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Seeking Networking Advice

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Hi All,I have a rather sticky networking problem. In the photo below, you can see the layout of my current home network. There are two key components. The first is a flight sim system composed of three computers that communicate via WidevieW using the IPX protocol (required by WidevieW). Thee second is a stand alone computer that serves as an FSHost server for Bush Net 2, but also doubles as my wifes computer. All four computers (which btw run Windows XP) have two network cards; one bound to IPX for WidevieW, the other bound to TCP/IP for general file sharing and internet access. What you will notice is that the flight sim system and the FSHost have different IP addresses, which was necessary for me to be able to fly online with everyone else using FSHost.

Now here is the problem - I have the printer (USB) connected to my wife's computer (the FSHost computer). Before having to put that computer on it's own IP address (and distinct router), all four computers were on one router. In that older configuration, printer sharing was a snap. But now I can't figure out how to share the printer between the FSHost computer, and the flight sim server (which is computer #1). I can't bind TCP/IP to the second NIC that has IPX, because it completely confuses the computer, preventing proper internet access. I have been able to bind Microsoft File and printer sharing to NIC2 (together with IPX), but still the FSHost server and and Comp1 fail to recognize each other.Now I know that if I work at it hard enough, I could probably open the appropriate ports in each router to enable printer sharing between the two computers. However, I would really like to keep the printer and file sharing behind the router firewalls, if at all possible. That's why I've connected the FSHost computer to the hub that the flight sim computers are using to communicate via IPX. It seems to me that with IPX and MS file/printer sharing bound to the FSHost computer NIC2, printer sharing should be possible, shouldn't it? I suspect that in large part the reason I can't get the two computers to communicate is because I'm still a networking neophite, and basically don't know enough to figure out how to make this work. Is there anyone out there that would be willing to take a crack at this and ease my pain?

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I believe (although am willing to be proven wrong) that, in WinXP, MS File and Printer Sharing does NetBIOS-over-IP, rather than the NetBEUI original protocol.Nothing stops you setting up another local/reserved IP network segment/range on the 2-NICs and binding both IPX and IP to the cards concerned.

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Hi Matt,Thanks for the quick response. I guess the problem is that I don't know how to use IP on the NIC2 side. If I bind TCP/IP, then the computer loses internet connectivity, presumably (?) because it's trying to resolve two IP addresses, one for each card. I've tried giving the second card a unique IP address, but without success.In short, I'm like a lost puppy here.

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First let me say that Matt has a far better understanding of networks than I do, even if he is into *nix more than PC :-) My intial thoughts are:-File and print sharing SHOULD work for all 4 PC's via IPX/SPX and NIC2, there is no need for the sharing to go through either of the routers.One thing you may wish to check though is the connection from PC1 to the hub. If the hub does not have a dedicated uplink port the cable from PC1 to the hub will need to be a cross-over cable not a straight through one. That is assuming you are using UTP cable and not thin Ethernet.I suspect that your orginal configuration worked because file & print sharing was linked to TPC/IP and that would work through the one router.The other thing to try is, under the 'Advanced' tab of IPX/SPX protocol change the 'frame type' from auto to 802.2 on all 4 PC's.You also don't say if PC 2 & 3 can 'see' PC4.I do not profess to be a network expert so am happy for anyone more knowledgeable to trash my thoughts :-lol But HTHPS I understand that IPX/SPX is not natively supported by XP, are you sure you have the protocol installed correctly?

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I find your Hub 2 side very confusing! On the Router 1 side, I assume you have a Router/Switch were the Router assigns the IP addresses to each of the connected computers.Are you running Hub 2 to somehow run faster, just as an IPX/SPX LAN?I run five computers using TCP/IP and IPX/SPX together over the same cables. I unbind any file and printer sharing on the TCP/IPs and only bind it on IPX/SPX.Have you tried to only bind each IPX/SPX to file and printer sharing on the Hub 2 side? When you installed IPX/SPX, it should have loaded NWLINE NETBios as well.

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Sorry, I certainly don't want to make it any more confusing than it already is.Yes, router 1 is set up to NOT assign IP addresses to the three flightsim computers using DHCP; rather, they each have their own assigned IP address through TCP/IP, with the router serving as the gateway. As for the hub2 side, this is there so that I can use only IPX on the second NIC. I originally had both TCP/IP and IPX/SPX bound to the same card. However, when using the combination of ActiveSky wxRE, multiplayer connection through FSHost, and TeamSpeak (for voice communication), I found that with WidevieW the two clients would stutter more than normal when trying to follow the server. By installing the new NIC and using a seperate hub, the problem was noticably improved.I only recently added the FSHost computer to hub2 in an attempt to allow printer sharing with the flightsim computer. And in response to Vulcan's question, yes all three flightsim computers can connect with each other just fine. I rely on file sharing for installing add ons for the three instances of FS2K2 (one on each machine).Finally, with regards to binding IPX/SPX to file and printer sharing only, I'm not quite sure how to do this in XP. I don't think NWLINE NetBIOS was installed, but something else was (I'll look later when I get home). But I need to stress that any maneuver like you're suggesting cannot interfere with WidevieW operation through IPX/SPX (the only protocol that this utility can use). The flightsim is far more important than any printer sharing ever could be ;)I hope this clears things up a little.

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OK, so it is NWlink NetBIOS that was also installed. I thought something didn't quite look correct. Anyways, I still haven't figured this out. But here are a couple of screen shots of the NIC2 settings:The first is of the network connection options. The three options checked are the only ones enabled. TCP/IP is not enabled (for the reasons described above) -

The second is of the options for IPX/SPX. As you can see, I don't have many options here. Should I assign an internal network number? How do I tell the other computers where to find this computer using that ID if I do?

Matt's earlier post seems to suggest to me that I can somehow set up a second IP network, but I haven't figured out yet how quite to do this without interfering with the function of the first network on NIC1. Can anyone give me some guidance?

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Two things - On my computers QoS Packet Scheduler is checked.On the properties page IPX/SPX/NETBios of my computers, the number is:00000000 and Auto Detect.I would check each of your computer to see that the above are checked and the number is the same on all. You might want to change them all to another number, but as I see it, they are suppose to be the same.

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I'm trying to figure this out but I need one little detail:What's the IP range for NIC1 on all computers?I was thinking that if you bind TCP/IP to NIC2 and set up a completly different range on NIC2's without a gateway specified, all the computers will look for internet through the interface that has the gateway specified. Now, for name resolution (for File and printer sharing, make note of the printer's shared name, when you share the printer, you can specify this). When setting up the printer, choose network printer and instead of browsing for it on the network, put down the UNC path to the printer (pull out that book you got, Universal Naming Convention or Uniform Naming Convention -- both are correct).Use the IP address of NIC2 on computer 4, ex. ip addressprinter name. If this does not work, do a search on your hard drive for a file called "hosts" with no extension. This is a text file that you can open in notepad. Open it up and follow the same format that the file has. You should have only one entry:127.0.0.1 localhostadd this:do this on computer 1 through 3The file is in C:WINDOWSsystem32driversetcAfter this is done, use the same procedure as above to set up the printer, but instead of ip addressprinter name, use computer nameprinter name.This should work. The key is not setting up the gateway address on the second NIC's ip configuration, so that the computer doesn't try to look for internet addresses through NIC2, thereby resolving your internet problem with TCP/IP bound to NIC2.If it doesn't work, we can try something else. Let me know, because the next thing is more involved (DNS Server -- 2000 and XP use DNS for name resolution natively, not NETBios)

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>Finally, with regards to binding IPX/SPX to file and printer >sharing only, I'm not quite sure how to do this in XP. I >don't think NWLINE NetBIOS was installed, but something else >was (I'll look later when I get home). But I need to stress >that any maneuver like you're suggesting cannot interfere >with WidevieW operation through IPX/SPX (the only protocol >that this utility can use). The flightsim is far more >important than any printer sharing ever could be ;) Open the Network Connections control panel(or Right-Click/Properties on My Network Places in Explorer). This should open an explorer view showing your Lan connections. On the menu bar select Advanced / Advanced Settings. This is where you can individually select the bindings. I would verify that File and Print sharing is enabled on only the Nic2 adapters and that on those adapters FPS is bound only to IPX/SPX. If all that is correct, they really shouldn't have any problem sharing.Sorry if you already knew all this :)Clyde

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