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  PC-Net's PC News - August 2002
Don Watkins

Installing Network Protocols

By Don Watkins



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.

Getting Started

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.

Using Protocols

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 protocol manually.

Installing a Protocol

Installing a Protocol

To install a protocol module, Click the Add button to display the Select Network Component  dialog box.

Select the Component Type

Next select the component type which would be a protocol and click the Add button.

Select a Protocol

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.

Using TCP/IP

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 setup.

Setting TCP/IP Properties

Open 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.

Understanding IP Addresses

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.

Assigning IP Addresses

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.


 Enter a Subnet Mask

Next you'll want to enter a sub-net mask. Enter This number specifies which bits of the IP address identify the network and which bits identify the computer. The value 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 message area 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:

ping 192.168.1.xx

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 that machine.

Have fun networking!

Until next time best in computing.

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