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Old 02-27-2004, 07:51 AM
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Default network connection help

We (my wife actually) just had a cable internet connection added. Currently it is only hooked to my wife's computer in the basement, but would like to be able to connect the other two computers (mine and our daughters) to it too.

What is the easiest way to do it and exactly what hardware/software do I need? Is it easy to make all three systems able to access the net at the same time, or would we just switch which system is active? My computer is up three stories from the connection point, but I could run another cable up to the library. My daughters computer is right next to where my wife uses her laptop.

Thanks - Greg
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Old 02-27-2004, 07:58 AM
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The easiest way to do it would to be a cable/dsl router. They can be bought for about $60-$70. Mine is wireless (and wired) and it was $79 two years ago. The good thing about the wireless is that you don't have to worry about running wires all over the house. The bad thing is you would have to buy wireless cards for your other computers if you didn't want to do the wired thing. The cards can be bought for about $50 ea. pcmcia (laptop) and PCI card (regular computer). If you go the wired route, you would only need the router and NICs in all the computers (probably built in).

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Old 02-27-2004, 08:01 AM
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Does the router allow simultanious use, or just one active at a time? What is a "NIC"?

-Greg
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Old 02-27-2004, 08:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by GregP
Does the router allow simultanious use, or just one active at a time? What is a "NIC"?

-Greg
Network Interface Card
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Old 02-27-2004, 08:38 AM
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Go wireless-it is only slightly more money and saves a huge amount of headache. When you are using a router you have a built in firewall(remember that cable is always open to the internet) and you can all use the internet at the same time. As an aside, your in house network will only look like one computer to the cbale company in case they charge you for different connections.

There are some good deals on wireless stuff at

www.tigerdirect.com

If you do go wireless go with the "G" cards-they offer the best performance.
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Old 02-27-2004, 08:40 AM
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Chris has got you pointed in the right direction.


NIC: Network Interface Card.
Some puters have them built-in. They are recognized by an extra large "phone cord" plug (RJ45). A regular phone plug is an RJ11 and has 4 wires - an RJ45 is extra wide and has 8 wires. You can go to Control Panel/System/Device Manager (Win95/98) and look to find "network connections" and look for something like "10/100 ethernet" or something like that.

If your desktop computers don't have an Ethernet connection, you can buy a cheap 10Mbit NIC for as cheap as $5 at a computer liquidator. A 10/100 NIC (faster tfer speed) is as cheap as $15. For a laptop, it is a little more expensive at around $20.

If you go the wired route, I saw a Linksys router/switch for $30. You plug the cable modem into the WAN port and the computers into the LAN ports and all can use the Net simultaneously.

As was said, for $70 (11Mbps 802.11b) you can get a router that has wireless built in as well as the wired ports. For $100 you can get the newer 54Mbps 54G wireless in addition to the 802.11b compatibility.

To go wireless, you will have to add a wireless card to each computer that you dont run a wire to. If you have a wireless router you can still choose to run a wire to the desktop computers (and I advise it). If you decide to install wireless cards in them they are $25 and up depending on whether they are 802.11b or 54G. For laptops, which use a different kind of card (hot swappable PCMCIA they are more.

With a router, all computers share the bandwidth of the single Internet connection. Generally this is unnoticeable when browsing, but if a couple of you are transferring files then it will slow the response somewhat. It is still a cool arrangement.

You still pay for only one connection at the house.

The other option is to pay the cable company monthly for a "family plan" which enabled you to use the connection for up to 5 users. Where this is different is that you get 5 ip addresses and can just plug the cable modem into a network hub with the other computers. This costs money every month, but the cable company does turn up the speed of your connection higher than it currently is.
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Old 02-27-2004, 08:42 AM
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a NIC is a "Network Interface Card". You need to see if your machines already have them. Most machines that came out in the last year included them standard. if not you will need to get them.....$30 per card. (this is if you go with the "wired route". If you go wireless you need to buy wireless cards.....$50.)

I also have the wireless LAN router in my house. It also has ports on the back where you can also have wired connections and also share a single printer. I have it sitting next to my PC with a hard wire connection. And my laptop has the wireless card to connect.

One problem you may have is that the wireless signal may not "reach" up three floors. I ended up putting the router on the middle floor, so the signal only had to span 1 floor in either direction.

And yes....all can access the net at the same time.
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Old 02-27-2004, 09:08 AM
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Any recommendations on "which" harware is best? All the computers have a T10/100 card in them, so only mine (upstairs) would likely need the wireless card.

In browsing, I noticed most of the wireless stuff runs 2.4 GHz, the same as our old cordless phone which had a lot of interference, mostly from when the mircowave was running. Our new cordless is either 5MHz or 8MHZ (don't remember which) and has a much clearer signal.

Thanks - Greg
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Old 02-27-2004, 09:22 AM
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I've used several linksys 2.4's...they work great, stuff is pretty cheap now too.....I agree with the others, wireless is the way to go.
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Old 02-27-2004, 09:43 AM
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Mine is a Belkin (on sale that week) but several of the guys that I work with (we're all Network Administrators) bought the LinkSys equipment and are equally happy with it. I would suggest going with the 54Mbps stuff (higher freq) for the price difference. One thing to remember, you will probably never exceed 4Mbps while browsing/downloading from the Internet. But if you ever want to transfer files (etc.) between your computers the higher speed stuff would (obviously) be faster.

Chris
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