Saturday, December 8, 2012

How to setup & configure a fast, secure, organized and efficient home network


Setting up a computer network depends on a number of requirements such as speed, security, efficiency, cost, application, etc. A business computer network may have several workstations, file servers, mail servers, print servers, VPN servers, DHCP servers, Hubs, Bridges, Switches, Routers, etc. An efficient network is one in which speed is achieved while maintaining a reasonably high level of network security in a cost-effective pricing of network component hardwares and softwares.

A seemingly complicated business enterprise model network may have lots of interconnected devices but it is built upon a simple basic configuration.

The setup and configuration below is based on a home network of 5 components:
   
1. D-LINK DI-524 (802.11g/2.4GHz Wireless Router) --------------------> Gateway

2. Dell Desktop (Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 2) ---> File Server

3. Asus Laptop (Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 2) ----> Mobile PC

4. Toshiba Laptop (Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium) -------------> Mobile PC

5. Cables (Ethernet, Coaxial) ----------------------------------------> Connectors & for Data Transfer


In the simple basic home network above, the following are achieved:

SECURITY


* broadcasting of SSID is disabled (with the wireless setting for the Access Point SSID Broadcast set to "Disabled", a nearby neighbour is prevented from discovering your network)

* WPA-PSK Security setting (new models of routers have WPA2 security type and AES encryption type which are the latest technology for wireless security)

* strong hard-to-guess, carefully chosen passwords are essential for better secured networks

* DHCP IP Addresses are limited to two (knowing beforehand that there are only two laptop computers and setting the Starting and Ending IP addresses so that the router is only allowed to supply 2 IP Addressess, thereby lessening the probability of access from potential sniffers to your wireless home network)

SPEED, MOBILITY, EFFICIENCY


* Speed is achieved because the router doesn't have to choose dynamically from 100 IP Addresses (under DHCP Server, the D-Link Router has by default Starting IP Address 192.168.0.100 and the Ending IP Address 192.168.0.199, by controlling these limits, it can only be restricted to give access to two client computers)

* Mobility is achieved by setting the two laptops with Dynamic (DHCP) IP Addresses instead of Static IP Addresses [for a network administrator in a business enterprise network, setting the mobile laptops with DHCP IP Addresses instead of Static IP Addresses has the advantage of easy management and maintenance while offering the flexibility of the laptop users to access a different subnet within the business network and thereby minimizing downtime for administrator setup in case the users move from one department to another department]

* Efficiency and Organization is achieved by setting the File Server with a Static IP Address so that its address is fixed, readily available to everyone on the network to be easily accessed


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How to disable SSID Broadcast of your Home Network


1. Open an Internet Explorer browser

2. Type in the address bar http://192.168.0.1 and press Enter

3. Type the user name and password for the admin

Fig. 1

4. Click the "Wireless" button on the left

5. Under Wireless Settings, SSID Broadcast: select Disabled

6. Click Apply

Fig. 2

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How to manually connect to a wireless network with SSID Broadcast disabled (Windows Vista)


1. Click Start ---> Control Panel

2. Under Network and Internet, click "View network status and tasks"

fig

3. Under Tasks, click "Set up a connection or network"

fig

4. Under Choose a connection option, click "Manually connect to a wireless network"

5. Click Next

fig

6. Under Enter information for the wireless network you want to add,

Network name: Enter the Name of the Network you want to connect to

Security type: Select WPA2-Personal (this is the latest technology in wireless security, most secure system)

Encryption type: Select AES

Security key/Passphrase: Enter the network password

Put a Check: Start this connection automatically

Put a Check: Connect even if the network is not broadcasting (this is important! Don't forget to tick this)

7. Click Next

fig

8. Under Successfully added "NameOfNetwork", Click Close

fig

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How to manually connect to a wireless network with SSID Broadcast disabled (Windows XP)


1. Click Start ---> Control Panel

2. Double click Network Connections

fig

3. Under LAN or High-Speed Internet, click "Wireless Network Connection"

fig

4. On the left, under Network Tasks, click "Change settings of this connection"

fig

5. Under Wireless Network Connection Properties, click Wireless Networks tab

fig

6. Under Preferred Networks, click Add

fig

7. Under Wireless Network Properties on the "Association" tab

Network name (SSID): Enter the name of the Network you want to connect to

Network authentication: select WPA-PSK (if WPA2 is available in the drop-down list, select WPA2, this is the latest improvement on wireless network security system, hence most secure option)

Data encryption: select AES

Network key: Enter the wireless network password

Confirm network key: Reenter the wireless network password

fig

8. On the Connection tab, under Automatic connection, make sure

"Connect when this network is in range" is checked

9. Click Ok

fig

10. Under Preferred Networks, check to see that the Network (Automatic) has been added in the box

11. Click Ok

fig

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How to set the Security Type and Password Protect your Home Network


1. Open an Internet Explorer browser

2. Type in the address bar http://192.168.0.1 and press Enter

3. Type the user name and password for the admin

Fig. 1

4. Click the "Wireless" button on the left

5. Under Wireless Settings, Security: select WPA-PSK

6. Supply a strong excellent Passphrase or password and confirm

7. Click Apply

Fig. 3

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How to limit the DHCP IP Address Range of the Router (D-Link DI-524) in your Home Network


1. Open an Internet Explorer browser

2. Type in the address bar http://192.168.0.1 and press Enter

3. Type the user name and password for the admin

Fig. 1

4. Click "DHCP" button on the left

When you bought your D-Link DI-524 Router, it has been pre-configured by default to assign dynamic (temporary) ip addresses from a range of 100, that is why you see the last 3 digits of the Starting IP Address 100 and the Ending IP Address 199 (this means that the Router can assign 192.168.0.100, 192.168.0.101, 192.168.0.102, 192.168.0.103, and so on, 192.168.0.198, up to 192.168.0.199 being the last, for a total of a hundred temporary or dynamic ip addresses)

Fig. 4

5. To limit the IP Range only to two, edit the last 3 digits of the Starting IP Address 100 and the Ending IP Address 101

6. Click Apply

Fig. 5

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How to configure the Router to assign Static DHCP IP Address and Setup the File Server computer & DNS Server to obtain Static IP Addresses


1. Properly connect the Ethernet network cable from the Router to the Server computer

2. Click Start --> Run

3. Type cmd

4. Press Enter

fig

5. In the Windows prompt,

Type "ipconfig /all"

Obtain the following information,

Windows IP Configuration:

Host name ---> Server name

Ethernet adapter: Integrated Controller (Network Interface Card, NIC)

Physical address ---> Server MAC address

IP Address ---> Server IP Address

Subnet mask ----> 255.255.255.0

Default Gateway (Router) ---> 192.168.0.1

DNS Servers ---> 192.168.0.1

fig

6. Open an Internet Explorer browser

7. Type in the address bar http://192.168.0.1 and press Enter

8. Type the user name and password for the admin

Fig

9. Click DHCP at the bottom left

10. Set the DHCP Server to "Disabled" (to prevent IP Reserver Error from the Router)

11. Set Static DHCP to "Enabled"

12. From the information taken from "ipconfig /all",

- Type the Server name

- Type the Server IP Address

- Server MAC Address

13. Click Apply

fig

14. The Router responds with a message

"The device is restarting..."

15. Press Continue

fig

16. Under Static DHCP Client List, you should see below the

Host name ---> Server name (this is the name of the File Server Computer)

fig

17. Set the DHCP Server to "Enabled"

18. Set the Static DHCP to "Enabled"

19. When both the DHCP Server and Static DHCP are set to "Enabled", click Apply

fig

20. When everything is done correctly, you should see:

Static DHCP Client List ---> Server

Dynamic DHCP Client List ---> Laptop 1 and Laptop 2

fig

21. Start ---> Control Panel ---> Double click "Network Connections"

fig

22. Under LAN or High-Speed Internet, click "Local Area Connection"

fig

23. Under Network Tasks, click "Change settings of this connection"

24. Under Local Area Connection Properties, on the "General" tab, find and click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) from the drop-down list

25. Click Properties

26. Click the Radio Button to "Use the following IP Address:"

from the information taken from ipconfig /all,

IP Address: type the Server IP Address

Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0

Default gateway: 192.168.0.1

27. Under Use the following DNS Server addresses

Preferred DNS Server: 192.168.0.1

Alternate DNS Server:

28. Press Ok

29. Under Local Area Connection Properties, on the "General" tab, Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) ---> click Ok

30. This is the graphic representation diagram of your Home Network.


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