Tag Archives: network

How to Troubleshoot your Network

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How often have you had trouble with your home network, and tried various different programs to attempt to figure out the problem? Wouldn’t it be easier to have one tool that can do pretty much everything you need to keep your network running properly? During a GoToMeeting recently, Uncle John showed us what he keeps in his tool belt when he needs to diagnose any network problems he may come across.

Axence NetTools is network monitoring with alerting, real-time & historical charts of response time & packet lost. E-mail and sound notifications available when a host is down. In their own words:

WinTools lists exhaustive system information from Windows computers: running processes & services, registry, event log, disk, memory & CPU information. Port scanner checks for all open ports and running services. It can discover some Trojans/spyware. Network scanner discovers all nodes, their IP/MAC and services running on them. NetStat displays your computer’s inbound and outbound connections, lists all open TCP/UDP ports, with the remote IP address & the process using the connection. TCP/IP Workshop establishes low-level TCP/UDP connections to troubleshoot and test network services. It can send raw data to any remote port. Other tools: ping, fast trace route, lookup, bandwidth test tool, SNMP browser. Version 3.1 adds automating most frequent functions.

NetStat Displays all the inbound and outbound connections to your computer and lists all open ports. Additionally, NetStat maps open ports and established connections to the owning application.

Service and Port Scanner Allows you to check for all open ports and running services. It not only checks if the port is open, but also sends a request and checks whether a reply meets specific criteria. It can also discover some Trojans and spyware.

Those are only two of the many different features of this program. Once the 30-day free trial expires, most of the features still work. The few that are “locked out” are good… but not the only ones that can help you. The ones that are part of the free application are definitely worth having in your tool box.

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Home Network Software Help

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The more computers you have connected to your home network, the bigger your need for good tools to manage that network. Recently, I had a need to discover the IP address for Ponzi’s machine, and asked the community if they knew of software I could use.

Wirelesspacket told me immediately about a program he uses from Softpedia called Network Scanner. This is a free tool, which is an excellent ‘selling’ point for me.

I needed to find out the IP address of Ponzi’s machine so I could connect to it via VNC. This tool got all the information for me quickly and easily. I just had to open it, input a range of IP addresses, and click the “start scanning” button. Shortly, an excellent list of all the machines on my network was displayed before me. Not only did I get the IP address I needed, this tool also can show me much more:

  • Detects hardware (MAC) addresses
  • Detects hidden shared folders (normally invisible on the network) and write accessible shares
  • Detects your internal and external IP addresses
  • Scans for listening TCP ports and SNMP services

The only drawback to this tool is that it is only Windows compatible. If there is an equivalent that you know of which works on OS X, I’d love to know about it.

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Home Networking Tools, Tips and Tricks

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I’ve talked before about OpenDNS. It’s an excellent free program that will speed up your online experience. However, there are many other features that allow you to enhance your browsing and network management.

OpenDNS is a completely free service. There are no programs to install. It’s easy to use, and easy to make changes to. Not only can it boost your internet speed by remembering the DNS of a site, there are also several other things you can do with it.

You can use OpenDNS to block domain names, Phishing sites, proxy or anonymizer sites, and even adult sites. They give you that control by providing the tools to block any website or DNS zone on the Internet, all through an easy-to-use interface.

There is also a Whitelist option. This allows you to choose which sites will never be blocked, regardless of content filtering. This can come in handy if a site you frequent accidentally has a post or picture that would normally be blocked on your network.

Another excellent feature is the typo redirector. How often have you typed .cm instead of .com? What about typing .ogr instead of .org? With the typo redirector, you can set up automatic redirects and corrections to your common typos.

Ponzi’s favorite feature of OpenDNS is the network shortcut. Let’s say you frequent a website about your dog. You can create a shortcut that will automatically redirect you to the website you choose any time you type the keyword into your browser.

Not only is this free, it works on any operating system and with any browser.

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Hamachi for Secure Network Computing


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http://live.pirillo.com/ – In the past, I have never really used VPN. It just seems so complicated and costly. However, using open wireless networks while out and about, I’m definitely concerned about privacy and safety.

My buddy WirelessPacket from our live chat room is on Skype with me tonight. He has convinced me that it’s time to try Hamachi. Hamachi is a free program that allows you to create your own Virtual Private Network, or VPN. He has made an excellent video tutorial demonstrating exactly how to use Hamachi. From his description:

“Hamachi is a simple, secure, and effective alternative to VPN. If you have ever wanted to access your home computer from the office, hotel or internet cafe look no further. With Hamachi there is no need to configure your firewall by opening ports and exposing you computer to nasty threats lurking on the web”

A standard VPN encrypts the traffic you send and receive… email, IM, web browsing, etc. A VPN makes your Internet activity more secure over a wireless network, but it’s also quite costly. Hamachi allows you to create your own VPN basically… for free! You can add other users to it, and share files with them in a secure manner. Some of the features of Hamachi:

  • LAN over the Internet Arrange multiple computers into their own secure network, just as if they were connected by a physical cable.
  • Remote Access Remote control any machine on your network with Remote Desktop.
  • Files and Network Drives Access critical files and network drives.
  • Zero-configuration Works without having to adjust a firewall or router.
  • Security Industry leading encryption and authentication.
  • Cost Effective Basic version is free to use.

Thanks, WirelessPacket, for showing this to me. This is definitely something I’m going to start using, and I hope others will, as well.

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Sharing Files Between Mac OS X and Windows XP


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http://live.pirillo.com/ – Yes, you can transfer your files from XP to Mac OS X… or back. While they are two completely separate and different Operating Systems, it’s not as difficult as you would think to share your files between them.

Most of your documents, pictures and music files are easily shared between the two types of Operating Systems. You can accomplish this a couple of ways. First, of course, is to burn them to DVD and just put the DVD into the other system and copy. Voila! Of course, what if you have a large amount of data you wish to transfer or share?

Another way to share the files is to do a direct transfer. Bascially, you are going to connect the computers using a crossover cable. You will set up a tutorial to accomplish this. Also… you can use your iPod to transfer the files, as well!

What other ways do all of you recommend for sharing or transferring files? Be sure to leave me a comment, or send me an email to [email protected]

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