Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Topics covering computer networking in general, wireless networking, home networking, networking basics and networking safety. Answers about connecting your computer to the internet and other computers.

A duplicate name exists on the network - what does that mean? How do I fix it?

A duplicate name existing on the network happens when two resources - usually computers - have been given the same name. We'll look at how to check, and where to fix it.

Can I connect to two networks at once?

Can I copy files between two computers using a USB connections?

There are a few ways that you can copy files between two computers using a USB connection.

Can I network two computers with just a cable?

It's possible to network two computers with just a cable, but there are a few tricks involved to get things working properly.

Can I plug all my router plugs into a switch to get more speed?

The way packets get routed, it's unlikely that you would see any real benefit from that connection; and it's possible that could end up confusing things.

Does seeing a different IP address mean I'm seeing a different computer?

How can I avoid making an unintentional bridge?

It's possible to accidentally create a connection or a bridge between two networks. We'll look at how, and what you can do to avoid it.

How can I connect to my DSL modem if I don't have a network card?

Most computers come with ethernet these days, but if you have an older machine that doesn't, there are alternatives.

How can I connect to my home computer from work?

There are several barriers to connecting to your home computer from work. We will look at four ways to do so.

How can I connect to my office computer from home using a dial-up connection?

Connecting your office computer to your home computer isn't as far-fetched a scenario as it sounds.

How can I share my hard disk remotely?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, allows users to remotely access a particular computer.

How can I tell what program is making or accepting TCP/IP connections on my machine?

Your machine can open TCP/IP connections to other machines, or it could be waiting for other machines to connect to it. Here's how to see what is happening.

How can I use two ip addresses from one cable modem?

How did you get my IP address?

Your IP address is the fundamental way of identifying your computer on the internet. Your IP address is available to any service you connect to.

How do I install additional network protocols like IPX or Netbeui?

How do I install additional network protocols like IPX or Netbeui?

How do I see what's happening on my machine's network connection?

It's not at all uncommon for your network to be busy even if you're not. We'll look at why, and what you might do to investigate should you need to.

How do you stay connected in weak cellular areas?

How does a VPN protect me?

A VPN or Virtual Private Network is a fully encrypted and private internet connection via a VPN provider. I'll look at what protection it offers.

How is my IP address assigned?

Every device on an TCP/IP network must have a unique IP address. IP addresses are assigned, either automatically by DHCP, or by manual configuration.

How should I protect myself from other computers sharing my internet connection?

A shared connection to the internet is common, and provides an important level of security. But what if the machines you share with can't be trusted?

I get the message: 'Remote Assistance connection could not be established because the remote host name could not be resolved.' - What does that mean?

One common problem connecting with Remote Assistance typically involves a router 'getting in the way'.

If VPNs can be blocked by ISPs how do people in firewalled countries get out?

Standard VPNs certainly will be blocked, but there are some that are designed specifically to circumvent this kind of blocking, although they can only circumvent it for a short period of time.

Is it worth getting a high-speed router or switch?

Your internet connection is controlled by your ISP and the devices that your ISP provides, but there are some advantages from faster equipment.

Is there a way to block certain URL's in IE?

There are ways to block URLs in IE, but doing so will block them from all other programs as well.

Is there an easy way to stop internet activity on a computer?

My cable modem has both a USB and an Ethernet port - can I connect two computers?

One of 8 systems will often not find the network until I reboot. What should I fix?

If a PC cannot find a network until rebooting, check the speed settings of the network card as well as the functionality of the card itself.

Should I turn off my wired router while I'm away for two months?

It's fine to turn off your router when gone, and equally fine to leave it on. There are advantages to both.

Trying to connect two computers to the internet, one says that there is an IP address conflict. Why?

What is Double Natting?

What is bandwidth?

Bandwidth is a term you hear frequently but it can be confusing and it's easy to gloss over exactly what it means.

What's a Proxy Server?

Proxy servers sit between you and your internet connection, often caching or filtering the content as it makes its way from server to you.

What's the difference between an intranet and the internet?

IntERnet and IntRAnet are two different things. I'll look at just what I think an intRAnet is, and what most people think it is.

When I boot XP, saved network connections are listed, but are not automatically reattached; how can I force it?

Saved network connections should automatically reconnect the first time you try to use them. There should be no need to do anything special.

Where are TCP/IP settings in Windows 7?

TCP/IP settings can be used to configure an assigned static IP address, override DNS settings, and more. I'll show you exactly where they are.

Why can I only see some files on a remote computer share?

Why can't I access MSN HotMail through my router?

Why did my home network stop working?

Home networks or other small LAN can stop working for various reasons, but there's a simple reason home networks stop working that's often overlooked.

Why do I get "There is another user logged onto your computer" when I shut down?

'There is another user logged onto your computer' happens when another user is logged in. That can happen in a couple of ways - one obvious, one not.

Why does my computer keep wanting to dial a connection?

Internet Explorer can automatically dial a connection if you use dial-up to connect to the internet. Having it automatically dial a connection can get in the way, though. Here's how to turn that off.

Why does my network not work after resuming from standby?

Network failures after standby are not uncommon in older machines. Fortunately, fixing network problems after standby is not difficult - usually.

Why doesn't my machine's IP address match what I'm told on the internet?

Why is the byte activity different on my wired and wireless connections?

The number of bytes transferred should be roughly the same regardless of your connection, right? We'll look at a couple of reasons that might not be true.

Why might my network icon show constant activity?

When enabled, the network icon in the system tray lights up when data is sent or received. If the network icon is constantly lit when you're not doing anything, there are several possibilities.

Will using a router improve my internet connection?

A router will not improve an internet connection speed, but it could be a necessary addition to your computer safety.

Zone Alarm firewall: do I need it if I'm behind a NAT router?

Zone Alarm is a popular firewall you install on your machine. If you also have a NAT router you may - or may not - need a firewall such as Zone Alarm.