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Networking Connect all your devices and enjoy the perfect home network


PACKED PAGES • Get better Wi-Fi • Master the cloud • Stream movies and music

Digital edition of this book!* See page 178 for more information

*iPad & iPhone only

The best advice for Windows, Mac and Linux THZ11 2016



T e c h n o lo gy H a n d b o o k S e r i es





6 | The Ultimate Networking Handbook

Contents At Home Network your home, share files, fix your Wi-Fi and more


10 A brief history of computer networking 16 Set up your PC network 18 Networking secrets revealed 20 How does the internet get to me? 21 How to choose a router 22 Speed up your network 25 Extend your network 26 Mobile internet access 27 Share files in Windows 10 31 Get super-fast Wi-Fi in every room 34 Faster networking 36 Extending Wi-Fi 37 Powerline networking 40 The need for speed 42 Banish all wires 44 Troubleshooting 45 Six tip-top wireless speakers 48 Wireless peripherals, gadgets and gizmos 50 All the wireless gear you could possibly want! 52 And wireless power too? 54 Streaming machines

The Cloud

Use online storage and apps to their full potential

62 64 65 66 67 68 69 69 71 74 78 88 90

One drive to rule them all OneDrive in Windows 10 Office Online IFTTT and OneDrive OneDrive for business Apps that work with OneDrive Media streaming Move OneDrive Store files in Google Drive Harness Google Apps’ power iCloud Sectets Make apps better with IFTTT Make more of Dropbox

Easy Projects Take control of your network with these hands-on ideas 94 97 109 110 112 118

Control your PC remotely Stay safe online Share your net connection Access your PC from an iPad protecting your privacy Hack a wireless router

Raspberry PI Projects Put the tiny computer to work with these practical ideas 124 128 132 136 140

Stream TV with a Raspberry Pi Build a PiBot monitor Detect and record movement Build a server Build a NAS

Advanced Projects More involved projects for the true networking wizard 146 150 154 160 162 167 172 178

Set up a gateway IPv6: how to get connected Build the perfect home server Codecs for media Set up your own cloud service Homebrew your own NAS Become a computer cave man Get your free digital edition*

The Ultimate Networking Handbook | 7



“My Wi-Fi doesn’t work”

World Wide Web


Bob Khan

New York data centre Computer Science Network Lawrence G Roberts Xerox PARC ARPANET

National Science Foundation

American Airlines

Packet switching

Semi-Automatic Ground Environment

Air Defense Systems

Norbert Weiner Bell Labs John von Neumann

Complex Number Calculator

George Stibitz

10 | The Ultimate Networking Handbook

Nikola Tesla

A brief history of

computer networking The landmark events and the people behind the technology that made modern networks possible


communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. “Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.” The Serbian American saw the potential for global communication through his early telephony research, but the first experiments in ‘remote computing’ would actually come in a roundabout way courtesy of a Pennsylvanian mathematician who was more concerned with the ability to quickly calculate numbers than any vision of an interconnected world.

Complex transmissions In 1930, George Stibitz graduated from Cornell University with a PhD in mathematical physics and took his first job as a technician at New York City’s Bell Telephone Laboratories. Stibitz’s research involved designing relay switches for electrical circuits. Relays control one electrical circuit by opening and closing contacts in another circuit, and were used as amplifiers in Bell’s longdistance telegraph lines in order to repeat a signal coming in from a circuit and re-transmit it to the


hese days we take the internet for granted. The vast majority of us are almost always online in one way or another, whether that’s through the data connection of our smartphone or tablet, the GPS in our car or wearable, or via the most long-serving bastion of our online life: the humble desktop computer. People in the developed world who remain ‘off the grid’ do so out of either social disadvantage or a simple belief in the timehonoured traditions of pre-modern eras. But the truth is that most millennials in the developed world have never known society to be anything other than highly interconnected. The networking technology underlying our current ‘Information Age’ is largely a result of the pioneering advances of a handful of visionaries who rose to prominence in the latter half of the twentieth century and pushed the concept of the network beyond the ken of their generation. But the first stirrings of such an interconnected world can be traced back even earlier. Consider the words of renowned engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla, who in an interview conducted with Colliers magazine in 1926 stated the following: “When wireless is perfectly applied the whole Earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to

The Ultimate Networking Handbook | 11

At Home | Go Wireless

At Home | Go Wireless

Banish all wires

Wi-Fi networking is very simple – until it’s not! But we’re here to help…


ou could be forgiven for thinking that wireless networking is a breeze, if all you want from it is to connect your PC, tablet, and smartphone to the internet to surf, email and download apps. But if you live in a house with thick walls, need access from different rooms or an outbuilding and regularly transfer large files, you’ll know that optimising your network is essential. So should you keep the router your broadband provider gave you or invest in a new one? How do you extend the network’s range? Should you set up and bridge up a second network? What about security? One addition to consider if you’re having trouble accessing your router wirelessly from a room or section of the house is to use Powerline to bridge the gap. By using your mains electric circuit to carry data, Powerline allows you to access your router from anywhere there’s a power socket; just plug one adaptor into a power socket next to your router, and connect it to the router with an Ethernet cable. Plug another adaptor into a power socket in the room from which you want to connect. Then you can either

connect a laptop directly to the adaptor with an Ethernet cable, or buy an adaptor with a built in Wi-Fi access point so you can connect to it wirelessly. Alternatively, you can connect a wireless access point to the second Powerline adaptor via an Ethernet cable.

parked outside could use it to access the internet; anything they do online while they’re connected can be traced to your IP address.

2 Extend the network range

You now know how to extend the range of a wireless network using Powerline, but if you’d rather stay completely wireless, there are other options. You could move your router; generally the higher (without being too close to the ceiling and more central in a room) the better. Keep it clear of walls for a better signal; don’t stick it in a corner, on the floor or behind the sofa! You could also upgrade its antennae (if it has external antennae), or even make your own parabolic reflector (for more information, visit that attaches to the antennae and bounces the signal in the direction of your device. If your router is old and doesn’t support current standards, you could buy a new one, connect it your DSL modem/router by Ethernet (if you don’t want to invest in a new modem/

1 Set up a guest network

You may want to allow guests to get online using your wireless router (but don’t want to allow them to access the rest of your network – printers, network storage, computers and more). The solution? Create a guest network. Most modern routers allow you to do this; with an Apple router, for example, click the Wireless tab of AirPort Utility and then click the checkbox next to Enable Guest Network. Give it a name and password and click Update. Guests, with the password, can now use that network. Don’t leave it unsecured for convenience – anyone walking past your house or


2 5

4 1

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Six tip-top wireless speakers

Stellé Audio Pillar

Whatever you want to do, there’s a wireless speaker for you!

£249 Stellé Audio Couture, Need a Bluetooth speaker that won’t look out of place in your chic kitchen? The Pillar offers sleek good looks as well as excellent audio quality over Bluetooth. One for the fashionistas!

Geneva S Wireless DAB+

£329 Geneva Lab,

If you want to enjoy the convenience of Bluetooth without sacrificing too much audio fidelity, the Geneva S Wireless DAB+ is your answer. It combines a DAB+ receiver with a topnotch Bluetooth speaker.

Sonos Playbar

£599 Sonos

As well as allowing you to play music wirelessly from your Mac or iOS device, or directly from the internet, the Playbar connects to your TV using an optical cable and takes care of its sound, too.


here are a different ways for you can stream audio wirelessly from your computer, tablet or smartphone to a speaker or hi-fi system. In days of old, finding the best system meant learning all sorts of acronyms and abbreviations and sifting through lots of proprietary systems. Now, however, Bluetooth 4 has support for high-bandwidth audio formats and as a result has replaced many of the singlevendor solutions. Two remain: Apple’s AirPlay, which is open to anyone who wants to license it, and Sonos, which remains largely a closed system. Windows, Android and OS X support aptX, which means you don’t need a special adaptor to stream music to the best Bluetooth audio kit. There are key differences between Bluetooth and AirPlay. Despite a thriving market in

speakers, AirPlay remains somewhat niche in comparison; there are more options in terms of speakers and hi-fi systems with built-in support for Bluetooth. There is a decent selection of AirPlay speakers though, and since any manufacturer can make them, unlike with Sonos, there are more different types of speaker. Secondly, AirPlay uses Wi-Fi to connect your Mac or iOS device to audio kit, meaning that you need to be within range of a Wi-Fi network. There is a wireless protocol called Wi-Fi Direct that allows you to connect to a speaker directly, but it relies on the manufacturer building in

support. Libratone uses it in its AirPlay speakers, and calls it PlayDirect. Bluetooth speakers, on the other hand, connect to your Mac or iOS device in the same way as any other Bluetooth kit; you pair them and then connect whenever your in range. With AirPlay, you can play music (only from iTunes) to multiple speakers at once; if you’re streaming from iOS, you can only do so to one

The Ultimate Networking Handbook | 45

At Home | Go Wireless

Go Wireless | At home

Control your PC remotely TeamViewer provides access to any PC for troubleshooting or remote access purposes SKILL LEVEL


IT WILL TAKE 20 minutes


Windows XP or later


roviding troubleshooting support over the phone or by email can often be difficult and time-consuming. Experts will often diagnose and fix the problem in minutes if sat in front of the troublesome PC. And now, thanks to TeamViewer, you can invite experts to do just that… except the difference is they don’t have to be sitting in front of your computer! TeamViewer allows one person to view another’s desktop from the comfort of their own computer – and if the recipient is willing, they can even hand over control of their PC to the expert to help them investigate and fix the problem. Don’t worry – you can revoke access at any time. But that’s not all: you can also use TeamViewer for remote access to your PC from a variety of locations and devices, including your mobile or tablet. Here, I’ll show you how to use it for both of these purposes.

Jargon buster! Key combinations Keyboard shortcuts that need two or more keys pressed at the same time. Remote PC The PC that’s being accessed

Screen quality

To improve performance, TeamViewer makes temporary adjustments to the remote PC’s screen – tweak these settings via the View menu. 1

Actions menu

Click here to perform certain tasks, such as locking your remote computer or launching Task Manager via the [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[Del] shortcut. 2

Send key combinations

You can’t directly use keyboard shortcuts on the remote PC – they apply to your own PC, so choose this option to send them. 3

File Transfer

Choose ‘File transfer’ to use the file transfer tool (see guide) or ‘File box’ for a drag-and-drop box on the desktop. 4

Extras from another computer to be controlled remotely. Whiteboard A virtual canvas on which one or more TeamViewer users can draw to illustrate a point.

Access additional options, such as adding another participant to the session or recording a video of your remote desktop actions. 5

TeamViewer box

This appears on the remote computer’s desktop, allowing anybody sat at that PC to communicate via chat, audio or video. 6

HOW TO | troubleshoot and access your pc remotely

1 Install on remote PC

Go to and click the download link to save the installer to the PC you want to access – your own if you’re looking for troubleshooting help. Launch the installer. Leave ‘Basic installation’ selected, which allows you to access other computers from this PC too. Choose ‘Personal/Non-commercial use’. Click ‘Accept – Finish’, then ‘Yes’ if prompted to install TeamViewer. 94 | The Ultimate Networking Handbook

2 Invite others to connect

If you’ve installed TeamViewer to give someone else access to your PC (either for sharing files or to allow them to control it remotely), you need to communicate both your ID and password to them separately – the phone is probably the best option, here. They can then install or launch TeamViewer on their PC, type in your ID into the ‘Partner ID’ box and click ‘Connect to partner’.

visual guide | Teamviewer



2 1



3 Hand over control

Your partner will be prompted to enter the password you gave them. If they click ‘Advanced’ before clicking ‘Log On’ they can choose a level of access: full access is the default, and when connected your screen will go black and a small window will appear in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. Your partner will control your PC as if they were sitting at it themselves.

4 Liaise with a partner

You’ll see icons appear in the window – you can set up a video or audio chat, or open a chat window to type messages to your chat partner. There are also buttons for sharing files and setting up a whiteboard for drawing. Either party can end the session by clicking the ‘X’ button in the TeamViewer window – you can also forcibly end the connection by disconnecting from the net. The Ultimate Networking Handbook | 95

Easy Projects | Hack a router

Easy Projects | Hack a router

Hack a wireless router Discover how to power up the device at the heart of your home network


t’s a great time for home networking, which is to say that a decent router can now just about be relied on to do its own thing without bothering you. However, it can still be a challenge to get it to do your thing instead. If you’re ready for a change, the world of custom firmware opens up an embarrassment of configuration choices, as well as an enticing catalogue of new functionality. With DD-WRT as our firmware of choice, we’re going to firmly encourage these sleek and unassuming embedded devices to reach their full huffing, wheezing potential. There will be sweat, there may be tears, but we’ll guide you through the process of selecting and installing a firmware, show you some of the nattiest ways to trick it out, and open the door for your own challenges to follow.

DD-what? DD-WRT is one among many custom firmwares available for wireless routers, but it beats right at the heart of the custom firmware movement, with a broad range of support, relative ease of use, consistent development, and a treasure trove of features. Installing DD-WRT isn’t a minor tweak, though – it will

Now is the time for a moment of quiet reflection…

completely rewrite the way your router operates, potentially opening up functionality such as SSH, file and media serving, guest networks, QoS, VLANs, and VPNs in more flavours than you could find in a bag of Revels. However, there are risks commensurate with the scope of the change. While installing a custom firmware is almost always a beautiful learning experience, sometimes what you learn is how it feels to break a perfectly good router. It probably won’t even seem as though it’s your fault when it happens, but implicit in your willingness to continue is the understanding that it will be your fault, because you were the one who poked it. And now that this is explicit as well, we can continue with two key pieces of advice for minimising the risk. Firstly, don’t ever use a router you can’t afford to lose. Simple. Secondly, don’t use your only router – because you rely on it to connect to the internet, which is a resource that you’ll want to be able to tap like a rubber tree should things go south. In this spirit, the most advisable way to enter the custom firmware fray is with an older router. Look at it this way – you’re going to end this process without a manufacturer’s warranty, so you may as well start it without one. You’re also less likely to feel a sense of gnawing, visceral guilt if you sneeze and pull out the power adaptor during a firmware update, and proportionally more likely to unlock new features. By contrast, it can take a reasonably long time for custom firmware such as DD-WRT to adapt to new technology (and longer still to make it run reliably), so you may be on a hiding to nothing with this year’s super router, even if you’re cavalier enough to try it.

Router support We’ll deliver the bad news up front. With no notable exceptions, combination router/modems won’t work – BT’s famous range of Home Hubs, for example, aren’t supported. But all is not lost if you’re on VDSL/BT Fibre, because you should be able to arrange to use a standalone OpenReach modem instead, and connect up a router of your choice. Other ISPs’ combination devices may even have a modem-only mode that enables you to plug in your own router – Virgin Media’s Superhub offerings, for example, fall into this category. If you do have a standalone router, you still can’t necessarily

118 | The Ultimate Networking Handbook

just go ahead and plonk a new firmware on it. Some routers don’t have the right chipset, some don’t have enough flash storage, and some don’t have the RAM. Some, frankly, don’t have the moxie. All that said, a surprisingly wide range of routers are supported. So how do you know whether yours is one of them? Your first port of call should be DD-WRT’s router database ( Simply put your model number into the search field, and then cross your fingers. The database will usually give you a straight yes or no answer, but don’t jump for joy when you see your model appear in this list until you have checked that the revision column also matches up with your router – some manufacturers change out the internals almost completely between revisions of the same router model. Just for fun, try searching for the WRT54G in the router database, and count the iterations. The WRT54G is the granddaddy of DD-WRT, and it has a lot of history. But note that at least one revision isn’t supported at all, and that the specs can be wildly different between others. Many have reduced flash storage space, for instance, and will be limited in which features they can support.

Firm friends Once you’ve established that your router is supported, there are two major lights in the darkness: DD-WRT’s wiki, and the community forums. The wiki is great for getting a baseline understanding of any issues which might affect your particular router. Start with the Supported Devices page ( Supported_Devices). Links from this page often indicate that your router has a specific installation guide, which might just mean that it’s a popular model, but it could mean that the flashing process comes with some caveat or special requirement, so be aware. The forums are the best place to find out what’s working, right now, for other people using the same hardware (www. You should pay particular attention to threads where users trade blows over their favourite or most stable builds. Look out for the guru posters, who often have long signatures containing details of the many different routers they run, and which firmware versions they’re running on them. These guys have done their homework, so make sure you do yours, too, even if that sometimes means leaning across the metaphorical desk to copy their notes.

DD-WRT is an ongoing beta, and the newest release is not always going to be the best release for your own particular hardware. There is no shame or loss in using a build which might be significantly behind the bleeding edge. If it’s the right fit for your kit, just go for it. With older releases, the main thing you need to concern yourself with is to make sure that you’re not exposing yourself and your hardware to any critical security flaws. As a starting point, build revisions between 19163 and 23882 are a poor vintage; any components making use of OpenSSL will be affected by the Heartbleed bug. The good news is that none of the vanilla builds are affected by the Bashspecific Shellshock vulnerability; like many embedded device firmwares, DD-WRT relies on BusyBox to provide A Shell. Likewise, the use of uclibc means that the glibc GHOST vulnerability is no concern for today. However, running a custom firmware does put the security ball back in your court, so you really do need to keep abreast of emerging vulnerabilities.

The make or model is usually on a sticker, on the back or bottom of your router. Note any version information in addition to the model number.

Firm resolution Let’s go through a worked example. We have a Cisco Linksys E3000 router, which treads a decent balance between age and relevance. It’s around five years old and there’s none of that new-fangled wireless AC technology, but it was a powerhouse in its day, with support for simultaneous 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless bands. The router database shows a firm yes, and there is some specific information on the wiki relating to it. Particular

Trailed builds and tftp A trailed build could quite accurately be described as a custom custom firmware. It’s a firmware that’s been built specifically for one particular model of router (which is mentioned in the filename). Trailed builds contain headers that check out as legitimate with the manufacturer’s own firmware, which then conveniently and quite cleverly enables you to use the existing interface to overwrite itself. A trailed build might not be your end point, however, but more like a transitional step

between using stock and custom firmware. Once you have installed a trailed build of DD-WRT, you’re generally able to move more freely between different firmware builds – you still need to pick the correct ones, though. Now let’s take a look at tftp, which is quite literally a trivial file transfer protocol. This is necessary for the initial flash of a few routers – older Linksys, Buffalo and Belkin models being the prime examples. It’s comparatively rare to require this on

Wireless N or newer routers. If you don’t need to use tftp, then it’s not recommended, regardless of whether or not it’s available. However, it’s worth remembering that lots of different routers have a tftp connection available for a limited window during the boot process, because it could be one of the first ports of call if you need to try to recover from a bad flash. Although it’s never to be relied upon, it may help bring you back from the brink in a pinch.

The Ultimate Networking Handbook | 119

Easy Projects | Hack a router

Hack a router | Easy Projects

Build a NAS

Discover how to manage your data better with a powerful storage solution.


o you have a bunch of USB disks that you juggle between your various computers? Did you know that you can plug all of them into a Raspberry Pi, which you can then use as a network attached storage (NAS) box? Using the Pi as an always-on NAS box sounds like a wonderful use of the silent little device. However, setting it up as one used to be an involved process. That’s until the Debian-based OpenMediaVault (OMV) distro decided to roll out a version specifically tuned to the Pi. Once it’s up and running, you can configure and manage the distro using its browser-based administration interface. You can then use the USB ports on the Pi to attach USB disks, which are then made available to your entire network for storage. Remember that for best performance, make sure you use self-powered removable disks. You can use the disks attached to the OMV NAS individually, or assemble them in a software RAID array. The distro has ample options to manage other advanced aspects of a NAS distro. To get started, download the Pi version from the distro’s website at The distro has separate releases for the Pi 2 and the original B/B+ models, so ensure you grab the correct one. Then extract the .img file from the download and transfer it on to an SD card with replacing /dev/sdb with the location of your SD card. If you use Windows, use the Win32 Disk Imager app to transfer it across.

140 | The Ultimate Networking Handbook

Quick tip If you wish to use the NAS as the target location for storing backups, enable the FTP service. Also enable the SSH service to manage the OMV installation from the CLI.

Head to System > Update Manager and make sure you install all available updates

Now boot the Pi with the freshly baked SD card. There’s no installation involved and you can start configuring the distro as soon as it boots up. You can access its browser-based interface on the IP address of the Pi – such as You’re asked to authenticate yourself, which you can do using the default credentials for the administrator – admin:openmediavault. However, you should change this default as soon as you log in. Head to System > General Settings in the navigation bar on the left, switch to the Web Administrator Password tab and enter the new password in

Stream music If you’ve stored music on the NAS, wouldn’t it be really cool if you could stream it across the network straight from the NAS itself? Using the forked-daapd plugin, you can do just that. To use the plugin, just install it like any other – this adds a new entry under the Services section, labelled iTunes/DAAP. Before you can stream music, you need to configure the plugin by pointing it to the shared folder on the NAS that contains the music files. Head to the plugin’s page and

use the Shared folder drop-down menu to select the folder that houses the music. Once you’ve saved the changes, use a player such as Rhythmbox, Amarok, Banshee and so on, which will automatically pick up the DAAP server running on your NAS and enable you to listen to the tracks on the NAS. Use the DAAP Media Player app to listen to the music on an Android device. Furthermore, you can also install the

the appropriate text boxes. You can also use the System menu to configure several aspects of the NAS server, such as the server’s date and time, enable plugins (see ‘Extend your NAS’) and keep the system updated.

Add storage Once it’s up and running, plug one or multiple USB disks into the Raspberry Pi. Head to Storage > Physical Disks and click the Scan button to make OMV aware of the disks. Then use the Wipe button to clean the disks individually. If you’ve inserted multiple disks, OMV can even tie them into a software RAID (see walkthrough over the page). OMV supports multiple RAID levels and each requires a different number of disks. For example, the default RAID level 5 requires a minimum of three disks, while RAID 1, which mirrors data across drives, only needs a minimum of two. If you don’t plan to use the inserted USB disk inside a RAID array, after you’ve erased a drive, head to Storage > File Systems to create a filesystem on the drive. Here click the Create button and use the pull-down menu to select the device you wish to format. By default, the drives are formatted as EXT4 but you can select a different filesystem using the pull-down menu. Besides EXT4, OMV supports the EXT3, XFS and JFS filesystems. Repeat the process to create a filesystem on all of the attached USB

MiniDLNA plugin to connect to your NAS from DLNA clients. Just as with DAAP, after installing the MiniDLNA plugin, you have to head to Services > DLNA > Shares, and click on Add to point to the shared folder that contains the music. You can then use the BubbleUPnP app to convert your Android phone into a DLNA compatible device, so that it can browse the library and stream music to and from your now-DLNA-compatible NAS.

disks. After creating the filesystem, select a drive and then click the Mount button to bring them online. Before you can store data on the NAS device, you have to create one or more users. To do this, head to Access Rights Management > User. The Add button on this page is a pulldown menu that enables you to either add individual users or import a bunch of users by adding them in the specified format. When adding an individual user, you can also add them to an existing group. By default, all users are added to the Users group. If you wish users to have their own home directories in the OMV server, switch to the Settings tab and mark the checkbox to enable the home directory for the user. You also have to specify the location for the home directory by selecting an existing shared folder on the NAS server or creating a new one.

Shares and permissions The next step is to define a shared folder. The chief consideration while adding one is whether the NAS will be used by multiple users or a single individual. In case you’re going to be sharing the NAS storage space with multiple users, you can define several folders, each one with different user permissions. To add a folder, head to Access Rights Management > Shared Folders and click the Add button. In

Quick tip The distro ships with a host of omv-* utilities, including omvrelease-upgrade, which upgrades the base to a new release.

OMV keeps tabs on all aspects of the server it’s running on. Go to Diagnostics > System Information to see for yourself

The Ultimate Networking Handbook | 141

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