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  • Solve Setup and Internet Connection Issues on a Wireless Network with Vista

    • This document pertains to HP Notebook PCs with Windows Vista.
      If the computer is not using the Vista operating system, see
      Read this document if you are having trouble setting up a new connection to a home wireless network or public WIFI network. This document assumes that you have configured all the required wireless components, and that you have successfully set up a home wireless network. However, there now is a problem connecting a computer to the wireless network.
      Decide where to start the troubleshooting activities
      The first troubleshooting step is to identify the symptoms to determine if the problem is with the computer's network connection or with the network's internet. To open the Vista Networking and Sharing Center display, do the following:
      Click Start  , enter Network and Sharing Center in the search field and press the Enter key.
      Identify the network status graphic displayed in the Network and Sharing Center, and use the following table to perform the required Corrective Actions. In the examples, the  graphic indicates a problem with the connection, and  indicates no connection.
      This graphic means that the computer is connected to your home wireless network, and — in the past — it did have access to the internet, but suddenly it cannot connect to the internet .

      Before you begin troubleshooting the connection from the network to the internet, confirm there is a good connection to the network as discussed in the section above, and then try the following:
      Corrective Actions:

      This graphic means that either there is no wireless network available, or there is a network but the computer has never been connected to that network.
      Corrective Actions:

      This document does not provide information on how to set up a new wireless network.

      Visit the HP Technology Center at www.hp.com/go/techcenter and use the tools to set up a network.

      Or, open Help and Support , select Troubleshooting Tools , and launch the HP Home Network Centerto set up a network.

      Vista monitors the network and internet connections. If it detects a problem, Windows Vista displays a no connection or limited connection message, and prompts you for permission to diagnose the problem. Click OK to allow Vista to diagnose the problems and restore the connection.
      • If no error message displays, but there is no internet connection, right-click the network connection icon  in the system tray and select Diagnose and repair from the menu. Allow Vista to repair and re-establish the connection.
      • If there is no network connection icon in the system tray, click Start , enter Network into the search field, and then select Network and Sharing Center from the list. Select Diagnose and repair in the left pane. Allow Vista to repair and re-establish the connection.
      When a computer establishes a connection with a router or with the internet, it uses several IP addresses to manage the communication. If the electrical power to the computer, or the router, or the internet service from the ISP is interrupted momentarily, the IP address may change and disrupt the connections. The LED lights on the equipment may indicate that a connection exists, but all of the IP addresses may not agree.
      To reset the power to the modem, the router, and the computer to establish the proper IP addresses, do the following:
      1. Turn off your modem.
      2. Unplug the power, Ethernet and phone line/cable from the modem.
      3. Turn off the router (if present in the network).
      4. Unplug the power, Ethernet and phone line/cable (if using a modem router) from the router.
      5. Shut down the PC.
      6. Wait for 30 seconds for the power to dissipate from the devices.
      7. Re-connect the Ethernet, phone line/cable and power to the modem.
      8. Turn on the modem and wait for the modem to complete the startup process.
      9. When all available LED lights are steady on the modem, connect the Ethernet, phone line/cable and power to the router.
      10. Wait till the router completes the startup and all available LED lights are steady.
      11. Turn on the PC and attempt to reconnect to the desired network.
      If the above steps do not resolve the issue, continue with the following steps. If they do not resolve the connection to the internet problem, you should contact your ISP to get help with troubleshooting your modem and ISP setup.
      Verify the wireless network switch is turned on
      For the wireless network adapter to operate properly, you must perform two separate actions: turn on the power to the wireless device, and then enable the device to send and receive signals.
      There are different ways to check the status of the wireless network and turn the wireless device on and off. If you use one of the methods to turned off your network device, you should use the same method to turn it back on.
      Most notebooks have a switch or button on the case that sends power to the Bluetooth and wireless network devices. The wireless button or switch is usually located in one of three places:
      On the top of the keyboardOn the side of the computerOn the front of the computer
      An indicator light  glows blue when the Bluetooth or WiFi communication devices are turned on. If the computer has both Bluetooth and WiFi and one of them is turned off or the device is disabled, the light glows amber. The indicator light does not glow at all when power to the device is turned off. The HP Wireless Assistant software must be used to enable or disable the individual wireless functions.
      Wireless devices can be turned on and off using the HP Wireless Assistant. This tool is designed to control the wireless LAN and Bluetooth devices individually. The wireless LAN can be turned on while the Bluetooth is turned off, or vice versa.
      The action of the HP Wireless Assistant control is independent of the wireless device power switch. It is possible for the wireless device LED to glow blue because power is being sent to the device, although the device is turned off. By default, the HP Wireless Assistant is configured to display a wireless connection On icon  , or wireless connection Off icon  in the Windows system tray. However, the computer can be set to not display in the icons in the system tray.
      HP recommends that the HP Wireless Assistant be configured to display the icons as follows.
      1. Click Start , enter wireless assistant into the search field, and then select HP Wireless Assistant from the list.
        If HP Wireless Assistant is not installed, either:
      2. Verify the status of the installed wireless devices. They should all be on.
      3. Click Properties to open the Settings window.
      4. Select the Show Wireless Assistant icon in the notification area option, and then clickApply . The icon displays in the system tray area.
      You can now monitor the network at a glance by checking the wireless power LED  , the wireless LAN device on icon  , and the network connection icon  .
      NOTE:If the HP Wireless Assistant is not installed, it is available in the Network drivers section of the Support & Drivers page on hp.com.
      Not all HP notebook PCs are configured with an integrated wireless networking device. If the computer has an external wireless network adapter, the device is probably turned on whenever the PCMCIA or USB adapter is connected. See the manufacturer's documentation for specific instructions. To reset the connection, remove the adapter from the PCMCIA slot or the USB port, and re-insert it while Windows is running. Windows Vista should detect the wireless adapter and begin searching for the wireless connection. You can choose to connect to any of the wireless networks in the local area.
      Some PCMCIA wireless network adapters have LED lights that indicate certain network behaviors.
      • If there is no light on the adapter, it may not be connected to the notebook properly.
      • If the light is blinking, then your notebook may be out of range of the wireless network or the network may not be configured properly.
      • A solid light usually indicates that the card is receiving the wireless signal and the network is configured properly.
      If unplugging and resetting the adapter fails to resolve the problem, go the adapter manufacturer's web site to download any updated wireless adapter software and drivers.
      If you do not have HP Wireless Assistant installed on your computer, you can use the Windows Mobility Center to control the wireless devices. Windows Mobility Center can turn all of the wireless devices on or off at the same time. It cannot turn the wireless LAN and Bluetooth devices on or off individually, as they can when using HP Wireless Assistant.
      The action of the Windows Mobility Center control is independent of the wireless device power switch. It is possible for the wireless device LED to glow blue because power is being sent to the device, although the device is turned off.
      To verify the status of the installed wireless devices, follow the steps below.
      1. Click Start  , enter mobility into the search field, and then select Windows Mobility Center from the list.
      2. On the Windows Mobility Center window, verify that the Wireless Network graphic shows as Connected .
      3. On the Windows Mobility Center window, this graphic shows the Wireless Network isWireless off . Click Turn wireless on .
        Your wireless network device(s) are now turned on via Windows Mobility Center.
      Verify the wireless network connection is enabled
      For the wireless network adapter to operate properly, you must perform two separate actions: turn on the power to the wireless device, and then enable the device to send and receive signals.
      Once you have verified that there is power available to the wireless device, verify that the device is enabled to send and receive signals.
      The connection to a wired or wireless network can be disabled or enabled. To verify the status, do the following:
      1. Right-click the network connection icon  in the system tray, and select Network and Sharing Center .
      2. Select Manage network connections .
      3. Verify the status of the wireless network.  In this graphic, the wireless network is disabled.
      4. To enable the network, right-click the connection, and select enable . It may take a few seconds for the connection to become enabled.
      If the connection to the network will not enable using the Windows Network and Sharing Center, or if it enables, but will not connect, use the HP Wireless Assistant to enable the wireless adapter.
      To verify the status, do the following:
      1. Click Start  , enter wireless into the search field, and then select HP Wireless Assistantfrom the list.
      2. Follow the on-screen instructions to enable the wireless adapter.
      The wireless adapter should now be enabled.
      Verify the current network settings
      If you connect the computer to multiple home or business or public WIFI networks, the computer may be automatically trying to connect to the wrong network or use the wrong security settings.
      When the computer detects a wireless network, if it has ever been connected to the network, it will attempt to re-establish the connection. The connection may not be to the network you want. You can specify what sequence the computer should use when multiple wireless networks are detected. Periodically, you may want to manually remove old or unused networks from the list of connections.
      To determine what network the PC is connect to, or to select a different network, do the following:
      1. Right-click the network connection icon  in the system tray and select Network and Sharing Center from the menu.
      2. The window displays the name of the network(s) and the types of connections.
        • If it is connected to the wrong network, select disconnect .
        • If you want to prevent a future connection to that network, select View status , and then de-select the three automatic connection options. Click OK to accept the change.
        • If the desired network is listed, but not connected or there is a poor connection, select View status , then select the Security tab, and then verify or change thesecurity , security key (password), and key index values.
      Incorrect configuration of your encryption settings is the most common cause of wireless network problems. In general, to resolve encryption problems, follow the steps below:
      1. Verify that the wireless network connection is enabled.
        1. Click Start and in the Search field, enter Network and Sharing , then select the Network and Sharing Center from the menu when the option appears.
        2. In the Network and Sharing Center, select Manage network connections in the left pane. The Network connections window appears.
        3. Examine your wireless connection. If it is disabled, right-click the wireless connection icon and select Enable .
      2. Verify that your notebook can see the name or SSID of the wireless network to which you are connecting.
        1. Click Start and in the Search field, enter Network and Sharing , then select the Network and Sharing Center from the menu when the option appears.
        2. In the Network and Sharing Center, select Connect to a network in the left pane. When the Connect to a network window appears, select Wireless from the drop-down menu.
        3. The network name to which you are connecting should be listed under wireless networks. If the name is not listed, follow the manufacturer's documentation on how to troubleshoot the wireless router.
      3. Confirm that the Network key configured in your notebook matches the Network key required by the wireless router or access point.
        1. Click Start , and in the Search field, enter Network and Sharing , then select theNetwork and Sharing Center from the menu when the option appears.
        2. In the Network and Sharing Center, select Manage wireless networks in the left pane. The Network connections window appears.
        3. In the Networks you can view and modify list, right-click the network name to which you are connecting and select Properties .
        4. In the Wireless Network Properties window, select the Security tab and enter the correct wireless encryption data by typing the Network key into the Network key: text box, and then click Okay to save these settings.
      A common cause of poor network connectivity is accidently connecting to the wrong network. It is also possible for a connection to appear to be correct, but not actually exist. For instance, a power interruption to a router or a modem, or even a momentary break in the signal from the ISP can change IP addresses. These types of problems can be resolved by disconnecting from the network router and manually re-establishing the connection with the proper password and key index.
      Before performing this method, verify that the wireless device is turned on and the network indicator light  is glowing blue.
      Use the following steps to disconnect from a wireless network, and then search for and manually re-connect to the desired wireless network.
      1. Right-click the network connection icon  in the system tray, and then select Network and Sharing Center .
        Alternately, click Start , enter Network and Sharing into the search field, and then select theNetwork and Sharing Center from the list.
      2. If one or more wireless connections exist, click Disconnect . In a few moments the wireless network disappears from the display.
      3. In the Network and Sharing Center window, select Set up a connection or network in the left pane.
        DO NOT select the Connect to a network option. If the problem is an incorrect password or key index, this option will repeat the connection with the wrong information.
      4. In the Choose a connection option window, select Manually connect to a wireless network and click Next .
      5. Enter the required wireless network information, and then click Next .
        • Network name .
        • Security type . Must be the same security as set in the wireless router
        • Security Key/Passphrase .
        • Select Start the connection automatically .
        • Select Connect even if network is not broadcasting .
      6. If the wireless network exists, when prompted, select Use the existing network . The information you just entered will replace the previous values that cause the connection problem.
        Select the desired network, and click Connect .
        After a few moments, a message displays indicating that the computer is Successfully connected to the network.
      7. Once the connection is made, place the mouse pointer over the network connected icon  in the system tray to verify the name, speed, strength, and status of the connection. If the connection is weak or slow, see Minimize interference and move the computer closer to the router .
      At this point, there should be a good connection between your notebook and the wireless router or access point. Depending on your setup, you should have access to other computers and applications on the network, or access to the internet. If no wireless connection icon displays, the software driver is either missing or corrupt. See Reinstall WLAN Driver for details on how to correct this problem.
      A wireless network router has a limited broadcast range. The further the computer is from the router, the weaker the broadcast signal. Solid objects, such as walls, metal furniture, and electrical appliances may interfere with the signal and decrease the usable range.
      For testing purposes, move the computer closer to the router and minimize interference from electrical devices. If testing the connection with the computer near to the router proves that the wireless connection is working, you can move the computer to determine the range of the connection.
      To extend the usable range of the wireless network router, consider purchasing a different antenna from the router manufacturer, or use a signal repeater.
      Test the individual components
      Since this document addresses problems while setting up a new home wireless network, it may be helpful to test the individual components by temporarily connecting the computer to the components with a network cable, or installing updated drivers.
      You can determine if there is a problem with the wireless router on a network by connecting the computer directly to the network router using an ethernet cable. If you cannot connect to the network wirelessly, but if you can see other devices on the network and access the internet with the wired connection, there may be a problem with the wireless device in the computer.
      On the other hand, it may be a problem with an incorrect IP address or a security passphrase. It may be necessary to turn the computer's wireless network device on or off during the testing to verify that the router is set up with the correct name (SSID), security password, and network key.
      1. Move the computer closer to the router (if needed) and plug an ethernet cable into the network port on the computer and one of the available ports on the router.
      2. Right-click the network connection icon  in the system tray, and select Network and Sharing Center .
      3. The window displays the name of the network(s) and the types of connections.
      4. Select Manage network connections .
      5. Verify the status of the wired network.
      6. If the wired network, or the wireless network, is Disabled , right-click the connection, and select enable . It may take a few seconds for the connection to enable.
        • If the Network and Sharing Center window shows connections from the computer to the network router, and from the router to the ISP or DSL modem, click the internet icon to open a browser and view a page on the web which means the router is configured.
        • If the Network and Sharing Center window shows connections from the computer to the network router, but not to the internet, the router may not be configured. SeeReset and reconfigure the router .
        • If the network router cannot connect to the internet, and you have installed programs that required making changes to the firewall settings, refer to router manufacturer's help files for information on restoring the router to the factory default conditions.
      7. Once you have verified the direct wired connection to the internet, turn on the power to the wireless device, disconnect the ethernet from the computer, and manually set up a new connection to the wireless network.
      If the above steps do not resolve the issue, try using a different ethernet cable. If that does not work, see HP Notebook PCs - Solve Internet or LAN Connection Issues When Using an Ethernet Cable to Connect to a Router or Modem for more troubleshooting ideas.
      By connecting the computer directly to the ISP or DSL modem using an ethernet cable, you will determine if a signal is being received from the internet service provider (ISP). Open a browser and access any web site. If another computer is available, connect it directly to the modem to verify that it can connect.
      • If neither computer can connect to the internet, contact your ISP for technical assistance.
      • If one computer can connect but the other cannot connect using a direct connection, the problem is specific to that computer. See Advanced network and internet connection issuesand then contact HP for technical assistance.
      If no wireless connection icon displays within 15 to 30 seconds after enabling the wireless network, or if a Windows Device not Found error message displays, the software driver may be missing or corrupt. To resolve this problem, download and install the latest drivers and BIOS from the HP web site. While a driver can be accidently deleted one time, if the driver disappears from the Device Manager more than once, contact HP for technical support.
      To get the updated wireless LAN adapter drivers and latest version of the BIOS for your notebook PC, go to the HP Drivers and Downloads page and search for updated drivers. You will need to know the exact model number or product number for your computer. Be sure to select the correct operating system.
      If you cannot connect your computer to the internet, you can use another computer to connect to the internet and search for drivers. When downloading the files, use the Save option—not the Run option—to download the drivers to a memory stick, flash drive, a CD/DVD disc, or other portable media.
      If the wireless adapter that you are using was purchased separately, consult the manufacturer's web site for the latest software.
      Advanced network and internet connection issues
      If the computer did connect to the wireless network at some time in the past, but now cannot connect to the wireless network router or to the ISP or DSL modem, and you have performed all of the previous troubleshooting actions, perform the following actions, and if necessary, contact HP for technical assistance.
      If your wireless connection suddenly stops working when your notebook is operating on battery power, you may want to disable some of the power saver settings.
      Notebooks use power settings to balance performance and battery life for users. If the power option is set to lower power setting to maximize battery life, it will reduce power to the network adapter. You should set the Power Output settings to 100% (maximum performance) for both battery power and when plugged into the AC power adapter. Follow the steps below to verify the correct settings:
      1. Click Start , enter power into the search field, and then select Power Options from the list.
      2. Select the High performance power plan.
      Close the Device Manager, restart the notebook PC and attempt to reconnect to the wireless network.
      Most wireless devices can be configured to turn off power to reduce the power drain on the battery. This is usually not a problem when the notebook is connected to an AC power adapter. However, when operating on battery power, the adapter can be turned off to save power. To disable this power setting, do the following steps.
      1. Click Start  , enter device into the search field, and then select Device Manager from the list.
      2. Click the plus sign (+) next to Network Adapters , right-click on the wireless (WiFi) adapter in the list, and then select Properties .
      3. On the properties window for the adapter, select the Power Management tab, and then de-select the Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power option.
      Close the Device Manager, restart the notebook PC, and attempt to reconnect to the wireless network.
      If you have installed a new router, or made several changes to the router settings as you tried to resolve connection problems, you should reset the router to its factory condition and then run the manufacturer's setup program to configure the router. Use the following steps as a general guideline, but see the User Guide that came with the router for model-specific information.
      NOTE:Most manufacturers allow you to reset the router to a default factory condition, and then provide a wizard to guide you through the complete installation and configuration process. To reset the router, disconnect the AC power and press the reset button on the back of the router.
      1. Enter the default IP addresses for the router into the URL address field on the browser.
        • 3Com: http://192.168.1.1
        • D-Link: http://192.168.0.1
        • Linksys: http://192.168.1.1
        • Netgear: http://192.168.0.1
        These IP addresses are provided for informational purposes only.
      2. When the home page for the router displays, you may have to enter a password to perform any configuration tasks. See the User Guide that came with the router for model-specific information.
        NOTE:Most manufacturers allow you to reset the router to a default factory condition, and then provide a wizard to guide you through the complete installation and configuration process. To reset the router, disconnect the AC power and press the reset button on the back of the router. You can now start the configuration process.
      3. When you have administrator access to the router, change the default name of the router, sometimes called an SSID, to a name that is distinguishable from other routers in your area.
      4. Set up wireless encryption (WEP) or Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), to prevent other computers from connecting to your home network.
      5. Enter a network access password, sometimes called a passphrase. Make sure that you pick a password that is easy for you to remember, such as a phone number that you dial often or a phrase that is easy for you to remember.
      6. If the router is connected to the ISP or DSL modem, open the browser and verify the computer has access to the internet.
      Computers may become inundated with spyware and viruses, which can be brought on by a lack of a firewall. See HP Notebook PCs - Improving the Performance of Your Notebook PC for more information on how to protect your computer from these threats.
      Additionally, make sure that the firewall settings allow you to access the internet. Refer to your help file for your firewall for more information about its settings.
      If you are unable to resolve the issue of a wireless connection that worked previously, but now is unable to connect, performing a system restore may be the final option. Microsoft System Restore, if set up to do so, will create restore points automatically and periodically. Use an existing restore point to return your system to the condition that it was in when the wireless connection worked. See HP Notebook PCs - Using Microsoft System Restore for more information.

    • View More: HP Solve Setup and Internet Connection Issues on a Wireless Network with Vista
    •  
    • View Answer at http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c00813382&lc=en&cc=uk&dlc=en&product=3380544#N98
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  • Solve Internet or LAN Connection Issues When Using an Ethernet Cable to Connect to a Router or Modem

    • Sometimes, a PC connected to the internet using an ethernet cable may suddenly lose its connection to a web page. The PC may be connected directly to a cable service modem or DSL modem, or there may be a router between the PC and the modem. While some of the tasks listed below will resolve problems if the PC has lost its connection to other computers or storage devices or the printers on the network, this document primarily addresses a lost internet connection.
      NOTE:It is quick and easy to perform most of the troubleshooting steps; however, before you perform the Advanced Network Troubleshooting or try to download and install drivers or programs on your computer, try connecting another computer to the network to verify the problem is with the computer rather than a network issue.
      Never connected
      If the PC was never successfully connected to a network or to the internet, contact your ISP for a wired LAN installation program and instructions, or see one of the following documents:
      Wireless Connection
      If the PC has lost a network or internet connection on a wireless network, see one of the following documents:
      Do this first
      There are some common issues that you can troubleshoot quickly before beginning to work with manual troubleshooting or advanced troubleshooting.
      On most PCs, there are light emitting diodes (LEDs) next to the physical connection where the Ethernet cable plugs into the PC. The LEDs glow or blink to indicate the current status of the network device. If the ethernet connector on your PC does not have LEDs, you can look at the router to verify that the LEDs blink when the network cable is connected.
      Use a Category 5 or Category 5e network cable (also referred to as a Cat-5 Ethernet cable) with RJ45 connectors on each end. A cable with smaller RJ11 connectors is used for connecting a dial-up modem to a telephone line.
      1 - RJ45 network connector
      2 - RJ11 telephone connector
      1. If the LEDs on the ethernet connector blink as the PC is being used, the network card is connected properly to the network. To continue testing, go to Check router and modem operation .
      2. If the LEDs are not glowing, there may be a physical problem with the cable or connection. Do one or more of the following.
        • Unplug the ethernet cable, blow out any dust from the connector, and re-plug the cable to establish a good connection.
        • Connect the PC to the network using a different ethernet cable.
        • Connect the ethernet cable directly from the PC to the modem to bypass all of the network wiring and the router.
        • If available, connect another PC to the network connector to determine if the problem is with the PC or the network.
      3. Look at the LEDs on the router when the PC is being used. If the router LEDs are blinking, to check the internet connection, go to Recycle power to reset the router and modem
      If the LEDs on the connector do not glow after trying different cables and connections, go to Verify the status of the network to check the software settings.
      The router and the modem should glow and blink when there is a connection between the PC, the network router, and the internet using a modem. You should refer to the manufacturer's documentation for specific details. In general, one of the LEDs on the router glows steadily when there is a physical connection between the components, and a different LED blinks only when data is being transferred from the ISP. If the specific LEDs on the modem are not glowing or blinking, it indicates there is a problem with the internet connection even if the LEDs on the router indicate connections between the computers and resources.
      If the LEDs on the router cannot connect to the internet, the browser displays a Cannot find server error message. To reset the router and the modem to their default condition by recycling the power, do the following steps:
      1. Turn off your modem.
      2. Unplug the power, Ethernet and phone line/cable from the modem.
      3. Turn off the router (if present in the network).
      4. Unplug the power, Ethernet and phone line/cable (if using a modem router) from the router.
      5. Shut down the PC.
      6. Wait for 30 seconds for the power to dissipate from the devices.
      7. Re-connect the Ethernet, phone line/cable and power to the modem.
      8. Turn on the modem and wait for the modem to complete the startup process.
      9. When all available LED lights are steady on the modem, connect the Ethernet, phone line/cable and power to the router.
      10. Wait till the router completes the startup and all available LED lights are steady.
      11. Turn on the PC and attempt to reconnect to the desired network.
      If you have Window 7, use Windows 7 Network Troubleshooter to automatically fix common computer problems by selecting the troubleshooter tool you would like to use. To open Windows 7 Troubleshooter, follow these steps:
      1. Click Start , enter troubleshoot and select Troubleshooting from the list.
        Figure 1: Windows 7 Troubleshooter
        There are five options available for your to select to troubleshoot:
        • Programs troubleshoots and prevents problems with programs that were installed in another version of Windows that might not be compatible to run on the Windows 7.
        • Hardware and Sound troubleshoots and prevents problems with device configuration, audio recording, and audio playback issues.
        • Network and Internet troubleshoots and prevents problems with internet and network tools and device problems.
        • Appearance and Personalization troubleshoots and prevents problems with display effects.
        • System and Security troubleshoots and prevents problems with web browsing safety, system maintenance, performance, power adjustment, Windows Search, and Windows Update.
      2. Select Network and Internet .
        Figure 2: Troubleshoot problems - Network and Internet
        The Network and Internet option offers troubleshooting and prevention of problems.
        • Internet Connections connects to the internet or to a particular website.
        • Shared Folders accesses files and folders on other computers or user accounts.
        • Internet Connections connects to the internet or to a particular website.
        • HomeGroup allows you to view other computers and shared files on your HomeGroup.
        • Network Adapter troubleshoots issues with the ethernet cable connection, wireless connection, or other network adapters.
        • Incoming Connections allows other computers to reach your computer through the Windows Firewall.
        • Connection to a Workplace Using DirectAccess connects your computer to your workplace network over the internet.
      3. Follow the on-screen prompts.
      These quick checks should help you resolve any troubleshooting issues you have. If the tools were not able to automatically detect the issue, continue reading this document to manually troubleshoot your problem, and then troubleshoot advanced ways if necessary.
      Manual Troubleshooting
      You can also manually troubleshoot problems, without the Windows 7 troubleshooting tool. Do these tasks in the sequence they are listed.
      Reset the modem, router, and the computer. If the glowing LEDs indicate a good physical connection, but the PC cannot connect to the internet or to a network resource, verify that the network device is enabled and has found the IP and DNS addresses automatically.
      NOTE:If connected to a private network, the PC may require the use of specific IP and DNS addresses. See the network administrator for the company's requirements.
      For a PC with Windows 7
      1. Click Start , enter Network and Sharing in the search field, and then select Network and Sharing Center from the list.
      2. Select Manage network connections in the left panel of the Network and Sharing Center window. The Network connections window appears.
      3. If the status of your Local Area Connection is disabled , right-click the Local Area Connection icon and select Enable .
      4. Right-click the Local Area Connection and select Adapter Settings .
      5. On the Networking tab, select the IP Protocol (TCP/IP) connection and click Properties .
      6. On the General tab, verify that both the Obtain an IP address automatically , and the Obtain DNS server address automatically options are selected, and then click OK to accept the values.
      7. Restart the computer.
      For a PC with Vista
      1. Click Start , enter Network and Sharing in the search field, and then select Network and Sharing Center from the list.
      2. Select Manage network connections in the left panel of the Network and Sharing Center window. The Network connections window appears.
      3. If the status of your Local Area Connection is disabled , right-click the Local Area Connection icon and select Enable .
      4. Right-click the Local Area Connection and select Properties .
      5. On the Networking tab, select the IP Protocol (TCP/IP) connection and click Properties .
      6. On the General tab, verify that both the Obtain an IP address automatically , and the Obtain DNS server address automatically options are selected, and then click OK to accept the values.
      7. Restart the computer.
      For a PC with XP
      1. Right-click the Network in the system tray and select Open Network Connections .
      2. Right-click the Local Area Connection , and select the Status Option .
      3. If the status of the Local Area Connection is disabled , right-click the Local Area Connection icon and select Enable to reset the connection.
      4. Right-click the Local Area Connection and select Properties .
      5. On the Networking tab, select the IP Protocol (TCP/IP) connection and click Properties .
      6. On the General tab, verify that both the Obtain an IP address automatically , and the Obtain DNS server address automatically options are selected, and then click OK to accept the values.
      7. Restart the computer.
      When a PC is connected to the internet using a dial-up modem, the connection program creates an entry that forces the computer to try using the dial-up connection. When you attempt to use your browser, you may see adial-up connection message or a Web page unavailable while offline error. To resolve these problems, you must disable the dial up connection setting.
      1. Open your Internet Explorer, then click Tools , and Internet Options .
      2. In the Internet Options dialog box, click the Connections tab.
      3. Select the Never dial a connection option.
      4. Click OK to save the settings.
      Close and then re-start the Internet Explorer to view a site on the web.
      When PCs are connected to the internet or to a network, the communication is managed by using Internet Protocol Addresses (IP Address). An IP Address is a unique address that consists of four numbers separated by periods. For most cable and DSL devices, this number is assigned to the PC automatically by the Internet Service Provider (ISP). If the ISP cannot assign the PC an IP Address, Windows assigns a default address or generates an error message.
      Follow the steps below to find the IP Address, and then troubleshoot accordingly:
      1. Click Start , enter cmd in the search field, and press in the enter key to open the command window.
      2. Enter ipconfig /all at the command prompt, and then press the enter key.
      3. Look at the IP Address listed in Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection and take the indicated action.
        Figure 3: Command window with IP address
        Figure 4: Command window without IP address
      The network connection icon in the system tray indicates if the PC has a connection  or  , or does not have a connection  or  , to the network or to a cable service modem or DSL modem. If there is no icon, either the icon display is turned off (in XP), or network driver is missing or corrupted.
      To display the network connection icon, do the following:
      For a PC with Windows 7 or Vista
      The network connection icon should display if any network (NIC) driver is installed. If the icon is not displayed, the driver is corrupted or missing. See, Download and install network driver .
      For a PC with XP
      1. Click Start , Control Panel , and then click Network Connections .
        If there is no Network Connections option, see Download and install network driver .
      2. Right-click the Local Area Connection , and select the Properties .
      3. On the General tab, verify that both the Show icon in notification area when connected , and the Notify me when this connection has limited or no connectivity options, and then click OK to accept the values.
        Figure 5: Local Area Connection Properties
      The network connection icon will display in the system tray.
      If the network connection icon is not displayed in the system tray, and the PC cannot connect to a network, you can install the required processor chipset and network interface card (NIC) drivers using one or more of the following installation options. HP recommends that you also update the BIOS, if available. As you review the options, click the Detailed Instructions link for more information.
      Depending on the model, you should install the chipset drivers (Intel or Nvidia), Network Interface Card (NIC) driver, or the Ethernet driver.
      Installation OptionsAdvantages
      Run HP Support AssistantIf the computer can connect to the internet, HP Support Assistant can install the drivers for you.

      If you do not have a network connection, use one of the other Installation Options that do not require a network and internet connection.
      Update or reinstall original drivers using Device Manager.

      Detailed Instructions
      Very quick and easy. 

      Helpful if the driver is corrupted or was never installed. Will not help if the driver was uninstalled or deleted.

      Does not require a network and internet connection.
      Install the original drivers using Recovery Manager.

      Detailed Instructions
      Available if the PC has the original HP image. Not available if the operating system was changed.

      Does not require a network and internet connection.
      Download and install the original or updated drivers from the HP web site.

      Detailed Instructions
      Requires use of another computer with an internet connection.

      From a computer with network connection, the driver must be downloaded from the Software & Driver downloads page on the HP web site, copied onto a disc or thumb drive, and then copied onto the PC that is missing the network driver. 

      The drivers on the web site are the latest updated drivers.

      The latest BIOS and other drivers and software can also be downloaded.
      Go to the the HP web site to get the latest BIOS and Ethernet driver for your computer.
      When networking hardware is not working correctly, Windows reports an error message in Device Manager. Use the following steps to refresh or reinstall the device drivers.
      1. Click Start and enter Device Manager in the search field. Select Device Manager when it becomes available.
      2. If the Network adapters category is present with a plus sign (+) , skip to Step 5 .
      3. If the Networks adapters category is not listed, the network adapter driver is not installed. See Install original drivers using Recovery Manager or Download and install original or updated drivers from the HP web site.
      4. If a network adapter is not listed inside, do one of the following items based on the condition of the networking hardware:
        • Networking hardware is not installed. Install a new network card (desktop computer) or a new network PCMCIA card (notebook computer) per the card manufacturers' suggestions. This does not apply to on-board networking hardware.
        • The network card is not seated fully into its socket. For Desktop computers, remove the side-case, reseat the network card, and replace the side case. For notebook computers, remove and reseat the network PCMCIA card. This does not apply to on-board networking hardware.
      5. If the network adapter is listed, but has a yellow exclamation mark over its icon  or  , do the following:
        • In the Device Manager pane, highlight each listed driver one at a time and press the Delete key. When prompted, confirm that you wish to delete these drivers. Do not restart the PC.
        • In the Device Manager pane, click the Scan for hardware changes button (near the top). Windows will now scan your system for hardware and install default drivers for anything that requires drivers at this time.
        • Software drivers and supportive files may be missing or corrupted. Remove the device from Device Manager and reinstall the software by restarting the computer.
      6. If the network adapter listed has a green adapter icon  or  , the networking adapter is probably functioning correctly. Complete the following steps to verify the network hardware is working properly.
        • Recheck the cable connections and replace any cables that have been bent or pinched, or that you suspect are bad.
        • Recycle the power to the modem, the router, and then restart the PC.
        • Check with the Internet Service Provider's (ISP) support service to verify that their service is operating. Most ISPs have a telephone support number. If an outage is occurring, an automated response about the ISP's system-wide service outages will probably play. In this case, wait until the service comes back.
      If the PC cannot connect to the internet but it does have the original HP image, you can use the HP Recovery Manager to install the original device drivers. The HP Recovery Manager can reinstall individual hardware drivers and software that shipped with the specific PC model. This installation option is not available if the operating system has been changed or if the Recovery drive (usually D:\Recovery) is corrupted or deleted.
      To use the HP Recovery Manager to install the original device drivers, complete these steps.
      For a PC with Windows 7:
      1. Click Start , enter Recovery in the search field, and select Recovery Manager when it becomes available.
      2. On the Recovery Manager main window, select the Hardware driver re-installation and click Next on the Welcome to Hardware Driver Re-installation window.
        Figure 6: Recovery Manager window
      3. On the Select a driver to reinstall window, highlight the desired network device driver and click Next to begin the installation. Depending on the model, you should re-install the chipset drivers (Intel or Nvidia), the Network / Ethernet (NIC) driver, or the wireless LAN driver.
        Figure 7: Select driver to reinstall
      4. Repeat this action for the other hardware drivers to be re-installed.
      5. If prompted after installing the drivers or network application, restart the PC.
      For a PC with Windows Vista or XP:
      1. Click Start , enter Recovery in the search field, and select Recovery Manager ,when it becomes available.
        NOTE:Depending on the computer model, the HP Recovery Manager may be located in theAccessories folder or a different folder.
      2. On the Recovery Manager main window, select the Advanced options .
      3. On the Advanced options window, select the Hardware driver re-installation option, and then clickNext .
      4. When prompted, click Next to continue.
      5. On the Select a driver to reinstall window, highlight the desired network device driver and click Next to begin the installation. Depending on the model, you should re-install the chipset drivers (Intel or Nvidia), the Network / Ethernet (NIC) driver, or the wireless LAN driver.
      6. Repeat this action for the other hardware drivers to be re-installed.
      7. If prompted after installing the drivers or network application, restart the PC.
      After the computer is connected to the internet, you should use HP Support Assistant to scan for other updated drivers and software. For more information, see HP Notebook PCs - Locating HP Software, Driver and BIOS Updates .
      Sometimes the default drivers provided with Windows will not be up-to-date. If reinstalling the default drivers by using the Device Manager or the Recovery Manager does not correct the problem, you may need to reinstall the original and updated software drivers from the HP web site.
      Since the computer is missing the network device drivers, it cannot connect to the internet and you will need to use another computer to download the files. You will need a portable storage device, such as a CD or a thumb drive, to copy the files and then transfer them to the disconnected computer.
      Download and install the latest driver using one of the following procedures:
      1. Determine the exact product number for the computer. The product number is listed on the service tag on the bottom of the case. The model's series number near the display is not sufficient for locating the proper drivers.
        For information on locating the product number, if you have access to the internet on another computer, see Locate the Notebook Product Number or Model Number .
      2. Using a different computer that can connect to the internet, go to the HP Drivers and Downloads web page to search for updated drivers.
      3. Select Download drivers and software , type the product number, and click the search button.
      4. Select the operating system on the computer.
      5. Scroll through the list of drivers and locate the individual network device drivers. Depending on the model, you should download the chipset drivers (Intel or Nvidia), or Network / Ethernet (NIC) driver, or wireless LAN driver.
      6. When you click on the name of the driver and the Download options and information page displays, be sure to read the Description to verify that it is the correct driver for your PC.
      7. To download and save the driver, select Download only , and then select Save when prompted.
        CAUTION:Do not select Install now or Run because you do not want to install this software on this computer.
      8. Navigate to a convenient location on the computer, such as the desktop, and save the file. Repeat this action for the other files to be downloaded.
      9. When all the files are downloaded, copy the files to the portable storage device (CD or thumb drive).
      10. Copy the files from the portable storage device to the computer that cannot connect to the network.
      11. Double-click the copied files and install the required network drivers and software.
      12. Restart the computer and verify the connection to the network and the internet.
      After the computer is connected to the internet, you should use HP Support Assistant to scan for other updated drivers and software. For more information, see HP Notebook PCs - Locating HP Software, Driver and BIOS Updates .
      Also, update any Windows drivers and software using Microsoft's Windows Update feature. For more information, see HP Notebook PCs - Updating Drivers and Software with Windows Update .
      Advanced Network Troubleshooting
      If the computer cannot connect to the network after doing the quick network checks and the manual troubleshooting, you can do one or more of the following advanced troubleshooting procedures. You may want to use a different computer to search the HP User support forums for similar network connection problems.
      The ISP should have provided all of the necessary settings and troubleshooting procedures for a proper cable or DSL connection. If the ISP does not provide technical support assistance, use the following steps to reset the network settings:
      NOTE:If you have the settings and troubleshooting procedures from the ISP, use them instead of the settings in this section.
      1. Click Start and enter command in the search field, and select Command Prompt when it becomes available. The Command prompt window opens.
      2. Type ipconfig /release at the command prompt and press the Enter key. The command prompt clears.
      3. At the new command prompt, enter the following text: ipconfig /renew and press the Enter key.
      4. At the new command prompt, enter the following text: netsh int ip reset c:\resetlog.txt and press Enter .
      5. Close the Command window.
        If the PC still cannot connect to the internet, continue using the following steps.
      6. Click Start > Control Panel , and in the Control Panel window, click Network and Internet .
      7. In the Network and Internet window, select the Network and Sharing Center .
      8. Under your main network's panel, next to Local Area Connection, click View status to open the Local Area Connection Status window.
      9. Click Properties . If prompted, allow the action to proceed. The Local Area Connection Properties window appears.
      10. Select the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) name that matches the Ethernet adapter name from the list of items for your connection. Do not remove the check mark next to the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) reference while selecting it. If multiple TCP/IP references are listed, select the one that contains the adapter name being used, such as TCP/IP -> 3Com Fast Ethernet Adapter .
        NOTE:If there is no listing for internet protocol (TCP/IP), this is the cause of the problem. ClickInstall , select Protocol , and then click Add . Select a TCP protocol from the list, such as Microsoft TCP IP, and then click OK to install the protocol. Restart the PC if prompted.
      11. Select the Internet Protocol, and click Properties .
      12. Select Obtain an IP address automatically and Obtain DNS server address automatically (if they are not already selected).
      13. Click OK to close the TCP/IP Settings window, and then click OK to close the Local Area Connection Properties window.
      14. Restart the computer and try connecting to the internet again.
      The internet browser itself and other software, such as firewalls or proxy software, that are designed to protect the computer from on-line threats, can prevent the computer from connecting to the internet. Follow the steps below to modify how the software on your computer works with the internet:
      Most home networks do not use a proxy server, however on a business network, you may want to check with the System Administrator for specific instructions.
      1. Click Start , Control Panel , and in the Control Panel window, click Network and Internet .
      2. In the Network and Internet window, select Internet Options , and then select the Connections tab.
      3. Click LAN Settings , and then select Automatically detect settings .
      4. Remove the check marks to de-select the Use a proxy server for your LAN and Use automatic configuration script settings.
      5. Click OK to accept the changed settings, and then OK to close the windows.
      6. Try connecting to the internet again. If the PC cannot connect, continue using these steps.
      7. If proxy software is being used on a business network, disable it temporarily and try connecting to the internet again. If the PC can connect to the network and the internet, check with the System Administrator on a business network for specific instructions. Some common proxy software applications are:
        • WinProxy
        • WinGate
        • Microsoft Proxy Server
        • Netscape Proxy Server
        If the PC still cannot connect to the network or the internet, continue to the Verify Firewall and Antivirus settings section.
      HP recommends that all PCs be equipped with some type of firewall and antivirus protection. However these programs can block all access to the network or internet if they are not set up correctly. You should only use one antivirus or firewall program at a time. Running two or more antivirus or firewall programs at the same time can make the computer operate slowly or prevent the computer from connecting to a network or the internet.
      To configure the Windows Firewall and Defender protection, click Start , enter security in the search field, and then select Windows Security Center from the listing. Follow on-screen instructions to verify the security and firewall settings are on.
      Figure 8: Verify Firewall and Antivirus settings window
      For testing purposes only - You can temporarily disable antivirus and firewall software to determine if one of these programs is preventing access to the internet.
      If you do not want to use any third-party programs, the Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems provide Windows Defender, a native firewall and malicious software protection. Windows Defender protects your computer against the latest threats, spyware detection and removal, and it improves your computer safety while browsing the internet.
      To turn on the Windows Defender protection, follow these steps:
      1. click Start , enter defender in the search field, and then select Windows defender from the listing.
      2. If Windows Defender is turned off, click click here to turn it on .
        Figure 9: Defender turned off
      3. Once Windows Defender is turned on, follow on-screen instructions for updating your computer to detect harmful software and prevent it from damaging your computer.
        Figure 10: Check for updates on Windows Defender
      For most antivirus programs, right-click the application icon in the system tray, select the menu option to open the application control window. View the application's Help file for instructions on temporarily disabling the protection, and for configuring the firewall or antivirus settings. If the computer operates differently when the antivirus and firewall software is disabled, you have identified the cause of the problem.
      If the PC can connect to the network or internet after temporarily disabling your firewall software, refer to your ISP for the port numbers required to connect. Adjust your firewall software to allow these ports to stay open.
      WARNING:Your computer is vulnerable to security threats when the firewall and antivirus software are disabled. When the testing is completed and the computer can access the internet, re-enable the firewall and antivirus program and restart the computer.
      The communication between the network components is managed by a set of built-in TCP/IP instructions. These instructions and address can become damaged or corrupted. If the PC was working but suddenly cannot connect to the network or the internet, you can reset TCP/IP to its original default values by using aNetShell (netsh) command.
      Eliminate many connection problems caused by third party software by resetting to the TCP/IP using the following steps.
      1. Click Start , Run , enter CMD in the command line field, and press the enter key.
      2. In the command window, type the command netsh winsock reset , and press the enter key.
      3. Allow the command to complete its operation.
      4. Close the command window.
      Using the NetShell command to rewrite two TCP/IP registry keys, provides the same results as reinstalling the TCP/IP protocol.
      If you have performed all of the steps in this document and the PC can connect to the router on the network but it still cannot connect to the internet using cable or DSL, call the ISP support phone number for assistance. Be sure to tell the ISP all of the tests that you have already done and the results of the tests.
      The ISP technician will probably ask you to do the following:
      1. Describe which LEDs on the modem are glowing, are blinking, and which are not glowing.
      2. Recycle the power to the modem, the router, and the PC.
      3. Bypass the router on the network and connect the PC directly to the modem.
      At most internet service providers, the technician is only responsible for determining if the internet service is operating where it enters your location. If the modem recognizes the internet signal, the ISP has fulfilled its responsibility, even if your network or computer cannot connect to the internet.
      You can also click the Contact HP link at the top of this page for additional technical support.

    • View More: HP Solve Internet or LAN Connection Issues When Using an Ethernet Cable to Connect to a Router or Modem
    •  
    • View Answer at http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c00818622&tmp_task=solveCategory&cc=uk&dlc=en&lc=en&product=3380544#N452
    •  
  • 1. Getting Started - What is Home Networking?





    • Wouldn't it be great to share the music on your PC with your kids? How about watching your home movies through a video game console without burning a DVD? The great thing about home networking is that it allows you to connect your computers, video game consoles and other media devices together so that they can share files.

      It's simpler than you think to create these connections, and the rewards can be amazing. Here we’ll start by exploring several different ways a home network can benefit you. You’ll not only find you may have many of these components already, but you may discover new uses for your home network you never even thought of!

      what_calloutSelect activities in the “Select your usage” menu below to see what each option can do for you, and what you’ll need:

      Home networking: Connecting family and ideas


      As you can see, a home network opens up whole new worlds of connection: sharing files, Internet connections, music, video and much more. Let's take a closer look at the solutions a home network can provide.




      Share My Resources 
      The primary reason to build a home network is simple: It’s all about sharing your resources. At your home, you probably have several computers and at least one printer. Do you have trouble moving files from one computer to the other? Do you have to switch systems to print, scan or use the Internet? Sharing can save you time, money and headaches.

      If you have Windows®  7 on your PC, HomeGroup is a new feature that lets you share your printers and music, picture, video, and document libraries with other PCs running Windows®  7 on a home network. 


      Do you need a little help with new Windows®  7 features? Let the Dell Solution Station come to your rescue. You can get support setting up features like HomeGroup and automatic data backup.

      If you’re planning to keep all of your devices in one room, a wired network gives ample functionality and can be easy to set up. Wired networks are also generally secure and free from interference. Grab a network adapter or two if your computers don’t already have them. 

      Wireless networks allow you to move beyond your home office to use the Internet anywhere1 in your house. Wireless-N technology has improved the speed of downloads and uploads so you can surf at near-wired speeds. When it comes to wireless, it's vital to keep security at the top of your mind. Your wireless router will have precise instructions on setting up security features—make sure you do! 

      Thinking of going wireless? Check out our comparison of wired vs. wireless networks

      Shop Wired Adapters     Shop Wireless Adapters     Shop Network Cables





      Connect My Media 
      Imagine sitting in your living room and watching a movie stored on your laptop. Not too exciting, right? But what if you could watch that same movie from your computer on your HDTV? Access your entertainment exactly the way you want it, when you want it. It's a revolution!

      Making media connections can take many different forms. One of the best things about having a home network is the flexibility—you can stream (a fancier word for "play") your media files through a host of different devices.

      A digital multimedia receiver, for example, allows you to view digital photos, movies and high definition programs on your HDTV, and listen to downloaded music on your home theater sound system. Using a high-speed Wireless-N home network, digital content on your PC can be wirelessly streamed to your home entertainment system. Plus, if your PC has Windows®  Media Center (found on all Vista®  and Windows®  7 systems versions except Windows®  7 Starter and Windows Vista®  Home Basic), you can access it all through one simple-to-use interface2. To learn more about PCs and home entertainment, visit our Home Theater Learning Center

      Having your media connected is about more than just watching movies at home. You can use remote access services to reach media stored on your home PC wherever you go.

      Did you make the trip all the way to Grandma's but forgot to print out photos from your vacation to show her? If you have a service called Dell Remote Access, you can pull those photo files from your PC at home and show them to her on your Internet-capable phone or netbook3. Dell Remote Access provides online connectivity for you and your family to your PCs at home. You can get to your files from any Internet-connected device. If you want to share photos on your hard drive with a daughter at college, Dell Remote Access even allows you to send her a secure e-mail link to access them. 

      Shop PCs with Windows® 7    Upgrade to Windows® 7




      Back It Up on Shared Storage 
      When you think about it, you’ve got a lot of data—financial records, photos, music, movies, work files and more—and it’s probably spread across your laptop, your desktop, or your kids' computers. You'd be lost without that data, but how can you make sure that it's safe and secure? Believe it or not, a home network can come to the rescue.

      There are three simple ways to back up all of that important data. You can use:
      • An external hard drive attached to one computer
      • A Network Attached Storage device that connects to every computer
      • Online data backup
      An external hard drive is a separate device that you connect to your computer with a USB or Firewire cable. It contains storage space for your files, just like the hard drive inside your PC. When you have file sharing set up on your home network, everyone in your family can transfer data to a set folder on the computer connected to the external drive. Then you just transfer that data onto the drive at a set schedule—once a week should do it.

      Windows®  7 makes it even easier. Not only does it have a feature called HomeGroup that makes networking Windows®  7 PCs a snap, it has a Backup and Restore feature that lets you set up a customized backup schedule. You'll never have to worry about missing a backup (and missing data) again. 

      Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices, on the other hand, can be connected via your wired or wireless home network to every computer in your house. Every user sets up a schedule to backup his or her data to the NAS device at regular intervals. The benefit of NAS is that the backed up files are easily accessible to everyone in the family from any PC. 

      You might be thinking that a storage device is all well and good, but what happens if your home itself is damaged? Using an online, or remote, storage service like Dell DataSafe Online helps protect your valuable documents, music, photos and more. Your files live remotely in a storage area in a secure data center, far from your physical home. You can choose which files to protect, and schedule regular backups. Restoring files from remote storage is as easy as downloading something from the Internet—just point and click. 

      Shop Shared Storage




      Communicate with VoIP 
      If you've been spending years watching your monthly phone bill climb ever upwards, you'll be pleasantly surprised to hear that a home network can slash your home phone costs. VoIP4 (which stands for Voice over Internet Protocol) is a technology that lets you use your Internet connection to make phone calls and even video chats, rather than your phone lines. Most VoIP providers offer flat-rate monthly or even yearly pricing, with long distance included. 

      Here are just a few of the things that set VoIP apart from a traditional land line:
      • Lower cost: Often VoIP offers a set price much lower than a phone company.
      • Integrates with your network: In practical terms, this means you can manage your telephone along with the rest of your network, saving hassle.
      • Flexibility: Take your home phone number with you anywhere.
      • Choose your area code: You're not bound by geography anymore when it comes to the area code you use.
      • Free features: Extras like voice mail and call forwarding may be included in the service.
      VoIP equipment can vary widely. Some services just require you to have a microphone or headset plugged into your PC. Others have a special device that you plug into your high-speed modem, enabling you to use the phones you already have.

      And what about features? There are features available from VoIP that just aren't there for analog phone lines. Imagine checking your voicemail on the Web from any computer. You can also bid farewell to roaming charges when you travel, because VoIP goes wherever you do. A device called a “softphone” — meaning it connects to the Internet to place calls — and a working high-speed Internet connection are all you need to place calls on the road.

      Services like Skype can make it easy to communicate anywhere via voice or even video chat if you have a Web camera. You can connect from anywhere5, and talk to anyone who has a Skype account, camera and/or headset. 

      Shop VoIP     Shop Web Cameras




      Bring Entertainment Home with Video Game Consoles 
      The video game console has outgrown its origins as a snappy toy to become the new home entertainment hub. Wired and wireless networking options have opened up new worlds of entertainment, even if you think Pac-Man was the pinnacle of gaming.

      You can use your networked gaming console for:
      • Streaming Media: You can use your XBox 360™ and PlayStation 3™ to watch high-definition movies on your home theater from Netflix, stream music from Last.fm, or enjoy the best of both in the Zune Store for Xbox 360™.
      • Social Networking: Brag about your achievements, update your status, display photos, keep up-to-date on others’ posts and find friends to game with on Facebook.
      • Media Extenders: Many gaming consoles can also dish up photos, music, and videos from a computer on the same network. Enjoy slideshows of your pictures, watch digital videos that you've uploaded from a camcorder or downloaded from the Internet, listen to your tunes, and even view the movies you own on the biggest screen in the house.
      • Playing Games: Play over your Internet connection with players across the street or across the world, or use multiple consoles to allow head-to-head play on the same local network.
      For optimal performance, use a cable or DSL Internet service and a top-of-the-line router with lots of Gigabit ports to manage multiple techno-toys.

      Shop Wireless Routers     Shop Gaming Equipment




      Streaming Music and Video 
      Home networking is all about accessing your media, your way, on your schedule:
      • Download movies, music and more, and shuffle them between your computers and hand-held media players with ease.
      • Stream files from one computer to your television or another computer, and back up your files in one central place.
      So what exactly is streaming? Streaming lets you store content on one computer (or on the Internet) but play it seamlessly on another device. Streaming requires an Internet connection and a network that’s fast enough to support streaming and allow for high-quality audio and video.

      Using your existing high-speed home network and Microsoft®  Windows Media Center (available on all full versions of Windows®  7), you can seamlessly stream media on your computer to other devices in your house for display wherever you want. 

      How would you like to watch your TV shows anywhere you go? Watch your favorite soap opera on your smartphone, or the big game on your laptop. That's called placeshifting, and media streaming devices like Slingbox can make it happen. It's just one more way you can take control of your entertainment. 

      Video and music files can be large, so you’ll need processing muscle and high-bandwidth capabilities to download them, stream them, and play them without slowing down your network. A cable modem or DSL Internet service is pretty much a necessity for music and movie buffs, and you’ll probably want both wired and wireless networking options. Add a wireless router and media extender to stream downloaded video directly to your TV or listen to downloaded music on your home theater sound system.

      Shop Network Entertainment/Digital Media Extenders     




      Keep Watch with Wireless Video Cameras 
      Whether you want to keep an eye on the cash register at your shop or want to watch over your pets when you're away, a home monitoring system can be your eyes and ears when you’re not at home. 

      Adding a security camera to your network is no harder than adding any other piece of hardware. You’ll need a broadband Internet connection, a router, a network video camera and special software that usually comes with the camera to manage monitoring and recording features.

      Choose a camera (or cameras) with simple set-up options. Many allow you the option of having the camera operate continuously or only when triggered by motion. Some come with remote viewing capabilities, so you can log on using a service such as Dell Remote Access and view the camera’s footage from outside your home. Note that if you want to record footage, you’ll need to dedicate storage space on your network. 

      Shop Network Security Cameras     Shop Home Automation & Security




      Clear Cord Clutter 
      Frustrated by managing all the cords and cables that come along with a modern home office? You'll be glad to know that you can banish most of them by going wireless with your peripherals. Wireless printers, mice and keyboards provide full functionality without taking up valuable desk real estate.

      Wireless USB hubs are another nifty way to de-clutter your desk. You can put a wireless USB hub up to 30 feet away, and plug all your corded USB devices into it. Once the hub is tucked away out of sight, you can access your devices wirelessly from just about anywhere in the room.

    • View More: Dell 1. Getting Started - What is Home Networking?
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    • View Answer at http://www.dell.com/content/topics/topic.aspx/global/learn/network/started_what?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs
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  • 2. Planning your Network - Components of a Home Network

  • 3. Planning your Network - Wired vs Wireless



    • There are two basic ways that your network can be connected to exchange information — either "wired" using Ethernet cables or "wirelessly" using radio waves, also known as "Wi-Fi". Many people use a combination of wired and wireless technology to meet all of their networking needs. Let's look at a side-by-side summary of both technologies, their pros and cons, and recommendations to help you determine which best suits your needs.






      The Basics


      Wired networks use Ethernet cables to connect the router and Internet-capable devices. This method is simple and straightforward, typically requiring little in the way of configuration. Wired networks are also secure, reliable and fast.

      Every device capable of networking has a standard or Gigabit Ethernet port, making the device ready for instant connectivity.


      Wireless networks use radio waves to connect Internet-capable devices to a router that functions as a wireless access point. This wireless connection allows laptop PCs and other Wi-Fi devices (like a gaming console, printer, desktop PC with a wireless adapter, etc.) to connect to each other and the Internet from almost anywhere in your home.

      To set up a wireless network, you'll need a wireless router and wireless-enabled computers. All new Dell laptops come with a wireless adapter pre-installed from the factory, and many Dell desktop PCs have wireless adapters as a configurable option.

      Pros


      • Can be an inexpensive networking method
      • Best option if your home is already pre-wired with Ethernet cable, or for equipment that is close to the router
      • Allows for faster data transfers
      • More reliable, not as vulnerable to interference and fluctuations in speed as wireless
      • Less vulnerable to intrusions and eavesdropping

      • Access the Internet from anywhere in the house within range of the wireless router
      • No need to buy extra cables
      • Set up does not require additional wiring or installations
      • Peripherals don’t need to be near the computer

      Cons


      • Lack of mobility — your devices are tethered, and you can’t move devices through the house
      • Cables can be cumbersome or messy if not hidden in walls or behind baseboards

      • Not always as reliable as wired networks — can suffer signal problems or speed fluctuations
      • Need to enable the security features within your wireless devices
      • Subject to possible radio interference

      Recommended for


      • Many high-bandwidth or constantly-on connections
      • Users who enjoy high-demand applications like video streaming and online head-to-head gaming
      • Homes that are already pre-wired with Ethernet cable (you can add wireless to extend your network and provide mobility)
      • Equipment that is co-located in the same area

      • Laptop users
      • Mobile devices and other wireless devices
      • Homes that are not pre-wired with Ethernet cable



      Hybrid Networks 
      Many users find themselves using a combination of wired and wireless technologies to extend their networks throughout their homes. If you find you need wired connectivity in certain places where your home is not wired for it, a Powerline adapter can provide wired or near-wired speeds without having to drill holes and run cable. Powerline adapters plug into the electrical outlets closest to your router and whatever device you want to connect, and use electrical current to carry the signal.



      Draw Your Own Conclusions 
      Wired and wireless are both great ways to network. Which works best for you comes down to your specific situation and needs. Evaluate your options and the way you and your family use the Internet, and feel confident that whichever option you choose (or whichever hybrid you design), you'll love the benefits that come with a home network.

    • View More: Dell 3. Planning your Network - Wired vs Wireless
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    • View Answer at http://www.dell.com/content/topics/topic.aspx/global/learn/network/plan_vs?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs
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  • 4. Planning your Network - Wireless add ons

    • Once you set up your wireless network (or add wireless to your wired network) you can connect a wide variety of devices that will make your life easier (and virtually cord-free). Let’s take a look at several of the most popular add-ons:




      Dell Wireless Printer
      Wireless Printers 
      Many newer printers have wireless adapters built in that allow you to print directly from PCs and laptops on a wireless network. Another option is to attach a compatible wireless printer adapter to allow your existing printer to join the network. Finally, you can connect your existing printer to a wireless print server. No more carrying your laptop into the study and plugging it in to the printer!

      Shop Wireless Printers



      Dell Wireless USB Hubs
      Wireless USB Hubs 
      Most accessories have a USB plug, but your PC only has so many USB slots. Not to worry! A wireless UBS Hub can accommodate up to 4 of USB-connected devices. Plus, you can put it up to 30 feet away1 to help reduce unsightly cable clutter yet still maintain a wireless connection. Think about all the things you don't need right by your PC. You can connect your non-wireless printer, digital camera, external hard drive, MP3 player and more. 

      Shop Wireless USB Hubs


      Dell Network Video CameraNetwork Video Cameras 
      When you add wireless video cameras to your network, you can watch what's going on at home or at your business—anytime you want — over the Internet. Keep watch on your pets, your kids, or your doors and windows... anything you're worried about protecting.

      Shop Network Security Cameras



      Dell Multimedia Receiver
      Wireless Digital Multimedia Receivers/Extenders 
      Connect your TV and stereo to your wireless network, and you can use them to listen to your digital music, play a slideshow of your favorite photos or even watch videos you’ve downloaded from the Internet.

      Shop Wireless Digital Multimedia Receivers


      If your computer is running Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows Vista Home Premium/Ultimate or Windows 7 Home Premium or higher, you can join the computer running Windows Media Center and your media extender rather simply. The Xbox 360 seamlessly integrates with Windows Media Center host computers, allowing you to enjoy the content on your PC on your home theater system - regardless of where the PC is in your house.



      Video Game Consoles 
      Most popular gaming consoles from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have wireless networking capabilities (though some models require the purchase of a special wireless adapter). Wireless connectivity makes set-up a snap.




      DVD and Media Streaming Devices 
      More and more DVD and Blu-ray players have wireless access capability for streaming movies, bonus content and more over the Internet. Many people have decided to use these devices, like a Roku player combined with Netflix instant streaming and online services like Hulu.com to eliminate the need for cable television service altogether.


      Extend Your Network over Your Electric Lines with Powerline Technology


      Powerline BridgeEven the best wireless home networks have places where the connection or signal isn't the best. And because of Murphy’s Law, you often need to connect devices in those areas, of course — so what to do? Powerline technology could very well be the answer.

      Powerline technology allows you to extend your wired Ethernet connection by transmitting the signal over your existing electrical wiring. It's a technology that's been around for a while, but it's only now gaining the stability and popularity needed to make it a mainstream solution.

      A powerline bridge consists of two adapters, one plugged into an outlet near your router, and one plugged into a power outlet in the location where you want network coverage. Powerline adapter starter kits generally come in pairs — with one adapter at each end of the connection. Once you’ve got an adapter attached to your router, you can add another powerline adapter to any plug in your house.



      These are just a few of the many ways you can customize your wireless network. We've covered the most popular, but the sky's the limit. Want to know more? Get detailed instructions in our Build a Wireless Home Network tutorial. But first, let’s take a closer look at the core of any home network: the router. 

    • View More: Dell 4. Planning your Network - Wireless add ons
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    • View Answer at http://www.dell.com/content/topics/topic.aspx/global/learn/network/plan_add?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs
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  • 5. Building your Network - Components of a Home Network



    • Choosing a router isn't as complicated as you might think! We're going to go through the specs you'll see when you're shopping for routers, demystifying each one as we go. Remember, the router is the central nervous system of your network, and as such you need to make sure you get one that'll meet all your needs.



      Try to think ahead a bit when you shop for a router. Imagine what your network might be like in a year, or even two. Do you have a child who's going to get her own computer? Will you be adding a gaming console? Buy for what you might need in the near future, as well as what you know you need today.

      Quick Guide
      In a hurry? Here's the minimum checklist you need to keep in mind when router shopping:
      • Decide if you want a wired, wireless or hybrid router (that does both). See our guide here to help you choose.
      • Look for the newest Wi-Fi standard, 802.11n.
      • Make sure the router you buy has a firewall pre-installed.
      • If you're big into gaming, consider a router with QoS (Quality of Service). This feature lets you prioritize your network traffic to give you a speed boost.

      Technical SpecWhy It's Important
      Wired, Wireless or BothIt determines if your router connects strictly via Ethernet (wired) or also supports wireless networking. Most wireless routers also include several ports for wired connections, so it’s a good idea to go with a wireless router for greatest flexibility.
      SpeedSurprisingly, speed might not be quite as important as you think. You’ll find router speeds listed in Mbps, but remember, these transmission rates are under optimal, laboratory conditions. You can expect daily performance to be much lower, but still within acceptable limits.
      Wi-Fi Standard
      (for Wireless Routers)
      The newest Wi-Fi standard is 802.11n. 802.11n wireless connections offer the fastest maximum speed and best signal range over earlier Wi-Fi standards due to its increased signal intensity. 802.11n is also backward-compatible, meaning it works with previous generations of Wi-Fi, such as 802.11g/b/a.
      Firewall ProtectionFirewalls are essential for blocking out security threats. Most routers come with firewalls installed.
      Number of PortsThe number of ports determines how many devices can plug into your router. Make sure you get a router that will handle current needs plus the foreseeable future. Gigabit ports are recommended for greater bandwidth and optimal performance. Double-check the type of cable included with your router. To get optimal performance from your Gigabit ports, make sure to use CAT-5e or CAT-6 cables.
      ManufacturerIf several of your devices already have wired or wireless network adapters from a particular manufacturer, it might be beneficial to choose a router from the same place. Manufacturers sometimes optimize performance among their own devices.
      QoS (Quality of Service)Some routers advertise QoS, which stands for Quality of Service and allows users to prioritize their network traffic. This can help with gaming or VoIP — usages where such prioritization is important to your experience.
        
       Shop Wired RoutersShop Wireless Routers


      Wireless Access Points



      What's a WAP? 
      A wireless access point, or WAP, is basically a wireless router without the router function. It’s used to add wireless capabilities to an existing wired network. If you already have a wired network and you want to add wireless, a WAP might be the best way to go.

      Shop Wireless Access Points



      You should now feel pretty comfortable going out there and shopping for your router. In the two pages that follow, we’ll explore how to use your router to build your wired or wireless home network.

    • View More: Dell 5. Building your Network - Components of a Home Network
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    • View Answer at http://www.dell.com/content/topics/topic.aspx/global/learn/network/build_router?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs
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  • 6. Building your Network - Wired vs Wireless



    • Getting Started with Your Wired Network 
      Now that you've learned all about home networking and have your router, you're ready to install your wired network! Theoretically, setting up your wired LAN (Local Area Network) is as simple as buying the components and linking them together with Ethernet cable. However, a few factors can throw a wrench into the works, like if your components and devices are not in the same room as your router. If that's the case, you can:
      1. Set up a wired network in a single room in your home using short, prepackaged Ethernet cables.
      2. Purchase bulk cable and connectors and run Ethernet cables from room to room (this is only recommended for experienced users).
      3. Hire a professional to wire your home with in-wall Ethernet cable.
      Once you have your wired network in place, it’s easy to add a wireless access point to allow wireless networking as well. Your network is never set in stone — you can always add components and technology to make it fit your lifestyle.


      Your wired network really starts with the installation of your broadband internet service. If you have your eye on a wired network, make extra sure that your internet installer places the modem in a location that'll be most accessible to your devices. 

      If you skipped right to this page, it's definitely a good idea to check out some of the lessons leading up to it, including:
      Shop Networking Supplies
      A Typical Wired Network

      Step-by-Step Setup
         1.Determine where the router will be located. Ideally, it will be close to your computer, to your broadband connection and to the peripheral devices you wish to connect to the network. A room like a study or home office is perfect.
         2.Measure how much cable you’ll need. Even if your home is pre-wired for Ethernet access, you still need to figure out how much cable you'll need to connect your devices to the wall ports. Ethernet cables must be run from the router to each computer or device that you would like to connect to the wired network. For connecting devices within the same room, pre-made cables are the way to go. For room-to-room connections, you have to make some decisions. It can be time-consuming and difficult to run cables under the floor or through walls, not to mention messy. You should consider hiring a professional if you want to install Ethernet cables throughout your home, or consider the option of using wireless to get to other rooms. 

      Each end of each Ethernet cable terminates in a standard connector. These look like telephone jacks, but bigger. The most difficult part of an Ethernet cable installation in your home is getting the right color wire on the right terminal, or pin, of the jack. This is why many people use a professional (or at least someone who has done it before) to install Ethernet cabling in their home.
         3.Install network adapters. You’ll need to add these to any computers or peripherals that don’t already have them built in. The good news is that almost every desktop and laptop computer comes equipped with Ethernet ports. If a device like a printer is attached via a USB cable, you won't need to install a network card. Just attach the peripheral to a computer and network and share the computer instead.
         4.Connect your devices using the Ethernet cables. Plug the connectors into the ports on the back of your router (or into the wall if your home is wired for Ethernet).
         5.Set up the networking functions on your computers. Once your network is hooked up and your individual computers are connected to the router, it's time to network your computers together. You can use your computers' networking functions to share folders, files and printer connections. Setting up the networking function is a little different depending on which hardware and operating system you have, so again, read the instructions. There might be a wizard that walks you through the process, or you might need to change settings in your computers’ control panels. There are also many tutorials online that you can find for your specific computer and operating system.
         6.Connect your printers and other peripheral devices. Simply connect a printer to a computer on the network and allow the computer to do the sharing for you.


      Click Tip
      New in Windows 7® : HomeGroup 
      HomeGroup is a new feature in Windows 7 that makes it easy to automatically start sharing your music, picture, video, and document libraries with other PCs running Windows 7 in your home. HomeGroup is password-protected, and you decide what libraries, files and printers are shared—and what stays private.

      Getting started: 
      All computers must be running Windows 7 to be part of a homegroup. Follow these steps to create your homegroup:
      1. Verify your current network location is set to “Home network” by going to the Network and Sharing Center in your Control Panel.
      2. To create your homegroup, open HomeGroup in your Control Panel, then click "Create a homegroup".
      3. Any other PC running Windows 7 on your home network can easily join the homegroup by opening HomeGroup in the Control Panel and clicking "Join now".
      4. To access different PCs, printers or libraries in the homegroup, go to the Libraries folder, which you can access through the Start button.
      Learn more about HomeGroup


      Now that you've installed and configured your wired network, you can start enjoying the networked life!

    • View More: Dell 6. Building your Network - Wired vs Wireless
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    • View Answer at http://www.dell.com/content/topics/topic.aspx/global/learn/network/build_wired?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs
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  • 7. Building your Network - Wireless add ons



    • Time to Experience Wireless Freedom 
      It's all been leading up to this! You've got the know-how, you've done your shopping and now you're ready to put all your new knowledge into practice to set up your wireless network.

      There's no one single, right way to set up your network. As we go through the steps, remember that you can and should feel free to adjust as you need to. Your network has to work in your real-life world. Don't be afraid to experiment!

      Okay, are you ready? Let's get started.



      If you skipped right to this page, it's definitely a good idea to check out some of the lessons leading up to it, including:

      Shop Networking Supplies
      Step-by-Step Setup
         1.Place your router: location, location, location. Planning where you'll put your wireless router is extremely important, since the router is the central nervous system of your network. Aim for a spot that's central and located as high as possible. For example, in a two-story house, you'd want to try and put the router upstairs in a study or game room.
         2.Install your wireless router. Routers for home users usually have comprehensive instructions. Take some time to read over them before you dive in, and consider visiting the manufacturer's website to see if there are any known issues you need to watch out for. Most systems have you turn on the router and THEN connect it to your modem with an Ethernet cable. If your Internet connection is currently connected to your computer, disconnect that cable and attach it to your router.
         3.Set up your computers and other equipment. Add wireless adapters to each device you wish to connect to the network (if they are not already built into your laptop, desktop or other devices). It may sound basic, but read the instructions. Some devices require you to install the software and drivers first, and others have you install the device first. Some come with all the required software and drivers in place so that everything loads automatically. Just take it one device at a time and you'll be done sooner than you think.
         4.Configure your router. This is not anywhere near as scary as it sounds! Most routers are functional as soon as you turn them on. In many cases you will get basic wired Internet access as soon as you connect the router to your modem and the computer. This will enable you to access the web-based setup that allows you to configure your wireless router. Web-based setups usually have you connect to a specific I.P. (internet protocol) address. This is as simple as typing the numbers in your web browser where you'd usually type a URL. 

      Once you're inside the web-based setup utility, there are a couple of tasks you’ll need to perform:
      1. Name your wireless network with an SSID (Service Set Identifier). You can pick any name, but it should be something that you can remember. Just don't give away too much with your SSID—use your initials but not your full name, for instance. You will use the SSID to identify your network when you set up your other devices.
      2. Turn on your wireless security. This is very important! If your router and devices support WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) then you should use it. You’ll just need a password that serves as a “shared secret” among the devices in your home. If any of your devices do not support WPA, then you’ll need to use WEP security. This also provides a secure connection but it can be more difficult to use because you have to type in a lengthy hexadecimal key into every device.
         5.Set up the networking functions on your computers. Once your network is configured and your individual computers are configured to connect to the router, you can use their networking functions to share folders, files and printer connections. Setting up the networking function is a little different depending on which hardware and operating system you have, so again, read the instructions. There might be a wizard that walks you through the process, or you might need to change settings in your computers’ control panels.
         6.Set up the networking functions on your computers. Once your network is configured and your individual computers are configured to connect to the router, you can use their networking functions to share folders, files and printer connections. Setting up the networking function is a little different depending on which hardware and operating system you have, so again, read the instructions. There might be a wizard that walks you through the process, or you might need to change settings in your computers’ control panels.
         7.Connect your printers and other peripheral devices. In order to connect any wireless peripheral device to your network, the first thing you need to do is set it up to access the network using the parameters that you established when you configured the router. This includes the name of the network (SSID) and the wireless security password or key (WPA or WEP). 

      Printers can be connected in two different ways:
      • If you have a Wi-Fi equipped printer you can configure its wireless settings to access the home network directly.
      • Or, you can simply connect a printer to a computer on the network and allow the computer to do the sharing for you.
      Keep in mind that a shared printer connected to a computer must have the computer turned on to access that printer via the wireless connection.A third option is to use a wireless print server to turn wired printers into wireless ones. If you go this route, you can easily connect your computers and printer over the network.


      Click Tip
      New in Windows 7® : HomeGroup HomeGroup is a new feature in Windows 7 that makes it easy to automatically start sharing your music, picture, video, and document libraries with other PCs running Windows 7 on your home network. HomeGroup is password-protected, and you decide what libraries, files and printers are shared— and what stays private.

      Getting started: 
      All computers must be running Windows 7 to be part of a homegroup. Follow these steps to create your homegroup:
      1. Verify your current network location is set to “Home network” by going to the Network and Sharing Center in your Control Panel.
      2. To create your homegroup, open HomeGroup in your Control Panel, then click "Create a homegroup".
      3. Any other PC running Windows 7 on your home network can easily join the homegroup by opening HomeGroup in the Control Panel and clicking "Join now".
      4. To access different PCs, printers or libraries in the homegroup, go to the Libraries folder, which you can access through the Start button.
      Learn more about HomeGroup


      Extend Your Network with Powerline Adapters

      A Typical Powerline Bridge
      Powerline Adapters Let You Extend Your Network 
      Many homes have places where even the best-positioned wireless router cannot reach. If you have a dead spot in your wireless network, or even if you just want speed for demanding applications like gaming and video streaming, a powerline bridge (bridge is just a technical term for a connection between two devices) can be the ideal solution.

      Powerline adapters use your existing electrical wiring to transmit signals between your router and the device you want to connect. They're the ultimate in plug-and-play, making them a simple solution.

      Quick Tip: 
      There are different powerline technologies out there. Some of the fastest and most current adapters are labeled "Homeplug AV." Make sure when you buy powerline adapters you're buying all the same kind, or they will not work together. 

      Shop Powerline Adapters
      Powerline Bridge: Step-by-Step Setup
         1.Plug the first adapter into an electrical outlet close to your router. Don’t use a power strip — it will degrade the signal.
         2.Connect the adapter to the Ethernet port on the router. You’ll need an Ethernet cable for this.
         3.Plug the second adapter into an electrical outlet near your device. Again, avoid power strips.
         4.Connect the second adapter to the device with an Ethernet cable.
         5.Configure the remote device or computer. You’ll use the same protocols as you would for any wired network connection. In many cases, you'll find your device goes online with no configuration required.
         6.Some adapters recommend configuring optional security parameters. Read the instructions that come with your bridge and decide if you need to do so.


      Don't want to do it yourself? Dell's expert technicians can help you set up your wireless home network and make sure all your devices work together. Find out more.



      Now that you have your home network set up and running, let’s look at how to help keep your data and computers safe and secure from the outside world.

    • View More: Dell 7. Building your Network - Wireless add ons
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  • 8. Securing your Network - Keep your network safe

    • Essential Security for Your Network 

      If you don't have the time right now to go through all the information presented below, here's a quick checklist to make sure your major bases are covered:
      • Read your router's user manual and enable all recommended security.
      • Select and set up firewall software so that you have a second line of defense against security threats.
      • In Windows 7® , turn on Windows Defender, which you can find in the Action Center.
      • Install virus protection software and make sure that you keep it updated to catch the most current threats.
      • Set up Windows 7®  Parental Controls.
      We strongly encourage you to take a few minutes to read through all the information here. We're going to separate the information into Best Practices, which reference specific physical steps you can take to secure your network, and Best Policies, which will help you understand less tangible concepts. Once you learn the basics of network security, you'll be prepared for just about anything!

      Best Practices


      Let's walk through a few concrete things you can do to secure your home network:
      1. Control access to your network
      2. Set up a firewall
      3. Equip virus and spyware protection software
      4. Set up parental controls
      5. Keep patches current
      6. Back up your data


      Overall, the most important concept to grasp here is one of layered defense — you want to block as many threats as possible.


      Control Access to Your Network 
      Your first line of defense for network security is your router. The router can prevent unwanted and unsolicited Internet traffic from intruding into your network. It also secures your wireless network and helps prevent access by unauthorized devices such as your neighbors’ computers. Make sure your router’s security settings are enabled. For example, most routers allow you to block certain ports (or gateways to enter your network) from some the most common threats. Consult your router’s user manual for information specific to your product.



      Set Up a Firewall 
      A firewall is a software package that runs on your computers to help keep intruders out. Firewalls provide additional protection, but because no one thing can detect or stop all attacks, it’s important to use firewalls in conjunction with other security methods. Windows 7 offers a feature called Action Center, a central place to view alerts and take actions on security and maintenance settings that need attention. Action Center includes Windows Defender, an anti-spyware software that, when turned on, can help keep spyware from infecting your computer through alerts and scanning options.




      Equip Virus and Spyware Protection Software 
      Even with your best efforts, you never know what’s going to get through your firewall, so be sure to keep your spyware detection, antivirus and security software current on all computers on your network. Many software packages support automatic updates, so be sure to approve these updates when prompted. 

      Even your PC's operating system can help by being your first line of defense. Like we discussed above, Windows 7 offers a feature called Action Center, a central place to view alerts and take actions on security and maintenance settings that need attention. Action Center includes Windows Defender, an anti-spyware software that, when turned on, can help keep spyware from infecting your computer through alerts and scanning options.

      If you need any help installing security software or removing a virus from your PC, Dell's trained technicians can help.


      Set up Parental Controls 
      Parental control software is a useful tool if you're concerned about your kids' web-surfing habits. There are many parental control software products on the market offering a wide array of functionality:
      • Limiting controversial search terms
      • Specifying which games a child can play
      • Controlling the amount of time your child can stay online
      • Restricting access to websites with specific words in the URL or site text
      • Denying the use of specific programs or applications (like chat or online social networking)
      Many parental control software products allow you to pick and choose from pre-configured setups, and they can also allow you to specify different user profiles for kids of different ages. Most of these programs also provide activity reports for parents as well as remote monitoring with notification if your child tries to access something he or she is not allowed to see.

      If you have Windows®  7, you already have some useful parental controls at your fingertips. Let's look at how to configure these controls. 

      Click Tip
      Configuring Windows 7 Parental Controls 
      Windows 7 makes it easy to configure Parental Controls. Just follow these simple steps:
      1. Click Start > Control Panel > User Accounts and Family Safety .
      2. Click Set up parental controls for any user .
      3. Enter your administrator password if necessary.
      4. Under Parental Controls, select On, enforce current settings .
      Now that you've turned on Parental Controls, you can specify the amount of time your kids can stay on the computer and what games and programs they can run. You can even specify limits for each child, since what's right for an eight year old might not be fair for an older teenager. You can find a great video tutorial here if you want more information. 

      For more information on how to protect your family online, visit Dell’s Family Safety Learning Center


      Keep Patches Current 
      Patches are updates created by manufacturers to fix vulnerabilities, or holes, in their software. Many applications will automatically check for available updates, and many vendors offer automatic update notification through their mailing lists. When a patch is necessary, you can usually download it from the manufacturer’s website.


      Back Up Your Data 
      Keep copies of important files on removable media such as CDs, DVDs, USB or network attached storage (NAS). Use software backup tools if available, and store the backups away from the computer. In fact, it may be preferable to store your backup someplace not in your home. Dell offersDataSafe online backup, which can make this entire process easy and secure. 

      Software such as Iomega®  v.Clone™ technology allow you to clone your entire PC and boot it from any other PC. When combined with an Iomega portable hard drive, this provides a complete, all-in-one backup solution that's easy to use and maintain. 

      If you're a Windows 7 user, take advantage of built-in features found in the Backup and Restore Center that allow you to schedule automatic backups of your files and data. Handy features include the option to choose the specific files you want to back up more frequently.


      Best Policies



      Knowledge is power. Make sure all of the users on your network understand these simple policies for protecting against intrusion and virus infection:
      1. Preventing unauthorized access to your network
      2. Don’t open email from strangers
      3. Don’t run programs of unknown origin
      4. Don’t disclose personal information


      Preventing Unauthorized Access to Your Network 
      Home wireless networks have very specific security concerns, but it's not difficult to turn on the basic protection you need. Why should you worry about securing your network? There are actually people who engage in practices like “wardriving”, where they drive around looking specifically for unsecured wireless networks they can use for nefarious purposes. Or, you could just have your neighbors hogging the bandwidth you’re paying for. Either way, a secure network is in your best interest.

      There are some very basic things you can do right now to secure your wireless network:
      • Log onto your router's administrative console (instructions on how to do this will be in your router documentation) and change the default password to one featuring letters, numbers and special characters.
      • Also in the console, turn on the wireless encryption your router provides and make sure you write down the password you choose (if your router supports WPA) or the key generated (if it supports WEP).
      • Make sure you're keeping your antivirus and anti-malware software updated with the most current definitions, and turn on auto-updating if your software allows for it.
      • Use the features available in your web browser of choice to pump up the safety of your personal information. Internet Explorer 8, for example, has a feature called SmartScreen Filter designed to guard against malware, or fraudulent and phishing websites.
      This list may sound intimidating, but none of these steps is difficult to perform. The most important ones are the ones having to do with your router—changing the router's admin password andenabling encryption are the two smartest things you can do, and the steps involved should be listed in detail in your router's manual. 



      Don't Open Email from Strangers 
      If you wouldn’t eat their candy, you shouldn’t open their email attachments. Before opening any attachments, be sure you know who sent the message. Be careful even if the email originated from a familiar address. For example, the Melissa virus used personal address books to send out malicious executable programs. Email robot viruses can mask the true source of the message.

      If you’re bound and determined to open an attachment of questionable origin, you’re taking your chances. At least take these precautions:
      • Make sure your virus definitions are up-to-date
      • Save the file to your hard disk
      • Scan the file using your antivirus software
      • Disconnect your computer's network connection


      Don’t Run Programs of Unknown Origin 
      It’s not really safe to click on attachments that come in email, unless you know exactly where the message came from and that it is safe. Some malicious viruses, called Trojan horse programs, hide executable files in email. You don’t want to open one. And, you certainly don't want to be responsible for sending them to your friends or co-workers.

      What's more, if you aren't taking precautions, you could end up with hidden executable programs inside other applications that you thought were helpful. This is called spyware, and it's why you should make absolutely sure that every application you install is from a trustworthy source. A quick web search to see whether or not the file is a known virus or spyware before you download could save you a lot of grief!



      Don't Disclose Personal Information 
      It's so tempting to spill all your most intimate details to your best online friends, but doing so can be very dangerous, both for your online and offline safety. Kids in particular can sometimes have trouble understanding how seemingly innocent facts about their lives can prove dangerous. It's your job to make sure they understand that over-sharing is hazardous to their health and well being. Write up a list of what they shouldn’t share online (first or last names, telephone numbers, addresses, city or state, school, family names, etc.) and post it by the computer so they don't forget.

      If your kids have access to a cell phone with a camera, then it's vital they understand that sharing pictures online is very dangerous. Even innocuous details like t-shirts, backdrops and license plates can give away plenty of information you don't want anyone to know.


      The power to control your own network is in your hands. Just follow the steps above, and you can get your network locked down in no time - and have nothing to fear!

      Not sure if your network is as secure as you want? Dell's Solution Station offers support for network configuration and installation of certain security software (purchased separately by the customer) as well as support setting up a personal firewall and help removing any spyware or viruses. 

      Wireless networks, despite their convenience and ease of use, are susceptible to greater security threats than wired networks. On the next page, we’ll examine additional steps you can take to increase the security of your wireless network.

    • View More: Dell 8. Securing your Network - Keep your network safe
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    • View Answer at http://www.dell.com/content/topics/topic.aspx/global/learn/network/secure_safe?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs
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