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Home network novice

By Shanghai Sam ·
I'm trying to set up a 3-computer home network. I've tried to educate myself through J Helmig's home page and zdnet, but I've been a slow learner. My first try was unsuccessful, but there are a few things I need to try before giving up.

I do havesome basic questions, though. I have a broad band cable modem (3com) at home that I use to connect with a static tcp/ip, allowing connection to our university network from home. My main computer has Windows XP Pro, one 10/100 NIC that I use to hook up to the hub, and a USB that I use to hook up to the cable modem. I bought a 4 port 10T hub. One of my laptops also has Windows XP Pro.

1. The cable modem also has an ethernet RJ45 connection. Do I need to buy another NIC and hook up through it, or does it matter?

2. I bought the 10T hub a day before I found out I could have bought a 10/100 switch from somewhere else for a little less. The salesman told me that 10T was more than I needed at home, though, and I believed him (10 Mb/s is faster than what I think I'll ever need). Is that so, or are there other considerations?

3. I imagine that when using my main computer as the gateway and hooking it up to my local network that my ISP won't detect my local network. Is that so? I know that my isp only allows one computer to connect at a time, and that when I change computers, I have to wait 4 h before connecting another computer to the internet through the cable modem. I read an answer to another question, though, that suggests that I'll have to buy a cable modem router (more stuff to learn and buy) to connect the cable modem to the hub, if I want to hide my home network. Is this the best way?

Thanks beforehand for the help!

David

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Home network novice

by TheChas In reply to Home network novice

Question 1: The RJ 45 connection an the modem is an alternate to the USB connection. You can conect to the modem with either. You do not need a seperate NIC card unless you want to drop the USB connection, and connect to the primary computer with the NIC connection.

2. I agree that the speed of the hub is not likely an issue for you. The main advantage of a switch over a hub is that the switch can directly connect 2 PCs for a faster dedicated data transfer. Unless you can get your moneyback for the hub, the change isn't necessary.

3. The main advantage of a dedicated cable router is that it has a hardware firewall built in. This gives you an added level of security beyound the XP firewall.
I am not sure if connecting the modem directly to a router with a firewall will sheild your network. Their are to many variables to be certian.

The way you have your network presently configured, remember that you only enable Internet Connection Sharing on the PC connected to the cable modem.

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Home network novice

by timwalsh In reply to Home network novice

Would like to expound a little further on the previous answer.
Question 1: You can only use USB or Ethernet, not both. If you plan on hooking multiple computers through the Hub, go with ethernet (each computer needs a NIC).
Question 2: Switch vs. Hub -- With a hub, your maximum bandwidth is split between all the computers connected. With a switch, your maximum bandwidth is available at each connection. Unless you will be using bandwidth-intensive applications on multiple computers at once, the hub will suffice.
Question 3: Go with a Cable/DSL router (from Linksys, for example). This will solve several of you issues. One, you assign your ISP-provided IP address to the router and then you could have many computers on your internalnetwork with no one the wiser. Two, it router does act as a firewall and will protect your network from prying eyes. Three, this will alleviate you from having to switch the IP address to connect multiple computers to the Internet.
Your connectionwould look something like this:
Cable to cable modem; Ethernet from cable modem to Cable/DSL Router; Ehternet from Router to Uplink port (usually port 1; see your Hub documentation) on Hub; all computers connect to remaining ports on Hub.

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Home network novice

by timwalsh In reply to Home network novice

To expound a little bit further based on Answer 3. Depending on the router used (I can only speak about Linksys as that's what I use), if your ISP absolutely needs a MAC address as a means of identifying you or as a means to prevent multiple computers using the same IP address, you may have the capability of "cloning" a MAC address. I.E. with a Linksys router, determine the MAC address of the computer currently connected to your ISP (from a DOS prompt type "ipconfig /all". The listing for Physical Address under your Ehternet Adapter is the MAC address.), and enter this in the MAC address clonning section of the Router configuration. This address will then be the one presented to the outside world and keep your ISP happy.

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Home network novice

by TechKid In reply to Home network novice

I agree with the above answers. One addition, your ISP can see the MAC address (the address that's given to your NIC at the factory) on the device that connects directly to the cable modem. When you deploy a LAN, the devices on the LAN don't actually communicate using the IP addresses. A LAN uses the MAC address of the NICs. A little confusing... anyways, your cable modem records the first MAC address that it receives to prevent more than one machine from using the connection. That's why you have to wait 4 hours before you can connect a different machine, the MAC table has to timeout. You're lucky though, one of our DSL providers actually stores the first MAC address it receives on two different servers at their Central Office to prevent connecting different devices to the DSL modem. A router inbetween your cable modem and your computer is the best way to go since the router drops the MAC address and adds the IP address instead.

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