Google Search


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Windows XP Timesaving Technique: Running the Wireless Network Setup Wizard

Windows XP Service Pack 2 has a lot of nifty new features, and one of the best is the wizard that helps you configure your wireless network. You need a USB flash drive or a USB flash card reader, and a free USB port on every computer attached to the wireless network.

If your wireless broadband router, wireless access point, or other wireless base station has a USB port and it supports Windows Smart Network Key, you're in luck: The wizard can configure your entire network in a matter of minutes. If your router doesn't support WSNK, not to worry — entering the requisite codes by hand is pretty easy.
Setting up the network
Here's how to get your wireless network secure:
1. Choose Start --> All Programs --> Accessories --> Communications --> Wireless Network Setup Wizard.
The wizard shows its splash screen.
2. Click Next.
The wizard asks you to type in a name for your network.
3. Type a name for the network.
The name of the network is used for the wireless router's SSID (Service Set Identifier), which the wireless box typically broadcasts to make it easy to connect. The SSID is the name that appears when you try to connect to a wireless network. Each wireless router has a default SSID: tsunami, wireless, and linksys are all common default SSIDs.
4. Unless you already have a network key that you absolutely must use, select the Automatically Assign a Network Key radio button.
5. If your wireless base station and all the wireless cards on your network support WPA (if you have 802.11g, they may or may not; with 802.11b, it's unlikely), check the Use WPA Encryption box.
There is a performance hit for using either WEP or WPA encryption. Your network will run slower — but your neighbor won't be able to look at your files. Fair trade, eh?
6. Click Next.
Behind the scenes, the wizard generates all the information it needs to set up a secure wireless network.
The wizard asks if it can use a "key drive" (USB flash drive) to set up the network.
7. Select the Use a USB Flash Drive radio button.
Select this button if you meet the following requirements:
• You have a key drive (USB flash drive) handy
• A free USB port is on every computer on your network
• All of the computers on your network are running Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later
• Your wireless router has a USB port and it understands WSNK (check the manual)
If you don't meet those requirements, then select the Set Up a Network Manually radio button. Then click Next.
• If you click the first button, the wizard takes you through the steps to transfer the settings to all the other computers on the network, as well as the wireless base station. Basically, you schlep the key drive to all the PCs, and they set themselves up.
• If your hardware isn't quite up to the Dick Tracy stage yet, the wizard shows you its final instructions.
8. Click Print Network Settings.
The wizard doesn't actually print them. Instead, it opens Notepad and sticks the relevant settings in a new text file.
9. Print the text file and follow the instructions to transfer the settings to each of your wireless devices manually.
It isn't as bad as it looks. See the next section.
Making manual changes
So you're stuck with entering wireless network security information by hand. Be of good cheer. The Wireless Network Setup Wizard (see the preceding section) does all the heavy lifting. If you're running Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later, it's pretty easy:
1. Enter the new settings in your wireless router or access point.
Unfortunately, each one is different. You may have to dig into the router's manual. Usually, once you get inside the router, making the changes is easy. The key you need to enter is the one that was generated by the Wireless Network Setup Wizard.
2. Make sure you update/apply/save the changes to the wireless router before leaving.
Many routers require you to save the changes manually, so they'll be around if the electricity goes out.
3. Choose Start --> All Programs --> Accessories --> Communications --> Wireless Network Setup Wizard.
You see that really confusing splash screen again.
4. Click Next.
The wizard asks for a network name.
5. Type the network name precisely the same way that it appears in the printout from the preceding section.
6. Select the Manually Assign a Network Key radio button and click Next.
The wizard asks you to type the key.
7. Click Next.
You end up at Step 7 in the preceding section, from which point you can print your settings or just close down the wizard.
8. Repeat Steps 3 through 8 on each computer in your wireless network.
The result: a very secure wireless network that works like a-ringin' a bell

No comments: