Wireless Router Installation
Setting up and securing a wireless router in your office is something anyone can do. Here, we’ll take you step-by-step through the physical installation and setup of a wireless router.
Start by disconnecting the device that is currently connected to your cable or DSL modem. If you don’t already have a network, this is likely a PC. If you’re upgrading a network, this is likely the old router.
Power off your cable or DSL modem.
Run an Ethernet cable from the cable or DSL modem to the router’s WAN (wide-area network) port. Note that it’s best to locate a wireless router in the middle of a home or office, if possible, so that the signal will reach all of your devices. To move the router, you may need to move the cable or DSL modem, or locate a stretch of Ethernet cable that’s long enough to reach the spot where you want to place the wireless router.
Connect one end of an Ethernet cable to the LAN port on the router and connect the other end to a PC with a wired Ethernet connection, because you’ll need a wired connection to access and configure the wireless router.
Attach the power adapter to the router, and plug the power adapter into a wall outlet. In some cases, you may also need to switch the router on. Also, you can now power on your cable or DSL modem. Wait a minute or two until both the router and modem have booted up.
Turn on the computer that’s connected to the router and open your Web browser. Reference the router’s users manual to find the address you need to enter to make changes to the router’s configuration. Typically, the Web address will be something similar to http://192.168.10.1. Once you open the configuration utility, you’ll need to enter a username and password, the defaults for which are generally “admin.” Note that you can (and should) change the username and password within the router’s settings, so that only you will be able to alter the router’s configuration.
You should now have access to the router’s configuration utility. Start by setting up your Internet connection with the information that was provided by your ISP. Many routers offer a setup wizard area; from here you can click through the most common options to quickly configure your router. After you’ve entered the data, you’ll likely need to reboot the router for the settings to take effect.
Most routers begin broadcasting a Wi-Fi signal by default, but you’ll want to alter the settings with a network name and password that’s known only to employees and guests. To protect your network, it’s wise to encrypt it. Typically, these settings should be listed under a Wi- Fi or wireless settings area where you’ll change the network name. To change the network name, look for the SSID Service Set Identifier) field. Enter the name of the network you prefer, such as your business’s name or something that will help employees easily figure out what network they should join. As an extra security measure, consider setting the system so that it does not broadcast the SSID, in which case your employees (or family) will have to manually enter the name when they (or you) set up their computers to connect to the wireless network.
Next, configure the network’s encryption protocol. There are three common encryption standards: WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access), or WPA2. WPA2 is generally considered the strongest encryption method, and WPAPSK (pre-shared key) allows you to use a memorable password, rather than a long, random string of numbers and letters. To set up Wi-Fi encryption, choose the standard you want to use and enter the password into the available fields. Whatever you choose, come up with a good way to remember the network name and key or write it down (keep it in a secure location if you do so) to make it easy to give it to employees and important clients who need Wi-Fi access.
Now, you should be able to see and access the network on your office computers. If service still seems to be spotty or slow, check with your employees about what Web applications they are using during the workday. For example, video conferencing or social networking tools occasionally take up extra bandwidth, although they can be useful for meeting and interacting with clients and customersremotely.
Windows Home Server
Windows Home Server (WHS) is meant for your family needs or for use in a home or small office. It allows you to centralize your important documents and digital media files on one box and provides easy access from other machines on your network. It has the ability to backup 10 computers and restore them if needed. It acts as a media server, backup solution, data recovery, document management, and allows you to access what you need from anywhere there is a web connection. Using a personalized website address, it lets you securely download and upload your data files.
Windows Home Server Features:
Your life has gone digital – it is time to simplify your life so you can easily access your files, photos, videos, and music from any PC or TV in your home, or even while away from home. Windows Home Server was designed for households and small business owners that have more than one personal or office computer. If you have multiple PCs with increasingly large amounts of digital photography, music, video, and documents, then protecting, organizing, and connecting this digital media can be a challenging task.
- Store and Share Digital Files
With Windows Home Server as your media server, store all your photos, movies, and more in a central location that can be accessed from any computer on your home network. And Windows Home Server uses a familiar interface that integrates with all your family’s home PCs, making it even easier to find digital media.
- Back up and Restore Files and PCs
Windows Home Server helps keep your family’s important files safe by automatically making an image-based daily backup of every computer on your network. Your files and folders are duplicated across multiple hard drives, so even if one hard drive fails, you can still recover all your data.
- Access Your Data Anywhere
Windows Home Server enables you to easily and more securely access your files and personal computers from inside and outside of your home. Using a personalized website address you can download and upload files to the shared folders on your home server.
- Increase Your Storage Capacity
Easily increase your data storage, by adding additional internal or external hard drives of any size, and install innovative add-ins to make the most of your home network. Network support Las Vegas.
- Extent Your IT Functionality With Add-Ins
Easily increase the functionality of your Windows Home Server with an add-ins and reduce your networking support needs.
In addition, home computers running earlier versions of Microsoft Windows, and computers running Apple MacOS 10.4 and higher, can easily connect to a home server over your home network to access files and media stored in the shared folders on the home server. Network support Las Vegas done right!
Network access is more important than ever today. For example, cloud computing has made it possible to store our most important emails, documents, images, and other files on a server that we can access anywhere with Internet access. And some applications no longer include installation discs, because you’re expected to be able to download the program from the company’s Web site. As such, it can be a real pain when your network is down, slow, or unreliable.
Two of the most common failure points with networks are your router and the modem. Las Vegas Computer repair – Fortunately, the router is one of the easiest computing devices to fix. Simply turn the router off and turn it back on. This is called power cycling. Often, power cycling the router will allow it to overcome bugs that have caused it to become unresponsive. For example, the router may have had an issue where it could no longer renew its IP address or release new IP addresses for the computers on your network. Power cycling is similar to restarting your computer, in that the software inside the router is restored to a known good state. Similarly, you may need to power cycle the cable,DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), or satellite modem connected to your router to reset the device’s software. If power cycling the router or modem didn’t help, your network adapter is the next component to troubleshoot. You can use the Network Diagnostic utility built into Windows to help find the problem. The Microsoft utility can automatically enable disabled network adapters or request that the router renew your computer’s IP address. To run Network Diagnostic in Windows 7, click the Start button, select Control Panel, choose Network And Internet, and select Network And Sharing Center. Under View Your Active Networks, select the link next to Connections and click the Diagnose button. Windows will run a few tests and may attempt to reset your network adapter. If the Network Diagnostic doesn’t find anything, it’s a good idea to try and reboot your computer. With a wired connection, you’ll also want to check that the Ethernet cable running between your computer and router is firmly connected on both ends. With a wireless connection that uses a USB adapter or PC card, you should also try to remove the wireless adapter d reinsert it to see if it was loose.
My network connection drops intermittently.
There are a variety of reasons you could experience this problem, but one of the more common causes is a problem with the driver for your wired network adapter. With most computers, the wired network port is built into the motherboard, rather than an add-on card, so the manufacturer of your computer or motherboard will provide downloadable drivers for the network adapter. It’s also possible that there’s a new driver available that’s been released to fix the problem you’re currently experiencing. If your computer doesn’t include a name or model number on the exterior, you can figure out who made the motherboard by using CPU-Z (free; www.cpuid.com) from CPUID. On the CPU-Z Web site, click the download link under Download Latest Release and then click the Download Now button. When it finishes downloading, click the Run button and open the CPU-Z program. It will quickly scan the computer and tell you about the specific hardware on your computer. To find out the brand and model number of the motherboard, click the Mainboard tab and look in the Manufacturer and Model fields. Write down the motherboard manufacturer and visit the vendor’s Web site. For example, MSI’s Web site (us.msi.com) features a Downloads tab, which will link you to a page where you can enter MSI products to quickly find drivers, BIOS updates, firmware, and patches. MSI also offers a Live Update Online utility that will scan your PC for drivers and BIOS updates, so you can always keep them up-to-date. You’ll also want to check the physical network connections to see if everything is still securely connected. A connection that’s loose may explain why the connection drops intermittently. It’s possible that the cable may have a cut or kink that causes a fault in the connection. Try replacing the Ethernet cable with a new one, or one that you know works fine.
My connection is occasionally slow.
Access Your PC Remotely
It’s the nature of small businesses that owners often need to work while they are not in the office. For some, it’s a matter of needing files and programs at home. For others, it’s important to have access to office documents while on the road. Millions of office workers and business owners find a solution in remote desktop tools, which provide access to the resources of one (host) PC from another (client) PC, generally using the Internet as the conduit for connection. One of these, Microsoft’s RDC (Remote Desktop Connection), became more powerful and easier to use with the release of Windows 7. In this article, we’ll detail what RDC can do for you and show you how to use it. We’ll also help you determine if shortcomings with your current environment might not make it a practical solution. If this is the case, we’ll point you to a best-ofbreed, third-party remote tool, Go-ToMyPC (see the “Go To It” sidebar).
RDC works with a number of Windows versions, and it also works with newer Macs. However, it works most elegantly with specific configurations and not at all within certain parameters. As you’ll see, it’s more about your setup-rather than the tool itself-that might make RDC a bad candidate for your needs. To act as a host computer for RDC, a PC must be running a business edition of Windows XP/Vista/7. These are Windows XP Professional; Windows Vista Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise; and Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise. (Server versions of Windows can also act as hosts, but that’s beyond the scope of this article.) Home versions of WinXP/Vista/7 and any earlier versions of Windows can act only as clients (the PC accessing the data remotely) for RDC. We use Win7 in our examples here. Setting up RDC for truly remote (over-the-Internet rather than inside your network) access requires special router configuration. It’s not rocket science, but it does require some technical aptitude. It also leaves your PC more open to penetration, so if you are not running stringent security software, consider another option. However, if your primary need for RDC is in-network convenience-for example, to control your home office PC on a laptop from the comfort of your couch or patio, or to remotely control another PC on your office network, the process is a breeze and works beautifully. (We’ll tell you which steps you can skip below.)
RDC Benefits & Compromises
With RDC running, the remote interface literally replicates that of your host PC (at least initially), even down to the Start button and System Tray. You can then use it exactly as if you were on the host itself, running installed programs, opening and editing files, accessing USB drives and printers, and more. You can also copy or cut files from a host drive, minimize Remote Desktop (at which time your client interface reappears, and the host interface becomes an icon at the bottom of your screen), and paste the files to your client drives. On the downside, when you are running the host PC remotely, no one can access that PC. This is true even if someone is using a different user profile.
Why Protect Your Network?
Our example is just one (albeit, a worst-case) scenario that demonstrates why you need to protect your network, whether it’s your home or business, but
there are plenty of other reasons, as well. “Users expose themselves to significant risk when a network is left open,” says Zak Wood, director of global marketing for networking solutions provider TRENDnet (www.trendnet .com). “More common, however, is the use of open wireless networks by neighbors to access all kinds of Internet sites, leaving not only the owner but his/her entire network and digital data at risk. Aside from the black marks you could get by someone using your network for less-than-appropriate purposes, you’re also at risk of losing data. It doesn’t take a very experienced cybercriminal to easily gain access to your data through an open network and steal passwords, personal information, and more. For an individual, that can be calamitous— your identity could be stolen and your financial, email, and social networking accounts compromised— but it can destroy an entire business. Not only is the personal information of all the employees at risk, so is the company’s financial information. Further, if someone can gain access to your network, your company’s intellectual property and corporate secrets could be exposed; thus, even if you can recover from a financial hit, the foundation that you built your business on could effectively be gone. As an aside, if you’re traveling for business, it’s also prudent to either avoid using public Wi-Fi networks (which are, by nature, open) for anything involving sensitive data or rely on a VPN (virtual private network) connection to safely connect back to your corporate network. A VPN uses encryption and authentication to provide a sort of secure “tunnel” to your home or business network through which you can safely work, even when using public Wi-Fi. Virus removal Las Vegas done right!
Smart Computing | June 2011 p.47
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