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
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 . . . . . . . . . . . . :
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
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

See Also

The Author — Johannes Helmig

Dr.Johannes Helmig is working as Director, Technical Knowledge Management in the Belgium office of Gerber Technology where he is involved in Customer Service and internal training, with special interest in Networking.


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