In the Forums...
Posted: April 30, 2000
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
Afraid that someone could access your network from over the Internet and want to make sure that everything you are doing possible is being done? The first thing to do would be to check out your security using ShieldsUp! I discovered this site several months ago and I’ve found it to be a pretty reliable source for security information – it even includes a port and shield scanner to see if you are particularly vulnerable to any forms of attacks. It also includes information about a really cool new FREE software firewall, ZoneAlarm 2.0. Apparently it is the best free firewall available and it can stealth all of the ports on your system so that you are virtually invulnerable to hacker attacks.
Hub / Switch / Crossover Cable
A hub is the standard way you set up a multi-computer network. It allows connections between any two computers at one time and is a convenient way of connecting 3 or more PC’s. A switch is sort of like a hub, except that it is faster for two reasons – most have onboard cache to save the most requested information and it allows all the computers to talk to each other at once. Switches are also more expensive than hubs. A crossover cable is simply a cable with the transmit and receive cables swapped so that you can transfer data between two network cards without a hub. Crossover cables, unless you’ve got a nice switch with a significantly sized cache that serves up data on demand, are faster than any other form of network connection, and hubs are by far the slowest (and hubs are no slackers).
After my Win9x LAN tweak guide, I had several requests on how to make a crossover cable (also known as type 568B). Assuming that you have the proper tools and materials, switch the color configuration from (read left to right) white green, green, white-orange, blue, white-blue, orange, white-brown, brown (standard 568A type configuration) to white-orange, orange, white-green, blue, white-blue, green, white-brown, brown (568B type crossover cable configuration). Pretty easy if you already know how to make a regular networking cable.
Other Stuff to Consider
There are a few things that you should consider when setting up larger networks. One of those would be DHCP, which automatically designates an IP to a computer like a DNS server. DHCP, particularly if you are running a LAN party, can be very useful. A proxy server such as Wingate can also be helpful if you’ve got a large home network and want to share your Internet connection. Another thing to consider for sharing your Internet connection over your network is NETS (known as ICS in Win9x/2k). It is much easier to set up then a proxy server but it has no speed-boosting caching options like a proxy does.
I hope that this guide has been of some help. Since Win2k is primarily a networking operating system and was designed as such, you should find these tweaks particularly helpful for Win2k – some of them are even helpful when you are setting up your Internet connection (because they are treated the same as a dial-up connection under Win2k). As always, if you have comments or questions, feel free to drop me a line – but please, no flames about the IP range issue.