Please take the time to read the manual for your gateway carefully so you learn to configure it properly. Don’t be overwhelmed at the beginning, it’s not as bad as it may seem. The main thing to understand is that the gateway has two sides: The WAN side (Wide Area Network) connects to your cable/DSL modem and therefore to the Internet via your ISP. The LAN side (Local Area Network) connects to your private network via the hub or switch. The main task of the gateway is to route the proper traffic from PCs on the LAN to the Internet and back, but drop any unauthorized traffic.
You first configure the public / WAN side of the gateway by entering the IP information your ISP gave you. This usually includes an IP address, subnet mask, DNS server(s), gateway IP, and possibly host name. Alternatively, if your ISP uses PPPoE, you simply enable PPPoE in your gateway, enter the user name and password your ISP gave you, and it will pick up these settings automatically.
To configure the private / LAN side of the gateway, you should enable DHCP. This feature automatically serves each PC on your LAN the information it needs to configure itself to participate on the network.
Read the instructions carefully so you understand better how it works, and you’ll get the hang of it quickly.
The last step is to configure each PC to see and be seen on the network. Go to the Control Panel and open the Network Connections dialog, then right-click on the Local Area Connection and select Properties (Windows 9x/ME users: Start / Settings / Control Panel / Network)
Verify that you have these components installed. Use the Install / Uninstall buttons to add missing or remove superfluous components (Windows 9x/ME users: Add / Remove buttons).
On a small home network, it can be helpful to install the NetBEUI protocol. In Windows 9x, ME, and 2000 you can install it as follows:
Click the Add button, select Protocol, click Add, select Microsoft, highlight NetBEUI and click OK until you’re back to the Network Properties dialog box. Don’t close this box until after the very last step.
In Windows XP, installing NetBEUI is a little bit more difficult. Insert your XP CD, then use Windows Explorer to browse to the directory X:\VALUEADD\MSFT\NET\NETBEUI where X is the drive letter for your CD-ROM drive. Open the file NetBEUI.txt in Notepad and follow the instructions to add NetBEUI support.
While you’re here, make sure that the TCP/IP protocol is configured properly. There are two ways to do so: You can manually configure each PC by entering an IP address, gateway, DNS, etc. which gets really old really quickly. Since your gateway device has a DHCP server which hands out all this information automatically to each PC, you can configure TCP/IP to use DHCP instead.
Highlight the TCP/IP entry and click Properties. If you see multiple TCP/IP entries, be sure to select the one for the network card, not the one for your Dial-up adapter. Go to the General tab, and select Obtain an IP address automatically. Now you can close the TCP/IP and Local Area Connection Properties window since that’s all we have to do here.
Now you need to configure the computer name and workgroup. Open Windows Explorer, right-click on My Computer, select Properties, select the Computer Name tab, then click the Change button. Enter a unique name for each PC, the choice of name is up to you. Name them after the 3 stooges, the seven dwarfs, your favorite baseball players, whatever. Then enter a workgroup name. This one needs to be the same on each PC. If you can’t think of one, use the word Network, or Workgroup, or Home.
Windows 9x/ME users: Start / Settings / Control Panel / Network / Identification
In order to see other PCs on the network and access the drives on the other PCs, you first need to enable File Sharing, which is simple. In Windows Explorer, right-click on the drive or folder you want to share on the network, select Sharing, and specify how you want to share the resource.
To share printers, you need to enable sharing as well. Go to the Control Panel and open the Printers and Faxes dialog, then right-click the printer you want to share, and select Sharing, and specify how you want to share the printer (Windows 9x/ME users: Start / Settings / Printers).
After configuring each PC and performing the necessary reboot, you should reboot each PC again after each one has been configured. Then launch the Windows Explorer on each PC and check out the Network Neighborhood icon at the bottom. If everything went right, you should now see underneath Network Neighborhood an icon for the Entire Network and then the name of each PC on your network. If you open the Entire Network, you should see the name of your workgroup which contains again all PCs on the network.
That’s it. You’re done. Now you can share files and printers over your new home network, and surf the web from each PC on your local network.
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