Articles in Category: Networking
Network connectivity and configurations, protocols and problems, articles relating to how computers connect.
Wired speeds are almost always faster than wireless. I’ll review why and what you can do. Spoiler: “what you can do” usually involves a cable.
Wi-Fi has only become more important as more devices and online activities become essential at home. I’ll review some of the things to investigate as you search for better Wi-Fi.
If you want to hide your IP address, it’s important to understand the terminology so you get the results you want.
If you connect to an open Wi-Fi hotspot without a password and can see anything at all, it’s not a secure connection.
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a fully encrypted, private internet connection via a VPN provider. I’ll look at what protection it offers.
The DNS servers used by your computer are most likely specified by your ISP. I’ll look at how to tell which servers they are and why you might consider changing them.
When your computer can’t get an IP address any other way, it assigns itself a 169.254 IP address. It’s a sure sign of a problem.
Bandwidth, in computers and online, is all about speed. Better bandwidth means faster transfers. I’ll use a common metaphor to make it a little more real.
Thanks to popular media, many people expect much more from an IP address than is practically available. I’ll separate myth from fact.
A home network allows you to share a single internet connection, as well as data and devices, between multiple devices. I’ll review the basics components of a home network and some steps to take as your network grows.
Open Wi-Fi hotspots at coffee shops, airports, and other public places are opportunities for hackers to steal information and more. I’ll review how to stay safe.
Your router is your first line of defense against malicious attacks from the internet. But do you have a secure router? I’ll review the important settings.
While getting someone’s name and address from their IP address is technically possible, it’s also typically difficult and requires law enforcement.
Some Windows messages indicate something was set by your network administrator. That’s probably you, even if you didn’t do it.
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) have characteristics that are visible to your ISP. I’ll discuss what they can and cannot see.
Giving a neighbor temporary internet access seems like a neighborly thing to do. Before you do it, understand the risks of sharing your internet.
Every router has at least two IP addresses. It’s a characteristic of how routers do their jobs.
Network failures after standby remain common, particularly in older machines. There are a couple of things to try.
After all this time, networking computers remains out of the reach of the average user, and that’s really frustrating.
Mobile broadband is a popular internet connection alternative. As with any connection, it’s important to understand the security ramifications and tradeoffs.
Sometimes using a DNS service other than that provided by your ISP makes sense. I’ll show you how to make the change.
When scanning for wireless connections, you may find several that are unknown, yet appear open and available. Using them is risky. Very risky.
A vulnerability has been discovered in a critical wireless security protocol. I’ll discuss whether you should worry and what steps you should take.
Many households have computers used for sensitive things sharing a network with less trustworthy users. Here’s one method for in-home protection.
Even if you’re nowhere near a network you’ve connected to in the past, you can still recover the Wi-Fi password from Windows.
If you forget your network’s Wi-Fi password, but you’re still connected, Windows can remind you what it is.
Accidentally connecting to someone’s nearby wireless network can be a serious security risk. We’ll look at some steps to prevent it.
Minimally, web servers get your IP address when you visit. Whether or not that or other information can actually be used to identify you, specifically, depends on a lot of things.
Adding a wireless access point to extend your network’s range can be confusing. Many routers come with wireless capability, but you only need one router.
An outbound firewall will alert you to suspicious connections. The biggest problem? If correct, it’s too late.
A MAC address and your IP address are both key components to networking, but they serve different purposes, and are visible in very different ways.
Windows Firewall will protect your machine from other computers that share
the “safe side” of the router.
Ping is one of the oldest diagnostic tools. It simply validates connectivity from point A to point B, and in doing so provides additional useful information.
Peer-to-peer file-sharing programs have a bad reputation because of the content they’re often used to download. But the technology is quite legal and useful for legitimate purposes.
A MAC address can easily be traced for as far as it travels. The problem is, a MAC address doesn’t travel far enough to be useful.
Wi-Fi Sense, a new feature in Windows 10, is designed to make connecting to wireless networks easier. You’ll probably want to turn off Wi-Fi Sense for privacy.
A subnet mask is a way of telling your computer or router what network addresses are local and which are remote.
Windows 7 and 8 have a useful utility to monitor network activity. You can use it to find out a lot about what your computer is doing online.
A firewall is a critical component of keeping your machine safe on the internet. There are two basic types, but which is right for you?
Using a password protected WPA2 hotspot is a minor inconvenience for a very significant level of additional security. I’ll explain…
While you cannot find the specific owner of an IP address, I’ll look at a few tools to see what IP-related information you can get.
Heartbleed did not affect all versions of open SSL. So first we should check if we even need to worry.
Without the proper security others will be able to access your computer and your files, and even watch what you do online. Fortunately, setting up basic security is easy.
Home networking can be very difficult. But I have a little trick that works easily for me.
Are you finding mysterious downloads coming into your computer? It may be nothing sinister. But on the other hand… we’d better check the source.
Even a cached version of a website could send information about you back to the original server. The thing is that we just don’t (and can’t) know.
With one exception, having an open port is not dangerous. But the way that ports work is interesting!
When you are connected to a wireless network, but cannot get to the internet, it’s because an IP address has not been assigned to you. So how do you fix that?
Some smart routers can act as a local DNS servers in an attempt to speed things up.
Hotels and other hotspot providers often insist that you agree to some terms of service before you can use their internet. The problem is that insistence can often interfere with the connection.