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Setting up WHS 2011 on a wireless connection

    Question

  • Up until now I have always used a wired connection when setting up my windows home serer box. But now I live in a building with only wireless internet. I am trying to setup my WHS box with the newer 2011 version on the wireless connection. I have read that this "isn't preferred" or "isn't supported" but I want to know if it is legitimately possible to set it up exclusively on wireless regardless of possible performance degradation or other issues. I have read about third party wifi tools such as connectify and I am also wondering if it is possible to set it up through that or other third party tools. I am up for any suggestions because as I said a wired connection is not an option right now. 
    Sunday, August 26, 2012 2:37 AM

All replies

  • From the Windows Home Server 2011 System Requirements:

    "1. Your server computer must be connected via a network cable to a router."

    So a purely wireless installation is not supported. It may work anyway if:

    1. Windows Server 2008 R2 has in box drivers for your wireless network adapter, or you can successfully install drivers for your wireless network adapter during setup, and 
    2. your wifi router is set to broadcast it's SSID, and
    3. your wifi router is set to use no security at all.

    A much better alternative (given that your wireless network must be open to the world for this to work, and it honestly sounds like you have no control of, and probably no access to, the wireless router to configure it this way) is to wire your server to your router during setup, then once setup is complete, disconnect it, install any required drivers for the wireless network adapter, and configure wireless networking.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    Sunday, August 26, 2012 5:57 PM
    Moderator
  • As of right now I can technically access the router (even though I am not supposed to) but the building is being redone with a fiber optic connection and once that happens I believe I will definitely not be able to access any router. Why can there not be any kind of security on the router if it is being accessed wirelessly? Also you mentioned configuring the wireless networking, what does that entail?

    I just want to make sure I am understanding this correctly though, the WHS box has to be initially setup on a wired connection and then it can be configured wirelessly?

     
    Tuesday, August 28, 2012 10:55 PM
  • ... Why can there not be any kind of security on the router if it is being accessed wirelessly? ...

    Because it needs to access the network at various points during setup, some of which occur prior to the first opportunity you would have in the GUI to configure security for your server's wireless connection. As a result, if the wireless network is configured with any sort of security, your server will fail to connect to the network and setup will fail.

    Also you mentioned configuring the wireless networking, what does that entail?

    I just want to make sure I am understanding this correctly though, the WHS box has to be initially setup on a wired connection and then it can be configured wirelessly?

     

    I won't go into how to configure your router for this to work. For that, you have the manufacturer's support web site, and the documentation. And I do not recommend turning off all security on the router; this allows anyone to connect to your network and (potentially) compromise any equipment that's connected to the network.

    And yes, you understand correctly: Windows Home Server doesn't officially support wireless at all; if you need to use wireless anyway, you need to connect your server to the network with a cable temporarily, then you can configure wireless networking later. But I don't recommend this; wireless is slower, higher latency, and if you ever need to restore your server from a backup, you may be unable to do so via a wireless network (for much the same reasons that you may fail to succeed at setting up Windows Home Server in the first place).


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    • Marked as answer by Sean Zhu -Moderator Monday, September 03, 2012 8:53 AM
    • Unmarked as answer by ericwish21 Tuesday, September 04, 2012 4:27 PM
    Wednesday, August 29, 2012 4:29 PM
    Moderator
  • The reason I was asking about configuring the router is that it sounded like there were additional steps beyond the normal setup in order to configure it correctly. And as far as the security on the router goes, can you elaborate on that a little more because it sounded like I needed the security at some points during setup but then none(or not as much) at other points. Do you know of any third party tools that I could use to make the wireless connection act as a wired connection if I am in fact unable to use the router or would I not be able to use WHS at that point?
    Tuesday, September 04, 2012 4:39 PM
  • There are devices which act as a wireless "bridge". I have no recommendation of a specific model; my entire network is wired, and (as you've seen) I recommend strongly against the attempt to install Windows Home Server without a wired connection to your network. An alternative would be to purchase or borrow a router, then connect your server to that. There's no need to connect that router to your premises LAN; as long as there's a network visible to Windows Home Server it should be possible to install. Assuming you decide to go this route, you would need a wired connection again if you should need to perform a bare metal restore on your server; The restore process won't use a secured wireless network either.

    And you misunderstood me if you think I recommended turing security off on your WiFi router. I didn't; I only pointed out that having security of any sort on your wireless network will prevent Windows Home Server from connecting to it. Turning off security is asking for trouble, though. Best practice is to wire your server to your router.

    How is it that you don't have access to the router? Is your network connectivity supplied to you by your landlord or school?


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012 7:00 PM
    Moderator
  • Do you mean a wireless access point? And you said that it doesn't have to be connected to my building's LAN, how is it supposed to connect to the internet if it is not connected to that LAN? Also, one of my major issues is that it does not look like I have any actual working ethernet outlets. To answer your last question, I live in student apartments that apparently only have 1 wireless connection allotted to them with no additional ways to connect and the router is behind a locked panel, I have actually been able to connect an ethernet cable to the router but once we get our new internet connection I am not sure if I will still be able to connect with a wired connection once they implement that. As of now, if I wire it to the router, go through the setup, can I just install wireless drivers for whichever adapter I get and still connect the server to the internal network?
    Sunday, September 16, 2012 8:17 PM
  • You should check with your school's IT resources; it's extremely likely that setting up a server of your own is going to be strictly against their permitted use policies. Violation of those policies could easily result in you losing all ability to connect to your school's network.

    As for how you might configure all of this, if it's not against your school's policies, I would assume they would be able to help you out with specifics, recommendations, etc. In theory, if you start with a wired connection, you should be able to install and configure a wireless network connection after the fact. I still recommend strongly against a wireless connection for your server; setting your server up in this way, no matter how you achieve it, will likely make it impossible to perform a "bare metal" recovery of your server.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    Monday, September 17, 2012 2:26 AM
    Moderator
  • My building is not actually affiliated with any school, so that is not a problem. What do you mean by a bare metal recovery though?
    Friday, September 21, 2012 7:10 PM
  • Bare metal recovery refers to the process of restoring a backup of your server onto a new (presumably replacement) hard drive.

    Your best bet is likely to be a wireless ethernet bridge, as I said above. If properly configured it should look like a wired connection to your server.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    • Marked as answer by ericwish21 Wednesday, September 26, 2012 6:03 PM
    • Unmarked as answer by ericwish21 Saturday, September 29, 2012 11:23 PM
    Saturday, September 22, 2012 1:40 AM
    Moderator
  • That actually sounds like a really good idea. I will have to get one and see if it works out and if not I'll let you know. Thanks for all your help though. 
    Wednesday, September 26, 2012 6:02 PM
  • For the power line wireless ethernet bridge to work do you need two adapters or can it be accomplished with one?
    Saturday, September 29, 2012 11:25 PM