew exactly which network you where joining, because you knew which network your wire was plugged into.

With wireless, you could have multiple networks near by, all capable of being joined. SSID is the network identifier, so you can tell much of those multiple network you'r joining is correct.

MAC addresses are the network hardware address. Networks don't just comprise of internet based connections, but they do comprise of a network level address system. MAC is this. As extra security, you can tell you access point, it should only accept certain MAC addresses. That way, only specificly authorised clients can connect.
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Wireless LAN Woes

Are you running a firewall on your computer that is connected directly to the internet? If so what program? With a firewall you can surf the net on the distant computer but you won't be able to do much else. On norton's firewall you have to configure the firewall to allow all local connections so they can see each other. 192.168.0.1 thru 192.168.255.255 is the range of IP's need to be allowed. If you want to secure it better then assign a fixed IP to your second computer and setup norton to allow only that one IP full access. In my experience a fixed IP gives the best chances of seeing each other. Pretty simple if you need help there just reply.

A few other things to check is your IP and make sure you can ping each PC. You can check your IP address by opening a command prompt; Start menu> RUN>cmd and type c:\ipconfig. You'll be given your ip and subnet for that computer. Then on the other computer using the command prompt again c:\ping 000.000.000.000 of course replace the 000 with the ip of the opposite computer. If you don't have norton I can't really help you there. You can always disable the firewall though it's not recommended.

Windows XP should automatically have a shared folder on it called Shared Documents when you ran the network wizard. If not, it's best to share a folder for the computers to see each other. Reply if you need help there.

Sometimes XP just won't see each other when your browsing through Windows Explorer. So you'll have to try and search for the other computer. Go into windows explorer and click the search button and select to search for "Computers or People" then search for the other computer's name. It should come up then so you can share files.

XP's Wireless Zero Config program is rather lacking. But you should setup a shared key using a HEX type key (0-9 & A-F) and a SSID (Service Set IDentifier). 1a2b3c4d5e is a simple key and just use a SSID (AKA wireless network name) on both computers named the same i.e. WIRELESS_1. Page 4 on this PFD shows you how to set up the zero config program http://www.buffalotech.com/wireless/_SUPPORT/guides/WLICBG54A_QSGa.pdf

Good luck!