Connecting portable and other not stationary computers

A word on security

The Institute is not a safe place. Unfortunately, laptops have been stolen. Therefore, do not leave your laptop(s) in unlocked areas or in an office over night, unless properly attached to a security chain.


You are welcome to connect your computer to the internal network, wired or wireless, provided you follow the following simple rules.

0. Before considering to connect a machine running MS Windows of any kind:
 a) The machine must have a functioning virus scanner that has been updated within the last few days.
 b) The machine must have all the appropriate Microsoft patches installed.

For all machines:
The machine must not run applications providing filesharing or participating in peer-to-peer networks where copy-righted material is distributed illegally. If it does, clean the machine from irrelevant applications before you connect it to the net. Our network is for Physics activities only.

1. You can connect either by using wired via a suitable network connector in your office or wireless. If there is no free connector, or if you find a free connector that is not working properly, contact Björn S. Nilsson. It is absolutely forbidden to disconnect running, stationary machines from the net!

2. Set up your machine to use DHCP, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. This is normally the installation default.
Under the flavours of Windows that we know this is done by opening the Network setup and choosing TCP/IP properties. There you should check the ‘Obtain an IP address automatically’ box.
Under Linux you can choose DHCP in the Network device setup. This is also easy to configure manually, once you know how:-)
Do not configure anything else like DNS, gateway, netmask etc. The DHCP server will provide the necessary information.

3. We are not requesting registration of portables. However, if you bring your laptop often to the institute it can be convenient to register it with Bjorn S. Nilsson so it can be configured to always get the same IP-address. Otherwise it suffices to give your machine a reasonable DHCP client name so that it is easily identifiable. This could be your NBI UNIX userid or your family name, possibly prefixed with your initials or first name(s). The name should consist of ASCII characters and possibly digits only, no special characters.

In Linux this can often be done with the network setup tools. However, it may also be easier to just edit the relevant files. On RedHat and Mandrake systems, edit /etc/sysconfig/network to add a line
where you should replace my_id with your userid or name.

On Ubuntu systems you can define an appropriate hostname by editing the file /etc/hostname.

On Debian systems, the relevant file is /etc/network/interfaces where you should change the line starting with iface to include a client argument. See man interfaces for more information.

In Windows this configuration is done differently for each flavour. Here are 3 examples of what menus to open:
Win98: Control Panel → Network → Identification → Computer Name
Win2000: Control Panel → System → Network → Identification → Properties
WinXP: Control Panel → System → Computer Name

For Macintosh, open System Preferences → Sharing where you can give your machine an appropriate Computer name. Make it short, just your name is fine.

4. Now connect your machine to the net, and hopefully everything works. If not, contact Björn S. Nilsson.

Finally, please observe that portable machines obey the same rules for usage as other machines at the Institute. That is, shortly, usage should be limited to tasks relevant for study and/or research in Physics. And, again, Windows machines must have a functioning and up-to-date virus scanner installed.

If you run Linux, switch off unnecessary daemons.

Printer configuration

All our public printers are HP printers which can use either the UNIX lpr protocol or TCP/IP printing on port 9100. They are accessible via the CUPS printserver at or directly.

Linux and Macintosh machines should be configured to use the CUPS printserver. It will serve all public printers. As an example, you can configure printing on Ubuntu easily from the top toolbar panel by opening
Systems → Administration → Printing
and then
Server → Settings
Here you should select the first box, "Show printers shared by other systems".

Windows machines have essentially two connection alternatives. Note that many of our printers are not using any of the Microsoft specific protocols.
 1. To use the printserver. Click on
Add a Printer → Next → A network printer → Next → Connnect to a printer on the Internet ...
Here you should enter a URL of the form<queue>
 2. To communicate directly with the printer on port 9100, also called TCP/IP printing. Start at the menu
Add a Printer → Next → Local printer ... → Create a new port → Standard TCP/IP port
Do not ask Windows to search for the printer, it will not find it. Enter the printer's IP-name. It is normally written on a label on the printer. Enter it with the fully qualified domainname like or If your machine is getting its IP configuration from DHCP it is normally not on domain but on one of the subdomains like or .
 The printdrivers included in Windows are often out of date. For HP printers you can find the newest drivers if start at HP's support site

Do not define your own printers as shared in Windows. This will create a lot of unnecessary network traffic. Most important, however, is that your printers could be displayed on other Windows machine's printer list, thereby confusing and disturbing the innocent users there.


If you use a laptop it is very likely that you use a client mail program with a graphics user interface like Thunderbird, Mozilla, Outlook, Evolution etc. To setup one of these to use NBI's mail system, use
Outgoing server: , port 465 using SSL
Incoming IMAP server: , port 993 using SSL
It is absolutely recommended to use the IMAP protocol. If you have good reasons to use POP, connect to on port 995 with SSL.

If you connect as above you can also use our mail servers from outside the Institute. A better alternative in that case could be Webmail instead.

NBI top
Last modified: Wed Mar 17 16:19:42 MET 2010
Björn S. Nilsson, phone (353) 25283.