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Can i set up a cheap network? I have a wireless hub, 2 laptops, 1 external

By MarkRogan ·
I am looking to allow both laptops to access the information held on the external hard drive as well as applications. Can i install applications on the external HDD and then access them from each laptop? I also need the printer to be used by both, and i need both laptops to have constant access to the internet. I am trying to do this cheaply but realise there may be some new hardware required, in the near future there will be 2 or more laptops also needing access to the External HDD, printer and internet. Anyone any ideas?

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RE: information held on the external hard drive as well as applications.

by OH Smeg In reply to Can i set up a cheap netw ...

Well the Data on the external Drive will not be much of a problem but the applications are a completely different story. They most likely will not run on a system that the program isn't installed on as the required Hooks in Windows will not be present.

Next problem is that external HDD are not meant for full time use, they should only be used for short periods of time and then dismounted and unplugged. If you leave these units on constantly they fail because of either heat damage from the heat that they generate running or Vibrational Damage from not being in a proper enclosure and being isolated from the vibrations. You can compensate marginally by using a Actively Cooled Enclosure something like the MX1 from Antec

http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/product.php?id=NDc=

And while this is a great enclosure that stops the drives overheating it can not stop the more severe vibrational damage that will occur.

As for this all you need do is run the WiFi Setup Wizard on each NB and allow File & Printer Sharing. Then share what is required by opening My Computer and right clicking on the File/Folder that you want to share ands selecting Sharing from the Drop Down Menu.

Can i install applications on the external HDD and then access them from each laptop?

Easy answer is No You can not as this doesn't add the Hooks that Windows requires that are added when you install a program. You'll need to install the software on each computer even if it is installed to the shared Folder/Drive on the network.

I also need the printer to be used by both, and i need both laptops to have constant access to the internet.

Well provided that the WiFi Router has a constant Internet Access you can have a Internet access on each computer whenever they are within range and turned on. Naturally the WiFi Hub needs to be on but that is fairly normal. You'll also need WiFi Enabled NB's here so if they have their own 802.11 b,c,g WiFi Cards then it's just a matter of setting up the Router/Hub to be connected and then running the WiFi Setup Wizard to connect to the Hub. If the NB's do not have their own WiFi Capabilities you'll need to buy a suitable WiFi Interface. Ideally this should be PCMCIA if the NB's support this option and as a last resort they can be USB but USB WiFi Dongles can be tricky and may not give consistent results. You will most likely need to add a USB Extension Lead between the NB and WiFi Dongle so you can move the dongle around for the best reception.

As for the printer this all depends on the printer and if it supports being networked. Some do not and some do so it just depends on that printer. But again all that is required is to share it from the computer that it is connected to by opening the Printer Window right clicking on the printer and selecting Share from the Drop Down Menu. Set your preferred options and then finalize the sharing. They you go to the other computer select Add Printer from the Printer/Fax Window and then select Network Printer. Follow the prompts from there and and your printer is networked and able to be printed to from both computers.

As for 2 more NB's being added latter this is just a matter of adding the required hardware and joining them to the WiFi Router/Hub. But you should know that WiFi Connections are far slower than wired connections so you may have some severe latency issues when you have all 4 NB's connected. This will also revolve around what kind of WiFi Security you employ and what the WiFi Hub supports in both Security and speed.

Col
edited to improve clarity I hope but I may have just made it more confusing.

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