Networking question (Hub/Router?)

Well, I went to a computer store today to buy a hub so I can share my network connection between my computer and Gamecube. Now the guy at Gamestop tells me I can’t do this; and that I need to go buy a router. back of the box: [Needed:] “a broadband connection device, such as […] or a network hub”

So, (I’m on a school network, btw) what do I need to share the connection between my computer and gamecube?

a great many routers also have an integrated ethernet switch or hub now, but you can still get a switch (or hub) and plug it into the router, if you want.

(BTW, broadly speaking, a switch describes a device that can handle conversations between any or all of the attached devices simultaneously, a hub can’t - something like that, anyway).

The gist is as follows:

Hub: allows computers who all speak the same language to talk to each other (as on a local network)
Switch: allows computers who all speak the same language to talk to each other all at the same time (as on a local network but more efficiently)
Router: allows one groups of computers speaking one language to hook up to another group of comptuers speaking a different language (as a local network hooked up to the much larger network that is the internet)

You can buy routers with one port (i.e. you can hook up one computer to them, or you can connect a hub/switch to the router, and multiple computers to the hub/switch) or multiple ports (you don’t need the hub/switch). I personally have a Linksys four-port router. The computers I have connected to the router can talk to each other and the internet. If I needed more than four connections, I could take one connection and run it to a hub/switch, giving me more connections, much like using powerbars to expand the number of available power outlets.

If all you want to do is have your comptuer and game cube yak it up, a hub will do. If you want the machines to be able to talk to each other and have access to the internet, you’ll need a router. As an incidental note, don’t buy anything that has a “COLLISION” light on it. They’re obsolete.

It’s going to depend on how your school is set up. My school connection does fine with just a hub/switch, but you may have to buy a router to share that one connection. A router will probably work in either case, but a hub/switch would be cheaper if you can be sure it will work.

Call your IT department and ask them. Our’s is very easygoing.

It might actually be possible to attach a hub directly to the ethernet socket they have provided (it really depends on what is at the other end of the cable), but I still wouldn’t advise it; a hub will pass the computer and gamecube connections straight through to the campus network and both devices will be allocated IP addresses by the campus router/whatever - a router will be allocated a single IP address by the campus network and will in turn allocate local IP addresses to the devices attached to it in your own little network.

That would be the ideal situation, actually.

Well, if the school will allow donkey to take multiple IPs. They might have a one student/one IP policy, or they may charge him extra fees. I’d still recommend the router, because when school is over, donkey can take it home and hook it into a broadband connection to share the internet among all his home computers (including the game system).

I posted the same question a while back and got a great explanation: linkety-link.

That sorta rules out hubs. They define collision domains.

Ok… so in summary, I need to go talk to our tech department to see how IPs are assigned? Or if not, what questions should I ask? Or would it be easier to just describe my situation to them and ask what I should do?

Just describe to them what you want to do.


A hub is “half duplex”, one port on the hub can be either sending or receiving to all the other ports on the hub. When one port tries to either send while another one is already sending, you get a “collision”. All pkts are sent to all ports, and are dropped by the ports that aren’t the intended destination. While not obsolete, it’s pretty inefficent to hook up more than 2 or 3 things to a hub. But a 4 port hub costs about $5 these days, so it has it’s advantages.

A switch, on the other hand, allows each port to send and receive at the same time. Also, the switch remembers which computers are connected to each port, and will therefore only send traffic for a certain computer to that particular computer. (So the other devices on the other ports don’t have to drop as many unwanted pkts.) A 4 port switch costs about $20.

A typical router will have some ports on the “lan” side and one port on the “wan” side. The idea is that traffic on the local side that’s intended to go to other computers on the local side will stay local (like a switch, the two ports talk directly to each other), while traffic to the internet will be “routed” through the wan port. The wan port would pick up an ip address form your provider, while the local computers would pick up an ip address from the router. That way your provider only has to give you a single ip address, and you can hook up as many devices as you want.


sorry, a 4 port router costs about $30.

But he said hub. And though I paid 37 dollars for my 5-port one (I hadn’t done any research, and that price sounded right), I found many of the same one on ebay that ended at 3.33. (Yes, I’m taking this one back :p)

Well, I called tech guy, and he told me I’d just need a hub. Now I feel like an idiot because I started a thread here when all I had to do was call him. (Though, for my own defense, that office was closed when I posted last night.