January 2002--Back when I took on
setting up a home network I covered the basics of hardware and
cable and didn't give much attention to the network protocol aspect.
With my update on
connection sharing I got around to updating the current
technology in that area but I still gave short shrift to the innards
of network protocol.
Don't know why I did
that but it's a oft requested feature, so let me take a swing at it
and see if we can't round out the whole process.
What You've Done
You've installed the NICs and the necessary cable
and possibly a hub and a router. I'll assume that you're not
installing a router as if you are they usually come with very good
documentation on how to set up the network protocols or at least my
Linksys router does a far better job than I could do.
Bring up the network properties window. You can do
this from the control panel or I find it easier to right click the
network icon and select properties.
You should see your newly installed NIC listed
twice; as a device and also "bound" to the TCP/IP protocol.
However one time in a million (heavy sarcasm here)
Windows doesn't do what it should and you may need to install the
Installing a Protocol
To install a protocol module, Click the Add button
to display the Select Network Component dialog box.
Next select the component type which would be a
protocol and click the Add button.
Select the Microsoft entry in the Select Network
Protocol dialog box's Manufacturers list. The Network Protocols list
then displays the protocols supplied by Microsoft with Windows 98.
I've discussed the type of protocol is use with a
number of network experts and I get several different takes. I guess
the one that I like best is "It's like a room with people in it, if
you just have a couple you can deal with a bunch of hollering
around. However if you have a room with a bunch of people a bunch of
people hollering is only going to make it impossible for anyone to
hear anybody else".
However even for the smallest networks if you're
going to be connected to the Internet you'll want to use the
protocol of the Internet; TCP/IP but I'll use NetBEUI here as it may
be something you want to try.
When you're returned to the main Network Control
Panel page you may add additional protocols or click OK. You may be
asked to provide your Windows CD-ROM and when the install process is
finished you'll be prompted to restart.
NB: Depending on the Windows updates you have
installed you may see a message asking if you want to replace
certain later files; do not replace these files. If you don't get
this message you should visit Windows updates and make sure you have
the latest service packs installed.
You can use the Windows 9x program winipcfg (click
start, run and type in winipcfg to start it).
The above image shows a fully configured TCP/IP
Setting TCP/IP Properties
Again open the network configuration box via a
right click on the network icon and by selecting properties or use
the network applet in the control panel.
Highlight the TCP/IP entry associated with your
NIC and click on the properties button.
You'll now want to assign an IP address to the
computer so it can be address on the internal network. All web sites
have an IP address but the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority has
reserved a block of IP addresses for use on internal networks.
On the IP Address page of the TCP/IP Properties
dialog box, click the Specify an IP Address radio button and enter
an address in the IP Address field. I use the 192.168 block, you can
explore the other blocks available in this case the addresses you
use should all begin with 192.168.1 as their first three numbers and
you can select any value from 1 to 255 for the fourth number. It
doesn't matter what value you choose for the fourth number as long
as all of the computers on your network have a different value. No
two computers on the same network can have the same IP address. You
could put all your IP addresses in a database, etc. but I just log
them in a notebook so I can carry it around from machine to machine.
Next you'll want to enter a sub-net mask. Enter
255.255.255.0. This number specifies which bits of the IP address
identify the network and which bits identify the computer. The value
255.255.255.0 indicates that the first three numbers of the address
(192.168.1) identify the network, and the fourth number identifies
the computer on the network. Using these addresses, you can install
up to 255 computers on your network.
You'll see other tabs for DNS and gateway, but
these are often unique to your ISP and the type of hardware you have
connecting you to the Internet. Your ISP and router documentation
should provide you with this info, but if not drop by the
and we'll figure it out.
Click OK to close the window, feed it the Windows
CD-ROM if requested and restart when prompted.
Testing It Out
Once you have a couple of machines set up click
start, run and type in command. From the command line type:
where xx is the IP address of one of the computers
you've set up. If it's working right you should see a response from
Have fun networking!