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Home Networking For Dummies


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#1 DecG

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 04:39 PM

we're setting up a home network in our house, and i dont really know what i need to buy, and what i need on each computer. our current internet connection speed is 1MB. for connection, an ethernet cable comes out of our cable TV set top box, and into our computer (the set top box needs a crossover adapter, it would be helpful if somebody also explained why this is). the computer also has a second ethernet port.

we are getting a laptop, which would like a wireless connection, so the internet can be used anywhere in the house. also, two other PCs also want wireless connection. the pc with the second ethernet port will be next to the playstation2, and the port will be used for online capabilities on the ps2.

please could someone tell me the cheapest, most efficient way to set this all up, what i would need, and if i would need any setups for home networking (all stations are on XP) as ive never done this before.
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#2 Rimmer

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 10:53 PM

(the set top box needs a crossover adapter, it would be helpful if somebody also explained why this is)

Because of the way Ethernet over UTP cable is designed to work. The network is supposed to have a 'star' topology. In the middle is a 'Hub' (these days usually a Switch) and cables radiate out to connect to devices which are attached with NICs (Network Interface Cards) such as PC's, print servers, file servers, routers, etc. To make it easy to manufacture all the millions (billions?) of cables required the basic cable is straight-through i.e. it is the same whichever end you plug in. (I am getting to the point soon) Now that is fine where NICs always communicate with Hubs because the Hubs are designed to work like that but if you ever wanted to connect a NIC to a NIC it doesn't work because with a straight through cable the pins which send data out on one NIC connect to the pins which send data out on the other NIC. The set-top box has a NIC, your PC has a NIC, so to connect them you need a special "cross-over" cable that directs data out at one end to data in at the other end.

My advice for your home network? Forget the second ethernetport on your PC. Get a wireless router with a built in switch. Connect your set-top box to the "Internet" port on the router (with a standard cable :thumbsup: ). Connect your nearby PC and PS2 to the Switch with standard patch cables (unless it's ugly, then go wireless) and purchase wireless NICs for the other PCs. The laptop may already have wireless capability (its pretty common) or you can puchase a PCMCIA wireless card to slot in to it. Set up your Router with the network settings you currently have on your PC and run the network wizard on all the PCs to make your home network - the Router will allocate IP addresses as well, you just have to give names to your workgroup and computers. For specific information refer to your router manual and your ISP technical help page. Others here will probably be able to recommend particular products. I like Netgear stuff myself but don't know their routers. You can mix 'n' match but the best results are obtained if all the wireless gear is of the same brand.

Do some reading about wireless security - you don't want the kid across the way using your bandwidth for gaming.

hth :flowers:

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#3 acklan

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 06:02 AM

I have a home LAN with 12 PCs, 1 server, 1 printer servers, 1 SCSI scanner and a NAS (Network Attached Storage). They are all wired. I don't like wireless for security reasons, but with that said they are very secure if precautions are taken. I am not going to get into that because the precautions depend on which router and wireless NIC you use. If you want to use the same printer for all computers I recommend a stand alone print server although you can buy a router with one built in. If you use the stand alone print server you will need a open port or a wireless print server. This will reduce the overhead of keeping up with several printers.

My LAN

Linksys Network Everywhere NR041-WM router (used, wired, Walmart)
3Com Super Stacker II 24 port hub (used, wired, eBay)
HP EX Plus3, 3 port print server (used, wired, eBay)
Lexmark 4039 Plus10 network printer black & white printing (used, eBay)
HP OfficeJet All-in-one GX85 color printing/scanning/faxing (used, eBay)
HP 4P Scanner SCSI (used, eBay)

The point of all this is to look around and aquire pieces for your LAN that works for you. A network printer that may not be suitable for a buiness anymore may be fine for your home LAN. I bought my 3Com hub for less than a new 8 port Linksys hub.
Here is a link that may help you locate the router for you.
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#4 DecG

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 11:42 AM

whats a wireless NIC? and do i just stick one of these in the computer and it reads from the router? should i use one for when im running my ps2 off the wireless router? and whats a bridge? or do i not have to have anything to do with them?
thanks in advance

#5 acklan

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 12:21 PM

A wireless NIC is a card that connects to a wireless router/access point/bridge. If you look at a ordless phone at your house it is the handset and the wireless router is the base.
If you want to go wireless, yes you will need one to connect your computer to the wireless router.
A bridge is similar to a router. It broadcast a signal to another bridge/access point/router to link to parts of the same network. If you had a large house you could use a bridge to relay from the low power NIC to the router on the other side of the house. Some models of router have a bridge feature built in.
For a wireless network you will need a wireless router, I recommend one with a print server built in, and a wireless NIC card for each computer. The standard you choose should be 802.11g or 802.11 pre-N. These are the most current, and should be expandable for the foreseeable future.
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#6 DecG

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 04:20 PM

two more quickies. is the NIC a card, where you have to take out the computer bit on the tower as if you were installing a new port or GPU? and how would i connect my ps2 to the wireless router?

Edited by DecG, 07 December 2005 - 04:24 PM.


#7 acklan

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 05:47 PM

You may have a wired NIC (Network Interface Card). It has a RJ45 port. That looks like an oversized telephone port. The Wireless NIC has an antenna. It loot like a portable telephone antenna and will be found on the back of te comuter near the expanion slots.
To connect the computer to the wireless router you will need to unplug your comupter. Take the cover off the computer case. Insert the wireless NIC in an available PCI slot. The PCI slot is white an there will be 4 to 7 slots line up near the back of the motherboard. Before you insert the card remove the retaining screw holding the plate on the rear of the case, inline with the slot you have chosen.
To connect the router to your modem read the provided instructions and post any question you have here.
I would stay away from USB NICs. I find them problematic on some machine. It will say if it is a PCI, USB or PC-Card. Stick with the PCI for desktop computers.

Edited by acklan, 07 December 2005 - 05:52 PM.

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#8 Rimmer

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 09:08 PM

how would i connect my ps2 to the wireless router?


With a cable. A wireless router will almost certainly have ordinary wired network ports in the front so that you can connect devices which have no wireless capability (such as the PS2).

Note: a term I used before PCMCIA card is now referred to as PC-Card as Acklan said.

Edited by Rimmer, 07 December 2005 - 09:11 PM.


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#9 acklan

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 09:31 PM

The port your modem will connect to will be labeled Internet or WAN. Most wireless routers still have 4 or more wired ethernet ports.

Thanks for clearing that PC-card thing up, brother.
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#10 DecG

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 11:00 AM

thanks to you both for all that

#11 acklan

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 06:27 PM

That is why we are here :thumbsup: . Is there anything else we can be of help with?
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#12 robin732

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 04:11 PM

I am looking for assistance with setting up a wired home network so that I can share 2 printers between 3 desktop computers. I have a cable modem, a D-Link Ethernet Broadband Router which has 4 network connections, 1 printer connection and a WAN connection. I have tried using the Windows XP Network Connection Wizard to first get all 3 computers to connect as a workgroup but was not able to get the computers to be seen and made accessible from one another. I have followed the wizard instructions on all 3 computers but have not been able to make it work. I know that this is supposed to be easy but I just don't seem to be able to get it.

Can anyone tell me what I am doing wrong? I can't connect and share even one printer if I can't get all of the computers to be seen in the workgroup so that I can map them to one another, then map the printers on each computer so that they can be shared.

I'm at a loss, please help :thumbsup:




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