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February 2000 TPC Workshop Summary

Networking

The 15th February saw me (Andrew Hayes) leading the Networking SIG at VCN's office in Akihabara. It was well attended with 8, or was it 9, people coming to learn about networking in general, and specifically how to use it in the home. We had 3 women attendees, which I was surprised about but pleased none the less.

We started with the basics in network hardware; 10BaseT, 100BaseTX, Cat-3, Cat-5, RJ-45, BNC, star, ring, bus topology, etc, and I explained the differences between the different transport mediums and network protocols, but we quickly moved to concentrating on TCP/IP.

Sajjad, of VCN, provided the hardware that we used for this SIG, including several laptops (1 with Windows 98 SE, and 2 others with flavors of Linux installed). He also retrieved for me various other bits of networking hardware from within the bowels of their office during the evening so that I could show what it was I was talking about. Came in very handy.

I took everyone through a step-by-step networking installation on Windows 98 SE, pointing out the various properties for the network adapter and TCP/IP settings, like IP Address, DNS, WINS, pausing occasionally to answer questions about the setup. Someone asked me why we were using the 192.168.x.x address range, and I explained that it is known as a private IP address range that is non-routable, so only computers on the same LAN subnet can see each other. He also asked where I found this out, and I said "Read it in a book", which is true, although I cannot recall where or when.

There is also a Request For Comments (RFC) available which covers this, if you're interested:

1918 Address Allocation for Private Internets. Y. Rekhter, B. Moskowitz, D. Karrenberg, G. J. de Groot & E. Lear. February 1996. (Format: TXT=22270 bytes) (Obsoletes RFC1627, RFC1597) (Also BCP0005) (Status: BEST CURRENT PRACTICE)

My October 1999 article on Home Networking has already covered most of what was actually done, so I won't go into detail here. Sufice to say that everything went well, and we were soon able to view the contents of the web server that was running on one of the Linux laptops. Most impressive. It actually went a lot smoother than I was expecting, but that's just the way it goes, I suppose.

I would of liked to show the file and print sharing using the machine we had just set up, but instead we had a good demo of a NetMeeting session that Sajjad had configured.

The frame rates were quite low, which was probably a software-based issue so we didn't go into it, but it was good to see a more visual example of networking. I explained that the same setup is possible over the Internet, assuming that both parties have digital cameras hooked into their PCs, and the appropriate software.

We then fell into a general networking Q&A session, which mainly comprised of solving Mousavi's ISDN router connectivity problem. The main gist of which was, find out the IP address that your router is using and setup the Windows TCP/IP to use that address as the Gateway. I'm pretty sure this is not the end of the matter, but we shall see.

We finally finished up around 9:00pm, and everybody went away with a little extra knowledge, and hopefully, less apprehension about networking. We intend to do another follow up with cross-platform resource sharing, so keep an eye on their website for that announcement.

By the time you read this, Windows 2000 would of have had it's much publicized release into the real world, and the TPC will have a presentation on this latest OS from Microsoft in April. Check the website for more details.

Andrew Hayes


Tokyo PC Users Group, Post Office Box 103, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo 150-8691, JAPAN