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This is Leo Notenboom with news, commentary and answers to some of the many questions I get at askleo.info.
One of the areas that I find myself actually avoiding these days when answering questions on Ask Leo! is local area networking. I have an article or two covering the basics, but more and more "regular people" are starting to ask more and more of their home and small business networks.
The problem is that, well ... networking sucks. Networking Windows machine together remains incredibly difficult for the average user. Making a connection that is both secure and flexible - two concepts that are inherently at odds with each other from the start - is a very common stumbling block.
There are no simple solutions. Things like the network setup wizard work, sort of, in common cases. But even though it sounds contradictory, those common cases are becoming less and less common.
It seems like almost everything impacts networking. Operating system versions, or even variations between flavors like Home and Pro. Workgroup names. Obscure Windows settings. Firewalls installed, or not, enabled, or not. Access points, routers and broadband modems that act as routers. Everything from cabling, to nitty-gritty protocol quirks will sometimes stymie even the most patient user.
And yes, like many of my readers, I to have spent multiple hours trying to get one system to connect to both another system and the internet at the same time. Without much success - though I do understand now why: in my case it happened to be a DSL modem that was unexpectedly also acting as a router. The prognosis for everyday folk in similar scenarios, which are slowly becoming more common, is pretty darned bleak.
Some things are getting better. Wireless networking, for example, has made great strides over the past few years. For average users, it's gone from being "nearly impossible" to merely "difficult" in that time.
Yes, I do plan to address networking, but it'll be a long and difficult process to explain in layman's terms. And even then, that layman will have to be very, very patient.
I'd love to hear what you think Visit ask leo dot info, and enter 9309 in the go to article number box. Leave a comment, I read them all.
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