'How To' Series (Part 4): Accessing and Understanding Your LAN Connection
Now, I know this one will sound pretty trivial to many of you, but for the beginners out there this is a must have for informational collection.Now, I know this one will sound pretty trivial to many of you, but for the beginners out there this is a must have for informational collection. To begin with, your LAN is your Local Area Network, or the method by which you are connected to the other PCs, printers, servers, internet, etc. in your network.
To begin with, your LAN is your Local Area Network, or the method by which you are connected to the other PCs, printers, servers, internet, etc. in your network.
To connect to these other devices, you will need to have the proper communications channels opened up. This is where things get a little hairy. Communications channels vary between different Operating Systems and different devices (SCSI, etc.). To make these things communicate, you will need to make sure that you have the proper protocols and drivers installed and set up.
A protocol is how one thing talks to another. The most common of these is the TCP/IP protocol. I am sure that you are all familiar with this one. This protocol needs to be set up correctly with the proper addresses and ranges so that you can communicate not only with computers in your local segment, but with computers throughout your entire network.
As an example, let's take a visual look at the settings on my Windows 2000 Professional system and make sure that I am set up correctly.
First, I click the start button in the lower left hand corner of my PC and go to Settings/Control Panel. The Control Panel looks like the following:
Take a minute to look this over, as it is the driver's seat for most administrative functions that you will perform on a local PC. Notice the "Administrative Tools" icon, which has the description, "Configures Administrative Settings for your Computer".
Although this is not the item we are discussing today, it is the key to all of my other How To articles, they are listed by topic below:
Computer Management Console:
For the purpose of our discussion today, however, we will be selecting the icon, "Network and Dial-Up Connections". From here, you will either be able to "Make a New Connection" or check existing connections. If you select "Make a New Connection", you will begin walking into the New Connection Wizard. It will look like the following:
The wizard is pretty straight forward and will enable you to create a new dial-up connection, so that you can reach an internet provider. The more important settings are the LAN settings that you already have enabled. If you right-click on your ACTIVE, ENABLED LAN settings, you will see a popup that looks like the following:
I have already selected the TCP/IP connection, which is the one that I would like to discuss, as it has the most pertinent and in-depth settings that will be of the most concern to the system administrator. Once you have highlighted the TCP/IP setting, click on the "Properties" tab directly below and to the right of the components window. You will see the following:
Here you will have to check the validity of the settings that you have.
Questions that you will want to ask yourself:
1. Am I on DHCP? If so, this PC is not configured correctly as it has a static IP address of 126.96.36.199. That would cause no network connectivity.
2. What is my static IP supposed to be? If it is not 188.8.131.52 (which it won't be) then this PC is not configured correctly. It will have no connectivity.
3. Am I using DNS and is this the right server setting? Another potential failure of communication.
If you want to get into the more serious configuration (you will have to whether you want to or not), then you will click on the Advance tab. You will be presented with the following:
Here, you will be able to select between the following tabs:
Options (currently selected)
Checking that this is all set up correctly is another step in your ritualistic desktop support rounds.
One Quick Tip:
Write down all of the correct (or possibly correct) settings on a piece of paper and carry it with you. This way, you can always check the settings when you get to a problem machine. The act of writing them down will help you to memorize them as well.
Let me know if you have any other ideas for How To articles.