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Connect two seperate networks to share files, but NOT share internet?

Last response: in Networking
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February 2, 2010 3:48:36 AM

A plea for my own sanity first: Please try to be as verbose as possible in your examples/information and if you can please mention specifically the options needed to be changed in the specific hardware I mention below. I know a good amount on networking / tcp/ip / file sharing / routers, etc, but how to tackle this specific issue is making my head spin with research and "half answers" etc. Unfortunately it's pointing to some fundamental lack of knowledge on some areas of routing on my part and a lot of what I'm reading is going over my head, so please don't assume much understanding on my part. Thank you in advance.

I'll try to keep the facts/scenario here as simple as possible: My friend and I, in separate apartments, each have our own networks/routes with multiple computers behind them, and each with our own separate internet connection for them. What we want to be able to do is share files between PC's on each network, as if we were on the same network, BUT, keep our internet/wan traffic separate so that any internet traffic goes over our own connections ONLY.

Our network setups are as follows (Including links to the router's manuals so that you can be aware of capabilities or how things are worded):
Network A (Him): Router is a Belkin F5D5231-4 version 3 @ 192.168.2.1, PC's are in WORKGROUPA. Manual for this router: http://en-us-support.belkin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id...
Network B (Me): Router is a TrendNET TEW-432BRP version C1.0R @ 192.168.3.1, PC's are in WORKGROUPB. Manual for this router: http://www.trendnet.com/downloads/list_subcategory.asp?...

Between the two aforementioned routers, I have a network cable connected to port 1 on both. Both networks are still operating independently just fine, etc. However of course the computers on each network can't see the other network's computers.

AFAIK, to do this one or more of the following may be needed: RIP, Static Routing, or Dynamic Routing. I've read as much as I can on these subjects for months now, and ended up more confused then I started because I can't even find any examples for my scenario. To further complicate things of course each manufacturer often refers to things differently in their firmwares and it isn't always clear what capabilities a router has and options often contradict with each other. It seems like this should be so simple yet I can't make sense of this.

Can someone tell me specifically what I need to do to each router to do this, and if I need additional hardware as well - in as much detail and dumb'd down as much as possible? Of course I'm ideally looking to do this without adding or replacing any components ideally. But I am aware that I may need a third router, to go between them? If that is the case, specific inexpensive model recommendations or at least requirements as to what it needs to be support would be great - as well as how it would need to be configured. If one or both of the primary routers need to be upgraded to something better, then please the same thing, please provide either specific models, or requirements they need to have, and how they'd need to be configured too. For instance I know my TRENDnet can do RIP 1 and RIP 2, on receive, but to transmit RIP, I have to turn NAT off on it? It's this sort of thing that is confusing the heck out of me!

Thank you so much in advance!

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February 2, 2010 12:12:48 PM

Have you tried hard setting the ips on each network?
On Network A:
Router A 192.168.2.1
Computer A 192.168.2.10 gateway 192.168.2.1 subnet 255.255.255.0

On Network B:
Router B 192.168.2.2
Computer B 192.168.2.11 gateway 192.168.2.2 subnet 255.255.255.0


This would put both computers on the same network - 192.168.2.x but each would have their own separate gateways for internet traffic.

Only other option is to use static routers and that is if the routers support them, not all do.


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March 1, 2010 3:27:40 PM

^^^ That's basically what I ended up doing. Thanks.

I combined the two networks on the same IP scheme. They kept their router, at 192.168.2.1 and all their computers the same pointed at it statically. They shut OFF DHCP in their router, and wireless. I made MY router 192.168.2.2, and changed all my PC's statically to point to it. My router acts like the DHCP server and wireless access point for any wireless or DHCP devices, for either of our networks. Out internet usage is determined by what gateway we're pointed to so it's effectively split as we wanted. This also has the added benefit if one of our connections died we could route to the other persons. The downside of course as any of their wireless or dhcp devices, use my internet connection for WAN access. However, that's pretty much limited to laptops when used wirelessly, or cellphones/pda's, which are pretty much limited to just surfing, so that's a compromise I was willing to accept, given that this solution is very simple, and didn't require any additional hardware. Didn't have to do anything with workgroups, kept them split, and I'm doing file/printer sharing just fine between all PC's (once each others windows login info was inputted into eachother's machines, etc) - across a mixed network of Windows 7 and Windows XP.

I know this isn't what I asked for, but in the end it's just much simpler. Thanks for all the suggestions.
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March 1, 2010 3:31:55 PM

Best answer selected by Protonus.
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March 1, 2010 6:37:30 PM

I have to admit sturm's solution is simple, even elegant. However, you might want to consider a different approach that could solve some nagging issues (and even add some features).

You could use LogMeIn Hamachi and simply create a virtual network between you.

1. Hamachi is FREE.
2. You continue to use DHCP on each network (because they remain separate).
3. You can kill the wire between you because access is now over the WAN (admittedly this may be a negative depending on intent, performance will be dictated by the upload speed available).
4. You limit access to only those machines/resources you want to share instead of opening EVERYTHING (again, maybe good, maybe not so good, depending on intent).
5. Wireless access remains segregated (no leeching even if you wanted to), for both users and administrators. Neither of you can even attempt to access the others routers, let alone use them.

IOW, treat your neighbor like any other user you’d want to share your network with around the world. It just *happens* he’s with reach of a wire (and maybe that wire isn’t all that convenient anyway). You even can add other ppl to your network in the future. In fact, install Hamachi on each of your laptops and you now have remote access!

Just an idea, something else to ponder.
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