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This chapter is from the book

Networking Best and Worst Practices

Use this section to keep your network from turning into disconnected islands of information.

Best Networking Practices

  • Set up your wireless network with WPA or WPA2 encryption (if all your network devices support it). You can use the Set Up a Connection or Network task in the Network and Sharing Center to start the process; select Set Up a Wireless Router or Access Point to set up the network with a USB flash drive or to create a passphrase for manual setup.
  • If you have problems with wired or wireless network stability, update the drivers used by your network adapter and update the firmware used by your router.
  • Use the Public location setting for wireless connections provided by coffee shops, libraries, and other locations to protect your system from intruders.
  • Use Network Explorer to see shares available to use; use Network Map to see the physical connections used on the network.
  • Update Windows XP systems to Windows Media Player 11 if you want to use media sharing to make their digital media files available to Windows Vista for playback.
  • Use password-protected sharing to keep unwanted users away from network shares.

Networking Practices to Avoid

  • Don’t share entire folders if you need to share only a few files in the folder; instead, copy the files to the Public folder and enable Public folder sharing in the Network and Sharing Center.
  • Don’t assume that you must buy a new network adapter if Windows Vista doesn’t have a driver for your adapter. Download a driver (use an XP driver if a Vista driver’s not available) from the vendor’s website.
  • Don’t use file sharing to share media folders for playback only; use media sharing instead.
  • Don’t save wireless connections you probably won’t use again, such as a connection at a conference room or hotel.
  • Don’t try to type in a long WPA passphrase when you set up a con nection. Instead, copy the network setup information to a file on a removable-media drive and use copy/paste to insert the passphrase.
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