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Creating a wireless client/server environment using Windows 2000 server and Windows 2000 Pro

I have set up a Windows 2000 wired client/server network for my small business. I want to create a wireless client/server environment using Windows 2000 server and Windows 2000 professional to share files, printers, and applications.

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In general, it's a good idea to get Windows file and printer sharing working over Ethernet first, then add a wireless AP to extend that networking environment to wireless stations. That's because you won't need to do anything particularly unique to your wireless set-up to support Windows networking, so long as you stick to a single (wired or wireless) LAN.

Windows networking only become challenging when you need to extend Microsoft NetBIOS protocols to other subnets -- for example, port-forwarding NetBIOS through a wireless router, or enabling Windows domain browsing through a VPN gateway. As long as you're talking about a single physical LAN or a VLAN, NetBIOS broadcasts (like name announcements) will be received by all other stations (both wired or wireless) in that broadcast domain.

In your case, you already have a Win2000 network set up for your small business. You could install an AP on the same Ethernet as your Windows Server(s), and directly connect Win2000 Pro Clients to that AP. In this configuration, I strongly recommend enabling WPA-Enterprise on your AP, using your Win2000 Server to support 802.1X authentication. Microsoft provides documentation for deploying 802.1X using MS IAS, or you opt for an 802.1X small business solution like LucidLink. After a wireless client authenticates with 802.1X, it will have exactly the same access to your LAN as any other wired client, including access to file and printer shares.

This was first published in June 2005

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