December 2007 Reader Challenge and November Reader Challenge Winners

November 2007 Reader Challenge Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our November 2007 Reader Challenge. First prize, a copy of "Windows Vista in a Nutshell," goes to Shawn P. Lemay, of New York. Second prize, a copy of "Windows Vista: The Definitive Guide," goes to Brent Collins, of Georgia. Both books are from O'Reilly Media (

December 2007 Reader Challenge

Solve this month's Vista Update challenge, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to [email protected] by December 12, 2007. You MUST include your full name, street mailing address (no P.O. Boxes), and a telephone number. Without that information, we can't send you a prize if you win, so your answer is eliminated, even if it’s correct. I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. I’m a sucker for humor and originality, and a cleverly written correct answer gets an extra chance. Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents, and I never respond to a request for an email receipt. Look for the solutions to this month's problem at on December 13.

The December 2007 Challenge

I get quite a bit of email from readers who are IT professionals in large corporations who ask about tools, utilities, and required knowledge for small networks. Usually, they want to provide IT consulting services to small businesses, but sometimes they're trying to help a relative or friend with a home network.

Recently I received several queries about providing DHCP services to small networks. The IT pros who wrote to me managed (or were aware of) DHCP servers on their enterprise networks but were unsure about supplying DHCP services, via a router, to small networks.

How much do you know about router-provided DHCP services? Can you answer these True/False questions (all of which are questions asked by my correspondents)?

Question 1: Routers supply DHCP services only to computers that are connected directly to the router's LAN ports:
Question 2: Routers can only provide IP addresses to computers on a peer-to-peer network, not to computers joined to a domain.
Question 3: Routers are unable to provide a WAN (Internet) DNS address or ISP Gateway address to the connected computers (DHCP clients); instead, you must configure each computer's TCP/IP settings for these configuration specifications.


Question 1: False. Computers that are connected to a switch/hub that is connected to the router receive IP addresses from the router.

Question 2: False. The router doesn't know, or care, about the type of network.

Question 3: False. You can configure a router to provide all the needed IP addresses for Internet access.

Extra Information You May Find Useful
To reach the router configuration window, you must access the router through a browser (using any computer attached to the router or to a switch attached to the router). Each manufacturer has a configuration tool, and to access that tool you must open your browser and enter the router’s IP address in the address bar, and then log in. Most routers have a preset login name and password. Here are the IP addresses and default login values for the popular routers:
Belkin (Login Name field does not exist, Password Name field is blank)
D-Link (Login Name is admin, Password is blank)
Linksys (Login Name is blank, Password is admin)
Netgear (Login Name is admin, Password is password)
All passwords are case sensitive. If users have created a new login name and/or password, and can't remember the new values, you can reset the router to return these values to the default settings. Check the documentation to see how to reset the router (usually, it's a button on the router).

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