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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My home network is driving me crazy. :mad: Mainly because I'm a newbie to networking and don't know what I'm doing! The set-up is; I have a Win 2000 server (2 Ghz Celeron) storing all my ripped DVD's. Currently, I have 2 Shuttle PC's (2 Ghz P4 and 2.4 Ghz P4) as my HTPC clients. The problem is, on my 2 Ghz client. I lose my network connection every other time I turn on the computer (sometimes it is maintained, other times it is not). I don't know enough about networks to understand why the connection won't maintain itself on one computer (2.0 Ghz P4) and maintain itself on another.

Any network people out there know how to properly do this simple task of maintaining a network connection AFTER you turn off your computer?


hjackson
 

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Just a guess, but if you are using NetBeui on your server and the clients are running WinXP (you didn't say what you had), then there is an issue because XP no longer installs NetBeui. You have to go to the XP disk and follow the instructions to install it...


Chris
 

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Does anybody even run Netbui anymore? I would suggest not installing it on your XP machine, and removing it from others. Netbui is an open gateway into your machine, especially if you have a broadband connection not protected by a suitable firewall.


If you don't believe me, download a small utility called angry IP. It will ping every IP address from 1.1.1.1 to 255.255.255.255 or any range you specify. If it finds a response, it will then issue a netbui client connection request. If the PC has netbui running, then boom, you are in and free to roam about. Dangerous stuff.
 

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hjackson's symptoms sounded like what happened to me the first time I had a WinXP machine on my home network, which uses NetBeui. So I figured that I would throw out the idea...


Like you said, a simple firewall prevents this attack. So that's not much of an issue to me. If someone can get past my firewall, I'm in alot of trouble anyway.


NetBeui is easiest way I know of to share files on Windows based systems. I am far from a network expert, but I don't know of any other simple way besides running a DNS server to do this.


If you know of a better way that is not too much of a hassle, please let me know and I'll implement it immediately.


Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm not familiar with Netbui. When I restart my client and realize that my movies on the server are not avaolable, I check My Network Places. I then see a list of all my supposed network connections. When I click onto the shared connection, it states that the network connection is not available. Then I have to reconnect all my network places...again. I'm sure it's a simple fix, I just don't know network basics enough to figure it out.


hjackson
 

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Are you using IP as a networking protocol?


What are you using as a network concentrator (hub or switch?) to connect the three PCs?


Have you enabled DHCP server on the file server? Then you can just let each client PC automatically get it's IP address from the server and you don't need to do anything else during bootup of the client.


OR, you can manually set IP addresses in each of 3 computers (but it means you need to know about IP adressing) below is a workable Example for your setup;


Server IP address: 192.170.1.1 Server subnet mask 255.255.255.0


Client#1 IP address: 192.170.1.2 Client#1 subnet mask 255.255.255.0


Client#2 IP address: 192.170.1.3 Client#2 subnet mask 255.255.255.0
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, the problem is only with one of my two HTPC clients (the P4 2.0 Ghz Shuttle PC with ATI 8500D AIW card). I cannot tell how either of the 2 clients are set up differently. As well, a new problem just started 2 days ago (I did not have this problem for the first few weeks of usage), now my ripped DVD's stutter horribly when played through Zoomplayer. Essentially, they are no longer watchable. When an actual DVD is put into the drive, it plays flawlessly. On the other networked HTPC, my ripped DVDs play flawlessly through the network.

Are these 2 problems: (1. network not being maintained when HTPC powers down & 2. ISO files stuttering through network connection) related?


hjackson
 

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#1 - NETBEUI is a protocol, similar in concept to TCP/IP. As some previous poster stated, for a small, single segment LAN (such as most home networks), it is often the fastest and easiest to setup - it's basically self-maintaining. I haven't done anything with XP yet, but I KNOW you can add NETBEUI to Win2K. This simple addition should do wonders on your network connections being available.


#2 - For the private, non-routable IP networks - they start with 192.168.x.x (there are some additional ones up at 10.x.x.x and one other range). Just make sure that if you are doing static IP's, that they all have an address on the same network (the 192.168.x) and the same mask (usually 255.255.255.0 for the small NAT devices). Microsoft networking is actually using NETBIOS over TCP/IP when NETBEUI is not installed.


My recommendation for hjackson - install NETBEUI as a protocol for your local PC's. It should make your connections more robust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sorry guys, I must have been half asleep when I first wrote this. My server is running Win 2K Server with 5 licenses. My HTPC clients are both running XP PRO. I have a laptop that runs just XP, and this maintains its connection to the network too, though it seems to take awhile to connect.

Scooper, I appreciate your recommendation (if it still stands for XP PRO), but I would like to keep the same configuration on all the clients for simplicity sake, and I loathe the thought of adding more networking software to the one HTPC as everything seems so fragile in the first place. Last, I would like to do network setups for my friends, so I would like to learn the solutions to problems like these so I know how to handle them if they pop up again (also for my own education).


hjackson
 

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Is your win2k server running Active directory? Did you let Active directory configure DNS? Is your Win2k server the DNS server? Are all clients and the Win 2k server itself pointing to the DNS server? This will cause connectivity problems as well as a big network slowdown if not configured correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Cmcjo, thanks for the reply. As I said before, it seems that the one XP Pro client is the problem, so I would like to know how to check if it is pointing at the DNS server.

BTW, today, the same htpc started up and MAINTAINED its connection and DID NOT stutter with DVD playback. The only thing done different to the network was add another movie to the server (through the network via a different computer). This does not mean my problem is fixed as it is unpredictable and may not work right tomorrow.

Now, I did crimp my own ethernet cable at this connection. Could a bad crimping job cause this?


hjackson
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Oh Oh. I ask because I would expect that if the ethernet connection itself was poor, then I would not get a signal at all. Why would the performance change without anyone messing with the ethernet cable itself. Are you saying that I may only have a partial connection in the cable and this causes the network to not reset when I restart my HTPC?


hjackson
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by hjackson
Oh Oh. I ask because I would expect that if the ethernet connection itself was poor, then I would not get a signal at all. Why would the performance change without anyone messing with the ethernet cable itself. Are you saying that I may only have a partial connection in the cable and this causes the network to not reset when I restart my HTPC?


hjackson
Yes crimping could be a culpirt as well, although I suspect DNS is not configured correctly.


A few weeks ago I went through about 200 feet of Cat 5 just to make a 20Ft patch cable. The problem I encountered was that I needed to place my wires in an exact order. I know that it usually does not make a difference in the order just as long as it matches the other end, but in this case the order was important as well.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by hjackson
Cmcjo, thanks for the reply. As I said before, it seems that the one XP Pro client is the problem, so I would like to know how to check if it is pointing at the DNS server.

BTW, today, the same htpc started up and MAINTAINED its connection and DID NOT stutter with DVD playback. The only thing done different to the network was add another movie to the server (through the network via a different computer). This does not mean my problem is fixed as it is unpredictable and may not work right tomorrow.

Now, I did crimp my own ethernet cable at this connection. Could a bad crimping job cause this?


hjackson
Can you explain your network in detail. Router? DHCP or Static IP to the clients? Is your server also a DHCP server? or are you getting IP from the router? I'm guessing that if you got Win2k server running you are a little familiar with a network OS. Where are you getting DNS from?

On all of the PC's go the DOS prompt and enter ipconfig/all.

Your Server should be the DNS server, all machines on the network(including the server) should be pointing to the DNS server's IP address. The DNS should have a forwarder set up to your ISP's DNS server. This all happens (or is supposed to happen) automatically during active directory installation.
 

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The order of the wires absolutely does matter! There are specific pairs of wire that are twisted together to prevent interference and crosstalk among the other pairs.


You need to wire them according to the T-568A or T-568B standard and make sure the crimps are done well.
 

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A few years ago, a client asked me "Should it take 20 hours to install Microsoft Office 4.3 over the network?"


When I told him no he asked me to come out and investigate.


Turns out he had his telco guy make his patch cables and telco guy wired them as 12,34,56,78 instead of 12,36,45,78.


Since 3 and 6 were in two different pairs, all kinds of retransmissions were occuring due to the errors. (Ethernet 10Bt and 100Bt uses 1,2,3 and 6)


Switching patch cables with one of mine, the install time went down to just a few minutes!


I have also seen similar problems if plugs for stranded core wire were used crimped on solid conductors.
 

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Exactly Jim.


There are many issues involved in a proper Cat5 installation. I've seen "professional" installers screw things up because they were misinformed or were trained by telco people instead of data people.


Unless you know what you're doing, it's best to leave the cabling to someone who knows or, at the very least, each cable drop should be tested using the appropriate cable tester.


The idea of "if I get a link light, it must not be the cable" is usually wrong.
 
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