May 07, 2006

Home Wireless Networking

I'm a DSL user and I got a modem that was a wireless router combined. This was fine for the last couple of years. However I found the wireless modem has a range of about 30 feet and it will not reach the far end of the house. Further my daughter has a computer now and I was hoping on putting her on the net in a controlable fashion (USB adapter). Same for my son who has had one of my old hand me down computers for quite a while. We also have a TiVo that I am lead to understand is great to have wireless, not to mention the X-box.... Anyway....

The current situation just wouldnt work. So I staked out a router and adapter that would fill the bill. Netgear has the RangeMax series that is awesome in range and power. I waited until the right combination of Free shipping, discounts+coupons and my employee discount at Dell and made the purchase. I bought a PCI USB card for my daughters puter as well and the Matching rangemax USB adapter. This ended up costing me around $150.00.

The next step was to disable the wireless network that was there. So I logged into the modem and shut off the wireless and went through the endless stream of settings turning off the items I thought were not needed. Unfortunatly the DHCP in the router as well (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol). My thought was the hub would handle this duty. I was 1/2 right.

Suddenly I could no longer access the web nor the router page as it dumped my IP address like so much refuse. Okay, now how to turn that back on without being able to access the router? There are no DHCP on switches so I was forced to call my ISP. As more frequently, when it comes to support, I was greeted by a rather heavy Indian accent which required a little adaptation before I could clearly understand him. In this respect the mind is amazingly adaptive. I found out two things right away. One, they are not used to anyone who has a clue calling in (I happen to have multiple clues). Two they cannot remote access a modem and turn on the DHCP.

To his creadit he recognized my 733+ (Leet or Elite) skills about 1/2 through our discussion. I do admit to getting frustraited at him NOT beliving that I already know my way around IP address and pings and whatnot. We did a modem reset and that solved the problem. Next I follow the amazingly simple instructions for setting up the wirless router (which technically is a wireless Routing Switch, but I digress). This was a far cry from the mess the old Cisco managed hubs I used to set up.

I followed the steps and got everything set up on my computer (Tina and mine will be hardwired into the hub) I log into the router and I am greeted with a request to update the firmware. So I select yes (It really did'nt seem like a BAD choice). Firmware is the software that lives inside of a device and allows it to function. Sometime that firmware has not taken into account some item or process and needs to be updated. Such was the case for Tina's DVD burner. It would not recognize DVD blank media until I updated the firmware.

Well the firmware update went wierd and then I couldnt connect to anything at all. My thought was that the Firmware download had glitched and my router was now a box of plastic. So now back to phone support and Bangalore! Either this tech spoke clearer english or my mind had retained the adaptative enzyme. We went through a series of tests to determine if I was an idiot or not. Thankfully, the tech was stumped. He put me on hold, went home had a shower, made love to the wife, ate a nice meal and came back... We reset the router and hooked it up to my laptop and went through the settings.

This made me wonder about the status of my computer and exactly what was going on with it. The tech kept assuring me that once I plugged the cable in I would be fine. I made him stay on the phone with me and low and behold, he was right. Tina and my machines were working fine.

Next up, sharing printer and documents. This was made difficult by Peter Norton. Good Ole Pete has been around since computers first lost data. He figured out that instead of erasing files the OS (operating system) only made it so the file was renamed something that the OS would be unable to view and could overwrite if space was needed. His Norton Utility package was usually purchased by a desperate business man who had deleted something that would cost him his Job should the Boss find out. Time passes and Pete sells his ideas to Symantec who needed his code and they went into the, BUY US OR YOU'LL BE SORRY, software business. Saving the world from Viruses, erasures, worms, spyware, and internet attacks.

Well, I have Symantec Security products (purchased for a sizable discount through work) and while I am not 100% happy with the amount of invasiveness into my computer I am well pleased at its ability to stop nastys from getting inside my computer.

Well somehow Pete thought that anyone on my network was out to get me and wouldnt allow anyone to share my printer or shared folders. This took a bit of looking around to find but finally I overcame that hurdle. Diana's computer hookup was easy once I figured out the difference between a Key and passphrase (this was my stupid moment of the day).

Now her windows will not register as the PID doesnt match something else. I'm going to call into Microsoft to see if I can sort this out without re-installing everything. Fun fun fun!

Oh, the laptop hooks up with easy alarming speed!

1 comment:

Tina said...

I can log on, blog, check email, talk to my sister on IM, buy stuff on ebay.

I'm happy.