A+: Installing Network Protocols

Before a network connection can function, it must be properly configured. Here;s some terminology you'll need:

The IP address identifies a computer or device on the network and must be unique. To make sure it is unique, it can be auto-assigned by a DHCP server.

The DNS configuration identifies the DNS (Domain Naming System) and speficies one or more DNS servers. It is the 'White Pages' of the Internet, providing the IP address when requested for any web address, host name or domain name.

A Gateway here is a logical device (the term is also used for a hardware device) which identifies the IP address of a device which connects a computer or network to the Internet or another network. It is the same address for all computers and devices on the same network.

The WINS configuration maps IP addresses to NetBIOS computer names, and was used with NT4 and earlier versions of Windows. It is obsolete.

Installing Network Protocols in Windows

Depending upon the network protocol you want to install and the version of Windows in use on a particular computer, you can install any of several different protocols through the normal Windows network dialogs. However, NetBEUI is an older, non-routing protocol which does not work with Vista or 7 and which is not included with XP (you can make it work using KB 301041, installing it from the XP install CD folder Valueadd\MSFTNet\NetBEUI ). You may see it in Windows 2000.

Windows supports TCP/IPv4 and TCP/IPv6. TCP/IPv4 is still the most commonly used version. If TCP/IP is referred to without a version, it generally means TCP/IPv4.

To install a network protocol in Windows Vista or XP/2000, follow this procedure:

    Step 1. Open the Network Connections window

    • In Windows Vista/7, click Start, Control Panel, and then double-click the Network and Sharing Center icon. Next, click Manage Network Connections under tasks.

    • In Windows XP/2000, click Start, Control Panel, and then double-click the Network Connections (called Network in 2000) icon in Control Panel or right-click My Network Places and select Properties.

    Step 2. Right-click the connection you want to modify and select Properties.
    Step 3. Click the Install button.
    Step 4. Click Protocol.
    Step 5. Select the protocol you want to add.
    Step 6. Click OK.

After the protocol is installed, select the protocol and click Properties to adjust its properties setting.

TCP/IPv4 Configuration

The TCP/IPv4 protocol, although it was originally used for Internet connectivity, is now the most important network protocol for LAN as well as larger networks. To connect with the rest of a TCP/IP-based network, each computer or other device must have a unique IP address. If the network connects with the Internet, additional settings are required.

There are two ways to configure a computer’s TCP/IP settings, with a Server-assigned IP address (via DHCP) or a Static IP address.

All versions of Windows default to using a server-assigned IP address and this is the preferable method for configuring a TCP/IP network. Use a manually assigned IP address if a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server (which provides IP addresses automatically) is not available on the network—or if you need to configure a firewall or router to provide different levels of access to some systems and you must specify those systems’ IP addresses. Routers, wireless gateways, and computers that host an Internet connection shared with Windows’s Internet Connection Sharing or a third-party sharing program all provide DHCP services to other computers on the network.

To configure TCP/IP in Windows, access the Internet Protocol Properties window; this window contains several dialogs used to make changes to TCP/IP. Note that these dialogs are nearly identical in Windows XP and Windows Vista. To open the General tab of the Internet Protocol Properties window, open Network Connections, right-click the network connection, select Properties, click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) in the list of protocols and features, and click Properties.

To determine the IP address, default gateway, and DNS servers used by a system using DHCP addressing, open a command prompt and enter the ipconfig /all command.