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Networking a student house

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June 30, 2003 4:23:10 PM

hi all,

I'm not new to computers, but I'm fairly new to networking... and I'm finding myself a little overloaded with all the information on setting up home networks :( 

Any chance someone can comment/verify/whatever this idea:

- 1 residential house
- 5 residents (5 computers - 3 desktop, 2 laptop)
- 1 broadband internet connection (ADSL)
- All 5 computers have a 10/100 ethernet card in them from when we were all in the halls of residence network

we need to set up a home network so we can all access the internet, and share files between computers (printer sharing, LAN gaming is useful, but not really essential).

we also, being students, dont have much money - so a cheap solution is essential :) 

<b>my solution:</b>
- purchase 1 ADSL router with 8 ports (can only find 4 or 8 ports, and 4 is too few)
- purchase necessary lengths of cabling to go from said router to all 5 computers
- plug ADSL into the router


hopefully that'll work just fine?? iirc 3 (maybe 4) of the machines are running windows xp, the other is on either 98 or ME.

can anybody point out any problems / pitfalls with that?

cheers,
Jack
June 30, 2003 4:29:31 PM

how much is the ADSL router? Another option would be to get a something like a <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?submit=manufa..." target="_new">D-Link 704P</A> from newegg for $57 ($15 rebate additional if you buy today) which has a printer port, along with a <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?submit=manufa..." target="_new">Gigafast hub</A> for $22. Then see what sort of deal your ISP gives on just a plain DSL modem (I got mine for $12). I'm guessing that would be cheaper than the 8-port ADSL modem/router combo. Also, with the 2 boxes it's slightly more flexible locality-wise.



<i>It's always the one thing you never suspected.</i>
July 1, 2003 8:20:19 AM

I haven't looked into pricing yet...

the thing is, I'm in the UK - DSL modems (to my knowledge) aren't easy to come by. Its basically broadband (512k) or dialup (56k) with possible ISDN. The latter two are not an option - too slow when shared by 5.


but the bottom line is, even if it isn't the best option, is that my suggested plan <i>WOULD</i> work if we chose to do it that way??

cheers,
Jack
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July 1, 2003 11:38:50 AM

yes it would work. So you're saying you can't get DSL modems but you can get DSL routers?

<i>It's always the one thing you never suspected.</i>
July 1, 2003 12:21:22 PM

hmm, to be honest... I'm not sure :( 

with one set of companies you get cable-modems (DSL?) and the other we get ADSL broadband via the copper phone line. We're gonna be forced to use the latter one afaik.

Jack
July 1, 2003 1:18:35 PM

ADSL is just a flavor of DSL. In fact, it's the most common home user DSL available. I'd check if the DSL ISP has some sort of deal for an ADSL modem.

<i>It's always the one thing you never suspected.</i>
July 6, 2003 1:27:23 PM

I'm in the same position.

Theres 6 of us sharing a house. My plan:

The ground floor will be fitted with a Netgear DG814 Router and the first floor will be fitted with a Netgear EN108 Hub, both of which will be wall mounted. Each bedroom will be fitted with a wall mounted network point. The two ground floor bedrooms will be connected directly to the Router, the four first floor bedrooms will be connected to the Hub and the Hub will be connected to the Router. Connecting the first floor bedrooms via the Hub increases the network capacity from 4 to 10 and results in the need for only a single cable connecting the ground and first floor. All connections will be made using standard CAT5 cable, which will be routed along the skirting.

I'm in the process of writing a letter to the landlord, asking if he's willing to pay the £200 bill :-)
If he won't then we'll prob do the install anyway and simply remove the router and hub at the end of our tenancy (probably 2yrs down the line).
July 6, 2003 2:54:50 PM

Dont mix up the two technology. Cable-net and xDSL are two, very different technology. They are common in one way: they are broadband connections. Its depends on your regions ISPs which is the better buy. You MUST first make sure, what broadband connection wull u buy, check out multiple ISPs, call them up, ask about the devices u get, or u dont get.

This is important because if you got Cable connection and you buy a router with dsl WAN interface, than you cant use it.
However i guess u planed to buy a cheaper router which require additional modem (which can be Cable and DSL also: each "convert" the telephone/dsl line to ethernet) to be connected. Check out Linksys' products also, they are offer very good price, and after your description i think u dont have to buy too advanced devices.

As for your plan, it will work... however most of the network problems come from the cableing. Please make sure that u know how to do things, because cableing in a 2 story building can be as expensive as the router/switch hardware.
So, dont mess it up ;) 
July 6, 2003 3:08:58 PM

There are some problems in your plan. Lets see, first u said you are going to use hub on the first floor which will "increases network capacity from 4 to 10". Well, this is not true. I gueass u thougt about using a switch, not a hub. A switch will give better bandwith management. There is another problem. You plan to upling your Switch and your router's switch via 100mbit ports. Uplinks must have more bandwith than the regular ports. Just imagine, u try to download a cd image with one computer on the ground level from a computer on the first floor. It will use up all of the bandwith, and for the other computer on the ground wont be bandwith to comunicate with the upper level computers.
Routers for home users usualy dont come with high speed uplink ports, and switches with faster uplink ports also costs much more. You have to make your decission considering what bandwith u want and what money u want to invest in the plan.

As for cabling, i Suggest u using CAT 5e cables instead of regular CAT 5, at least for the uplink between the router and the switch.
July 6, 2003 4:57:33 PM

> Lets see, first u said you are going to use hub
> on the first floor which will "increases network
> capacity from 4 to 10". Well, this is not true.

Surely a 4-port Router + 8-port Hub = 10 network points?
(NB 1 port on Router and Hub will be required to link the 2)


> I gueass u thougt about using a switch, not a hub.
> A switch will give better bandwith management.

Thought about it, but switchs are more expense!


The network will be used purely for sharing a 2mb internet connection and the hub to be used is 10mb.
Will that setup work?
July 6, 2003 9:34:45 PM

Ohh, you meant the ports.... well, thats true, even a hub will increase the number of connectable devices ;) 

There is no significant difference in price between a hub and a switch nowdays.

Wow, 2mb? nice ;)  Well, if you dont plan to use any bandwith requiring things, then a 10mbits switch will do it of course. But always think about tomorrow... maybe u decide to install a file server... wouldnt it be better to invest now 50% more in the design, than buying new devices beacuse the file server need more BW and investing 200% in the end?

Think about carefuly what you need now, and what will you need latter maybe... PLaning is esential in designing a network.

Anyway, it will work of course. At least for shareing the 2mb internet ;) 
July 7, 2003 6:39:17 AM

Well the Hub cost me ~£15 of ebay! It didn't work, so I got a replacement of Netgear (I like lifetime warranties! :-)
New, it would have been about £35.

If I was building a network in my home, then I would consider the options you've mentioned. But because I'm installing it into a rented, shared, student house, which I will be in for an absolute maximium of 3yrs (probably be moving somewhere else after 2) the future is now! (ie. no real point in planning for future upgrades)

Theres 6 of us in the house, so a 2mb connection it works out quite cheap per person (~£10/month).
And I'm the "IT guy" so I kinda get to choose what we get:-)
July 7, 2003 6:27:49 PM

One of the problems I see that no one mentioned is that windows 98 (depending on version) will come with NETBUEI installed and used for the networking sharing instead of TCP/IP. I imagine that TCP/IP is already installed since you said you were using the computers in halls of residence. Windows XP doesn't have built in support for NETBEUI but can be installed from the CD. You might just want to remove NETBEUI from the 98 machines and just leave TCP/IP installed.

Just thought I'd mention that.
GK

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