Simplest possible Workgroup home net?

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Networking' started by Puddin Man, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. Puddin Man

    Puddin Man New Member

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    I have a pre-Vista Win desktop and a Win7-64 (HP OEM) desktop at home. ATT DSL, 2-Wire router/gateway, all hardwired.

    Nobody uses this stuff but me. I've gone to a lot of trouble to set up a Workgroup definition and a shared folder for the 2 pc's (more than once). Got it working. Then the Win7 side breaks somehow.

    The Workgroup is still defined, and the old system can access the Win7 folder, but Win7 won't connect to the old system.

    Win7 won't allow me to turn-on media streaming. I click the "turn-on" button but it has no effect. "Save" (or whatever) remains greyed out.

    Is media streaming absolutely necessary for such a simple net?

    Can anyone point me to or just explain a foolproof method of permanently establishing such a simple, simple Workgroup?

    Thanks,
    P
     
  2. Trouble

    Trouble Noob Whisperer

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    Probably the best bet for your unique environment might be to resist relying on netbios browsing of the network. This can sometime breakdown due to computers being shut down and or rebooted which results in a new browser election and potentially a new master browser maintaining the browse list with different and conflicting netbios information. Since you network is rather small and you are the sole user, the best bet would be to use fixed static ip address for both machines and then using explorer to map a network drive to the other machine's shared folder using the IP address in the mapping process rather than the machine name, then drop a shortcut on the desktop to the mapped drive.
    Simple, fast and reliable.
     
  3. Puddin Man

    Puddin Man New Member

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    You more-or-less lost me, here. Mine is intended as a simple Workgroup net for simple file sharing only. Why would netbios config change with only normal boot-up and shut-down?

    B-b-b-but, what are the implications of using static ip address for the net given present config??

    P
     
  4. Trouble

    Trouble Noob Whisperer

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    In a workgroup environment when multiple machine are brought up on the same network a browser election is held. This determines which machines keeps a list of available network resources by machine name and ip address. When using DHCP this is subject to change as the machine performs a DHCP solicitation to acquire an IP address from the networks DHCP server.
    Read the following article an see if it explains it better than I'm apparently doing.
    How to Determine the Master Browser in a Windows Workgroup | Scottie's Tech.Info

    There are no adverse implications it simply removes the potential for the netbios information from becoming stale as the same ip address is always associated with the same machine name. And using ip addresses when mapping network shares pretty much eliminates the need for the computer browser service as you will always be able to expose shares by simply typing \\192.168.nnn.nnn (the actual static ip address of the other machine) into the search box or run dialog box.
     
  5. Puddin Man

    Puddin Man New Member

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    That was a help. No problem with netbios browsing *concept*.

    The 2nd system is W2k/sp4. It won't even allow typing \\192.168.nnn.nnn: it goes into crazy-search mode.

    I have a pre-Vista Win desktop and a Win7-64 (HP OEM) desktop at home. ATT DSL, 2-Wire router/gateway, all hardwired.

    Here's a blurb from my router manual:

    Setting up a Private Network
    By default, the 2Wire gateway uses the 192.168.1.0/255.255.0.0 IP address range. You can select from
    two additional IP address ranges, or configure the network settings manually. You should manually configure
    these settings ONLY if you thoroughly understand IP internetworking, because an incorrect configuration can
    cause unpredictable results.

    I'm afraid I don't qualify for "thoroughly understand IP ...".

    Have you configured/re-configured such a system for static IP? I assume you were not talking about getting a static IP from my ISP/carrier for lots more $.

    Can point me to bonehead reference for doing so? :)

    P
     
  6. Trouble

    Trouble Noob Whisperer

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    It has been a while since I actually had to configure a 2Wire (but yes I have and many others), the default that you show above is a class C address with a Class B subnet allowing for a huge number of host addresses (hardly necessary with only two machine on the network).
    Ideally, you would want to configure the lan side of the 2Wire as 192.168.1.1 and disable DHCP (if you have no visiting laptops) and then the other two machines as 192.168.1.2 and 192.168.1.3 both with a subnet of 255.255.255.0 and a default gateway of 192.168.1.1 and DNS server address of 192.168.1.1 although you might consider actually using the DNS servers from your provider or public DNS servers like googles at 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4, you may see some performance increase, more likely little to none as long as the 2Wire does a good job of forwarding DNS queries, you can also disable the DHCP client service on both your machines since you won't be using it anymore and that's one less service running at startup.
    As far as the Windows 2k machine or for that matter any other machine don't use the search box, use the run dialog box by holding down the "Windows Key" + the "r" key and then type \\192.168.1.2 or \\192.168.1.3 (the search box will work well with Win7, but not so much with other OSs)
    The only thing you really need to understand about IP addressing is that it works like an address on the side of your house, so your mail can be delivered properly.
    The subnet mask determines the street and the last octect is the actual house so
    a subnet of 255.255.255.0 tells you that the first three octects 192.168.1 is the street you live on and the last octect (1 through 254) is the actual house. So the process knows from where the mail originated and to where the return mail needs to be sent.
    I really hope this helps and doesn't confuse you any further. It probably seems more difficult then it actually is, and sometimes takes a lot of time to wrap your head around.
     
  7. Puddin Man

    Puddin Man New Member

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    Am I really in a position to specify all that given the ATT 2-Wire interface which looks like:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Private Network:
    If you change the IP address range, you must renew the DHCP lease on all devices on the network.

    @ 192.168.1.0 / 255.255.255.0 (default)
    @ 172.16.0.0 / 255.255.0.0
    @ 10.0.0.0 / 255.255.0.0

    @ Configure manually
    Router Address: _______________
    Subnet Mask:
    @ Enable DHCP
    First DHCP Address: ______________
    Last DHCP Address: ______________
    @ Default DHCP Pool
    Set DHCP Lease Time: 24 hours
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    where @ is a check-box/radio-dingleberry?

    OK, but ...

    You are a nice fella, and you are trying to help, and I appreciate it, but ...

    I fear it's *not* all I "really need to understand" given the context of the ATT/2-Wire interface and the way ATT has it's net set up. I'll try to render an example.

    Last month I got a new 2-Wire router. Fearing silly, silly trouble, I posted a query to dslreports (where they really -really- oughta know) like "What will bugger if I just unplug the old 2-wire, plug-in the new, and try to get back on the net?" Response was that all that was needed was a logon with ID and password. When I replaced the device I got shut out: it wouldn't let me on the net (even after a "reset") without downloading some of their software, something I never, ever do. It was a lot of trouble to contact tech support to get me back on. The way some of their systems work, it's a wonder I'm back on now.

    You are really in a position to say that, if I can shoehorn your info above into the ATT web page, it ought to work? If it doesn't, will a router reset work (get me back to defaults)? Etc, etc.

    Like I said, you are a nice fella, and you are trying to help, and I appreciate it, but ...

    Thanks,
    P
     
  8. Trouble

    Trouble Noob Whisperer

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    You can absolutely feel free to accept or ignore anything I say, that's what this forum is all about.
    The bottom line is that you should not do anything that exceeds your comfort level.
    You would be performing these adjustments on the LAN side of the router (manual config setup), that is to say you wouldn't be messing with the WAN setup config at all and a factory reset should not be required (resetting the 2wire, would put you back to square one and you would have to configure everything all over again). You can simply make notes as to the router's current settings before you make any changes and return them to their current state when ever you want.
    I sense some overall reluctance on your part to proceed further and I would suggest that you go with your gut and forget the whole deal. What seems simple to me and perhaps others may very well seem ultra complex to others so since you obviously know your limitations then avoid getting in over your head and keep the current configuration.
    The only other thing that I might suggest is that you may want to increase the length of time for your DHCP leases to something more than the current setting of 24 hours. If the selection has a drop down you should choose something greater like a week or a month. If you have any documentation on the device it should provide some alternative settings for this.
    What's happening now is, say you boot up your two machines at 8:00 am every morning. Everything is working fine and you shut down everything that evening and the next day at 8:00 am you do the same thing. Instead of simply renewing or keeping the ipaddress that it already has the individual computer starts over, since the lease time has expired it solicits a new IP address address at which time depending on the DHCP server it may get the same one again but more likely will get a new and different one.
     
  9. Puddin Man

    Puddin Man New Member

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    Was I be "messing with the WAN setup" when I swapped the old 2-wire for the new, only to find that I was shut-out from the net?

    The first thing I did before even considering the re-config.


    Perceptive of you. I have no problem with the concepts involved. You explain them well. It's just that ...

    I went back and tried to review the LAN config stuff in W2k. It is a hideous mish-mash of mis-engineered windows and mutant descriptions of their functions. Would be surprised if it's any better in Win7.

    None of this stuff works all that well, and the documentation sometimes looks like something from the back ward of an asylum. If M$ was worth half the revenue they get for, say, Word, none of this would be necessary.

    Makes all the sense in the world (at face value). I logged on all ready to specify a month or somesuch, noticed there was no drop-down choices, searched "att set dhcp lease time", and found:

    IP Lease times? - AT&T Midwest | DSLReports Forums

    which seems to indicate that lease time is irrelevant. So why is it on my ATT/2-wire menu?

    Again, things are very often not so simple as they may seem.

    But your help is both appreciated and valued. If I can find time, I'll scratch around, perhaps find a way to implement what you suggested.

    Thanks,
    P
     
  10. Trouble

    Trouble Noob Whisperer

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    This is probably why it's best to not fool with anything without double checking. I skimmed the article that you referenced and they were talking primarily about the DHCP lease time on the outside edge of your 2wire router and determined that it was irrelevant based on maintaining a connection.
    Not what I was referring to at all. My concern was for the DHCP lease time controlled by your own router (2wire) on the insided edge (LAN) side of the network.
    Which, when you consider it, works similiarly in that, if everything is alway on and connected then the DHCP lease regardless of its' length will most likely be renewed and maintained as the same ip address, since the renewal is part of the DHCP process as the expiration time grows close your machine contacts the DHCP server on your network (2wire router) and attempts to keep and renew the ip address it has. But since in your case everything is not on and connected at the time of the expiry, then the renewal is not attempted and it starts off with a solicitation.
     
  11. Puddin Man

    Puddin Man New Member

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    I can understand why I would need lease a public ip addr for the router from the ISP.

    I don't understand why I would need lease a private (lan) ip addr. If it is unique in my lan and in the indicated range, why not set the damned thing and forget it?

    Searched the 2-wire manual: could find nothing re local (private) lease. Not even indications of min, max durations of lease.

    "They can create circuits, no problem. When there are more than 2 or 3, they often have **Horrible Difficulties** explaining what they do and don't do!"

    I needs do some cleanup, etc. When next I run a backup, I may give it (static ip, etc) a try.

    Thanks,
    P
     
  12. Puddin Man

    Puddin Man New Member

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    So I got my backup run, etc and I'm gonna take a stab at the static ip ...

    Aaaarrrggghhh! Worse that I thought.

    Followed your instructions, got:

    ERROR
    The IP address manually configured in the IP Address Range is not valid. Please enter a valid IP Address.
    The manually configured Subnet Mask is not valid. Please enter a valid Subnet Mask.

    Figured that I had to omit the router address from the range. All that was needed was an example, but examples aren't *slick* ...

    Got it all set up -proper-, per your instructions, clicked 'save' and it went off into La-La Land. I finally went down the workshop to do some real work, when I got back it was still masturbating some unknown infinite loop with:

    http://gateway.2wire.net/xslt?PAGE=C06_POST

    specified in the URL box. I fully expect it would've continued to deposit cpu cycles in the bit-bucket until eternity (had I not flushed it).

    Anybody with a router is free to waste time in this fashion. Hulluva note!

    S'long, G'bye,
    P
     
  13. Puddin Man

    Puddin Man New Member

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    But wait! After all that insanity ...

    It seems to have taken on the lead (W2k) pc.

    I still can't do anything with the Win7 pc. Accepted an update for an Intel driver and it Crashed and Burned!

    Maybe tomorrow.

    Thanks,
    P
     

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