Each network adapter configured on your computer has a separate IP addressing configuration, which you can manage through the associated network connection. The network connection for the first network adapter on the computer is named Local Area Connection; the second network adapter is named Local Area Connection 2, and so on. Connections for wireless, dial-up, or broadband have either default names or the names you assigned when you created the connection.
During installation of the operating system, the Setup program automatically installed the necessary networking components for your computer if a network adapter was detected. In addition to TCP/IPv4 and TCP/IPv6, Windows 7 uses the following networking components:
Allows you to connect to Microsoft-based networking services. If you are connecting to a Windows domain, you are required to use this protocol. QoS Packet Scheduler
Offers the capability to define which protocols and applications have precedence in a situation where multiple applications or protocols request access to the same network resources. This protocol gives you the ability to raise or lower the priority of the requests made. Basically, the Quality of Service (QoS) Packet Scheduler works as a traffic cop by allowing you to control the rate of flow and prioritization of services available.
Allows other computers to connect to and access resources on your computer when using Microsoft networking protocols. This feature also allows you to access resources on remote machines connected to your network and on the Internet. Link-Layer Topology Discovery Mapper I/O Driver
Allows your computer to discover and locate other computers and devices on the network. Also used to determine the available network bandwidth.
Link-Layer Topology Discovery Responder
Allows your computer to be discovered and located by other computers and devices on the network.
Although you will probably use only IPv4 on your home or small-office network, you should understand how IPv6 works and be able to configure the protocol. You can manually assign IPv4 and IPv6 addresses using static IP addresses, or automatically assign them using dynamic IP addresses. You configure the IPv4 and IPv6 protocols in exactly the same way, with the following exceptions:
• IPv4 uses subnet masks, and IPv6 uses subnet prefix lengths.
• IPv4 uses both DNS and WINS for locating computers and devices on the network, and IPv6 uses only DNS.
Figure 14-11. Configuring connection properties
• IPv4 allows for automatic private IP addressing if a DHCP server cannot be located, and IPv6 simply assigns the computer a link-local unicast (private) IP address based on the MAC address of the network adapter.
On a per-network-connection basis, you can configure the networking protocols used by completing the following steps:
1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
2. In the Control Panel, click Network and Internet ^Network and Sharing Center.
3. In the Network and Sharing Center, click "Change adapter settings." This opens the Network Connections window.
4. Right-click the network connection you want to configure and then select Properties. This displays a Properties dialog box, as shown in Figure 14-11.
5. On the Networking tab, you can use the checkboxes provided to manipulate the different protocols associated with the network adapter. You can turn the different protocols on and off by clicking the checkbox associated with each protocol:
If you are using file and printer sharing on your network, you must enable both Client for Microsoft Networks, and File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks.
The QoS protocol offers greater flexibility in the flow of data by prioritizing the different requests made by the client.
If you are using the IPv6 protocol for connectivity, you also must use the QoS Packet Scheduler, which Windows selects by default. If you are not using this protocol, you should disable it by unchecking the box associated with this protocol.
If you are using the IPv4 protocol for connectivity, you must leave the Internet Protocol version 4 (TCP/IPv4) box checked.
If you are using the IPv6 protocol for connectivity, you must leave the Internet Protocol version 6 (TCP/IPv6) box checked.
If you want to be able to use the network connection to discover and locate other computers and devices, you must leave the Link-Layer Topology Discovery Mapper I/O Driver box checked.
If you want other people to be able to discover your computer through the network connection, you must leave the Link-Layer Topology Discovery Responder box checked.
Although the discovery protocols add some overhead to your computer, they offer some real value to the capabilities of networking in Windows 7. Most of the time, you should leave these protocols enabled, unless you are leery of security issues associated with other people discovering your computer. If you are concerned about the security aspects, verify that you have Windows Firewall enabled on your computer and make sure the hardware firewall on your Ethernet router is properly configured. Although firewalls will not eliminate all problems associated with security, they will drastically decrease the potential to have data stolen.
6. To configure IPv4 or IPv6, double-click Internet Protocol version 4 (TCP/IPv4) or Internet Protocol version 6 (TCP/IPv6) as appropriate. As Figure 14-12 shows, the options available are nearly identical whether you are working with IPv4 or IPv6. Repeat this as necessary to configure both IPv4 and IPv6.
7. The General tab allows you to select either "Obtain an IP address automatically" or "Use the following IP address." If you have enabled DHCP on a network device such as a router, you should choose the first option. This allows DHCP to configure the options of the protocol for IP addressing and the default gateway for accessing the network. You should also choose "Obtain DNS server addresses automatically" to ensure that your computer gets the correct DNS servers for name lookups.
Windows 7 defaults to the automatic configuration, as you'll typically have a device providing your IP addressing dynamically.
8. To configure the network adapter to use a manually assigned IP address, do the following:
a. Select the "Use the following IP address" option. For IPv4 addressing, enter the IP address you want to associate with the network adapter in the "IP address" text box and then enter the subnet mask in the "Subnet mask" text box. For IPv6 addressing, enter the IP address in the IP address text box and then enter the subnet prefix in the "Subnet prefix length" text box.
b. Select the "Use the following DNS server addresses" options. Enter the DNS server address of either your local DNS server or your ISP into the "Preferred DNS server" text box. If you have additional DNS server information to provide, enter the address into the "Alternate DNS server" text box.
If you are manually configuring your IP address, you must have an IP address, subnet mask or subnet prefix, and IP addresses for DNS servers. If you have a computer that connects to a network router that in turn connects to your ISP's cable/DSL modem, you should configure private IP addresses for your internal network. When enabling network connectivity without a hardware firewall, you should verify that Windows Firewall is on. You should also carefully consider whether you need file and printer sharing. Enabling file and printer sharing without a firewall may make your computer accessible to other people.
Regardless of how you connect to a network, you are required to add your computer to a homegroup, a workgroup, also know as a peer-to-peer network, or a domain. Homegroups, described in Chapter 11, are small groups of computers with very permissive sharing. Workgroups are small groups of computers with individual user rights assigned by the computer. Domains are groups of computers with a centralized authentication mechanism. Each works to its own benefit and small networks seldom use domains, unless you are willing to put the capital out to purchase a server operating system. To add your computer to an existing workgroup or connect to a domain, use the techniques discussed in the section "Configuring the Computer Name and Membership" on page 772 in Chapter 20.
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