Creating a wireless LAN network at home – setting up a wireless access point

Setting up a WAP?
Setting up a WAP is fairly easy. You can just unpack it and keep it on the desk, atop a book shelf or near the network jack and plug it into a power source and network cable. This is all it takes to activate the hardware part of the WAP. That is not all, there is software configuration to be catered to and has to be carefully set up for effective functioning of the Wireless network.

Like I said earlier the software configuration of a WAP is a little tricky and has to be ideally performed while the computer is connected to the internet. First of all find out the IP address of the WAP and type it into the address bar of the internet explorer or the internet browser you are using. This can be done from any computer on the network.

The page which follows is the hardware setup page and you can set up the following options related to the WAP functions of the device. Though the options varies with different manufacturers, the broad details given in the page is listed below:

1> Enable/ Disable: This toggles the device’s availability for WAP duty.

2> SSID aka Service Set Identifier: This is used to detect the network. Most WAPs have their own defaults which is usually most secure connection. You can change it to your network configuration if you feel your network is more secure. Otherwise it is best to leave it default as it is the safest.

3> SSID broadcast: This enables/ disables the WAPs sharing of SSID settings. WAPs are set up in such a way that it regularly broadcasts the SSID so when a wireless device is within range it can detect the SSID and connects. If you want your network to be completely secure and not allow unauthorized persons to access the network it is best to disable this setting.

4> Channel: There are 11 channels of broadcast to choose from. You can choose one and should configure all computers on the network to use the same. If the connection is weak and unstable switch channel and it will work better. This is also a good way to keep away from other neighboring networks. Say if your office building has 10 networks you can switch channels so you will have a secure network without hindering anybody else’s network speed. This will minimize interference with other wireless networks. This is not for security but it is just a way to ensure seamless connection. Keeping up your security arrangements is mandatory if you are to ensure safety of your data and communications.

5> WEP: compulsory or optional: How to secure your network, by establishing a security protocol which will ask for a password from each user who tries to log on to the network.

Learn How To Create A Wireless Network At Home

Learn How Many Different Types Of Routers Are Available

Learn How To Create A Wireless Network At Home – Wireless access points explained

Learn How To Set Up Wireless Access Point

How-to configure WeP 800 DX in Linux (via VMWare)

This isn’t exactly the straight forward method but then there isn’t one either.

I believe you are fortunate enough to have a dot matrix but unfortunate enough to own a Wep 800 DX (80 Column) dot matrix printer. Let me tell you, there is no *.ppd (printer driver) that works with this model. You can check the Linux Open Printing database, it lists all WeP models printer drivers as Paperweight (meaning, no support).

Hence the only way to stick to (linux && your_dot_matrix_printer) is to make use of virtualization: VMware shall answer your prayers.

Considering you have a dual boot system, you can use tutorial written by Mohammad Azimi.

Let me summarise it for you, there are just 2 parts to it.

  1. Get Vmware on your Linux system
    which involves…
    – you should get vmware up and running
    – Create a new vmware virtual machine and guide it to use your existing partition /disk of windows installation. (Read the tutorial carefully, for you must know whether you have 2 disks with one of them running windows or just 1 disk running both windows and linux).
  2. Set up a new hardware profile
    which involves…
    -Booting into your physical windows partition and creating a new hardware profile for vmware
    -Installing SCSI drivers (azimi provides the link to download them on the tutorial).
  3. Adding a parallel port to the virtual machine running your existing windows partition, which I will tell you how to at the end of this post.

FYI: When I did this myself, my existing windows although loaded up in vmware and it never stayed put, meaning it shutdown once loaded! So thinking back on all the things (read: abuse) I had made that installation of windows go through, I figured it’s worth a try to install a fresh copy and that worked! The freshly installed windows loaded fine in vmware recognized all the vmware virtual hardware.

TIP: Even if you didn’t face my problem I’d suggest you to keep the windows start up to minimum if you want windows to run fast within vmware. Because if you are having a gazillion startup items and 512MB memory of which 256 your host linux system uses, then you might as well give up the hope of running up MS Word and completely forget about the printing part.

So it’s advisable if you have 1gig of RAM and 512 of it alloted for the virtual machine.

Ok so now how-to add printer to vmware windows.

Step 1: Edit the settings of the virtual machine, add a new parallel port. Remove the text “Auto Detect” and put in “/dev/lp0”.

If you try running the virtual machine now, vmware is going to complain that such does not exist. Apparently, there is not dev/parport0 (atleast not in OpenSUSE 10.3), but fear not you can create it.

Step 2: Do “sudo mknod /dev/parport0 c 99 0 -m 666” in the terminal and and.. not so quick foo! also do “sudo /sbin/rmmod lp”.

Step 3: Now boot up the virtual machine, windows should recognize the parallel port and install the necessary drivers.

Step 4: Once in windows, Go to Start>Printers and Faxes>Add new Printer. Follow the screen instructions, it might complain that it couldn’t find the printer, never mind, proceed ahead and provide it the path to your wep windows printer driver, and of course you can take it from here I believe 😉

Since keeping running vmware all the time can be taxing on the CPU (those with 1Gig of RAM), Save your stuff and access if via word or some other word processor in your windows and then print away 😀

TIP: Since VMWare complains of parport0 not found every time you run it (after every reboot that is), you can create it automatically without sweat. Do a “sudo vi /etc/init.d/boot.local” and add “mknod /dev/parport0 c 99 0 -m 666”. That will solve the parport0 problem.