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Old 18th October, 2006, 07:16 PM
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Wireless Networking for Cable Customers

The article form still doesn't seem to be working for me, so here's something I wrote.


This article is mainly aimed at customers in the UK who use NTL broadband, but it should apply to other cable customers as well.

http://www.fastekshop.it/fkshop/news...it54mapusb.jpg

Wireless Networking is now the standard accepted way of transmitting a internet connection and data between computers.

In recent years it is arguable that newer wireless hardware is reliable enough for fast gaming and file transfer. With 802.11n equipment coming soon, it should now be priority over wired networking for home users.

However, some people struggle to set it up as complicated menus and local settings webpages make it look a lot trickier than it is.

For NTL customers it really is simple. I'll take you through step by step.

Step 1. Switch everything off. This must include the wireless wrouter, any PC to be networked, and your set top box.

http://av.uk.freeads.net/cache/images/408691.jpg
Caption: You must also switch off your NTL set top box.

Step 2. Plug the ethernet cable that normally goes into your PC from your set top box into the router.

http://gizmoanimation.co.uk/expltech/nicusb4.jpg
Caption: You can see the NTL ethernet port next to the scart cables.

Step 3. Switch on your router.

Step 4.
Switch on your set top box. NTL boxes have a series of LEDs. Your looking for the ones that flash 3 times. Once this has happened the box is ready to use for channel surfing - and networking.

Step 5. Switch on each PC to be used. Make sure the software for the wireless USB/PCMCIA dongles is installed prior to this guide.

Step 6. On your primary computer, a NTL page may appear asking you to confirm your registration. Your broadband pack should have included the neccessary details.
Fill it all in, and submit the details.

Step 7. You can use your net now, by switching on (only now) each PC to be used. The internet should now work on all PC's. However, as a precaution, repead steps 1 to 5 just in case, as you may otherwise encoutner problems.

That really is it. Ignore your Wireless Routers config local setup file, except to enable WEP/WPA encryption. This should be simply explained in your router manual, but just below is a guide using my US Robotics software as an example as to how you can do this. Usually, to access your Routers configuration, type in the routers IP, usually provided in the manual, and a webpage appears. You can then turn on WEP/WPA, and make up yourself a secure key that each user must enter before their Pc can use the wireless. This is essential for security, and so nobody can leech off your internet. More is about this below.

This guide was written up based on US Robotics Wireless router kits, which I would highly reccomend paying the money for because of their high reliability and incredible speed and range. Our home wireless system has never gone down in 1 year.

Wireless performance

Well, contrary to some scathing wired nerds, wireless really is up to scratch. I have been able to game on the internet with ease, and little or no lag at all, least of all that caused by the wireless.
As 802.11g transmits at 54mb/s, (mine usually operates at around 20-40) and the internet is only up to about 8mb, using wireless to surf shouldn't be a problem.

Centrino

Centrino is a doddle. The laptop should find the network automatically and connect to it. It really is that simple. Then you can surf away.

Wi-Fi Standards - Going more In-Depth
So, what's a Wi-Fi standard? There are several. Currently the accepted standard id 802.11g. 802.11g has a speed of 54mbps (varying) and a range of around 30 metres. Here is a table that shows you the different standards, their speeds, ranges and year of release.

http://www.aoaforums.com/forum/attac...1&d=1161200401

As you can see, there were two 802.11 standards before g, a and b. The advantage a had over b was faster speeds, but operating in a higher frequency meant a lower range. 802.11g looks similar, but is able to attain similar ranges in lower frequencies. It's generally accepted at the current standard.
There is also a standard of wireless called Bluetooth, but this is not really used for wireless networking. It's also worth baring in mind that ranges are affected by thick walls and floors, so if you live in an older house, or a big house, you may need additional equipment to get the signal all over. It is possible to add extra routers in to your network. It's also worth buying a USB dongle that has a seperate aerial you can position freely. There are also turbo devices that boost speeds and range, however these tend to come with a high price tag.
Wi-Fi can also get affected by interferance from other wireless devices, such as wireless phones, microwave ovens etc.

SSID

So, you see this in your Wi-Fi router manual, but what is it? It stands for Service Set Identifier. A binary code which represents 32 alpha-numeric digits is attached to the packets sent over your wireless network, and identifies the packet therefore as a member of that network. A packet is basically a term for a collection of data.
If a wireless dongle or router doesn't have the right SSID, it won't be able to join the network. SSID is a really good, effective form of encryption to protect your network. You can enter your SSID manually, or you can leave this field blank when accessing your wireless configuration page and one will be assigned automatically. The problem is the SSID is broadcast everywhere unless told not to, so anyone can find it. Turning this off means no-one knows what it is. However, this compromises other services in Windows. Therefore, SSID is generally considered trivial.

WPA Keys
WPA is basically where you assign your network a password. Then, whoever wants to connect must know this password. The password is encrypted so it can't be read over the network. This type of WPA is called PSK, Pre-Shared-Key mode. Other modes assign different keys to diffrent users. Your data is encrypted using the RC4 stream cipher, with a 128-bit key and a 48-bit initialization vector. Why is WPA better than WEP? WEP doesn't have TKIP, Temporal Key Integrity Protocol, which means the keys are always changing. This means key loggers may get the right key, but the key will change meaning it's much harder to hack your wireless network.

How to assign a network key
This is using my US Robotics software, however the same or similar should apply elsewhere.
Firstly, open up your software. Find your security page or tab, and click any button which turns security on.

http://www.aoaforums.com/forum/attac...1&d=1161200909

Next, it will ask you to enter a unique key/password.

http://www.aoaforums.com/forum/attac...1&d=1161200933

Enter your key and click apply. Your network will now have assigned WPA encryption. Your data will be ecrypted, protecting it, and other users will need to either enter your key or create their own in the same fashion.

http://www.aoaforums.com/forum/attac...1&d=1161200968

More information: www.pace.co.uk
www.ntl.com
www.ntlworld.com
Attached Thumbnails
Wireless Networking for Cable Customers-wifi.jpg   Wireless Networking for Cable Customers-wpa.gif   Wireless Networking for Cable Customers-wpa2.gif   Wireless Networking for Cable Customers-wpa3.gif  
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Last edited by aghastpumpkin; 18th October, 2006 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 18th October, 2006, 07:43 PM
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Ok, I didn't realsie you guys were discussing this so sorry about that.
I'm going to give this a think, and possibly add to it...
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Old 18th October, 2006, 08:52 PM
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I think that's it. See what ya think. Learnt a lot myself!
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Old 18th October, 2006, 09:23 PM
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SSID isn't any form of encryption - it's just a network name. It's also broadcast across the airwaves by an access point unless told not to. Thus, most APs will be telling the world what their SSID is. Turning SSID broadcast off works, but breaks Windows Zero Config for wireless. SSID is also broadcast when a wireless station associates or disassociates from the wireless network. Obtaining the SSID is generally trivial.

Short WPA-PSK keys can be broken with a dictionary attack, despite the presence of TKIP. Longer keys are preferable. WEP shouldn't be used really.

All WiFi networks in the 2.45GHz range are subject to interference from other WiFi networks, microwave ovens, video senders, cordless phones, garage door openers and a million other devices. Don't expect the max range for WiFi networks unless you live in the middle of nowhere.

Bluetooth has a specific profile for wireless networking BTW.

I've also had far too many headaches with wireless notworking in a number of places with a number of different adapters with a number of different people. I went back to a cable connection - was more reliable and a heck of a sight faster.
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Last edited by Áedán; 18th October, 2006 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 18th October, 2006, 09:31 PM
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Ok, cheers, I'll have an edit.
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Originally Posted by Wolf2000me
Skinny people are not petite in every aspect of the body, let me tell you that
Quote:
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I was searching for a synonym for testicles that rhymed with hats


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Old 20th October, 2006, 09:44 PM
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Guys?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf2000me
Skinny people are not petite in every aspect of the body, let me tell you that
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsio
I was searching for a synonym for testicles that rhymed with hats


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Old 23rd October, 2006, 10:05 AM
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What's up?
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