How To Do Everything With Windows XP Home Networking- P2

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How To Do Everything With Windows XP Home Networking- P2

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  1. CHAPTER 1: Learn about Home Networks 29 Ethernet over Telephone Lines 1 Several manufacturers also sell devices to carry Ethernet over standard phone lines. These devices currently support data rates of 10 Mbps. Ill 1-15 Please purchase PDF Split-Merge on to remove this watermark.
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  3. Design Your Own Chapter 2 Home Network PleaseCopyright © 2004 by McGraw-Hill Companies. to remove this watermark. purchase PDF Split-Merge on Click here for terms of use.
  4. 32 How to Do Everything with Windows XP Home Networking How to… ■ Determine your requirements ■ Choose between wired and wireless ■ Map your physical network ■ Map your logical network ■ Create a utilization plan Y ou’ve read up on the basics of home networking, and now you’re no doubt itching to roll up your sleeves and get started putting in the system. In this chapter we will cover the planning of your network and the selection of appropriate equipment for your design. Mostly what you are going to need are a basic idea of your requirements for your network and a plan of how we are going to satisfy those requirements. We start by creating a list of all the devices you are planning to place on the network. We will determine the best way to connect them and which type of network device to use for the task. We will then map it all out so that you can refer to the plan later when you are installing your network equipment. Determine Your Requirements The first thing you need to do is make a list of all the items you are planning to connect to the network. This list is not as short these days as it once was. In addition to a list of your computers and possibly a printer or two, you can now add your home media equipment, cameras for viewing the front door or back yard, the game console, and even network devices such as storage drives or IP telephones. Some of these devices will include their own network connections; some will need optional networking devices to enable them to connect to the network. Take a look at your documentation on the device to see if it includes an Ethernet port or if it supports TCP/IP networking. List Your Computers The first devices to list are your computers. They were the first residents of networks and will continue to be the main network devices for some time yet. Create a simple list of computers by name of computer. This list can be done on your computer and Please purchase PDF Split-Merge on to remove this watermark.
  5. CHAPTER 2: Design Your Own Home Network 33 Network Attached Storage If you require centralized storage for media or document files, you can attach 2 a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device to the network. A NAS unit is simply a server optimized for file sharing. It can have one or more disk drives, providing gigabytes of storage space, and can typically be accessed by most operating systems and web browsers on the network. printed for ready reference, or it can be kept on note paper if your computer is still in a box. In most cases this will be the computer name that is configured in Windows XP. Figure 2-1 shows the Windows XP System Properties dialog box with the Computer Name tab displayed. If you have not named your computers yet, you can do so now or use a description instead. FIGURE 2-1 Computer name displayed in System Properties dialog box Please purchase PDF Split-Merge on to remove this watermark.
  6. 34 How to Do Everything with Windows XP Home Networking Change the Name of Your Computer If you still have the default computer name given to you by Windows, usually something that looks like YOUR12E2341, now would be a good time to give your computer a descriptive name: 1. Right-click My Computer and select Properties, or open the System applet in the Control Panel. 2. Select the Computer Name tab; click Change to open the Computer Name Changes dialog box. Ill 2-1 3. Enter a new computer name in the Computer Name field and click OK. 4. You will be prompted to restart your computer to complete the name change. Click OK to restart your computer. List each computer name, the operating system version it is running, whether it will be sharing any printers or files, and what type network adapter it has installed (if any). This information will be used when mapping the network and will also help determine if any additional hardware will be required to connect the computer to the network. An excerpt from the author’s device list appears in Figure 2-2. Please purchase PDF Split-Merge on to remove this watermark.
  7. CHAPTER 2: Design Your Own Home Network 35 2 FIGURE 2-2 The Author’s network device list There may be additional pertinent information about the devices you are listing. Recording this information will be helpful when you are determining how best to construct your network. This may be information such as ■ The brand of your Ethernet adapter (if known). ■ Any special notes about the device’s location in the house, such as wireless signal obstructions. ■ Any special cabling concerns, such as having solid walls, and any need for surface-mounted cable raceways. List Your Other Network Devices There may be other devices you are planning to connect to your network. An example of an additional device would be your Game Cube or a network camera. Add these devices to the list as well, keeping in mind that you will need to know where and how they will connect to the network. Plan for Future Expansions As more network-enabled devices become available, it will be necessary to extend network connections to them as well. Most new network-enabled consumer devices Please purchase PDF Split-Merge on to remove this watermark.
  8. 36 How to Do Everything with Windows XP Home Networking use wireless Ethernet to enable connectivity. This will make it simpler to get these devices added, but it makes wireless networking a must if you want to future-proof your network. If you plan to include any of these kinds of devices in your network in the future, you will want to plan now for installing wireless Ethernet. For more information on next-generation wireless devices, see the spotlight section in the center of the book. Select the Best Network Type for Your Home There are many factors that can work for or against a certain network technology. ■ Accessibility to crawl spaces or attics can dictate whether it is possible to get cables from room to room. ■ Building materials used in walls, floors, and ceilings may help determine whether radio signals can pass through them without excessive signal loss. ■ Security concerns or ease of installation may tip the scale in one direction or the other. ■ Speed may be a factor if you regularly transfer large media files from computer to computer or between your computer and your media equipment. In this section we will present some of these concerns and help you decide which technology is best for your home. Planning Cable Routes For wired Ethernet installations, it is necessary to get the cable from one room to another. There are many ways to accomplish this, and each will have to be evaluated to determine whether this type of network is feasible. The effect on the appearance of the home will also be a factor. Many of us will want to hide cables in walls, in floors, or above the ceiling. Chapter 3 will discuss many ways of getting cables into hard-to-reach places. We will discuss room-to-room cable routing techniques, ways to get cable around a room, and other tricks of the trade. Keep in mind as you read the tricks that extreme measures will be necessary only if you cannot find an effective alternative. Wireless Ethernet should be considered before you go tearing up your house unless you have a security need that prevents your considering it. Please purchase PDF Split-Merge on to remove this watermark.
  9. CHAPTER 2: Design Your Own Home Network 37 Why Building Materials Matter Building materials matter just as much in your determination of which technology to use as the construction method the builder used. Certain materials can block the 2 radio signals of wireless Ethernet. Other materials will make it very difficult to get cable where you need it. Signal Attenuation by Metallic Materials Signal attenuation is the capacity of certain types of building materials to weaken or block radio signals. Materials such as reinforced concrete, aluminum siding, metallic screens, and expanded metal lath can effectively block radio signals in the 2.4 GHz band—the frequency band used by 802.11b and 802.11g wireless Ethernet. Reinforced concrete and metal studs are used extensively in commercial buildings, apartments, and condominiums. Metal lath is used to reinforce plaster walls. If you suspect your home includes these materials, or any other material with a high metallic content, you may want to have a couple of wireless-equipped laptop-toting friends come over and test your walls. Think of the radio signal as a powerful flashlight beam that can shine through only a certain amount of material. The more dense the material, the less the beam will penetrate. Shine the beam around your place, focusing it on where the radio signal will need to go. What do you see between you and your target? Is there a concrete floor? A paneled wall? If you visualize your installation in this way, you will begin to see where you will have attenuation problems. The alternative, of course, to wireless in these circumstances would be wired Ethernet. Buildings using concrete and steel construction should have conduits and plenum spaces you might use to route your cables. Check with the building maintenance manager to see if there are any open conduits you can use. If you own your home, you may need to hire an electrician to locate or install conduits or cable raceways. Fiberglass Makes You Itchy Not to be ruled out in your evaluation of which method to use is the fact that you may have to crawl across carpets of fiberglass insulation or try to push cables through insulated wall spaces. Building materials like brick and adobe are definitely going to resist your efforts to run cable. In these environments you may have to opt for cable raceways or other surface-mount techniques. Please purchase PDF Split-Merge on to remove this watermark.
  10. 38 How to Do Everything with Windows XP Home Networking Unfortunately, some of these materials will attenuate wireless signals as well, so test your area before you invest too much in wireless technology. Security Implications for Network Selection In environments where security is a top concern, wireless Ethernet is sometimes shunned by network installers. At the end of the day, you are the one that has to rest easy knowing your data is secure. Wired Ethernet is definitely simpler to secure, as you know with certainty where is comes from and where it goes. You won’t have to take extra measures to ensure your data is secure on the network. However, as you will see in Chapter 6, there are excellent ways to secure wireless networks against all but the best-equipped crackers. Distance Criteria in Network Selection As you begin to plan for your installation, you will begin to see how far your devices are from your hub or router. Most homes will not pose a problem for distance, but it may be wise to keep in mind the effective distances of each network technology. Table 2-1 shows the transmission distances each common home network technology can achieve. Keep in mind these are for best-case scenarios. Signal attenuation will shorten your effective distance for wireless Ethernet. Cable defects can shorten your effective distance for wired Ethernet. When You Feel the Need for Speed The last aspect of network requirements we will consider in this section is speed. Some applications simply require more bandwidth than certain technologies are capable of. At 54 Mbps, 802.11g wireless Ethernet has largely closed the gap with 1 2 Network Technology Maximum Distance Maximum Speed Category 5 Wired Ethernet 328 feet (100 meters) 100 Mbps 802.11a Wireless Ethernet 50–75 feet 54 Mbps 802.11b Wireless Ethernet 300 feet 11 Mbps 802.11g Wireless Ethernet 250 feet 54 Mbps 1 Wireless network technologies are rated under perfect conditions. Real-world installations will have attenuation factors and radio frequency interference that will shorten the effective distance you can achieve. 2 Speed for wireless technologies will decrease as distance approaches maximum. At a maximum distance, it is not uncommon to see speeds as low as 1 Mbps. TABLE 2-1 Distances for Various Network Types Please purchase PDF Split-Merge on to remove this watermark.
  11. CHAPTER 2: Design Your Own Home Network 39 High-Speed Ethernet If you find 100 Mbps is not enough (you’re designing space shuttles or broadcasting High Definition Video), you may need to investigate higher-speed 2 technologies such as wired Gigabit Ethernet or even 10 Gigabit Ethernet. These technologies are still too expensive for most homeowners and are used only in corporate backbone networks and on high-performance servers and workstations. If you see yourself needing this kind of horsepower, you will probably require the assistance of a professional installer, as your cable runs need to be certified to Cat5E or Cat6 to support these speeds. 100 Mbps wired Ethernet. In fact, some wireless vendors are making 108 Mbps wireless available with proprietary channel-bonding technologies. Channel bonding leads to incompatibility problems. For more information, see the Did You Know? sidebar about channel bonding in Chapter 6. Most of the consumer wireless gear, such as cameras and media-sharing devices, uses 11 Mbps 802.11b wireless Ethernet for connectivity. If the device is designed for that speed, it will likely be effective for your needs. Keep in mind that wireless bandwidth is aggregate. This means that each device transmitting at 11 Mbps is using the full resources of your network’s access point or router when it is transmitting. When additional devices come on the air, the bandwidth available for all is reduced proportionately. If wireless is still your first choice, using 802.11g access points and routers would be a good choice for this scenario. These devices are downward- compatible with 802.11b and will have speed to spare for other devices. Create a Physical Map of Your Network To be able to visualize your network, you need to lay it all out on a map. The technique you use is less important than the planning a map will require. You may not be the type who writes things down, preferring to get out the tools and start pulling cable. I urge you to persevere with this step. It will aid you in estimating your materials, it will point out potential problems you will face, and it may be necessary if your municipality requires prints for any work of this type. Figure 2-3 shows the plan of a home’s first floor. You will see this plan again as we discuss other topics in this section. Please purchase PDF Split-Merge on to remove this watermark.
  12. 40 How to Do Everything with Windows XP Home Networking FIGURE 2-3 First floor plan of a home Sketch the Outline For visual appeal, we use computer-generated drawings in our book. You have no such restrictions. If you are comfortable drawing this on the back of an envelope, by all means, go ahead. Be sure to measure and indicate the relative positions of walls and rooms. You will be referring to this plan, as shown in Figure 2-4, when you determine your placement of equipment. Know where your network devices will be placed. If your home will have equipment on two levels, sketch both levels and indicate the relationship between the two. If you will be submitting this to a building official, they will want to know where you will be creating openings between floors. Add Your Devices to the Map After you have the general outline of your rooms, you can begin to place your network devices on the map. As you do this, you will begin to see where your networking Please purchase PDF Split-Merge on to remove this watermark.
  13. CHAPTER 2: Design Your Own Home Network 41 2 FIGURE 2-4 The multi-level floor plan challenges will be. In the house in these drawings, you can see challenges both for pulling cables and for wireless coverage. Both levels are fully finished, so pulling cable would require special tools such as special drills and fish tapes (metal or fiberglass coils that can be “fished” inside a wall to guide a cable). There is also a mass of closets and stairs in the center of the first floor. This will attenuate the wireless signal quite a bit. Only by placing our devices on the map will we see these challenges and be able to develop strategies for dealing with them. Figure 2-5 shows the plan with placement of potential network devices. As you can see, this installation calls for some flexibility for movement for a laptop computer. You can see that wireless Ethernet will play some role in this design unless we give the poor soul a 100-foot cord! Please purchase PDF Split-Merge on to remove this watermark.
  14. 42 How to Do Everything with Windows XP Home Networking FIGURE 2-5 Placing network devices Get the Numbers Right A network map will help you think in terms of distance. You will come to know how many feet your cable has to reach; how many walls your signal must penetrate. You will begin to see relationships between different network devices. You may discover that, for instance, if you move your desk you can take advantage of a wall shared with your media center in the next room. Take measurements of all your potential cable routes. Keep in mind both the amount of rise (vertical distance) and run (horizontal distance) the cable will have Please purchase PDF Split-Merge on to remove this watermark.
  15. CHAPTER 2: Design Your Own Home Network 43 to travel. The total of the two will be the required length for your cable. When you are done, you can add up all your cable lengths to determine how much cable you will require overall. 2 Visualize Your Signal If your plan begins to get a bit too ambitious for wired installation (as ours has), you will probably start to determine how to get the best wireless Ethernet signal to your network devices. Many people set up a wireless access point in the home office, put wireless adapters in each computer, and wonder why they are only getting 2.5 Mbps in the next room. When you are looking at your plan, try to spot signal blockers. These can be plasterboard walls, concrete floors, large plants, even closets full of outdoor wear. Microwaves Are Used to Transmit Data The ability of water molecules to capture microwaves is what makes a microwave oven work. The microwaves are captured by the water molecules in food and transfer their energy to the food. This is why you will be able to remove a glass plate without a hot pad after cooking. The heat was transferred only to the water- containing food. Microwave a dry pretzel sometime. It will barely get warm. But put a moist slice of bread in for a few seconds and it will burn your hand. Wireless Ethernet uses microwaves to transmit data. Any item in your house that contains water will effectively block these radio waves. This can be a large plant, a closet of wet coats, a laundry basket, even your family members. After all, we are just large bags of water as far as radio waves are concerned! Commercial installers of wireless Ethernet equipment will tell you that they have to plan for crowds when they install equipment. They will either raise the antennas above the crowd or plan for reduced range when the room fills up. Please purchase PDF Split-Merge on to remove this watermark.
  16. 44 How to Do Everything with Windows XP Home Networking Look closely at the Home Office in Figure 2-5. Right next door is the laundry. This room will contain damp clothing, large electromagnetic fields from the appliances, water pipes, and a closet for wet coats and boots. Aside from metal, water is probably the best most effective attenuator of microwaves. If I were to install a wireless access point or router in the Home Office, I would run the risk of intermittent signal loss. In addition, I would always have difficulty reaching the kitchen through what amounts to six or seven walls. Where else can I put it? Take a look up on the second floor. That is where the Writing Office is. It seems sort of off to one side, but we can play a neat trick here. If I send a Cat5 cable up the inside wall, I can run it a short distance through the attic to the center of the house, as shown in Figure 2-6. Installing a wireless access point there will shower signals down through the entire house from above. At most, each room will be getting its signal through a carpeted floor and one wall. Centering the access point will also shorten the distance any signal would have to travel. Being flexible in your placement will help you get the best coverage possible. FIGURE 2-6 Centering the wireless access point Please purchase PDF Split-Merge on to remove this watermark.
  17. CHAPTER 2: Design Your Own Home Network 45 Install Antennas to Remote Locations 2 You can install wireless networking equipment in places not served by power lines by transmitting the power over the Cat5 Ethernet cable. Power over Ethernet devices are produced by most manufacturers of wireless networking devices and are available from online retailers and select local computer stores. A special device connects to one end of the run and injects electrical current into the same cable that carries your network signal. Another connector on the other end pulls the power off the cable and makes it available to power the network device. If you find it impossible to route your network cable and power to a remote location, you can also purchase extension cables and remote antennas for your access point. These allow you to place the antenna a short distance away from your wireless device to get better placement. Create a Logical Map of Your Network A map of your physical layout and network device placement is intended to help you visualize the scope of your wired or wireless installation. A physical map will deal with actual device placement and cabling, while a logical map will assist you with the setup and configuration of your devices once they have been connected to the network. Once again, it is not necessary to create a piece of art suitable for framing here. You mainly need a good idea of how the various devices are connected to the network and, by extension, to each other. You also need a way to keep a record of their addresses or other configuration information. An ink sketch of the devices and their connections to each other is sufficient. You can fill in the addresses when you have assigned them. Determine the Placement of Concentrators When you have determined which type of network you are going to install, you will place the appropriate concentrators (hubs or switches) at the center of your network. Since this is merely a logical map, it is sufficient to arrange your devices in Please purchase PDF Split-Merge on to remove this watermark.
  18. 46 How to Do Everything with Windows XP Home Networking FIGURE 2-7 A diagram of our devices using wireless networking technology a semicircle around your concentrator. As you develop the logical design, you will fine-tune the placement of your physical devices. The concentrator will form the focal point of your network. Each device will connect directly to the concentrator, either with cable or via wireless connection. Figure 2-7 shows the network we are designing using wireless Ethernet. For wired networks, you will need to provide “home runs” for your devices to the central switch or hub. A home run is an unbroken length of cable from a device or its wall plate to the main wiring location. As you begin to see the requirements for cable runs, you may decide to adjust the placement of your concentrator in the home. It does not need to be in the office; it can even be in a closet if that is the most efficient place for it. Feel free to move back and forth between your physical map and your logical map as you see the need to make adjustments. Figure 2-8 shows our devices connected by cables. Note the laptop and televisions are still using wireless. In this situation, it would be better to choose a hybrid of wired and wireless connectivity, as the laptop would lose its mobility with cabled Ethernet and the media-sharing devices are designed specifically for wireless Ethernet. Please purchase PDF Split-Merge on to remove this watermark.
  19. CHAPTER 2: Design Your Own Home Network 47 2 FIGURE 2-8 The same network devices using wired Ethernet Create a Network Utilization Plan By now, we have placed all of our equipment except for the cable/DSL modem. The concentrator (router or gateway in this case) or its antenna is planned for the upstairs hallway, each device has its physical location mapped, and we know how we plan to extend connectivity to it. For the actual execution of the cabling plan, we will refer to Chapter 3 for wired Ethernet or Chapter 4 for wireless Ethernet. All that remains for now is to decide how these devices will interact. Do we want kids to store their homework on the Home Office computer? Will any of the PCs be tapping into the media sharing network? Will all computers have Internet access? As we answer these questions, we will be forming our plan for implementation of the peer-to-peer networking features of Windows XP, and for control of the Internet access settings of the Internet Gateway. When we cover installation of networking features in the next two chapters, we will cover basic setup of these services. Please purchase PDF Split-Merge on to remove this watermark.
  20. 48 How to Do Everything with Windows XP Home Networking Most Homes Use Peer-to-Peer Networks Most home networks will employ a peer-to-peer or workgroup logical configuration. This type of network allows each computer to control access to its own files and printers. Each computer controls security for its own resources, and there is no central administration. This is opposite to what you will see in most corporate networks. These larger networks will employ centralized access controls and will be controlled by a central administrator. Networks of this type are known as domain or directory networks. Please purchase PDF Split-Merge on to remove this watermark.
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