Networking: Cabled and Wireless Wi-Fi Networks

Setting up a network using a Workgroup in any version of Windows or a HomeGroup in Window 7/8.1/10

In Windows from Windows 95 to Windows 10, you can set up a network the classic way by using a Workgroup – all of the computers and devices must have the same Workgroup  – or you can use HomeGroup. I prefer basing a home network around a Workgroup because of its simplicity and because that is what I cut my home-networking teeth on.

If the computers on your network are running different versions of Windows that don’t support HomeGroup, such as Windows XP and Vista, you must base the network around a Workgroup. Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 all support HomeGroup, so you can use computers running those versions of Windows to create HomeGroup. If you have problems, base the network around a Workgroup instead.

Workgroup –

How To Use Windows HomeGroup –

HomeGroup from start to finish [Windows 8.1] –…

Note that if a router supports WPS, which most of home routers do, it is insecure because it can be used to reveal passwords to a hacking tool that anyone can obtain. Only by disabling WPS on one of the router’s configuration-settings pages can this security hole be removed.

Your router has a web-based configuration page. Your Internet Service Provider will have given you the logon information for the broadband connection itself and the router – a user name and password for both. You should always change the default password to the router because it is the same one that the manufacturer uses for all of its routers. The logon Name (SSID) and password for the web connection is usually provided on the bottom of the router. You can change the router’s logon information via the web-based configuration page. To find the router’s IP address, open a Command Prompt window by entering cmd in the Search… box (Run box in WinXP). Click the Command Prompt link that Windows 7/8.1/10 provides above the Search box. At the > prompt enter the command ipconfig. The information that comes up about the router’s connection has an item called Default Gateway. That is the router’s IP address that you enter, as is, in a web browser’s address bar to bring up the configuration page that prompts for its login user name and password. My Default Gateway is:

Your router’s manufacturer might provide a user manual that provides information on its settings. Here is a video on configuring a Linksys router:

How to Configure a Linksys Router –

Disable WPS – “Wifi Protected Setup”-

Wireless guest network: How to give visitors access to the Internet but not to files on your network

To exclude visitors from the files on your network, one approach could be to password-protect its network-attached-storage (NAS) device and any network shares on the network’s PCs. However, you might find that setup inconvenient yourself. Some NAS devices allow the use of MAC address filtering that provides access only to authorised devices.

The best and easiest way to achieve that goal is to obtain a router that provides a secondary wireless guest network, such as this 802.11ac wireless router: TP-LINK Archer C5 AC1200 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router, 2.4GHz 300Mbps+5Ghz 867Mbps, 2 USB Ports, IPv6, Version 2, Guest Network.

Guest Network Frequently Asked Questions –

Many routers now have an option to create a wireless guest network, which is a secondary Wi-Fi network that allows access to the web but not to the rest of the network. This allows visitors to use smartphones or laptops to access the Internet but prevents them from gaining access to a network-attached-storage (NAS) device or a shared folder on the network. Guests use the guest network without having the main wireless network’s login encryption key, so you don’t have to worry about someone using the main network without permission. Some routers provide the option to create multiple networks that make it possible to block or allow particular types of network traffic, such as blocking streaming video while allowing Internet access.

Port Forwarding

“Generally forwarding is done so the outside world can connect to some type of server that is located behind your router/firewall. Web servers, ftp servers, mail servers, computers running telnet, ssh, remote desktop, sql, and mysql are all examples where forwarding would be needed. If you are trying to forward the same application to two different IP addresses, you may have problems. There may be a way around it, refer to the software manufacture’s homepage for more information… Port forwarding is a method of making a computer on your network accessible to computers on the Internet, even though you are behind a router. It is commonly used for hosting game servers, peer-to-peer downloading, and voice-over-IP type applications. There are many other reasons you may need to forward a port, this is not an exhaustive list.” –

NEXT PAGEThe 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, Powerline Ethernet and Wi-Fi mains networks and Bluetooth wireless connectivity