adsl, router opinions or server rig, and a Mac

I'm currently in the process of figuring out how soon I'm going to get ADSL service at my house, and I need to do some planning in order to get all my roommates hooked up to the net.
I've been contemplating going WiFi, but don't think that's practical since it's a little more expensive for the routers and the PCI card itself, plus the fact that no one really has a notebook, so no need to have the freedom deal. Plus if desperate, my Asus A7N8X-DX could act as a server PC because of it's two onboard ethernet jacks.
I've been looking at routers, but am not sure on which brand to buy, and the technicalities that follow them. I've seen D-link (DI-604) for approx $50, a 3Com/USR router for approx. $50, and other models such as LinkSys (BEFSX41) for around $90. I was suggested to buy a D-Link router over a LinkSys since it comes with a lifetime warantee (so says the London Drugs employee). Anyone know (or heard of) the company SMC and their reputation on routers? All I need is a 4-port router. I dunno whether firewall protection is included in most models nowdays, but it was something else I read up on. Any suggestions?

Another possibility was that during Christmas break, I'm flying back home, and in January, I could bring back a older PC (a Pentirum-133) with a 4-port hub or a 8 port switch. I was thinking of setting that PC up with 2 NICs and leave it on 24/7 as a server PC where the ADSL gets connected to, since then no one would have to have their PCs running in their room 24/7 (especially my leafblower) if we were to only get a router.

so just to get my thoughts straight, if i were to purchase a router, it acts as a server itself, where all i have to do is connect the computers to the router and they should all have net access and such? I do not need a system to run in conjunction with the router? Oie, confuzzling i tells ya.

One more thing, my one roomie has a Mac, im not sure which model, he said he purchased it last year, so I'm guessing it's either a G3/G4 or an Imac. Will it be new enough to be able to just plug into the router, setup a few protocols and get a net connection? Or will he need to install additional software?

Any help would be greately appreciated
Thanks for your time

- Tak

Remember, when in doubt, even monkeys fall from trees sometimes.
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  1. Ok. Let’s keep this simple. I use the Linksys router you mentioned and I don’t have any complaints about it. I haven’t touched the D-Link and can’t give you any guidance on that one. My experience with D-Link hasn’t been great. You probably won’t have any problems finding support for the Linksys router and most DSL/Cable companies are now supporting the configuration of Linksys routers. My recommendation is to shoot safe with the Linksys. You’ll want to update the firmware on it and you should be able to find easy instructions on their website. That’s my opinion though, but Linksys is a good company to invest in.
    When you hook up your router, you’ll just want to make sure you’re using PPPoE in the router’s setup where you’ll also have to enter your username and password to access the DSL network. Once you get in their, you’ll see what I’m talking about. That should be enough configuring your router to make everything function how you want.
    To hook up your PCs, make sure they are all in the same “workgroup.” Default workgroup for the PC is “workgroup” but you can change it to anything you want, as long as all machines are the same. This factor plays into being able to network your machines as well. After you’ve run the cables from the router to your PCs, check the router for an Active Link light on it. You can do this from each PC (Win2k or XP) by going to Start – Run – type CMD – at C:\ prompt type “ipconfig” which will list the computer’s IP configuration. Assuming you haven’t modified the router’s default settings, this should be 192.168.1.# for each machine. Probably .2, .3, .4, etc. If you happen to run Windows 95/98/ME you can check this by going to Start – Run – type Winipconfig which should bring up a dialog box within Windows itself. This should also list the IP as 192.169.1.#. Should you get a number like 168.192.#.# in either case, you’re PC is not connected to the router – check your cable to the router and the port it is plugged into. The DSL router will plug into the WAN port on the back of your router.
    This should be sufficient to hook up your PCs.
    The Mac should be easy to connect:
    Set up TCP/IP
    1. Under the Apple Menu, select System Preferences.
    2. Double click on Network.
    3. Select Built-In Ethernet or Ethernet from the TCP/IP tab.
    4. In the Configure pop up, select Using DHCP.
    5. Click on Save.
    It’s that simple.
    Your Mac OS X if you have that should support hooking up to a Windows based network, so I hope you won’t have a problem there or someone else should be able to help you out on figuring that out. I’m not an enthusiast of the Mac OS because of its limited abilities compared to the more popular Windows OS.

    Hope this helps with what you wanted to know.

  2. I figured I'd throw my 2 cents in even though you got a great answer.

    I use the linksys router and it was a breeze. the problem with running a computer as a server computer is that it has to run a gateway/proxy type program to allow connections. This would mean that the computer acting as server would need to be on all the time to allow everyone access to the net. Router is way better as it isn't as noisy as a power supply and CPU fan.

    you can setup the computes with the router long before you get DSL as (at least for linksys) the router acts as network switch. the BEFSR41 is a 4 port switch and will allow connections between computers without problems, play lan games, share files, the whole bit. As for wireless, unless the sight of cables running down halls or across the ceiling is unbearable it just isn't neccessary to go wireless. Not to mention the possibility of your neighbors getting connected and sucking bandwidth.

    as for the router acting like a server. the only aspect of it acting like a server is that it does have a built in DHCP server. This allows each computer connected to the router to get a network IP address and gateway, DNS, and routing information. If you didn't want to use DHCP you'd have to goto each computer/network device and assign and configure an IP address, gateway address, and DNS server addresses for the computer/device to be able to access the net and well it's just easier to use DHCP.

    anyways, my 2 cents

    I couldn't think of anything entertaining to put here.
  3. Hey, thanks for the responses. I didn't expect an uber-long response, but you people always tend to amaze me with the responses I get.
    So, I've figured that it'll probably be more cost efficient if I didn't bring back an old PC, and yes, to use a router. My brother in Japan might even send me a router if I just say the word, but I'm not sure of the standards of their electronic devices and our standards. It should be fine since I was using a hub given to me by him beforehand without a voltage transformer (the new AC-plugs have converters in them now).
    Now, another brain buster, do I want to get a router with some firewall protection for that nagging voice inside my head that says "Just in case" ?
    My case, the difference between the LinkSys BEFSR41 and the BEFSX41. The SX41 has the Firewall router/VPN endpoint, but do you think that will be necessary in a regular Joe case of LAN'ing? I mean, the SR41 is only a mere CDN$55 here, so I'm just under the notion of 'why not spend a few extra bucks to get some extra protection?' (but that's just my north-american instinct of biggie sizing everything).

    Remember, when in doubt, even monkeys fall from trees sometimes.
  4. Any router you get will act as a firewall, some will state it on the box, others won't. A router will block any port your computer isn't using. If you open up a program, the router should open the ports that program needs to use. I play Warcraft 3, BF1942, America's Army. I didn't have to configure anything on my router to make those games work. Save the money, get the basic router, not the one with VPN support.

  5. I've used both the Linksys and the SMC Routers and I definetly prefer the SMC over anything I've seen from Linksys. I've had emails answered next morning by SMC. People talk about resting or rebooting their routers but I leave mine on all the time and never one glitch. I found the Linksys to be harder to configure than the SMC. Linksys I used was new and recent, you had to look help up a separate CD where as adequate help files where built into the firmware of the SMC config webpage.
    I have not used D-link or USR though.

    Linux Is better!
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