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Windows 8.1: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Wired Connections

The beauty of Ethernet connections is that they’re superfast and supersecure. No bad guys sitting across the coffee shop, armed with shareware “sniffing” software, can intercept your email and chat messages, as they theoretically can when you’re on wireless.

And 99 percent of the time, connecting to an Ethernet network is as simple as connecting the cable to the computer. That’s it. You’re online, quickly and securely, and you never have to worry about connecting or disconnecting.

Automatic Configuration

Most broadband wired connections require no setup whatsoever. Take a new PC out of the box, plug the Ethernet cable into your cable modem, and you can begin surfing the Web instantly.

That’s because most cable modems, DSL boxes, and wireless base stations use DHCP. It stands for dynamic host configuration protocol, but what it means is: “We’ll fill in your Network Control Panel automatically.” (Including techie specs like IP address and DNS Server addresses.)

Manual Configuration

If, for some reason, you’re not able to surf the Web or check email the first time you try, it’s remotely possible that your broadband modem or your office network doesn’t offer DHCP. In that case, you may have to fiddle with the network settings manually.

See Connection Management for details.

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