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Connecting Stuff...

...to LANs and the internet (WAN)

Overview/ Table of Contents

Material on this page © TK Boyd July 2017... but if you want to translate the page, or circulate it on DVD or intranet, I will allow that with some conditions.

This page is an overview of a series of pages, presenting All You Need To Know....

... in a "crawl", "walk", "run" sequence.

I know that many readers will come to this collection of tutorials with significant prior knowledge.

Even so, I would urge you to at least skim the first pages before jumping to the one you think holds the answer to your problem.

I am self taught. (My first web-server went online in 2006... but I've been programming for many decades.) I know that I wasted many, many hours in my early years fighting with things that weren't broken because I didn't understand the "layered" nature of connecting things to LANs and the internet (WAN). You must have things right in the bottom layers before you can tell if what you're doing at a higher layer is right or not. The sequence of these essays will let you get the bottom layers right first.

This page, and the pages in my "Connecting Stuff" series has not yet had extensive editing. I apologize for the crudeness at this stage, but, unless you need "bells and whistles", and "slickness", I think you can find useful information here.

Connecting stuff- WiFi/ LAN/ Internet

Going further

Anyone reading this will probably use "connected devices" quite regularly.

This, and the pages that it leads to, attempts to give you a more thorough understanding of the whole business of "connecting things". Some elements will seem self-obvious to some readers. But bear with me? I suspect that different people have different gaps in their knowledge. And the topic is unkind to those with gaps in their knowledge. Please try skim, and pay at least 50% attention, even to the bits that are "obvious" to you. You may be surprised at some of the details hiding, waiting to trip you up.

Although I will start with an everyday system, I go on to much more advanced systems. If you read through all that is here, you will eventually be able to set up a way to "see" and control a device (camera, lock, HVAC, computer... whatever) which is in your home or place of work... "see" and control it from across the world.

Something simple... or is it?

Part 1: What if you "just" want to connect an ordinary computer... laptop/ desktop, Windows/ Linux/ Mac... to "the internet"? Simply to use Google, send/ receive email? Etc. Wifi or via a cable?

ALL of the above have certain things in common. And those things will apply to EVERYTHING ELSE discussed here and on the connected pages!!... please read that essay! (We will talk elsewhere about what difference it makes whether you, say, use WiFi or a cable.)

By the way: You can use this material for at least two things. Obviously, I hope it is helpful if you are trying to set up any of the things discussed. But it can also be a guide for trouble-shooting. If something you want to use is not connecting properly, the following lists all the "things" that need to "work".

Both for connecting and troubleshooting, the following sets out the hierarchy that you are depending upon. If "the first bit" (as set out below) isn't working, don't bother to struggle with the "higher" levels... they may or may not be broken, but you can't tell until the "low" level matters are in place.

Part 2: Still just a computer... but this time at a static IP on the LAN. And what that is/ why you'd want to do it. (No "ports" material here!)

Part 3a: One of the simpler "fancy" things many people do... with lessons that apply to ALMOST everything discussed here. Connecting an IP Cam. Part A... for access from within same LAN. As the only server on the LAN.

Part 3b: Connecting an IP Cam, Part B. Accessing it from elsewhere, using the internet, i.e. the WAN. Still as the only server on the LAN. ((DNS and DDNS explanation goes here. And NAT. And a little bit about ports.))

Part 4: Ports.. an additional addressing element.

More to come?...

I've spent days writing the overview, and parts 1, 2, 3 (a and b) and 4. Not to mention years learning the material I wrote about.

Was there any point? As those pages "stand on their own", and as I have "the day job" to consider, I am stopping here, for now. If there is positive feedback, I will consider doing more in the same vein....

POSSIBLE (see above) Pt 5: Survey of things you can attach. Protocols. The Big Payoff! With what you have learned above, you are now ready to connect LOTS of things to your LAN, and, if you choose to "open the door", to access and/or control from outside the LAN, via the WAN ("internet") (We've already done ports, DDNS)

POSSIBLE (see above) Pt 6: I promised to talk about WiFi/ Wired... But most of what I wanted to say was, in the context of all the above: Don't worry about how your device connects to its LAN. In respect of the things we've been talking about, it doesn't much matter. If in doubt, connect with a cable, if you can. That will mean several fewer things to go wrong! "Everything else perfect", and still not working... via WiFi? Even if it means unscrewing the device from a wall, try if via a cabled connection. If it then works, you may well have a problem that is "only" the WiFi link. But don't be surprised if your "everything else okay" assumption was faulty. And be glad you tried the device connected with a cable! (Until the other issues are resolved, you can "play" with the WiFi connection parameters forever without getting the device connected to the LAN.

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