[dba-Tech] Advice on Consolidating Workgroups, Domain etc.

Arthur Fuller artful at rogers.com
Tue Aug 24 07:57:07 CDT 2004

Thanks a bunch, Drew! I'll print this out and try your suggestions


-----Original Message-----
From: dba-tech-bounces at databaseadvisors.com
[mailto:dba-tech-bounces at databaseadvisors.com] On Behalf Of Drew Wutka
Sent: Monday, August 23, 2004 10:10 PM
To: Discussion of Hardware and Software issues
Subject: RE: [dba-Tech] Advice on Consolidating Workgroups, Domain etc.

Arthur, a Domain will help with permissions, which is useful for file
sharing, but what you are really running into is a general networking

I am going to explain how TCP/IP works, in general, to help you
understand where the weak points are, and what you can do to correct it.

To begin with, networking actually works on a lower level protocol then
TCP/IP.  Most current systems use Ethernet, but some still use systems
like Token Ring.  When a computer is connected to another computer, or
to a switch/hub, that lower level protocol connects.  Then TCP/IP takes
over, and that is what the OS uses to actually communicate to other
computers.  TCP/IP is based on three settings, IP Address, Subnet Mask,
and Gateway.  You're IP address is your 'ID', or phone number on the
network.  That is the typical 'basic' education. However, to understand
how an IP Address works, you have to look at the subnet and gateway
also.  The subnet mask is a bit comparison, which tells the IP Address
what other IP addresses are on it's subnet (or in it's neighborhood).  A
255 in one of the four quads, tells the IP Address, that it's neighbors
will also have that same Number.  A 0 tells it that the quad doesn't
have to match at all. (any number in between, is telling it what bits
have to match, and which ones don't, so a 254 (which has the 1 bit
turned off...) tells it that it's neighbors have either the same number
or 1 off, (16 or 17....not 16 or 15 (because 16 and 17 have the same
bits, except for the 1 bit, and 15 has different bits from 16 (including
the 1 bit)).  Now, that tells the OS what other machines should be out
there, but what if it needs to go beyond it's subnet?  That's what the
gateway is for.  The gateway tells the OS where a router is, that the
computer can use to go beyond it's subnet. (Routers connect two or more
subnets together).

Okay, that's the nitty gritty.  Sounds simple? <grin>  Now for the fun
part. Actually communicating to another machine.  If you just
communicated by IP Addresses, if the hardware was setup right, and
everything is on the same subnet, then there would be no problem.
However, a human wants to connect to another computer by name (and
actually, so do certain OS functions....). So, you need to have a method
of getting an IP Address, from a computer name.  There are a few
methods.  One, use Host Files.  This is a manually created (by you) list
of Computer names to their IP addresses.  This method works, but it's
hardly flexible, and requires constant upkeep whenever a change on your
network occurs (lose a machine, change a machine, add a machine).  Then
there is Computer Browsing. LOL.  This is a literal Nightmare.
Essentially, when computers are on a network, they try to browse their
subnet.  When other machines are found, they hold an 'election' to
determine who will be the 'master browser', which all of the other
computers will report too.  It works great, if you leave all of your
machines up 24/7, and never reboot them.  Because then one of them will
become the Master Browser, and stay that way.  Unfortunately, that
scenario is near impossible, so machines are rebooted, or shut down, and
the whole system makes the Florida ballot process look well organized.

Ever notice that while you may have problems hitting a share on one
machine, you have no problem going to http://whatchamakallit.com ?
That's because when you cruise the internet, you use something called a
DNS server. (Domain Name Server), which TCP/IP uses as a literal 'phone
book' to provide IP to computer/domain name information. Using a DNS
server (along with 2 other
'services') that are available in a Windows Server OS, you can make your
home network just as stable as surfing the net.  The other two services
are DHCP, and WINS. (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol and Windows
Internet Naming Service).  DHCP hands out IP Addresses. WINS acts a
little like DNS, but keeps notes of other things.  Here's what you do,
you can use the wizards in the Windows Server OS to turn on DNS, WINS,
and DHCP.  Go into your DHCP control panel, and setup an address pool.
(Pick anything you want....192.168.0.xxx or 10.10.0.xxx...etc.).  Then
go into your scope options, and setup a few things.  Setup the 003
option (Router), which will be the IP address of your router (the server
if you are using Internet Connection sharing), then 006 the DNS servers
(again, the server...since you just setup DNS on it), then 044 for the
WINS server.

After that, you just have to go to the other machines, and set their IP
Addresses to use DHCP, and you're done. (One note, you will need to
setup in your DNS server, a few 'forwarding DNS servers', which would be
the DNS servers you ISP provide you with.  You're local machines will
then ask your DNS for internet domain information, and if it doesn't
know, it will go ask the forwarders, and cache the information.).

Having you're own DNS server internally can be quite handy.  One of the
perks is that you can assign you're own 'shortcuts'.  For example, when
I am at home, if I type Email in the address of Internet Explorer, it
brings up my work's Outlook Web Access site.  A lot easier then typing
in the entire site.

Hope this helps, feel free to ask specifics if you want.


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