by June 7, 2004 0 comments

Most networks are replete with problems, with speed and connectivity topping the list. We will discuss some ways in which networks can cope with these problems. We’ll first talk about setting up a proxy server and then do a bit of troubleshooting in the latter half. 

Setting up a free proxy server
One of the most important elements of a network is a proxy server. If you don’t have one, or are using the default ‘Internet Connection Sharing’ option in Windows, then you can try AnalogX that is available for free. It’s compact and easy to install, and improves connect speed. You can download this from download/network/proxy.htm. 

Applies to:
Network administrators
Improve Net connection speed

Run this proxy server on the machine that’s connected to the Internet and configure other machines to use this proxy server. The server provides a gamut of proxy services, which include HTTP, HTTPS, POP3, SMTP, NNTP, FTP, Socks4/4a and partial Socks5. Also, it supports IE, Netscape Navigator, AOL, AOL Instant Messenger, MSN and Yahoo Messenger.

After installation, you will find an AnalogX proxy server icon in the systems tray. To configure the proxy server, right click on this icon and select Configure. This will open a window showing all the services that is supports. By default all the services are activated. Disable the services you don’t want to use from here. The various services and the port numbers they work on are given in the table below. Note these as you’ll need them while configuring all the clients.

AnalogX: Services and Port No.s
Services Meant
HTTPS   Secure
Web browsing    
proxying with DNS lookups
SOCKS5  Only
partial support, no UDP
NNTP    Usenet
POP3    Receiving
SMTP    Sending
FTP     File

You’ll also need the IP address of the machine running AnalogX. For this, go to Start Menu>Run, type CMD and hit Enter. In the resulting command prompt, type ‘ipconfig’ to get the machine’s IP address. Note this as well. Finally, go to the other machines and in their Web browser settings, enter this IP address and the port numbers for the various services listed above. With this done, you have successfully set up the proxy server.

Client PCs are not able to access the Internet.

Solution: First, click on the proxy settings in the client machine’s Web browser. If the settings are correct, check the connectivity between the client and the central machine. For this, click Start>Run and type ‘cmd’. This will open a command window. Here type ‘Ping x.x.x.x’. You will have to replace this IP address (x.x.x.x) by the IP address of the central machine. If you are getting the reply from the machine then the connectivity is fine. If not, then check the physical connection between the machines. Maybe the wires are loose or faulty. 

Problem: Your central machine is connected to the Internet but you are not able to surf the Internet. 

Solution: On the central machine, right click on My Network Places. Here, you will get the different network connections that you have on your machine. Select the network connection from where you have connected to your ISP. Right click on the connection and select its properties. Then, double click on the TCP/IP. Now, select ‘Use the following DNS server address’ radio button and give a DNS address, for example, or and then click on Ok. This should solve your problem. 

While configuring the proxy server, by default all services are activated. Disable the ones that you don’t want to use

Problem: Virus infection. 

Solution: Keep an updated anti virus on the machines. You can opt for free anti-virus solutions such as AVG.

Problem: In cyber cafes, particularly, PCs generally crash because people who frequent cyber cafes
try their hands with almost everything while doing R&D on these machines.

Solution: This problem can easily be resolved if you’re using Win 2000/XP. Here, simply create a user account that restricts access to everything except for the services you want the user to access. 

You might also like to consider investing in a system-recovery tool that will restore
your client machines in case they crash. 

Sanjay Majumder

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