By default, Windows 7 firewall blocks unrequested, unapproved incoming and outgoing traffic to reduce potential threats. At times, it may also block legitimate traffic if not properly configured and may cause applications’ problems. Connectivity issues may block applications outgoing communications when your Windows 7 machine is acting as a client or block incoming communications if your Windows 7 machine is sharing data such as, sharing folders to other clients. Other connectivity issues can happen when Windows firewall allows incoming traffic from the LAN or domain but blocks traffic from other networks.
If an organization has stringent security policies in place that control network traffic and LAN connections, and does not control the users’ ability to bridge the organizational internal network to an insecure wireless network then the organization may fail its objectives to secure its internal assets appropriately. Laptop users connected to the wired LAN can also connect to a neighbouring insecure wireless network and create a bridge between the networks’ segments which allow the laptop users to expose internal resources to external third-parties.
Windows 7 DirectAccess is a new technology that replaces the traditional VPN solutions. DirectAccess allows a Windows 7 computer to automatically connect to a corporate network over the Internet. It is an always-on connectivity solution based on IPv6 and IPsec. Microsoft’s Forefront Unified Access Gateway (UAG) extends the benefits of DirectAccess by enhancing scalability and simplifying deployments and management. DirectAccess differs from a VPN solution in the following ways:
If you want to get a quick check of network problems on your computer then you can check the status of packets in error. By default, only the numbers of bytes received and sent are displayed in the Local Area Connection Status window but you can have the number of errors displayed as well. With this registry tweak you can display an errors counter below the sent and received numbers.
If you are planning to set up a small home network or connecting your Windows 7 machine to another computer you need to have an IPv4 standard or arrangement. Typically, you may have one computer connected to the Internet which provides Internet services to the other internal computers. Windows 7 can do this role through the Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) service. Other services or devices such as, Wireless Access Protocol (WAP) in wireless networks or DSL and cable modem routers can too provide Internet services to the internal computers. On the other hand, if you are not planning to provide Internet services then you can avoid all the trouble and let the internal computers configure themselves through APIPA.
Sharing the Internet connection over windows 7 requires one computer called the host that is connected to the Internet and to the rest of the computers on the internal network (LAN). Then the computers on the network connect to the Internet via the host computer. The host computer Internet connection can be wireless, modem (Ethernet or USB), 3G card or any similar device. To use ICS make sure that the LAN connection on each computer is configured to get an IP address automatically. This includes the LAN connection of the host computer.