Home and Small Office Networking Guide

Windows Network Monitoring

One of the most commonly used operating systems today is Windows. As with anything else, the more popular that a given operating system or item becomes, the more likely it is to be the target of people who would use it to their own ends. Windows, like any other operating system which is vastly popular, is no exception to that rule.

Windows operating systems and Windows networks are prone to attempted breaches, which means that monitoring them is imperative. While some WIndows systems give you a basic method of monitoring your network, they don’t help you to see what kind of applications are using the network or running in the background.

Having this information to hand is very important if you need to discover and to terminate any kind of programs that are using your bandwidth or are using an injected malware.

Some Windows network monitoring can take place using the built in software and network monitoring tools that Windows 7 or Windows 8 offers you. If you’re looking for just basic network monitoring, you may not need to worry about third party network monitoring tools, but rather may just be able to get the information that you need using the Windows tools.

Taking a look at processes running in the background, as well as who is connected to your network is possible in Windows 7. Making sure that they are supposed to be there, what kind of load they are using and whether or not they are slowing your service is another way that the Windows network monitoring tools can help you.

In order to monitor your windows network all that you’ll need to do is to go to the Windows task manager. If you’re interested in how active the network is click performance and review the Ethernet or the WiFi sections to review that information. It is easy to view and easy to understand. You can even check on your own IP address.

Your Task manager is going to give you links to network monitoring information that is slightly more advanced and which will give you all of the information on every single active component of your network.. It will tell you how much data is being sent and received, where it’s coming from and how much of an impact it has on the network resources.

Bear in mind that these built in tools do have their limits. If you require more than this, need to see more deeply into the network, you’re going to have to install some Windows monitoring tools from the outside. A wide array of freeware is out there that can help you to take a closer look at all of the network information and won’t cost you a penny. Much of it is even easy to install and simple to use. If you’re using Windows network monitoring tools and they aren’t quite what you’re looking for, it may behoove you to look into other tools that can help you to get a closer look at your home or professional network.

Troubleshooting Network Information Cards (NIC)

Be sure that you have eliminated possible faulty wiring before you determine the problem as being the network card. Be sure all wiring is connect and tight.

The network cards of the past were much harder to troubleshoot. For one thing they had jumpers that needed to be set according to the type of configuration you needed for a particular computer. You also needed to know the IRQ number so that it would not interfere with any other hardware. The older cards also didn’t have much speed and they were 8-bit. Now they are 16 and 32 bit mostly with new technology on the way. Now you configure them with software and you don’t have to know the IRQ.

What you need to know today

You will need a plug and play network card. You will also need a PCI slot on the mother board on the average. They also make network cards for PCI express. You need to know what driver you need. A driver is a small program that is needed to communicate between the Network card and the Motherboard and processor. The card will not work without it. The operating system picks the best setting for the card.

Do I still have to configure the card manually?

Maybe! If your network requires a specific network address or setting you may need to manually configure it. You normally will not need to worry about IRQ setting on modern computers.

Are there more than one type of network card?

Although there are more types, the main one used on most networks today is the 10baseT using port RJ-45. The other cards are Thinnet with port BNC and Thicknet with port AUI.

Proper installation

When installing a network card or any other hardware be sure you are grounded. Preferably ware a ground strap. Carefully put the card into the slot by rocking it if necessary. Do not force it. Be sure to secure it with a screw. If it is doesn’t require tools, just fasten it as required.

Exceptions

laptops are the biggest exception to many of the above rules. The network card, sound card and video are on an integrated motherboard. This means you must have the drivers for the motherboard if you want them to work. The drivers are normally on the company web site that made the computer. Since Windows XP most drivers will install automatically and are a part of the operating system. However, don’t bet on it. It is also possible an installation disk came with the computer or that it has a restore sector.

How do I know if I need to replace the network card?

You will know when it keeps cutting out or will not connect at all. If you have the proper driver and it does not work it is probably bad. Be sure you have the right driver for the right operating system. If you have Vista and you drive is for XP it will not work. Some exceptions do exist. You will also know if you are having trouble getting the network to work. maybe a networked programs keeps getting errors or you can not stay connected to the Internet. When in doubt replace the card. If you still are having trouble it could be the cable or a problem with the operating system. Viruses or spyware could exist also.