Home LAN advice needed

Looking for critique/advice & opinions: I will be creating a home LAN for our two PCs. I want to share a single broadband connection and resources such as printer and drives. The PLAN: Buy a cable modem, run CAT 5 wire in the walls, RJ-45 connections. Buy a hub and three Ethernet cards(2 in one PC, 1 in the other), run cable to the modem, modem to one of the cards in PC 1, link PC 1 & PC2 using other two cards via the CAT 5. I think I found a pretty good deal on D-Link package that is dual speed (10/100mb), a 5 port hub, 2 cards and 2 20 foot cables for $79. Is D-Link any good, should I go with 3Com, suggestions on a solid (but not high buck) modem? Does the design sound right? Hub VS Switch? Your humble or not so humble opinions wanted.

Make absolutely sure, in writing, that your Cable service provider has no problem whatsoever with three machines on one connection. Otherwise it sounds like you’ve done your homework.

A friend of mine has all his machines on a cable modem connection, and it’s fun, fun, fun!

Sounds solid to me - you’ll be using PC1 as gateway, right ? Ethilrist is right, make sure you’re not violating your TOS.

If you really wanted to do it on the cheap, you could just connect PC1 & PC2 with a crossover cable and save the hub (if I understand your setup correctly, that is).

D-Link works quite well IMHO, I’ve been happy with what I’ve used of their products - granted, it’s been a couple of years since I did so.

You might want to look into a solution with a broadband modem with integrated firewall, router and hub - I know they’re out there, but I’m afraid I can’t give you any brand names or anything.

S. Norman

Well…That will work but…

You will have to pay for seperate IP addys for each machine. Several company’s make a router that acts as sort of a limited firewall between your home lan and the cable provider. One of them, linksys, offers a version with a 4 port switch built in so you can eleminate the need for a sperate hub/switch. The device uses one IP on the cable company side, and dynamically assigns ip’s to all the devices on your home lan. I have a couple of friends using this set up, and it pays for itself in the first year. This is really the way to go if you are going to share one cable connection for everyone. Switches are better than hubs, and have gotten cheap enough. The Linksys sells for about $150 or so, and they have a version without the built in switch that is cheaper.
Good luck

No he won’t, only the main computer will have an external IP address. It will act as a router, probably using Windows ICS or Linux. Ive had up to 5 pcs using my cable modem at once and I pay for only one IP. Someday I would like to get a router so I can map ports and set up a server.

I thought only one of the PC could really access the modem at one time. So if someone was on the net using PC1, then someone tried to access the net using PC2, PC2 would effectively steal the connection and PC1 would be kicked off. Is that true? AT&T said that I would have to use the same IP address.

Install sygate on it. Install the server version on the internet-side PC, and client version on the LAN side. It does all the proxy/firewall setup for you and can also act as a DHCP server. They can both be online at the same time (1 external IP), and you don’t have to configure each app (browser, ftp, icq, etc…) for use w/ the proxy, they’ll think they’re connected directly to the net. Highly recommended.

OK, either you are a bit confused or I am :slight_smile:

You only need not network cards. One for each PC.

Cable/DSL is plugged into modem.
Modem is plugged into hub/router with RJ45.
Each PC is plugged into hub/router as well.

You do -not- need to have the PCs directly plugged into each other too, as that is the hubs job. It would just confuse matters more.

Most ISPs either cable or DSL allow for at least 2 independent IP#s depending on the plan. As mentioned, make sure of this.

I use the D-Link kit you described at my apartment, and your plan sounds fine, with one caveat. I assume you’ll be running Internet Connection Sharing or some type of Proxy/Gateway/Connection Share software on PC1. That’s fine, except that if you want to use your 'Net connection on PC2, PC1 will always have to be on during that time period. This may or may not be an issue for you.

If it is an issue, Spiny Norman’s recommendation works well. The product with which I’ve worked and had good results is Linksys’ Etherfast Cable/DSL router. It basically does connection sharing and firewalling all in one. You still need a separate modem, however. The unit stays on all the time and you simply connect both PC’s up to it. I would done this myself except that I had a spare machine lying around, so I turned that box into my internet connection sharing device and I just leave that on all the time instead.

Also, just echoing what others have said: contact your ISP first to make sure connection sharing doesn’t violate your service agreement. In general, your ISP shouldn’t care one way or another, but better safe than sorry.

At home I have earthlink DSL, one Macintosh and one windows machine. Here’s my set-up:

Macintosh with ethernet card (built-in)
PC with added ethernet card
DSL modem
Linksys router

ethernet cable from Macintosh to linksys router
ethernet cable from PC to linksys router
linksys 4-port router hooked up to cable modem

Both machines retrieve e-mail, access web pages, download files etc… simultaneously.

Earthlink DSL support told me “you can do that (have several computers using the one DSL line through a router) but we won’t support it”, meaning that if it didn’t work I was out of luck. The linksys router manual said “we don’t support macintosh” so I was a little wary after I opened the box but when I did the initial setup using my Macintosh and had a problem I called Linksys support. They asked “what OS are you running?” I said “Macintosh OS 9.0.4” and they said “OK, here’s what you do on a Macintosh”. I was very pleased with the linksys support.

Since I had the router I didn’t bother trying to set up a network with my Mac and my wife’s PC since network stuff has the reputation of being an awful headache. Maybe one of these days I’ll take the plunge.

Ok, here is what I am currently running.

DSL Modem -> Linksys DSL/Cable Router with 4 port switch.
LinkSys -> Computers 1 & 2 (The houses public systems) and 100Mbs 8 port hub and Wireless hub.
100Mbs hub -> Household cat5 lines, one to each bedroom, each bedroom has 1 or two computers, for a total of eight computers permanently wired in.
Wireless hub is for visiting friends with laptops.

We went with the cat-5 in the walls instead of wireless hub all around because the public systems act as backup points (30Gig tape drives) and servers for video and music for everyone else. We have a mixture of PC’s, Macs and Amigas.

bernse has the simplest method. You would have the cable modem attached to a cable router/splitter with multiple ports. The computers would then directly connect to the router with CAT 5 (or CAT 5e or CAT 7, but that just gets more expensive without a greater increase in performance). The only problem then is mapping the layout of the cabling.

This setup is also scalable, especially if you get a lot of ports on the router. I’ve seen some Linksys cable routers that have 8 ports, but it was pretty expensive.

D-link is a good brand, so is Linksys. I try and avoid 3com network equipment, simply because it is more expensive without a great overall increase in performance.

Oh yeah, like this you would only need one IP address. You might need to set up TCP/IP on the computers, including the default gateway. You should also find out if the router also acts as a firewall (I believe most of them do).

I just went through this last weekend. I am now using DSL on my 2 computers , soon to be 3. I went with the linksys router and modem.It was just a little tricky getting all the #'s right. But not too bad.