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Q: Network for working at home? ( Answered,   6 Comments )
Subject: Network for working at home?
Category: Computers
Asked by: vseelig87-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 26 Oct 2006 11:58 PDT
Expires: 25 Nov 2006 10:58 PST
Question ID: 777179
I'm setting up a home office, and as part of that I'm now looking for
information on how to best set things up to make good use of the cable
modem service I have (Comcast, if it matters). Right now, all I have
is one desktop computer. When I finish this, though, I'll have a
second desktop (occasionally used at the same time, but not often) and
occasionally I'll have a few people over for meetings with laptops.
I've asked our office IT folks, and they started by pointing me to
information on getting a firewall (yeah, I know I have to do that),
and gave me VPN software so I can access files and e-mail at work; I'd
like a bit more advice, particularly on things such as wireless vs.
wired and anything special I should set up to make this work well. I
really appreciate your help, thanks.
Subject: Re: Network for working at home?
Answered By: keystroke-ga on 06 Nov 2006 14:14 PST
Hello vseelig87,

Thank you for your question.

I have been pondering over this for a while and I think I have a good
setup for your home network. First, you are going to need a good
firewall and Internet router. I use and swear by Linksys routers.
Models such as the

Linksys WCG200

I would advise you speak to your ISP first to enquire as to the
operational state of this wireless router.

At home I currently have a strange setup. I have a Windows XP machine
that is running Internet connection sharing. This computer runs the
internet gateway and any other computers I want to connect to it sit
connected to a hub that hangs off the back of this PC.

Basically a simple network diagram is as follows.

Internet -> Windows XP -> HUB -> My LAN.

This way I have a machine separating the whole of my internal network
from the Internet.

If you find that your ISP says that the Linksys router won't work, ask
them for a model that they can confirm will work and has a firewall
built into it. If they cannot give you a modem I would advise a setup
close to mine.

Put Windows XP on your desktop computer and have it connected
permanently to your cable modem. This will provide you with your
internet connection. Place a spare network card into this PC (should
cost you no more than 20 bucks and a local PC network can do it for
you). You are now able to put a wireless access point on the back of
this network which will allow your laptop computers to connect. Your
windows XP machine will act as your internal firewall. Make sure there
is nothing on the Windows XP machine you will care about losing
because it will be your first line of defence.

Once this is set up purchase a wireless access point from Linksys such as the

Linksys WAP54G

Linksys Wireless G with SRX

These devices have wired ports which will enable to you to connect
your AP to your Windows XP machine to get your laptops connected.

You asked about wired V wireless connections. I have personal
experience of hacking wireless connections (in test beds and through
penetration testing) and I can assure that using WEP is almost
pointless at anything less than 256bit security. It takes me about 1
minute to get access to a 64bit WEP network, 15 minutes for a 128bit
WEP network. At least with 256bit you are going to make me sit outside
in the cold for 30 minutes before I get in.

Your best alternative, price-based, is something called WPA. This is
pretty secure provided you do not use a dictionary-based word. I can
crack into a WPA network in anywhere from 1 minute to an hour
depending on where your cipher key is on my password list. For
example, "apple" is a bad password. "a%fge$3556fgf$rrGDEF36gF" is a
good password as I am not going to crack that in an hour :)

Both of these wireless AP provide WPA encryption for wireless.

Make sure you have a good antivirus. I really suggest as
it is by far the most superior antivirus on the market. Get the
Microsoft antispyware as this is a good piece of software.

To share your files on the network you will be able to use the
wireless access point and Windows XP on your local laptop for normal
file sharing.

When you get your second desktop machine you will be able to buy one
of the following products.

Linksys Wireless-g PCI Adapter with Speedbooster

I use this hardware and it is excellent, make sure to get the updated
drivers though!

Hope this helps, any problems just let me know!


Clarification of Answer by keystroke-ga on 06 Nov 2006 14:14 PST
In addition--

Keep away from any 802.1N wireless system. These
devices are jumping on the N bandwagon. This is an unconfirmed and
unfinished networking standard that should not even be released yet.
Keep away.

Subject: Re: Network for working at home?
From: borisshah-ga on 27 Oct 2006 02:02 PDT
For one thing, even if its only occasionally, a meeting with many
laptops when you only have a wired router (meaning everyone has to
plug into something) is going to be the biggest nightmare ever. You'll
have so many cords on your floor, you wont be able to recognise what
colour your floor is (trust me, learnt it the hard way once).

Wireless might be a bit slower and less secure thatn wired connections
but in the long run, wireless will be faster in terms of everyone
coming over and just connecting wirelessly (802.11g or 802.11) and be
ready to go. And even if you put in a simple password or
authentication software, you'll be much better protected than most
people with wireless connections.

Get a wireless router with a firewall and depending on your budget, a
good MIMO router which should really speed things up while the firwall
protects. File sharing software on your comouters shouldn't be hard to
find (Ditto your IT boffins). Good luck!!!
Subject: Re: Network for working at home?
From: deallealomo-ga on 27 Oct 2006 11:49 PDT
First thing to look at is, make sure you currently using Windows XP
with Service pack 2?? If not, please go to microsoft update to update
to Service Pack 2, for better Security and easy set up for wireless.
if so, then it already have build-in Firewall. And if money is not a
concern to you, go get some 802.11N Wireless Router and PCI cards(for
both computers), the N Routers gets you better wireless strength, and
speed over 802.11G/B, and more convince over using 10/100 cables.

1. Connect your cable modem into the port says WAN behind your Router.
But before you can setup as wireless, you'll have to connect a RJ-45
Cable in-to one of the port in the router to log-in your router to
setup, it depends on which brand of router you have. usually, the
manual will provide you the default user name and password.
2. Once you logged in, go to the section says Wireless, under that
section, you can create a name for your network. after you've probably
have to create your own passphase keys to protect your wireless
network. After you have done all the steps, make sure you save the
3. If you have comcast, then your router will most likely to detect
the I.P. automatic, so go to the section says connect and make sure
the router have obtain the Comcast I.P. and the status should say
4. Now, if it's connected successfully, you can now remove the RJ-45
cable from your computer and router, and if your computer already
installed a wireless card, it should now detect a wireless connections
thats near you. and make sure you choose the connection that you just
set up, once you double click that connection, it'll ask you to enter
your passphase key, and after you enter the right password, you are
now connected through wireless.

1. To share files and documents, you have to make sure both of your
computer are in the same workgroup, if not, you'll have to create a
unique workgroup, such as: Office, Home, whatever you like. the
default is MSHOME. To change that, you'll have to right click on "MY
COMPUTER" => "Properties" => "Computer Name", Click on "CHANGE" to
change your unique workgroup. After you've done that, you might need
to restart your computer. Do these steps for all the computer that you
want to share files and documents.
2. To unable a specific folder to share in the network. Right click on
the folder that you want to share on that computer => Sharing and
Security, and click share files without the wizard. after that, that
folder will be appear in your network.
3. To view your share folders, you need to click "START" and go to "MY

Hopefully, these steps will help you and other people to setup an easy
network in your office and your home.
Subject: Re: Network for working at home?
From: maxinator-ga on 27 Oct 2006 19:09 PDT
Well for laptops, i would definitely suggest a wireless setup, however
most wireless routers come with a couple of lan ports anyway!

Go to your electronics warehouse store.. i go to Fry's Electronics...

Get a $35 - $60 dollar  Wireless Network router made by one of these companies:

Netgear, LynkSys, or even D-Link...

and buy an extra lan cable... like $5...

and the router is simple to install... itll have a step by step guide inside,
and all you need to do is plug the Ethernet cable from the Comcast
Modem to your wireless router under (Wan) and then plug the ethernet
cable that came with the router into slot #1, and into your first
desktop, and then your bought ethernet cable into #2, and plug that
into your 2nd desktop, then follow directions to install a local area
network... its very easy...

and make sure to secure your wireless router... dont leave passwords
default, and remember all of them... you need to put a key on it so
that random people cannot access your wireless network and use ur
internet (i do it all the time in apartment buildings... free net, why
not?) once you secure it you should have a user id and passcode for
your laptoppers, who can just search the are for networks, and then
enter their passes when they click on yours.

Simple as can be, ive done this so many times... if something doesnt
work right away, just reboot the router... plug it back in and it
should click ;)
Subject: Re: Network for working at home?
From: daboogyman-ga on 01 Nov 2006 16:20 PST
D-Link offers great products and cheap prices. A standard "Wireless
Router" will work just fine by offering wireless for laptops and wired
ports on the back for stationary desktops.


Good luck!
Subject: Re: Network for working at home?
From: yurii-ga on 03 Nov 2006 10:54 PST - nice source to see disadvantages &
advantages of wlans.
my point is - wireless for laptops & wired for desktops.
for windows firewall & antivir are very important.
that's what i've done once^
there were 2 desk PCs at my home. I've made cross using utp-cable
beetween these PCs. then i've made 1 pc a server
(winServer2003)-web..etc... It's enough to put antivirus only on one
PC(server). Other - winXP(sp2). For laptops not very difficult to
setup access point, even using only OS utillities.
if cost of your home information is not very high, wi-fi+wired is best choice.
[sorry for my english]
Subject: Re: Network for working at home?
From: joshwinter-ga on 08 Nov 2006 07:14 PST
Yeah a good linksys router is definately the way to go.  If you're not
getting crazy with your network, you can get a high quality router
with a decent firewall setup is cheap and works great.  I'm on a
network with one right now!

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