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Chapter 3. Installing and Configuring a ... > Configuring Windows Software

Configuring Windows Software

After the NIC drivers are installed the Windows networking software must be configured for the network to function as expected. This configuration differs for simple two- or three-PC host home-office LANs and for small-office LANs using servers. Some configuration selections are the same for both simple home-office LANs and larger small-office LANs. For example, both would use the ubiquitous TCP/IP protocol, but the configuration for a simple peer-to-peer LAN would use fixed IP addresses while the larger small-office LAN with servers would use DHCP to assign IP addresses automatically to each PC host. As we look at configuring Windows XP network software we contrast the differences between the peer-to-peer software configuration used by home-office LANs and the client/server software configuration used by small-office LANs.

Selecting and Configuring a Protocol

In the Windows networking model we examined in Chapter 2, the lowest layer was the network hardware and cabling. This included the NIC. The next layer was the protocol layer. With Windows generally there are three choices of protocol: TCP/IP, NetBEUI, and Novell's SPX/IPX. Most networks today regardless of size use TCP/IP for the protocol layer. NetBEUI is an old protocol originally used on IBM PC networks. NetBEUI is a simple protocol aimed at small two- to five-station local area networks. NetBEUI is a non-routable protocol so it does not effectively work on LANs that use routers between different network segments. SPX/IPX protocol is used in networks that have Novell servers. SPX/IPX is not restricted to Novell client/server networks. It can be used in peer-to-peer network configurations as well.


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