Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How to Connect an XP desktop to the Internet using an Ethernet cable and a router

Experience connecting an XP desktop to Time Warner Internet Service using an Ethernet cable.

The cable tech installed the Time Warner cable setup and a router. The router is an SMC8014WG, but this will work the same on any router.

The cable tech also got the router and internet service working in wireless connection mode and in Ethernet cable connection mode with one of my laptops.

Later I wanted to add my desktop computer to the network. So, I thought, "It should be easy to get my desktop computer connected." Not so easy after all because I had never done it before. Here is how it went in this particular case.

My experience is detailed in the following text as a stream-of-consciousness narration:

So first thing, I connected the PC to the router with an Ethernet Cable.
Clicked on the Network ICON which had a red X on it.

Network Connections menu comes up. Choices are Broadband or LAN High-Speed Internet, Create a new connection, and.... Among about 12 choices these seem most relevant.


Click on 1394 connection network cable unplugged.
1394 properties menu comes up.
Connect using the 1394 Adapter? Seems OK so click Install.

MORE Questions!

Which type of network component do you wish to install.
1- Client 2-Service 3-Protocol.

Who knows what these are. NO explanation or help available. So we are reduced to guessing.

One hint: A client provides access to computers and files on the network. (don’t want that)

Service provides additional features such as file and printer sharing.(don’t want that)

A protocol is a language your computer uses to communicate with other computers.

By default it looks like protocol. Click ADD with protocol highlighted.
Yellow warning: Windows unable to find any drivers for this device. If you have a disk with a driver click OK. I have the SMC router disk in the DVD drive drive E.
But XP says cannot find any drivers on this disk.

(This all turned out to be a dead end but here is the rest of this phase of my experience.)

So Maybe I have to get drivers by unzipping or something.
Try it.

First, Read the PDF Installation directions file.


OK here goes... Access Network settings by clicking [Start] [Control Panel] [Network and Internet connections]
double click the Local Area connection ICON click the [Properties] button.
ON the Local Area Connection Properties Box verify the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Transmission protocol / Internet Protocol box is checked. Then Highlight Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and click the Properties button.

Select Obtain IP address automatically to configure computer for DHCP. Click OK to save this change and close the properties window.
Click OK again to save these changes.


After reboot launch browser (computer does not have to be online) just connected to the router.
In the address bar type HTTP:// as instructed.
Log-in screen is supposed to appear.
And just enter default user name and password and click LOGIN to access the router.

This did not work.

I was not able to log-in to the router as such.

It turns out the 1394 adapter is not what I need to use to connect via Ethernet cable.

Take a break and try another time later....

October 18 2010 (a few days later)

More of my experiences setting up a network connection to my new Time Warner Cable router.

The router was already working using the wireless network laptop and with the local Ethernet cable connection to another laptop. The cable installation guy set this up, but I did not observe what he did in detail.

Coming back to the job of connecting an additional desktop to the Internet via Ethernet cable and SMC router supplied by Time Warner Cable...

Now I need to try again to connect my Windows XP desktop to the Internet with an Ethernet connection.

How did I make this work? Here's how.

First, boot up the XP desktop.

Pluged in the Ethernet cable to an RJ-45 port (Ethernet port) on the back of the router and into the green Ethernet connector on the back panel of my desktop PC.

I observed green LEDs flashing on the network connector on the back of the PC. This indicates the cable is not bad and the Ethernet connection to the router is active.

Next I looked at the status bar on the computer screen at the bottom right. There is a network icon that looks like two little blue PCs.

Network Icon indicates a network is connected if there is no red X.

BUT there was two such icons on my display. What's up with that?

First I checked that the 1394 status was connected.
But NO Bits sent or received.

Click on IE8 and get No connection indicator.


It turns out the 1394 is not the Ethernet connection, it's something else.

Trying something new.....(which worked)

Instead, it turns out I need to use a Local Area Connection which makes use of the NVIDIA nForce networking controller (your computer may have another networking controller) which enables the Ethernet adapter.

After trying a few things, here is what I did to finally make Internet access and browsing work:

Open the Local Area Connection menu by clicking on the Local Area Connection Icon on the status bar, or going to control panel Network option.

You get the Local Area Connection Status window opened up. In this window you will see a Connection Status display and an Activity display.

Click on Properties.

This will open the Properties menu.

In the Properties menu under the General Tab, scroll down the check list to Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and make sure it is checked and enabled. This should be obvious looking at the menu. If it's not, I think you can install it from the same menu, but mine was already checked and installed so I didn't have to install.

STEP 3-8
To get TCP/IP to work, I did the following steps.

Left click on the Internet Protocol item. Which brings up the (TCP/IP) Properties menu.
Set the TCP/IP Properties as follows:

(1) Check the option to Obtain an IP address automatically.
(2) Check the option to Obtain DNS server address automatically.
(3) Click on OK to save the settings.
(4) Click on OK to save the Local Area Connection Properties.

Now you are ready bring up the browser, i.e. click the Internet Explorer icon on your desk top, or Firefox or whatever.

Internet access WORKS! or whatever. We are online now! Yea!

This took altogether about 7 hrs over several days to get through the setup process successfully, including going down several dead ends. Of course, there are many other ways the network connection can fail to work. Fortunately I didn't encounter them this time.

To monitor the performance of the Ethernet network connection and Internet network speed, you can bring up the network connection monitor like this:

Do a ctrl-alt-del (chord) to get the Windows Task Manager display.
Click on Networking to see a real time display of download speed, connection speed, upload speed info, and graphs.

You should see network traffic indicators change as you download or browse.

All is working now.

And we did not have to log-in to the router interface at all.

Congratulations! Feel good.

Now.. what was my email password again.... ?