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Note: In true WikiWikiWeb style, this is a work in progress. Please place your comments and suggestions in the appropriate section at the bottom and I will address them as I work through the piece. If you feel up to it, you are most welcome to edit the piece directly too, but please be careful not to cramp my style too much.


Installing Wireless Networking on Windows XP

With built-in support for WLAN out of the box, Windows XP is a good candidate for the wireless newbies OS of choice. Some things should not be ignored though - the risk of wireless intrusion, violation of your ISP's usage policy...

Hopefully this will guide you through setting up Windows XP with wireless in a robust and secure manner.

Step 1: Secure your operating environment

Since your computer will become visible to any Wireless sniffing computer within range, the first thing you will need to do is limit oppotunities of unwanted interference.

Remove unnecessary software

I find it suprising how much software is available to the average punter to make their computing life a little bit more rosey. Unfortunately, there is a lot of useless software around as well. Do a clean up and remove all of those "limited trials", "freeware", "shareware" and other stuff you don't use. Not only will you limit the amount of potential security holes into your system, but you'll benefit from improved performance as well!
  1. Start->Settings->Control Panel
  2. Add/Remove Programs
  3. Remove any unwanted items - be ruthless!

Apply relevant software patches

Apply all of the latest security fixes from External linkWindows Update. XP has a nice feature to do this automatically for you, you may wish to use this. A word of caution though - faulty patches have made it onto the update site before, they can always make it there again.

Learn about firewalling

It may sound rather daunting, but in the end you will thank yourself. XP has some basic built-in firewalling...

Step 2

Well, it isn't rocket science ...

Okay, some real-world experience. Windows XP appears to be geared towards natively supporting wireless applications. I installed a WL210 card and a USB-driven Netgear MR 102 AP see External linkwireless.bur.st and both were picked up and installed automagically without having to press a key. This probably explains the bloated size of the XP OS install (about 700Mb+) if all the drivers are already present for any hardware combination you might try. The WL210 card scanned for any available wireless LANs floating around the ether (in this case, just my AP) and connected. The OS also was automagically able to bridge the WL210 with a Netgear NIC. One catch was that I still needed to install the AP's management software to tweak the firmware settings. I can take pictures, but as I said, wireless under XP is far from rocket science. Just plug it in and fire it up. I have the win32 port of Apache running on the XP box, but haven't had time to see how it performs.

- Barry Park


Version 6 (current) modified Mon, 26 Jul 2021 12:49:29 +0000 by melb_ap
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