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Connecting two computers... and internet

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April 29, 2007 3:02:41 PM

Hello :) 

Well, I am a total n00b when it comes to talk about hardware... but Im even worst when we get to the networking side :lol: 

My broadband connection is sort of wi-fi...
There is a device on top of the building, and then a cable (RJ-45) gets through the wall to my room, and I plug it into my PC (I guess its the LAN port). The device on top of the building is an anthena, or connected to an anthena, in any case this is worthless to be mentioned.

Now, since Im getting a new PC soon, I wanna be able to connect them both and use my internet connection on both as well.
But since money is a concern, Im going for the easiest and cheapest route.

I'd like to
1. Have internet in both computers
2. Share files across the computers or any any case "see" a PC from the other (aka a 2-PC LAN).
3. Somehow NOT TO SPLIT bandwidth uniformly across the computers. Why am I talking about splitting? Well because Im getting ready for an answer among the lines of "Connect internet RJ-45 to router line-in, then connect both PCs with 2 line-outs, and the router will SPLIT 50/50 the bandwidth". I dont know if devices like routers, switches, hubs, whatever, do that, but I dont want it, I want it to act "normal" (Same way that If im using my max download speed in windows account A, and then I start browsing in account B, A's bandwidth will be reduced a bit, but just enough to allow resource allocation in B).

Im not sure if I can do both 2 and 3, but in any case and if its cheaper, then I forget about 2 (though it would be a shame, since I wouldnt be able to invite some friends over for gaming or to share files across both PCs).

So I guess Im reduced to three solutions

A. Connect internet to NEW PC, then connect NEW PC to OLD PC (I dont think its possible, hence the need of a networking device right? :?)
B. Connect internet to device, then device to NEW PC, then NEW PC to OLD PC (And this would allow #2)
C. Connect internet to device, then device to NEW PC and device to OLD PC (and this would screw #2)

If I could have B solution, would be great. But if its cheaper to get C solution, then that's my winner.
And Im right I cannot accomplish A aint it?

Of course you might say "Why dont you just interconnect both PCs using a cross-over cable?" (This would be A I think)
A:// Because unfortunately as I said, Im using my LAN port already for my internet connection ;) 

Thanks for your time :) 
April 30, 2007 10:27:25 AM

Ok. The line in to your place is RJ-45 which is also called ethernet.

So you have 1 Ethernet line that you need to connect to 2 computers. Simple, get a router.

With a router you just plug in your internet line, and then connect your 2 computers using 2 lines coming out of it. Make sure that the Lan/Ethernet port is enabled on both computers.

To share files between both computers, then go Control Panel>System, click the Computer Name tab, then change the Workgroup ID to whatever you want but make sure it is the same on both computers.

I recommend Netgear and you need at least 2 but 4 could be handy if friends come over(some lan gaming if your into that), so search for a Netgear router at your usual website of choice.
April 30, 2007 10:52:05 AM

I would recommend getting a router but it can be done without.

What you need is:
1. two network adapters on one PC (the one that will be connected to the internet).
2. one network adapters on the other.
3. a crossed Ethernet cable (usually they are marked red or you can just look at the connectors)

1. you connect the PC with the two adapters as you normally would do.
2. connect the two computers with the crossed cable.
3. you've got two option: a. use the windows wizard to establish ICS (internet connection sharing) b. (recommended if you know how to set a local network)
enable ICS, use static IP (192.168.0.x) (i think the main computer should be 192.168.0.1) and enable file sharing (you can add file sharing to any folder/dive)

edit: I've just checked it and you can just type "ics" on the windows help :D  .
I've used this set-up for a long time and it works great (moved to a router because I needed more connection+wireless)
Related resources
April 30, 2007 2:05:35 PM

Great, thanks very much for the replies :) 

Quote:
You best bet would be to find someone near you that knows what they are doing with netwrking and get you hooked up. Everything you want will take quite a bit of configuring of both system. Conecting the 2 systems to a router is the easy part. I'm by no means any kind of exspert on this and am just starting to learn networking.

Well the problem being I dont know people near me who knows this stuff :lol: 
And actually I should know (dont ask) but I always slept in that class :lol: 

Quote:
So you have 1 Ethernet line that you need to connect to 2 computers. Simple, get a router.

With a router you just plug in your internet line, and then connect your 2 computers using 2 lines coming out of it. Make sure that the Lan/Ethernet port is enabled on both computers.

To share files between both computers, then go Control Panel>System, click the Computer Name tab, then change the Workgroup ID to whatever you want but make sure it is the same on both computers.

I recommend Netgear and you need at least 2 but 4 could be handy if friends come over(some lan gaming if your into that), so search for a Netgear router at your usual website of choice.

You mean two ports right?
But its cool... I mean I never thought a router could make a LAN.

Quote:
I would recommend getting a router but it can be done without.

What you need is:
1. two network adapters on one PC (the one that will be connected to the internet).
2. one network adapters on the other.
3. a crossed Ethernet cable (usually they are marked red or you can just look at the connectors)

1. you connect the PC with the two adapters as you normally would do.
2. connect the two computers with the crossed cable.
3. you've got two option: a. use the windows wizard to establish ICS (internet connection sharing) b. (recommended if you know how to set a local network)
enable ICS, use static IP (192.168.0.x) (i think the main computer should be 192.168.0.1) and enable file sharing (you can add file sharing to any folder/dive)

edit: I've just checked it and you can just type "ics" on the windows help :D  .
I've used this set-up for a long time and it works great (moved to a router because I needed more connection+wireless)

Haha! Amazing :D :D :D  That's what I thought but I guess Im dumb because I never thought of two cards on the same computer :oops:  Guess I thought it was not possible :lol: 
But one question, is it possible to access any port across both computers with this approach? I mean, you talk about file sharing... but what about me trying to access lets say, a mail server or apache etc... or is this only possible with the router?

Is there any advantage of a router to the two-ethernet card on 1 PC approach? (besides having more ports, lets leave that aside), in terms of speed or something like that? Or maybe the router has a built-in firewall perhaps? (or only expensive routers?)

Thanks for your time :) 
April 30, 2007 3:09:04 PM

Quote:
Is there any advantage of a router to the two-ethernet card on 1 PC approach?


With the 2 ethernet card on 1 PC approach, the computer with 2 ethernet card must always be on for the 2nd computer to get internet. The reason for this is that the ethernet cards need power.

With a router this isn't necessary as it has its own power supply.

Newegg 4-port Router Image

The image shows a 4-port router. You plug your Internet ethernet line into the far right(WAN Port) and then you connect any other computers to the other 4 ports(LAN Ports).

There are much better guides to LAN file-sharing but the basics are simple:
Either run the 'Windows Network Setup Wizard' or

1. Give each computer the same WORKGROUP (Control Panel, System, 'Computer Name' tab)
2. On Computer A, right-click on any folder you wish to share in windows and under the 'Sharing' tab, you can share it along your network.
3. On Computer B, Go to the Folder 'My Network Places' and click 'Add a network Place' and follow the steps.
April 30, 2007 3:10:47 PM

I think you'll be disappointed with the ICS route. ICS has a habit of sucking CPU cycles on the hosting machine, and the client machine will suffer greatly from bandwidth anemia. Also, to use ICS on PC B, PC A must be powered on. Do you really want to burn power on two machines to surf the internet?

It's only marginally more expensive to use a router, and it's far more versatile. In fact, if you can catch a decent sale, a router could potentially be less expensive than a pair of NIC's and a crossover cable.

A router won't divide the bandwidth equally. If PC A is using 80 percent of the bandwidth and PC B decides to download something, PC B will get the remaining bandwidth. The converse is also true. If PC B is using 80%, then PC A gets the remaining 20 when it starts a new network task.

There are literally thousands of network how-to's on the internet. The documentation that comes with the router will also guide you through installation.
April 30, 2007 3:14:58 PM

Quote:
but what about me trying to access lets say, a mail server or apache etc... or is this only possible with the router?

I'm not sure what you mean (is the mail server on your other PC or just a the net) but you shouldn't have any problem. (from what I remember, I've played a lot of UT on the secondary PC) but please read the overview in the windows help before you decide (hosting on the secondary could be a problem)

Quote:
Is there any advantage of a router to the two-ethernet card on 1 PC approach?

Yes,
1. Most (if not all) router have a build-in firewall which takes the load from the PC (and usually better then a software one)
2. If you've got a dialler most router can dial automatic and then your connection is always on.
3. To use the internet connection on the secondary PC your primary PC has to be connected (restarting the primary could boot you of from TASpring and such)
4. it is simpler to set-up the router and (with the extra ports) can be useful in the future.

BTW router are pretty cheap so...
April 30, 2007 3:36:07 PM

depending on how the network is setup between the Rj45 and the thing on the roof you may be able to make do with a Hub/switch which will only cost $10 but as i say it depends on a few things
May 1, 2007 12:36:23 AM

Great! Thanks a lot guys for the amount of replies :D 

Quote:
With the 2 ethernet card on 1 PC approach, the computer with 2 ethernet card must always be on for the 2nd computer to get internet. The reason for this is that the ethernet cards need power.

I must be really dumb, because I never thought of that.
Although the first computer will likely be on almost 24/7, it'd suck to turn it off and disable the other PC from getting online.

Quote:
I think you'll be disappointed with the ICS route. ICS has a habit of sucking CPU cycles on the hosting machine, and the client machine will suffer greatly from bandwidth anemia. Also, to use ICS on PC B, PC A must be powered on. Do you really want to burn power on two machines to surf the internet?

Mmm damn... so what are other ways to share files? (More on that later in this post).

Quote:

A router won't divide the bandwidth equally. If PC A is using 80 percent of the bandwidth and PC B decides to download something, PC B will get the remaining bandwidth. The converse is also true. If PC B is using 80%, then PC A gets the remaining 20 when it starts a new network task.

Hahaha, this is great and what Im looking for :D 

Quote:
but what about me trying to access lets say, a mail server or apache etc... or is this only possible with the router?

I'm not sure what you mean (is the mail server on your other PC or just a the net) but you shouldn't have any problem. (from what I remember, I've played a lot of UT on the secondary PC) but please read the overview in the windows help before you decide (hosting on the secondary could be a problem)
I mean like, with the router I can assign an IP to both computers right?
So I wanted to lets say, run Apache on PC #1 (or #2)... and I dont know if that works?
Im not THAT n00b... so I have messed around with LANs at uni etc... just that Im not 100% positive Ill be able to put the computers on a "chat" on any port I desire.
For example, Id like to run mail servers, HTTP servers and such (for testing purposes), also maybe games in LAN (so games access a given port for instance), and other bunch of stuff, like VNC, maybe even a small 2-PC rendering farm :D 
But for this purpose I need to know if, as I said before, the router simply allows communication between PC #1 and #2, in ANY port I wish ;) 
And if eRazor says ICS aint that good... then I could have other alternatives for file sharing, like creating my own kinda php-based file sharing script (hence the need for apache), or simply apache alone and virtual hosts, or maybe some LAN-sharing desktop application...?

Quote:
Most (if not all) router have a build-in firewall which takes the load from the PC (and usually better then a software one)

This is great :D 
I guess I could use it to simply block ports from the outside, and maybe just enable the required ones for Messaging software and the like.

Quote:
depending on how the network is setup between the Rj45 and the thing on the roof you may be able to make do with a Hub/switch which will only cost $10 but as i say it depends on a few things

Mmm interesting... what things?
And how does this changes things? (Like all I asked above), because IIRC there is a difference between hubs, switches and routers (they all belong in a different OSI layer or something, and the way the transfer the data is different?)

There is one last thing... if the whole thing with ports and firewall locking works OK with the router... does this has something that could potentially mean a problem with the "device" on the roof of my building? (As I said before I think it could be a dead-box, or maybe just another router).
Or simply I got the MY router and I can configure things the way I want 100% without worrying about that device on the roof... (maybe just a bit of tweaking here and there in the WAN port where the internet RJ-45 would get plugged in)?

I really appreciate your time, thanks very much :) 
May 1, 2007 5:51:33 AM

As I see it (by the information you've posted) you should just plug the cable from the roof the the router like you would with your PC.

As for LAN purposes when connecting with a router you will be able to do all LAN uses, I'll recommend that you'll use static IP for the task.

For applications that you'll use on the Internet you should read a bit about port forwarding try this (no need for that program)

The windows file sharing is good enough, I don't see a reason why you should start scripting that yourself (unless you've got some specific need that the windows option does not support though I don't think you will have a problem)

About the HUB - It will give you exactly the same functionality as the two adapters but with extra ports. It's a good option only if your "roof device" is actually a router.

BTW as for ICS problem, well I've used this option since windows 98 (not SE) when you had to get some crappy 3rd party program to enable that so I can appreciate the progress that it made during the years. It works well enough for file/printer sharing (though this has nothing to do with ICS just the set-up), web browsing, IM, etc... If you want full internet functionality on both computers I would go with the router.
May 2, 2007 3:42:47 AM

Thanks a lot for the reply uri :) 

Ok then seems like the router is my best choice.
I dont understand why the hub requires the "device on the roof" to be a router, I guess it has to do with the fact it lies on a different layer in the OSI Model, or something.
!