Elementary newbie question

Discussion in 'Home Networking' started by Ted, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. Ted

    Ted Guest

    This is probably a completely inane question.

    I want to connect my pc to the internet through a cable
    connected linksys wrt160n and then occasionally use a laptop
    with a wireless connection to the internet via the linksys
    when the pc is switched off.

    When the laptop is off and the only connection to the
    internet is through the pc cable connected linksys, is the
    linksys still broadcasting?

    Ted
     
    Ted, Jul 16, 2008
    #1
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  2. Ted

    Chris Whelan Guest

    It would be possible for any suitably-equipped computer to connect to it, if
    that's what you are asking.

    Of course, encryption makes it virtually impossible for any data transfer to
    take place.

    If you are asking for a more obscure reason, (concern about the wireless
    signal harming health perhaps), one slightly messy solution would be to use
    a non-wireless modem/router in conjunction with a separate wireless access
    point. You could then power down the AP when not needed.

    Chris
     
    Chris Whelan, Jul 16, 2008
    #2
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  3. Ted

    Adrian C Guest

    Yes. But barely.

    It will be having a chat with your neighbours WiFi equipment until they
    (hopefully) mismatch your security passwords (WPA) and fail to connect.

    You can reduce this activity by setting the "broadcast SSID" function to
    "off" so they won't find your router (but ensure your laptop does
    remember what SSID is in use!)
     
    Adrian C, Jul 16, 2008
    #3
  4. Ted

    Ted Guest

    I just powered up my laptop for the first time without
    having installed the wireless router and the laptop was
    connected to the internet! I assume I was picking up someone
    else's wireless network.

    Ted
     
    Ted, Jul 17, 2008
    #4
  5. Ted

    Rob Morley Guest

    Can you see a printer share? It would be responsible of
    you to give them a clue how to secure their network.
     
    Rob Morley, Jul 17, 2008
    #5
  6. Ted

    Ted Guest

    I really haven't got much of clue how to secure mine. How do
    I see a printer share and what would it tell me about where
    the leaking network is?

    Ted
     
    Ted, Jul 17, 2008
    #6
  7. Ted

    Rob Morley Guest

    Just set up the encryption (WPA is more secure than WEP), limit
    connection to specified MAC addresses (i.e. just your laptop, unless
    you want to connect any other wireless devices), switch off SSID
    broadcasting.
    Look in My Network Places - Windows Network (I think that's what it's
    called, I haven't used Windows for a while).
    It wouldn't, but you could print something on it. :)
     
    Rob Morley, Jul 17, 2008
    #7
  8. Ted

    Ted Guest

    Sounds good. What exactly is it that is being encrypted?
    If there were a number of unsecured wireless networks within
    range, what would my wireless enabled (but currently
    unconfigured 'out of the box' xp pro) laptop pick up all:
    all of them them, the first one it found, the strongest signal?

    Ted
     
    Ted, Jul 18, 2008
    #8
  9. Ted

    Rob Morley Guest

    The data content of each packet sent over the wireless connection.
    One other security measure I forgot to mention: change the SSID
    that your router uses from the default to something obscure - hackers
    may scan for default values as a quick way of finding networks that
    have had SSID broadcast disabled (lots of hardware comes configured with
    values like 'wireless', 'WLAN', 'linksys' etc.)
    It will see any network that has SSID broadcast enabled, whether
    they're secured or not, and offer you a choice of which to connect to.
    I'm not sure if yours connected automatically because the one it found
    was the only network, the only unsecured network, the first unsecured
    network ... I tend to use manual network settings rather than relying
    on stuff like the Zero Configuration option and DHCP.
     
    Rob Morley, Jul 18, 2008
    #9
  10. Ted

    Adrian C Guest

    FWIW This is all covered (rather well) in the user guide which I've just
    has a peek at. There is a "Wireless Security Checklist"

    Also a link to <http://www.linksys.com/security> which features 'show me
    how' tutorials.

    Looks a competant bit of kit!
     
    Adrian C, Jul 18, 2008
    #10
  11. Ted

    Ted Guest

    Rob Morley wrote:

    Thanks for your input - it's quite educational! There are a
    few more questions below but if you are growing weary of
    responding, not a problem.
    Right. So does that mean that the router encrypts the
    packets and that some decryption software is required to be
    installed on the laptop receiving the packets?
    So this would mean the router of the network to which I
    connected was broadcasting SSID and my laptop automatically
    picked it up and joined in the network?

    Is there a way of preventing the laptop from connecting to
    broadcasting foreign networks?

    If I turn off SSID broadcast on my router, presumably I need
    to configure something on the router together with a
    matching counterpart something on the laptop so that the
    laptop will find and connect with the router.

    Ted
     
    Ted, Jul 18, 2008
    #11
  12. Ted

    Rob Morley Guest

    The network driver handles the encryption and decryption - all you need
    do is set the encryption key on the router and any wireless clients.
    You can set it to only connect to your network (somewhere in the
    wireless network preferences). I think you can also set it to always
    offer you a choice before connecting to anything.
    Change the SSID on the router from the default that it comes with to
    something less obvious, and put the new SSID in your laptop wireless
    preferences. If you can't figure out where to put it I can have a look
    on an XP laptop, but I don't normally use either Windows or wireless.
     
    Rob Morley, Jul 18, 2008
    #12
  13. Ted

    Ted Guest

    Thanks for all that - very helpful.
    One last(?) question: Will replacing the wired connection
    with a wireless change the settings that applied to the
    wired connection, that is, if I decided to abandon the
    wireless and revert to the wired connection, would it just
    be a matter of plugging in the wired modem again or would
    setting up the the wireless connection have changed the
    wired connection settings in the process? I am just trying
    to understand what's required for a fallback plan.

    Ted
     
    Ted, Jul 20, 2008
    #13
  14. Ted

    Rob Morley Guest

    Do you mean will it have changed the settings on the laptop? The
    Ethernet and WiFi interface each have their own settings, so if you
    switch off the wireless hardware (most laptops have a switch on the
    side for this) and plug in a cable it will use that connection. If
    both are active at the same time I don't think there's an easy way of
    telling which connection will be used, but one or the other will be.
     
    Rob Morley, Jul 20, 2008
    #14
  15. Ted

    Ted Guest

    I wasn't clear - I meant the pc. To set up the wireless lan,
    I need to connect the wireless router to the pc via cable in
    place of the cable connection the pc now has to the modem. I
    was wondering what would be entailed in terms of setting
    changes etc if I later wanted to change back from a wireless
    router connected by cable to the pc to a modem connected by
    cable to the pc.

    Re your reply above, I had tried connecting the laptop to
    the modem but I couldn't get an internet connection. However
    I wasn't aware there was a wireless switch but I've now
    checked and I see there is and it was 'on' so that probably
    explains why I didn't get a connection (at least I hope it
    does)!

    When I turn on the laptop (still as out of the box), I have
    3 adapters showing in Network Connections:

    - Wireless
    - 1394
    - Local Area Lan (ethernet)

    The first 2 are showing as 'connected' (from someone's
    leaking router somewhere) and the last one is showing as
    'unplugged'. I can understand the Wireless and Lan but am
    not clear what the 1394 connection is and why it is showing
    as connected along with the Wireless.

    Ted
     
    Ted, Jul 20, 2008
    #15
  16. Ted

    Chris Whelan Guest

    Ted wrote:

    Type 1394 in to Google.

    Chris
     
    Chris Whelan, Jul 20, 2008
    #16
  17. Ted

    Ted Guest

    I did.
     
    Ted, Jul 20, 2008
    #17
  18. Ted

    Rob Morley Guest

    Assuming the PC is using DHCP in both cases you won't have to change
    anything. Basically the PC broadcasts a request for connection
    information, and the DHCP server replies with the settings it needs,
    the PC doesn't care whether it's talking to a modem or a router. You
    will need to reboot the PC when you switch between the two, so it gets
    its settings again.
    Did you reboot the modem then the laptop after you connected it? As the
    modem only expects to talk to one machine it won't have issued new
    network settings to the laptop because it thought it was still
    supposed to be talking to the PC.
    IEEE1394 is FireWire, it's sort of like USB and is commonly used for
    connecting to digital video devices or external hard drives. The main
    difference from USB is that it's peer-to-peer rather than
    client-server, so you can hook two PCs together using FireWire as if it
    was a regular network connection. I guess it's showing as connected
    because the interface is active. You can disable it in BIOS or Device
    Manager if you're not going to use it.
     
    Rob Morley, Jul 21, 2008
    #18
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