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Basic Wireless Networking with Direcway

by Matt McMillan

This article will explain how to set up a wireless network with your Datastorm system. Since my network is cross-platform, I will try to explain how to set up both Macintoshes and Windows machines. By the end of this article, hopefully you will be able to share files between your clients and the host machine whether they are Macs or Windows. Let's start with the different types of wireless devices. Each client computer will need a Wireless Network Card; there are three types of these:
  1. External- this is a separate PC network card that will plug into your laptop PC card slot.
  2. Integrated- A card that is built in to your laptop, or a PCI card that you install into your computer
  3. USB Wireless Adapter- a device that is plugged into your USB port of the computer, typically for a desktop computer
There are also two different types of Wireless Access Point boxes.
  1. Wireless Access Point- This is what we need for our network set up.
  2. Wireless Access Point w/Router- Don't go there, buy a Wireless Access Point(WAP)
Next, we have the wireless protocols. I'm going to stick with 802.11 and we have three choices
  1. 802.11a- Range is limited, about 50 feet, with speeds up to 54Mbps; devices are common now, if you choose this route I would get all devices by the same manufacturer
  2. 802.11b- Range is greater, about 150 feet, speeds up to 11Mbps; most common protocol, speed is fast enough for any internet connection. It's the one this article will concentrate on.
  3. 802.11g- Range is again about 150 feet, Speeds up to 54Mbps; it can communicate with both 802.11g and 802.11b devices. I believe 802.11g will soon be the standard for home networks.

Expect about half of advertised speed and as you move further away from your WAP and the signal strength drops so will the speed. This is one reason I recommend using a Wireless Access Point.

Now we get to what kind of network you want. Again we have a few choices.
  1. Ad Hoc- is a computer to computer network. Each computer has a Wireless Network Card and connects wireless to each other without a WAP.
  2. Infrastructure Network- a network that contains a WAP. Each computer goes through a WAP to communicate with each other. This is what this article will be about.

Let's get started. This Network is going to consist of one host PC running Windows XP, one client running Windows XP and one client running OS X on a Mac all going through a Linksys WAP11.
Setting up the host:
  1. The host is connected to the Direcway modems, it will "host" the internet connection. Click Start/All Programs/Accessories/Communications/Network Setup Wizard. The Welcome screen loads up. Click Next.
  2. After your read the Windows message, click Next. At this point you will select "This computer connects directly to the internet. The other computers on the network connect to the Internet through this computer" Then click next.
  3. At this screen XP will try to determine which connection to share. Make sure "USB Satellite Device" is checked. Click next. Check the "Let me choose the connection to my network" button and click next.
  4. We are now to the area where you choose your LAN device that allows others to connect to the internet. On the host check the box next to the Ethernet Network. (I recommend unchecking all other boxes as they will all be checked, if not it will bridge these networks together.) Click next.
  5. Enter a computer name and description, this will be seen in the Network Neighborhood or My Network Places on the other networked computers. The description is optional. Click next.
  6. Enter a workgroup name, this will be the same name on all your networked computers. The default is MSHOME, which is fine. Click next.
  7. The Wizard will display all the settings. Click next. If your Windows client is running XP check "Just finish the Wizard..." Click next
  8. When the configuration is complete, click Finish. Then you will prompted to restart your computer. Click on Yes and we'll start on the WAP and clients.

Setting up the WAP There is an excellent setup guide for the WAP11, you can view it here. Once it's configured, come back and we'll set up the clients.

Setting up the Windows Client:
  1. Install your wireless network device. Read manufacturers install instructions as various products install differently.
  2. Start the Network Wizard as we did on the host, click next till you get to the screen that asks you to choose how this computer connects to the internet. Choose "This computer connects to the Internet through another computer". Click next
  3. Choose "Let me choose the connection to my network". Click next. Choose your wireless device and click next.
  4. Pick a name and description for this computer, it must be different from the host. The description is optional. Click next.
  5. Type the name of the workgroup you used on the Host computer. Click next.
  6. The Wizard will display the settings you've chosen, click next. Choose "Just finish the Wizard..." and click next.
  7. Click Finish to exit the Wizard.
  8. In Internet Explorer, go to Tools/Internet Options and click on the Connections Tab. Click on the LAN Settings button and check the "Use a proxy..." button. Then click on the Advanced Tab and put port 83 in the HTTP: slot. Make sure there is nothing else in the other slots.

Setting up the Macintosh Client Install the Airport Card
Click on the Systems Preferences icon in the Dock Mac Configuration
Click on the Network icon Mac Configuration
Make sure Airport is in the Show: space
Under TCP/IP/ Configure make sure Using DHCP is selected
Under DNS Servers, put press the return key and add
Mac Configuration
Under the Proxies Tab check the Web Proxy (HTTP) and put in port 83 Mac Configuration
Under the Airport tab Check the Join a Specific Network and choose the network name that you have chosen on the Windows machine
Click the Apply Now button
Mac Configuration
That's it for the Mac, you should now be able to browse the web.

Use the Discussion Forums tab above, go to the networking section and post any problems. It's like having 24hr tech support.
Linksys--I'm using their WAP11 now. It's been rock solid.
Netgear-=I've used their products before, I think they're fine.
Orinoco--I'm using their Wireless cards now. Apple uses these in their base stations.
Apple--Wonderful OS, Wonderful Machines, Wireless built in.
Microsoft--There are some Microsoft branded products out there now, I'm sure they are fine as well.

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