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New router for small server advice wanted

Last response: in Networking
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December 8, 2012 10:40:56 AM

Hello,

My father has a small office at home with a server, used to store some files and software he uses and provide a stable network for the house. The network looks something like this:

-Our wall socket line runs to a modem we have from our ISP
-The modem then is connected to our server computer
-Which is in turn connected to a switch
-...where the computers and a router are connected to

This was set up by some computer company. Now for the question: we have used the router connected to the switch to connect wirelessly to the server to receive emails on our mobile phones (email runs via the server too). Also, my father syncs his Outlook diary on his phone this way. Apparently this doesn't work when connected to the modem, I guess because that signal hasn't been processed by the server yet. Now we are unable to connect to the router, presumably because it is quite old and ready for a replacement.

The question is: Can I just replace it with some random router and expect it to work? Or do I need a more specific router/more specific settings in the router to make this work again?

Thanks in advance,
S. Roberti
December 8, 2012 2:30:17 PM

It sounds like he is currently doing the sync by attaching to a USB port on the server. If that's the case, then he needs to install a small program to allow a remote sync, here are some ideas: http://www.pcworld.com/article/250046/free_and_affordab...

Your router sounds like it is configured as an access point, so when he connects to that with his phone it is the same as if he plugged the phone into the switch, but not like a USB connection to the server as far as doing the sych.

You can replace the router with any newer router, although you probably only need single band N (like a DLink DIR-655 or similar), which you will configure as an AP by connecting a computer to the router, open its configuration page by typing its gateway address in your computer browser and enter default user and password. Turn off DHCP (the server does that), make sure the wireless radio is enabled, set the wireless security to what you want (WPA2 is preferred) and enter a security code (write it down all the phones will need it), and then give the "router" a static IP address in the server network range on both the server and the "router."
December 8, 2012 2:36:33 PM

There is no USB involved here, he connects to the router via wi-fi and then he is able to log on to the server to access his email and diary. The only USB cable connected to the server is a network printer.
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December 8, 2012 2:39:33 PM

Okay, so he can, or at least could sync over the network connection already? If so, and it went out, you can just replace the router in AP mode to fix everyones wireless connection. I edited above to describe how to replace the current router.
December 8, 2012 2:45:57 PM

Yes, there were no problems before but the router stopped letting devices connect to it for some reason. Thanks for your help!
December 13, 2012 1:23:49 PM

I am trying to set up a TP-Link TL-WR1043ND router as an access point, but I am having some trouble. I looked on the internet, and they say I should not connect anything to the WAN port so I connected the switch one of the LAN ports, and a laptop to another LAN port. I get a connection to the internet immediately, and it says in the network status I am connected to the server network. However, when I change the LAN address I cannot access the router settings page anymore. Could you give me some advice?
December 13, 2012 5:29:06 PM

To set up a router as a wireless AP you need to connect to that router with a cable and enter the configuration pages by typing its default IP address, then user name and password. Then turn off DHCP, insure that the wireless radio is on (usually is by default setting), set your wireless security (best is WPA2 personal with AES encryption if your devices will all work with that) and a password -- write that down. Give the router an unused IP address in the network range and its gateway will be the server address.

Next connect it LAN to LAN to the switch off the server. Then assign the router a static IP address in the server that matches the address that you gave the router in its configuration page. That should do it.

The idea is that the router as an AP needs a static network address that is the same in the server DHCP service and in the router itself so that the server recognizes it as an AP/switch (the other LAN ports on the router will be like additional switch ports).

edit: set everything up before trying to use the AP and if you need to access it for more configuration you need to use its new IP address that you assign to it along with the default user and password until you change those.

example: if your server is 192.168.0.1, make the router 192.168.0.2, and then allow the server DHCP to assign another group of addresses between 192.168.0.3 and .254, although you might want to save some, say 192.168.0.3 to .20 for more static addresses that you may use later for printers and other devices that like static addresses.
December 13, 2012 5:52:27 PM

How do I find out the server IP address?
December 14, 2012 1:24:31 PM

From any attached device (wired or wireless) open the command prompt box and type ipconfig /all and look for default gateway -- that is the server IP address.
December 14, 2012 5:22:37 PM

Oh and how would I assign the router a static IP address in the server? Do I need to log on the server? And when I save the new IP address, I don't seem to be able to connect to it anymore... And is it the WAN or LAN address that I need to change? I cannot set the gateway when I change the LAN IP address...
December 14, 2012 11:15:11 PM

What OS is the server running? That will determine how you make the IP address changes on the server. You need to change the LAN address, not the WAN address that is in the server. All you are trying to do is to set a static IP LAN address in the DHCP service on the server for the new AP. And yes, you will have to logon directly at the server to make the changes from the description that I get of the network.

Once you save the new address on the AP, you need to connect to the AP with a cable using that new IP address in the browser. If you get everything set up correctly in the AP you really should not need to get back into the configuration pages, and if you have problems you can always reset the router used as an AP to its default settings and start fresh. The last change to make would be the IP address in the AP because as you say you cannot login to it at the old address, you need to use the new address.

Why did the company set up such a complex network for a home based small business client that has little network experience? They should have made it far less complex and left user manuals for the equipment.
December 20, 2012 6:58:58 PM

The server OS is Windows SBS. I don't know why they have set it up this way, I guess my father only asked for a server to get stable internet and nice connectivity between the pc's in the house...
!