windows 10 computers cant "see" each other on network



  • im sure theres a manual for it. im just not sure exactly what im looking for beyond the general term of "networking" and was hoping someone could link me to step by step instructions as im unaware if this a firewall issue or something that needs to be configured windows side or a nat issue or what.

    i recently setup pfsense on a mini computer with an aes-ni processor for vpn encryption/wifi router.

    all computers have internet connectivity and can connect via wifi (though the media computers are wired and only mobile devices connect via wifi) the roles of the computer is as follows. computer 1. a movie storage device, computer 2. a plex server and more media storage. computer 3. laptop where the downloading and viewing takes place.

    none of the computers can see each other on the network or share files nor can i connect a wireless network printer so i can print from my mobile devices. nor will plex clients connect.

    all settings have been left at default minus what was needed to setup pfsense originally as a dead basic router.

    as always help is appreciated.



  • Local network traffic would not touch the router. Look for setting errors on your workstations.

    Make sure your network cards are set up as home network and not public

    Make sure your workstations are set for network sharing.



  • @chpalmer everything was set up on my previous Netgear. I don't understand how putting on a new router would effect the computers settings when the only thing that changed was the router.

    Thank you for taking the time to respond.



  • My guess- The workstations will notice the "change" and will default to safety.



  • @chpalmer well guess I'll try checking out setting up file sharing again. Thanks



  • If you change the gateway it's MAC changes too, which then causes Windows to think it's a different network and it will default it to a public network. As an admin you should know the basics of the OS you are using.



  • @grimson I appreciate the critque of my abilities but I don't think people asking for help on how to do something should already know it, otherwise they wouldn't be asking for help.

    Back to the topic though. I had already set it back to private and made sure needed services were still running and set to automatic upon the new network discovery and I'm still having issues.
    There's two things making me think this isn't a Windows/windows firewall issue. 1. Network printer cannot connect or get an IP address and assigning a static one isn't helping. 2. Turning off Windows firewall on all computers doesn't help.
    The devices cannot communicate with the network at all windows Android or hp printer firmware.

    Another tip that might help is when using Plex I can connect to another computer by manually entering the IP of the Plex server but I need to transfer files between computers through windows.
    Thanks



  • What kind of switch are you using between your work stations?



  • @chpalmer I assumed this could be setup like most store bought routers where they function as a switch as well. Is that my problem? should i piggy back it to a regular router with the pfsense box in-between the router and modem for VPN encryption?



  • @calbha said in windows 10 computers cant "see" each other on network:

    i recently setup pfsense on a mini computer with an aes-ni processor for vpn encryption/wifi router.

    What is providing the WiFi in this scenario? If it is (looks like to pfSense) a separate NIC then it is a separate interface in pfSense and you need to route the traffic between those two subnets. It is not like most routers with built in WiFi where the WiFi clients are on the same network as the wired ones.



  • @teamits that must be the bridging step I was forced to skip with WiFi and lan. When I did that everything that connected to WiFi would repeatedly connect and disconnect at every time data was sent or requested but that was before I got my subnets and DHCP pools assigned correctly. I'll try bridging again now and see if that fixes the printer issue at least. I don't understand how this is preventing network discovery wired though with correct assignments. And yes I'm using the pfsense box as a switch/router or at least I was hoping too. Edit after enabling bridging again I'm having the repeated dropping issue with WiFi again.



  • pfSense itself is not a switch that would have to be in the hardware. For instance the Netgate SG-1100 and -3100 have switches built in.

    We haven't tried bridging NICs so I can't help there. Generally we set up an access point behind the router (plugged into the office switch) if that access is what is desired.



  • @teamits the primary purpose of this box is aes-ni use for total VPN coverage in the house without much speed loss. There was no meantion of switching capability so I'm assuming I'll need the pfsense box in-between my crappy old Netgear router and modem for full internet speed over VPN and have that provide internet to the Netgear and use that as a switch or go dig around the local surplus. Guess the old Netgear would be the only way to allow for the wireless printer to network though no?



  • Often Netgear type devices can be used as an access point...plug the LAN into your switch and just don't connect the WAN to anything.



  • This post is deleted!


  • So I plugged in the Netgear. lan from pfsense to lan in the Netgear and now I can network but have no internet connectivity in any of the computers. They whine about being unable to reach a DNS server. Static or DHCP IP settings. My guess is cause.... There's no internet connectivity.... Which I was wondering originally how are they going to get internet connectivity when there's no wan connection. Edit nevermind suddenly it works.... Kind of.



  • @calbha said in windows 10 computers cant "see" each other on network:

    but have no internet connectivity in any of the computers

    I answered quickly earlier as I was on my way out the door. Did you turn off DHCP on the Netgear? You should have only one device providing DHCP. I don't know about pfSense but Windows DNS will turn itself off if it sees another DHCP server. Otherwise if a PC gets an IP from the Netgear it probably won't be set to use pfSense as its DNS and router.



  • @teamits it's all working okay now. No internet connectivity on WiFi from the Netgear router so I'll leave pfsense WiFi on for mobile internet. It's just kinda annoying to have to switch WiFi networks if I need to print something from a mobile device but not that big of deal and since my mobile devices don't really need to be networked with the rest of the house other than printing. Thank you so much for your help. Final step is setting up VPN correctly on pfsense but that's a whole nother animal. Thank you everyone for your help.



  • @calbha

    Are you using a hardware switch, or plugging the Windows computers into multiple ports on your pfSense box?

    pfSense is not intended to work the same way as a consumer router does. There are ways to bridge ports and make them act as a old school hub if you have a device with many ports, but this tends to perform horribly.

    A typical consumer router is kind of a multi-purpose device typically containing a few things:

    • A router
    • A firewall
    • A DHCP server
    • A wireless access point
    • A switch
    • etc. etc.

    While you can get pfSense to do all of these things, it usually does not do all of them well. It is - however- one of the best firewalls and routers out there.

    I would recommend you use pfSense for routing, firewall and DHCP and leave any Wireless AP or Switching to dedicated hardware devices.

    Here is how mine is set up:

    pfSense -> 24 port switch -> everything else (including desktops, servers, wireless access points, I use Ubiquiti Unifi)

    All wireless devices then connect via Unifi.



  • @mattlach yeah that's what I was doing. I got it working connecting my Netgear router as a switch but since WiFi on that doesn't have internet I'm leaving WiFi on pfsense. My unhappiness with using the Netgear router as a switch is that not only have I had issues with the router since day 1 I'm also having direct connection issues with Plex (or even embry) and this causes Plex to transcode 4k videos into 1080 and buffer horribly. I was hoping a new router would solve the issue as I've been through countless hours trying to get direct connections on Plex and gave up assuming it was the crappy problematic netgear router. That however is a secondary goal for what I'm trying to achieve as 1080p files are just fine visually and don't have issues playing on Plex like 4k does. My primary goal is a FAST VPN with more connections at home than nords limit. From what I read this requires an aes-ni processor which is why I picked this up in the first place.



  • @calbha

    Hmm. Every consumer switch is designed differently, but most that I have used allow you to operate them as a Wireless AP if you just plug them in using the LAN ports on the inside of your network.

    All you have to do then is set up the SSID and password on the Netgear router, and it should just act as a bridge between its LAN ports and WiFi...

    If that doesn't work out of the box, if it is a supported model you could flash DD-WRT to it and see if it works with an alternative ROM.

    If you'd rather get rid of it all together, the other parts you need don't HAVE to be expensive. Sure, if you want a many-port managed enterprise switch, it's going to cost some, but there are consumer options that work pretty well.

    Apart from my big main enterprise switch, I have several small Netgear switches around my house that are both cheap and work very well.

    The Netgear GS105 (5 port) and GS108 (8 port)are often fairly inexpensive, and mine have been reliable.

    For Wifi, I absolutely LOVE my Ubiquiti Unifi access points. Especially if you live somewhere with congested airwaves, it's amazing how an enterprise product can cut through the noise so much better than consumer routers.

    A Unifi AP-AC-Lite is only just over $80 on Amazon with prime. I have the AC-LR (long range) models which cost less than $20 more, and if you really need something beefy, look at the pro-models.

    If you have range problems, you can also add several to the same network, one on each side of your house - for instance. Just have to run the network cable :p



  • @mattlach well like I said the Netgear router is working fine as a basic switch for the wired computers but can't get internet for wifi. Pfsense works with WiFi but not networking. Both them together is working enough to keep me happy but I'm back to my problems with Plex not establishing a direct connection but that could be for a multitude of other reasons. I was considering an actual switch but that doesn't usually come with wifi and I don't wanna purchase yet another device for this setup. If I can figure out setting up a VPN client properly (I'm having issues with that too) I'll have 2 out of 3 things covered for why I bought this router and be pretty happy.



  • @calbha said in windows 10 computers cant "see" each other on network:

    @mattlach well like I said the Netgear router is working fine as a basic switch for the wired computers but can't get internet for wifi. Pfsense works with WiFi but not networking. Both them together is working enough to keep me happy but I'm back to my problems with Plex not establishing a direct connection but that could be for a multitude of other reasons. I was considering an actual switch but that doesn't usually come with wifi and I don't wanna purchase yet another device for this setup. If I can figure out setting up a VPN client properly (I'm having issues with that too) I'll have 2 out of 3 things covered for why I bought this router and be pretty happy.

    Yeah, but as I said, you might be able to try DD-WRT. It is typically way more flexible than stock ROM's on Netgear routers and may allow you to get the Wifi to work.

    As for why Plex isnt working, I have no idea. I've never used Plex. I do all my content watching on a big screen Home Theater system, so I just share my media folder on my NAS on the LAN. No need for transcoding!

    I can understand the "damn I need to buy too many things" overload. I was there at one point years ago as well. You can get both a nice little switch and the Unifi-AP-AC Lite for about $100, and the Unifi AP mounts nicely on the wall. Looks quite professional, just like at the office :)

    Once you do you'll never go back :p (but no pressure :p )



  • @mattlach I've seen a lot of people talk about Nas but I have no idea what it is or how it works or how to set it up. But I see it all the time in the Plex forums. Would you mind explaining it beyond "network attached storage" I mean I guess that's what I'm trying to do is setup media storage servers and network them. Btw it transcodes because there's no direct connection to the Plex server. If I could get a direct connection I could use h256 and I'm running tomato over the Netgear because ddwrt doesn't support open VPN for this model of router but tomato does. Which finally got tomato and ddwrt somewhat recently many years after I bought the stupid thing.


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