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After the connection is made, your computer can communicate over the modem in exactly the same ways that it communicates over a NIC: Sending and receiving TCP/IP packets, IPX/SPX packets, and so on. Your network link is just a communications device that connects to a cable - never mind that for a modem, the communications device is slow and the cable is very long. (This method of networking goes by the moniker remote node, as opposed to remote control, in which keyboard, mouse, and display data travel the phone lines.) Figure 13-10 shows the Networking tab of a dial-up connection's property sheet.
Figure 13-10: The Networking tab.
The first decision you must make is the Type of Dial-Up Server I Am Calling at the top of the Networking tab. This setting is actually something called a connection protocol, or communications protocol. It's basically an extra network protocol that you need for dial-up lines, but that you don't need for hardwired LAN links.
Instant Answer The choice you make for your connection protocol is determined by the kind of computer (server) you're dialing into. Choose one that the server doesn't support, and you won't connect.
* PPP: Point-to-Point Protocol is the default choice for dial-up connections because it's the most reliable, secure, and efficient connection protocol. Unlike SLIP, PPP supports error checking. It works with NetBEUI, IPX/SPX, and TCP/IP network protocols.
* SLIP: This is a UNIX server running Serial Line Interface Protocol. SLIP is old, slow, and a bad choice unless you're calling up an old, slow UNIX server that doesn't work with PPP. No error correction, no encrypted passwords, no automatic IP address assignment.
Network bindings and protocol settings
You create and destroy bindings on this tab by checking and clearing check boxes in the central scrolling list (a much simpler way to do it than on the Network control panel of previous Windows versions, by the way). A binding is nothing more than an active connection between two different layers of network software: for example, between a network interface adapter (modem) and any installed network protocols (such as TCP/IP), or between a protocol and a service (such as File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks).
Instant Answer One way to improve a connection's logon speed is to uncheck the protocols, clients, and services you know you won't use over a given connection. Rule to live by: Activate only one network protocol for any given connectoid.
You can configure each active (checked) network protocol, service, or client for this specific dial-up connection by clicking the network component in the list and then clicking the Properties button. This is convenient. Some ISPs, for example, may support dynamic IP address assignment via DHCP or some similar mechanism; others may require you to set up a static IP address.
Much of the time, especially with a PPP connection protocol, you'll choose 'Obtain an IP address automatically' and 'Obtain DNS server address automatically,' because most ISPs and TCP/IP hosts provide this information automatically after you connect. However, you have the flexibility to 'hardcode' specific IP addresses for your computer, for multiple DNS servers, and for multiple WINS servers, via the Advanced button on the TCP/IP configuration property sheet.
Tip Note that if you're connecting to the Internet to browse the Web, you use domain names, so you don't need a WINS server.
The upper check box on the General tab of the TCP/IP Advanced settings property sheet, Use Default Gateway on Remote Network, tells Windows XP not to use the default gateway you may have configured on your local TCP/IP LAN, if both it and your dial-up connection are live. As with the check box Use IP Header Compression, which improves performance, you normally leave this option checked.
Instant Answer The exam may ask you about protecting the security of a dial-up connection. Disabling the binding to File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks is one way to do that, as you don't want other people on the remote network or computer to see, read, modify, or even delete resources that you've shared on your PC. You would also disable this binding if you wanted to create an incoming connection on a PC that should only act as a gateway to a network, but that should not share any of its own resources to users dialing in.
Here's where you set up Internet Connection Sharing, which is important enough to warrant its own section - coming up next.
Internet Connection Sharing
If you create an Internet link (see 'Creating a connection' earlier in this chapter) and you want to share that link with other computers on the same local area network, you can now do so, with some significant limitations. For example, the Windows XP PC you configure to share an Internet connection must be the only computer on the network that provides an Internet gateway. Also, you have to have that gateway PC turned on whenever any of the other PCs on the network are connected to the Internet or want to connect to the Internet.