Help with home network?
December 18, 2010 10:51 AM   Subscribe

NetworkFilter: Total networking n00b needs help with home network. Snowflake!

I am a fairly computer/tech savvy person - build my own PCs, modded an xbox, dualbooted linux/windows for years, etc. My achilles heel in all of this is networking. I have very little knowledge on how to build and configure a home network.

Here is what I am trying to do. The following devices all need to be connected to the same network and have access to each other where noted.

PC, wireless, needs to be able to connect to xbox ftp
Two laptops, wireless
Original Xbox, wired, can act as ftp
Xbox 360, wired
Wii, wireless

The router I'm working with is a WRT120N.

posted by _DB_ to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Could you clarify which parts are confusing you?

Unless there's some constraint you haven't mentioned, it sounds like a straight hub/spoke architecture would work fine. The WRT-120n has both wireless and Ethernet support, so set it as the default gateway for everything and let it run a DHCP service. Use NAT/port forwarding as necessary to get inbound connections (e.g., for that FTP server).

Are you asking how you go about setting default gateways on an XBox? I'm afraid Google knows more than I do about that.
posted by d. z. wang at 11:01 AM on December 18, 2010

Response by poster: Right now I have everything connected but I have no access to the ftp. I have no idea what IP it is on; is there something really elementary that I am missing here? The extent of my networking knowledge is picking a wireless point and entering a password...
posted by _DB_ at 11:07 AM on December 18, 2010

Well if you don't know what ip address something has, you need to find out. Look at the xbox networking settings to see what ip address it has. You could also check the DHCP server logs but I think that might be too complicated.
posted by devnull at 11:09 AM on December 18, 2010

Probably most of what you're looking for is going to be on the router's configuration page. Not sure if you know what that is, but basically just go into your browser and type in (or maybe, among others) and poke around there.

You'll find all the stuff d.z. wang was talking about, as well as the local IP addresses for everything connected to that router, which will probably come into play.

You probably will need some login credentials, best thing to do there is to just google "default login for WRT120N" and you'll get some results.

Apologies if the above is way beneath you, just assuming you literally have no experience/knowledge.
posted by Patbon at 11:14 AM on December 18, 2010

Oh! Now I understand.

Here are some tools that will help you. They all have informative man pages and lots of Google hits.

If you can't find the FTP server's IP normally (e.g., by reading it off your xbox somehow), use nmap to scan your local network for things with open FTP ports. (nmap is fiendishly complicated, so you're probably better off looking for a tutorial than reading the man page. Note that nmap can guess what kind of thing is returning its queries, which might be useful if you have multiple FTP servers active.)

Use ping to demonstrate basic connectivity once you've found the IP address.

Then see if your FTP client has some kind of error log or verbose/debugging output that might shed some like on the problem.

Otherwise, If you read up on the FTP protocol, you might be able to mimic an FTP client by pointing telnet at the port and typing the client's side of the conversation manually. I haven't actually tried this myself, so no promises it'll work, but if it does, you'll be able to see every step of the exchange.

And, finally, if all else goes wrong, Wireshark is a graphical Ethernet/wireless packet analyzer that adds lots of preconfigured analyses and hand-holding. I prefer it over tcpdump, although you're welcome to go old-school if you like. You can use this to troubleshoot just about anything on the network, but it requires some deep knowledge. I don't know enough to recommend a good tutorial; try asking on the forums for your distribution.

By the way, if you're comfortable modding xboxes and dual-booting Linux, you might look into DD-WRT. Your router is currently unlisted---it might be fun to try it out and contribute the entry.
posted by d. z. wang at 11:43 AM on December 18, 2010

I didnt know the xbox supported ftp. I thought it used windows file services/SMB. I assuming youre running a custom firmware. If not that may explain why you are unable to find it.

I have no idea what IP it is on;

Ask your xbox. It should have a network configuration screen. It will report its IP, assuming it is on the network properly. Your router may also list this information under its DHCP or "connected devices" section, but it may be difficult to know which device is which. When troubleshooting I would disconnect all devices except the PC and the xbox and reboot the router for ease of troubleshooting. Now the only devices in your dhcp list should be the PC or the xbox. You can get your PCs IP address easily from the GUI or by typing in ipconfig.

Now that you have the xbox's IP, you just need to type it plus the word ftp into your PC, e.g. "ftp". That should connect you. For ease of use you can use a free GUI-based FTP client like Filezilla. Server would be IP address, e.g. and port would be 21.

If you can't connect still I would suspect your xbox is really serving ftp or the service isnt running. If your xbox is running SMB instead of FTP then you can browse your local lan by going into Computer and clicking on the network icon.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:41 PM on December 18, 2010

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