How to verify your Network is working correctly

by Johannes Helmig [Published on 3 Nov. 2001 / Last Updated on 3 Nov. 2001]

You should have checked first your Network adapter, then you should verify / configure the
network setup ( Windows XP Professional is different than Windows XP Home Edition ) :

In the Control-Panel, select the
System icon:

(or right-click "My Computer" on the desktop
and select Properties)

Select the tab : Computer Name

The "Full computer Name" must be
UNIQUE on the network : all other
systems MUST have a different name.
Unless you have an NT,Win2000 or
soon an XP-server, you are using the
Workgroup method of networking,
and all systems on the network should
use the SAME workgroup name.

If required, use the button "Change..."
and adjust the values:

- type (if required) a new name for
the "computer name"

- enter (if required) a new name for
the "workgroup"
In the Control-Panel, select the
Network Connection icon:

(or right-click "My Network Places" on the
desktop and select Properties)

Select your Local Area Connection,
then right-click and "Properties" or
from the "Network Tasks" (left side)
"Change settings of this connection" :
All required components for a LAN
are installed by default:
- Network Client
- File and Printer Sharing
- TCP/IP network protocol
If your network requires a different
protocol, you can install IPX/SPX or
even NetBEUI (although not "supported" anymore by Microsoft)

It is a good choice to use TCP/IP
protocol , but I suggest to configure
it (via "Properties")

For TCP/IP-protocol to work,
each system needs to have a
UNIQUE IP-address.

By default, TCP/IP is configured to
"Obtain an IP address automatically":
XP will first try to locate a DHCP
server on the network and if no
DHCP-server is found, it will use
Auto-IP-Generation (like in Windows
98/ME
and Windows 2000) to
generate an IP-address.


If you select to use such
automatically assigned IP-addresses,
you can open a "Command Prompt"
windows and type : IPCONFIG to
find out, which IP-address has
assigned to your system.


example : IP-address assigned via Auto-IP-Configuration :
Windows IP Configuration
Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection:

Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :
Autoconfiguration IP Address.. . . :
Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . . . .:
Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . . . . :

169.254.121.160
255.255.0.0
Or in the "Network Connections" view for the
network connection the "Status" :
- right-click your connection and select from the
Context / Popup menu : Status


select the tab : "Support"
Since the Automatic IP-address generation
will cause a delay before the network
becomes available (while searching for the
DHCP-server) , I prefer to define the
IP-address myself , especially since I have
on my network also a Windows95 and NT4
system, which are not able to generate
automatically an IP-address and need to be
configured manually.
Also, with more and more people getting
Broadband Internet connections via ADSL
or cable-modems, I prefer to configure the
LAN myself to avoid conflicts with the
network settings for the connection to the
ADSL or cable-modem.

I suggest to use an IP-address from the
range 192.168.1.x
and Subnet-mask
255.255.255.0.
A quick look under "Advanced..."
with Windows 2000 Server, Microsoft has
introduced "Active Directory", which
allows to use a network without NetBIOS
(reducing network overhead, important
especially for WAN configurations).

But unless you have a Windows2000
server (or later a Windows XP server) on
your network, you still need to have
NetBIOS enabled to be able to communicate
with other Windows systems :
make sure, that "NetBIOS over TCP/IP"
is NOT disabled.

You are now ready to access the network via "My Network Places" and to allow other system
to access data on your system by Sharing
.

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