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Networking
Networking
After acquiring the laptop, I decided I wanted to share the printer and files with my main computer downstairs. My laptop had built in wireless which I first used for "stealing" my neighbors wireless internet (you should ask first though) but I figured that I'll have to get my own rather than using others.

Besides eliminating the need for carrying CD-RWs and USB drives between the two computers to transfer files, I also needed an easy way to share my printer. I have an old HP Deskjet 832C which normally connects directly to my main computer through a parallel cable. After thinking everything out; I went out and bought a wireless router and a print server.

The router is a Netgear WGR614 I bought from Fry's Electronics. This has a built in 802.11G wireless and a four port router (Actually Five if you count the uplink) My DSL modem connects to the uplink and two of the four main ports are used plus the wireless portion. My laptop is on the wireless connection of course but since the router sits on top of my computer tower, it gets connected directly with 3 foot CAT-6 cable to the Ethernet port. Another cable runs across the back of my desk to connect to the print server and my printer.

The print server is a Netgear PS-101. It is very small and plugs directly into the parallel port on the back of the printer. The print server is probably the most helpful as it allows me to share the printer with my laptop without having it go through my desktop computer (which would have to be turned on as well)

I had some problems at first with setting up the router. Normally, I figure things out myself and just do what most people may do; that is to unpack everything and try to hook it up without reading the instruction manual. After having no idea why I couldn't get the wireless section to work, I finally read through the instructions.

For setup, the computer you are using to set up the router should be connected to Port 4 and you'll need to have a internet connection on the Uplink to be able to use the "Smartwizard" setup tool. Since I did not have a high speed connection hooked up yet, I had to manually set up the router using the routerlogin.net tool. If you don't have an internet connection hooked up to the router yet; just go to basic settings and select "No" where it asks if your internet connection requires a login. Ignore everything else but scroll down and click "Apply". Go to Wireless settings under Basic settings and pick your country (United States), your wireless connection type (G and B), channel (pick any; I used channel 5), and rename your SSID (try not to use the default "NETGEAR;" name it something you want).

If you are securing the network, pick WAP-PSK (more secure and faster to setup than WEP) and put in whatever password you want. Remember it as you'll need to type it into your computer when you connect to the wireless network. Set the key lifetime to any period; you could have it as short as 1min before you need to reconnect but I set it for two hours. Click Apply when done.

Go to Wireless Settings under Advance and check "Enable Wireless Router Radio" and "Enable SSID Broadcast" Click Apply and you're done with setting up the wireless part. Check to make sure the wireless light on the router is lit. Finally, change the default password on the router (password) to something else.

Since connecting to a network and file shareing depends on your particular computer or laptop; you'll have to figure it out yourself.

Setting up the Print server should be easy. Just run an Ethernet cable from a port on your router to your printer. Get rid of the parallel cable and connect the print server. Connect the Ethernet cable to the print server and hook up the AC adaptor. All you have to do now is install the connection software onto the computers you will be using the printer with.