Funny how things snowball, isn't it? There I was last week, thinking that I'd just got my PC set-up just how I wanted it - broadband connection, flat 17" LCD screen, hi-fi sound, plenty of RAM and disk space and a none-too-shabby processor speed, when into the Nibelung household comes another supposedly broken-down PC, a kind of payment-in-kind for services rendered to a lady colleague at work. The nature of these services was purely technical, I hasten to add - that's the official party line, and I see no need to deviate from it! So there I am with another PC, this one sat on the dining table (always a "popular" place to leave things for weeks in our house). Having got the kit working again, and running Windows 98SE (there's no way I'm lashing out on another bloody copy of Windows XP), I'd given little thought to what I was going to do with it, save some vague notion of selling it. "Hmmm", says my wife, tentatively, "a second computer WOULD be quite handy, especially on Sundays when I've got paper work to catch up with (and by implication, when I'M using it!)." Since any extra PC would have to sit in one corner of the dining room and pretend it wasn't there, we agreed that a full "work station", complete with printer, wouldn't be appropriate. "Of course", says I with a cavalier flourish," I could always network it with the main PC upstairs". I knew a dangerously marginal amount about networking, as I've never been an IT professional, but I was the only person in the office who knew how to unblock print queues, and reboot the server! I was also fairly experienced in wiring up and connecting PC's to a Local Area Network (LAN), having spent two weekends grovelling with my arm down various under-floor ducts in Euston Tower, in amongst the fluff and the Warfarine rat poison, shouting "up yo ur end!" and similar innuendos to my boss. Well, that did it. I explained that networking the extra PC along with our main PC would bring such benefits as shared printers, shared My Documents files and, if I could swing it, shared broadband internet access. Like most technical "solutions", there is more than one way to skin this particular rabbit, even in a home environment. PEER-TO-PEER WORKING Firstly, there is the simplest but possibly inferior way. This is called peer-to-peer working. This involves connecting the PC's together in some way. The VERY simplest way is to use the Windows Direct Cable Connection facility, which involves connecting the PC via their serial (COM) ports using what is known as a "null-modem cable". If your PCs don't share the same room, and assuming that you could buy a long enough cable already with its plugs, any routing of the cable would have to involve passing the said plugs (about 1" long) through holes in the wall. In reality you'd probably want to pass only the cable through smaller holes, and solder the wires to plugs afterwards. This would of course require a reasonable level of knowledge, not only of soldering, but also of which wire goes where! Being connected by COM ports limits line speed to 115 kbytes/second, which is about three times faster than a dial-up modem could achieve, but way slower than the "proper" method of linking peer PCs together, which is to fit a network card in each, looking somewhat like another internal modem. These are then linked by cable. This speeds up the connection by a very large margin, making the loading of files from the remote drive a much more practical proposition. Here again, the cable connection needs to be run from room to room, and in my case, between storeys. For a really neat job, you'd fit wall sockets, using only short cables to link PC to wall. Using eit her of these hard-wired methods, you can then take advantage of Windows' ability to share printers and drives (or parts of drives), as both machines can now use each other's facilities. As you would expect there are pros and cons to this approach. On the plus side, you have ease of set up, which may, at most, require the installation of only two bits of "plug-and-pray" equipment, a path between them, some cable, and some alterations to your Windows environment. If you can get away with the serial-to-serial method, then only wire and plugs will be needed. The down side, is that the machine which actually has the physical internet connection and the desired peripherals, printers etc. HAS to be running for the second machine to be able to surf, print and access shared data, otherwise the newcomer reverts to being a lonely little petunia in an onion patch. Of course, in our own case, we would only be using the second PC when the first one was in use, so this needn't be the sticking point that at first it may seem. Since I had last anything to do with LANs in anger, things have happened. Wireless connection between PCs is now possible, and more importantly for the home user, reasonably priced. For example, www.dabs.com sell a PAIR of external USB-port wireless network adapters for £80 including VAT. This is actually quite favourable compared to a hard-wired solution often needing two network cards (say £15 each for decent ones) and God-knows how much cable and two wall sockets to make a cosmetically-satisfactory job of it. Then there's the redecorating! You may even have to buy some cable crimping tools - I couldn't say exactly as I'm not intending going down this route. In my own case, the thought of providing a tidy route between a little bedroom over the front door to rear dining room doesn't bear thinking about, and would be enough for me to kick the job into touch, as far as I'm concerned. So, from my point of view, a cordless solution is the only viable one, even if peer-to-peer doesn't quite "do it" for me. Given that my neighbour has a 1-gigabyte broadband link, an internet server for his part-time business, a games PC and his normal PC all packed into the corresponding little bedroom, he seemed like an obvious person to ask for advice. (Makes mental note for later - make sure I'm using a different wireless channel to next door!) He said something like "What you really want is a 50 megaton dongler, with a built-in 4-watt bisexual foot-warmer, and a USB* cordless vibrator", or at least, he may as well have done. Actually, I jest, as I did understand every OTHER word, and gleaned that the "box" I would be getting, would allow either machine to access the Internet independently of each other, irrespective of the other's current on/off status. Effectively, both machines would see this box as their LAN server. *Universal Serial Bus, or could it be U Silly B*****d? I'd also have a permanent firewall, although only of a basic kind (NAT for the technical, so don't uninstall those free copies of Zone Alarm just yet!) and the previously mentioned benefits of shared printers and drives. Ominously, it was also going to cost more, what a surprise! "OK," says I, "you tell me what to buy, and I'll let you know when it arrives, then YOU can come and help me get it going". After all, a deal's a deal, and I haven't forgotten that he's still got my ladders and half of my DVD collection. WHAT I ACTUALLY BOUGHT A Wireless Access Point (WAP) Router combined with a 4-Port Switch (£99.87) and one single Wireless USB Interface (£57.57), both by Linksys Networking. You see, I KNEW it had 4 of something, but you've got admit, "foot-warmers" sounded more interesting! OK, OK, I know that 160 quid is considerably more than the peer-to-peer wireless route, and EVEN more than a hard-wired version, but bear in mind that the extra PC was a gift. However, we're still wavering about locations both within the house, and also where we'll actually be in a couple of year's time so the wireless solution makes personal sense both from the flexibility, and saleability of the house points of view. It wouldn't be every homebuyer's choice to find the house wired like the CIA's Headquarters, and anyway, I know how difficult it is in this place to find neat cabling solutions if you don't want to end up re-decorating three rooms as a result. All the internal walls are still brick and it takes all afternoon just to fit a new light switch - and that's BEFORE you have to re-wallpaper! One further benefit of this particular router, is that it accepts both a physical hard-wired connection from the main PC, and a wireless link to the other PC, thus although being dearer in itself, it only requires one wireless adapter for the remote PC, to be purchased, not one for each PC. INSTALLATION (SUCH AS IT IS) The wireless router intercepts the cable from the broadband modem and the PC's network card, thus a physical main Internet connection is maintained. As with fitting a new VCR in between the aerial socket and the telly, they give you the extra cable that you'll need. I assume (correctly, it would seem, as I've just tried it) that this approach would also make it easier to revert to "plan A" should the router fail, merely by taking it back out of the loop, and restoring my existing Telewest Broadband to a single terminal. I decided to take the step-by-step approach, fitting only the main PC to the "box" first. The wireless link could wait (for another opinion, you'll be relieved to know). If you apply this principle to anything technical that y ou might be "building", tracing where you have gone wrong is a lot easier. The first thing that you need to do is note down existing Internet connection settings. The manual tells you precisely how to do this, although my Telewest modem has its own diagnostics page, accessed via the browser, which lists out anything relevant. In reality, you don't have to do any of this to kick off, because there is a CD-ROM with the exhortation "RUN ME FIRST" written in 2" letters on its envelope. So, before breaking and remaking any connections at all, you run the disk, which duly notes your current Internet settings, and talks you through the rest of the process, including the physical connections, what to switch off and so on. One slight logistical error comes to light though. At the end, it announces "It is now safe to turn your PC on". So what was I using to view the CD-ROM, pray? Of course, this gets the kit working. There are many more refinements for which the 114-page manual, which is a .pdf file on the CD-ROM or downloadable in advance from www.linkksys.com, is a must, like setting up the encryption on any radio links to prevent digital eavesdropping on your infant network. Don't forget that these wireless links could carry up to 1500' in ideal conditions. You configure the router by accessing its own internal web page which you could put in "Favourites" to speed up the process, and which is protected by an "Admin" password, which by default is....errrr....."Admin"! The second PC is even more of a doddle to configure. Just run the installation software for the USB wireless adapter, plug the device in on re-boot and voila. Within seconds, it will scan for nearby networks, and in the event of there being more than one, ask you which is yours. In my case, my neighbour's also showed up, but there was no risk of my eavesdropping on him, because he alr eady had the 128-bit encryption turned on. As a precaution, I changed my default radio channel to a different one, and initialised my own encryption, which involves putting the very same password in at both ends of my network to generate the encryption key. I am now covered by a totally different encryption code. FACILITIES As well as allowing two PCs to use the one common broadband Internet connection**, with or without its partner being switched on, the second PC can now use both the Canon laser and the new HP inkjet upstairs. It can also share a common directory of My Documents, instead of having document versions of differing vintages in two places. Of course, the main PC needs to be turned on for these latter activities. I won't go into the detail of this here, because it's not actually anything to do with the Router, more a function of Windows, and this can differ slightly, depending on your version. ** (this CAN slow the connection down, but since surfing tends to consist of periods of computer activity, followed by periods of reading the screen, this is only noticeable when both PC users are up- or down-loading at the same time.) Another more advanced feature that I've yet to use in anger is VPN, no, it's not Visible Panty Ninjas, it's Virtual Private Network. What this means is that, with your PCs left running whilst you are out, or possibly on stand-by, you can access them and their drives remotely from anywhere on the Internet. Of course, this is subject to sign-on and password protection, as well as being encrypted, but I can see it being invaluable for my wife if she wants to get a copy of some planning document that she's drafted at home whilst she's still at school. It goes without saying that a 24/7 Internet connection is needed too. FOOTNOTE My neighbour has made a further suggestion since getting this all up and running. Why don't I get a third PC, to insert into my network upstream of everything except the modem? This can then act as a full firewall to the whole system, without having to relax my grip on fire walling. At the moment, I have had to "lower my guard" slightly to allow each PC to talk to the other. A third PC eh? Hmmm, it needs thinking about! And another thing, why does MS Word insist that "internet" is spelled with a capital "I"? I thought of this in the Bath, just before going out in the Car this Morning.
I do not consider myself to be particularly skilled in the art of computing - I switch it on, use the applications and pray that nothing malfunctions. I had never imagined that I would have my own home network...albeit only two PC's. Due to some recent conflict over PC usage for internet access, I started to look at the options for getting the PC upstairs hooked up as well. After a little research, the idea of a wireless home network appealed to me - after all, nobody wants to run wires all round the house. I purchased a twin pack of ACTIONTEC USB WIRELESS ADAPTERS from Jungle.com. They arrived the next day - great service. These are very small (4" x 2") so great if you don't have much space. You connect them to a spare USB port on each PC and then set-up the drivers from the CD supplied. You get the option to specify which files and printers you wish to share, and also whether you wish to share an internet connection. In theory, this would give you a set-up time of about 15 minutes. Unfortunately, the instructions supplied with these adapters are sadly inadequate - at least for my level of knowledge. A quick 5 minute phone call to Actiontec support and my home network was up and running. I had no way of knowing what the 'fix' was, and this could easily have been remedied by Actiontec if they had included a half reasonable set of instructions with the pack. That would have given this a 5 star rating. BUT....that was a minor inconvenience. I am staggered by how easy this was to set up and how well it works. We can use the internet from both computers simultaneously with no noticeable performance degradation using a shared DSL connection. I have some minor issues to resolve with a firewall conflict but that is not the fault of the adapters. A great product for home use. (BTW...if anyone knows how to 'add a new item' - please let me know in comments. I am still baffled by this new DOOY OO)
****************WARNING************************ This is a bloody long article Got more than one PC? Lots of people are now well into their second generation of PC's and have loads of old bits lying around. Maybe you want to share printers or connect to the Internet from several PC's. Maybe you want to play games against one another or share files, images and the like. You need a network mate, that's what you need. Now, try as I might I can't find a definitive guide to setting one up. You have to work from bits and pieces you find all over the place. So, deep breath, here is Jeff's rough guide to setting up a network. If you do decide to give it a go you will find the whole process of putting a home network together both satisfying and fun. First though, let's try and give you a bit of background on Networks - (You can skip this bit if you just want to get on and build one) Up until about 15 years ago there weren't many 'true' networks. The World was made up of IBM Mainframe computers, which by and large didn't talk to anything except themselves (and then only under extreme duress). The way in which we did computing in those dim and distant days was to have a lot of computer terminals hooked into a single large corporate or Government computer. By and large the computers themselves didn't talk to one another. The best you could hope for was to be able to transfer files, usually by physically transporting magnetic tapes around. One of the few networks that did exist was called DARPANet, however when it began life in 1969 it was shrouded in secrecey... In those far off "cold war" days the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a part of the U.S. DoD, recognized the need for an efficient way to exchange military information between scientists and researchers based in different geographic locations and to ensure that the network could not be easi ly destroyed by baddies. The big problem with networks (just like phone lines) is that they're pretty bloody useless if you cut the wire. What the USDoD wanted was a network that wouldn't stop if the Russians decided to start flinging shit at it Now this implies a few things. Firstly, in a fault tolerant network you can't have any places in the network that are more important (to the network itself) than any other places because if you do you create points of potential vulnerability. Secondly, the network (or something in it) has to be intelligent enough to load balance itself and to be able to use alternate routes to the same destination, either for reasons of efficiency or because the network has sustained damage. In other words, if there are several different pathways (or wires if you will) between point A and point B in the network, then the network itself should be capable of figuring that out without any outside intervention. A network where no place is any more important than any other place is called a 'peer-to-peer' network. The word 'peer' indicating that all of the members of the network are equal. A member of the network (which is actually a computer of some description) is called a 'Node'. DARPA used a technique called 'packet switching' to ensure both resilience and load balancing, all in one elegant mechanism. Messages from one computer to another are split up into 'packets', or chunks, and sent off over the network. A pair of packets from the same message need not take the same physical route over the network and, as a result, may arrive at their destination in a different order from that in which they were sent. However, each packet contains a sequence number, which allows the receiving computer to re-assemble the original message in the correct sequence. Of course, each computer on the network needs to 'understand' how the packets are made up and what informat ion each contains. The rules that two or more computers use to talk to one another in a network are known as a 'protocol'. There have been many different protocols over the years but the one that DARPA used is called TCP (Transmission Control Protocol - nowadays TCP/IP). DARPANet originally consisted of just four computers connected together. By 1972 it had grown to thirty-odd and it was renamed ARPANET. ARPA continued to grow until in 1980's it was merged with NSFNet, the US Universities' joint network, and the Internet was born. The designers of DARPA did a good job. Every day the Internet gets bigger and every day it gets more impossible to break or to control, something that many Governments, including our own, still haven't figured out yet. Another piece of Jargon for you; every node, or computer, on the Network has to have a unique identifier associated with it before it can send and receive messages. This unique identifier is known as an IP Address and every computer on the Internet has one. An IP Address is made up of 4 bytes, or 4 binary numbers (if you don't know about bits and bytes you might want to read my article entitled 'Hi ho Silver. Who killed the Pony Express?' in 'Software Tips and Advice' on DooYoo). A typical IP Address looks like this; 188.8.131.52. Each of the four numbers can have a value of between 0 and 255. If you think about it, this implies that the maximum number of computers that there can ever be on the Internet is 256*256*256*256, which comes to about 4.2 billion. Now, while this is a lot, it clearly isn't enough. For example, there are over 9 billion people in the world so we couldn't have all of them simultaneously connected to the Internet because we would run out of addresses. Actually, it isn't quite as bad as it seems. It turns out that you only have to have a unique Internet IP address while you are actually connected. Most of the time, most computers aren't. So, we can share IP addresses among multiple computers. Here's how it works - Supposing I keep a pool of addresses (assuming that I am your Internet Service Provider) then as long as I have enough addresses to support all of the computers that want to login at peak, I can 'lend' IP Addresses to computers while they are using the Internet and then lend them to someone else later. The jargon for this lending process is known as 'leasing'. Even with leasing, one day we will eventually run out of internet IP addresses, just like we run out of phone numbers from time to time, and then they will have to figure out a new Internet addressing scheme. OK Maestro, now you know all about networking, lets have a checklist of the things you are going to need to build your Home Network. 1. A network interface card (NIC) for each computer on your network. NICs, or Ethernet cards, come in three flavors. The older cards are known as 10BaseT cards and the newer ones as 100BaseT. The really smart ones are 'switchable' and they can handle both 10BaseT and 100BaseT automatically. The difference between 10BaseT and 100BaseT is the speed of transmission. 10BaseT cards run at 10 Megabits per second while the 100BaseT cards run at, you guessed it, 100 Megabits per second (which is bloody blindin' in anybody's language). Expect to pay anything between £15 and £30 for a NIC depending upon who flogs it you. You want a sore wallet go to PC World, you want a smiley face go to B&Q (seriously - they sell cheap NIC's) or Tandy (or whatever they call themselves these days). Lastly, NIC's come in two 'connector' varieties; the older, slower 'BNC' variety and the 'RJ45' variety. BNC cards connect to coaxial cable (like your telly aerial) while RJ45 cards use the more modern, and faster, 'CAT5' cable. Get 100BaseT cards with RJ45 CAT5 connectors. I u se NETGEAR FA311 Fast Ethernet Cards in my network. They're no better or worse than any other fast Ethernet card, I just mention them here so that you have a reference point. 2. A roll of CAT5 cable, some RJ45 terminators, an RJ45 'prod' tool and an RJ45 Patch cable for each PC in your network. B&Q do a smashing little starter pack for about thirty quid. A company called Philex makes it and it's called a Network Cabling Starter Kit. It contains everything you need to lay the wiring and terminals for up to eight PC's. 3. A piece of hardware called an Ethernet HUB or Ethernet Switch. It's just a box that connects all your PC's together. They come in 4-way, 8-way and over-the-top-bamboozling-numbers-of-ways varieties. You should note that there is a difference between a hub and a switch. Without going into the details, a switch is cleverer than a hub (although they both look the same) and it runs faster. It also costs about twenty quid more than an equivalent hub. A four-way hub will cost you about fifty dabs (seventy for a switch) and an eight-way about seventy. Make sure that you get an auto-sensing 10/100 unit. 4. A handy piece of software to have is a remote administrator. It will save you hours of running up and down stairs between PC?s. What a remote administrator allows you to do is to take control of another PC on the network so that you see its screen on your screen and your mouse and keyboard connect directly to it. It means you don't have to be sat at the PC to use it. I use RADMIN from www.radmin.com - it only costs a few quid and it's the biz. 5. If you're not confident about laying cable around the house (it's easier than you think), you might want to consider using Wireless Ethernet. It works just like ordinary Ethernet but there are no cables. Each card has a little aerial on it and they all talk to a sort of 'base station' card, which you install on one of your PC's. If you want to be really flash you can buy a wireless Hub/router. The downside is that wireless is slow compared to conventional Ethernet, it can be a bit finicky to set-up and, at time of writing, it's very expensive. The cheapest cards are about £100 each and a base station is about £150. Also, I have read mixed reports about the performance of the units at the cheaper end of the market. Additionally, if you are going use Internet sharing on your network you will need the following: - 1. A dial-up, ISDN, ADSL or Cable modem. A dial-up link will struggle to support more than a couple of users. ADSL or Cable (generically referred to as broadband) costs around twenty-five quid a month at time of writing and runs thirty to forty times faster than dial up. 2. A piece of software known as a Firewall. The firewall protects your network from attack by nasty Eastern Block fraudsters trying to get into your system to steal your credit card numbers. Zonealarm from www.zonealarm.com is dead good and, better yet, it's free! 3. A piece of software known as a NAT (Network Address Translator). If you have Windows 98 Second Edition or later on your PC?s then there is a free NAT included in Windows called ICS (Internet Connection Sharing). If you have an older version of Windows then you will need to buy a NAT. The best one I have tried is called SYGATE and it is available from www.sygate.com. It is very easy to set up and use. 4. Alternatively, you can buy a special kind of HUB called a Hub/Router. It will cost between £150 and £250 and it does the job of HUB, Firewall and NAT all in one box. It will also save you the need to have an extra Ethernet card for your Modem and make the whole job of setting up your network simpler. I will explain more in a minute. OK, I know that this sounds like a lot of stuff but you'll soon get familiar with it all. Now, before you get the Black & Decke r out, there are a few other things to consider. First of all, decide where your HUB is going to go. Every PC on your network must be connected to the HUB. If you are going to use a HUB/Router then it will need to be reasonably close to your Internet Modem. It's also a good idea to buy a HUB with more ports on it than you have PC?s. For example, you might only have a couple of PC's but you might want to run cable into four or five rooms so that you can connect wherever you are in the house. The neatest way to do this is to have your cable terminate in a neat little connecter box on the wall. Then you need just run a short patch cable from your PC to the connecter box. The connecter boxes look a bit like telephone connecters. This is a great solution if you have a laptop. You can work wherever there is a connecter box. Decide how you are going to conceal your cable runs and have at it! The CAT5 cable actually has 4 pairs of wires inside it. There is a convention for cabling them up, which is easy enough to follow and the terminations themselves are made to be simple to fit. Basically you use a 'prod' tool to force each wire home into its connecter. It's much easier to do than it is to describe. Trust me, I'm crap at stuff like this and colourblind to boot, but I managed OK. Once you have completed your cabling its time to fit the NIC's to your PC's. This will involve taking the cover off each PC. Now, DON'T PANIC! PC's are built to be very simple to put together. That's how they keep the price down. Moreover, the circuits inside are only running at a few volts so the risk of electric shock is minimal. The Power Supply Unit is nothing more than a big transformer, just like you used to have on your train set. Don't chuck a glass of water at it and you should be OK. I said DON'T chuck a glass of water at it! OK, turn the PC off and disconnect it from the mains. Don e that? Good. Your NIC should have some instructions with it. You need to fit it into any spare PCI slot. PCI slots are usually (not always) made from white plastic and you will find them on the Main Board of the PC. If you are uncomfortable with this (and it really is dead easy) then get a mate who knows what he or she is doing to help you. The PCI slots are keyed so you really can't fit an Ethernet board wrongly. Put the cover back on your PC and fire it up. As Windows comes up it will clock the new board and ask you to insert the driver floppy. Shove it in, press Return and Windows will do the rest. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Once your little pile of NIC's has dwindled to none you can connect all of your PC's to the HUB. Now we have to get them to talk to one another. Every node, or computer, on your network has to have a unique identifier associated with it before it can send and receive messages. This unique identifier is known as an IP Address. An IP Address is made up of 4 bytes, or 4 binary numbers and a typical IP Address looks like this; 184.108.40.206. Your Home Network will be a PRIVATE network, as opposed to the PUBLIC network known as the Internet. However, you still need to use IP addresses so that your computers can find and talk to one another. The clever people who figured out how to allocate IP addresses set up some special ones that never get used on the Internet and you can use these for your home network. The address range that you are going to use is '192.168.0.x' (where 'x' is a sequential number starting from 1). You might want to write it down. There are others you could use but for now just stick with this one. Here's how you set up each PC. Do START->SETTINGS->CONTROL PANEL and then choose 'network'. This will display a small panel, which will contain details about your communications devices. Click on the 'identification' ; tab. In the 'computer name' field type a short memorable name that you want this computer to be known as. As an example you might choose a name to reflect its location, for example HOMEOFFICE or STUDY. It doesn't matter what you choose as long as you give each computer on your network a different name. In the Workgroup field you must give every computer on the network the SAME name. As an example I have used WORKGROUP as my workgroup name (inventive huh?). You can put whatever you like in the 'computer description' field. Next, click on the 'Configuration' tab. This will show you a list of devices and protocols. Your Ethernet card will appear in the list twice, once as a protocol and once as an adapter. You want to click on the protocol; it is distinguished by the fact that it begins TCP/IP -> followed by the name of your card. Once it is highlighted click the 'properties' button. This will display a complex window with seven tabs on it. It should open at the 'IP Address' tab, if it doesn't then click on it. Click on 'specify an IP Address' and this will reveal the IP address box. Type in 192.168.0.1 if this is the first PC you've done. Successive PC's will be numbered 192.168.0.2, 192.168.0.3 and so on. In the 'subnet mask' field type 255.255.255.0. Unlike the IP Address, the subnet mask is the SAME for every PC. Got that? Good. Oh, and it's a good idea to number the PC nearest to your modem as 192.168.0.1. It is useful for Internet sharing which I will cover later. Once you have entered an IP address and subnet mask click OK and the PC is almost ready to start talking to other PC's. Back on the 'configuration' menu you need to do a couple more things. There is a 'primary network logon' drop down menu. This should be set to 'Client for Microsoft Networks'. Next click on the 'File and Print Sharing' button. T ick both boxes on the next menu so that your PC will share files and printers. All done. Repeat this process for each PC on your Network. Now we are going to check whether the PC?s can see each other or not. Start a DOS window. If you don't know how to do this do; START->RUN and type the word 'command' at the prompt. We are going to use one of the most famous computer programs ever written. It is called 'Ping'. Ping will bounce a little message off another PC in the network to see if it is there or not. At the DOS prompt type Ping localhost Ping will send 4 messages to localhost and time them. 'Localhost' is a special name. It means 'me'. Ping me! If this command doesn?t work you're in the shit! Assuming that Ping localhost worked OK then you can start to get a bit more adventurous. Next one to try is this; Ping 192.168.0.2 Ping will send messages to the PC in your network that you gave the IP address 192.168.0.2 to. If it works OK, then go through all of your PC's with Ping and make sure that each responds. Finally, Ping should also know the names that you gave to each of your PC's. So you might try this; Ping study Ping will send messages to a PC called 'study', or whatever names you chose. If this works then you are laughing. Your network is up and running! Leave the DOS window by typing 'exit' at the prompt. Almost done now. We just want to do a bit of file and printer sharing and the job's a good 'un. Right click on START, then choose 'Explore' and you can decide which files, directories or even whole disks you want to share with other PC's on your net. If you right click on a file or directory name you will see a new choice on the sub-menu called 'share'. Choosing this will allow you to decide how you want to share the resource with other users. Finally . You will have your printer(s) connected up to one or more PC's on the net. To see a printer that your PC doesn't own, simply do START->SETTINGS->PRINTERS and click on ?Add Printer?. In the dialogue, choose Network Printer and then browse for the printer you want to attach. Easy Peasy. If you intend to run Internet sharing then you have a few other things to do. The simplest way, from a non-PC-literate person's point of view, is to use a Hub/Router. You will need to buy the correct device for the kind of Internet connection you have and your PC dealer can advise you which one you need. With this option you don?t need to install any NAT or Firewall software. Essentially you just plug your PC's in to it and off you go. You MAY need to change the IP addresses on each PC to 'Obtain an IP Address Automatically' but that's about it. It tends to be different for each manufacturer, so RTFM (old computer geek acronym, it means 'Read The F@!#ing Manual'). If you're feeling a bit adventurous then the other way to share your Internet connection involves running one of your PC's as an Internet Gateway. What I did for my gateway was to build a PC from second-hand bits and pieces picked up at computer fairs and the like. the whole thing cost me about 70 quid. However, you can use any PC in your network to do the job. Once your gateway PC is up and running, if you wish, you can remove the keyboard, mouse and screen and just leave it chugging away in the corner. So what's different about the Gateway PC then? Well it actually connects to two networks; your internal PRIVATE network and the external PUBLIC network, - the big bad Internet. Connect the Gateway PC to your modem. Done that? Good. Now, you need to install a NAT on your gateway PC. If you have Windows 98 Second Edition (HELP->ABOUT will tell you which release of '98 you have) or later then you can use something called Intern et Connection Sharing (ICS). If your Windows software is earlier then you should upgrade it you tight bugger. Just joking. Spool up your web-browser and get a copy of SYGATE. ICS and SYGATE both work in exactly the same way. If you have ICS then you can install it by going into SETTINGS->Add/Remove Programs and clicking on Windows Setup, 'communications' and checking the ICS tick box. This will start the ICS wizard and off you go. Windows will do the rest. You can download SYGATE from the web and you then just click on it to install. With both SYGATE and ICS you only need to install them on the gateway PC (they both have client stubs which you can install on your other PC's if you wish but it isn't necessary). Once your NAT is installed, change all of the other PC's on your network to 'Obtain an IP Address Automatically' in SETTINGS-> Network. Once done you should be able to log on to the Internet from any PC on your network. Cool huh? Phew! all done. One more thing - Don't call me. Just don't. OK?
Misco are an IT firm based in Northampton. I've been dealing with them for about two years, and on the whole they are the cheapest computer suppliers that I have found. I have never been left wanting for anything, if there is some kind of new hardware I want, I know misco will have it. Their consummables are second to none. They also deal online at www.misco.co.uk, although I have not bought through the site it is very professional and easy to navigate. I'm a premier custommer, and so deal direct by phone and have my personal account manager who I always deal with, this is great because its easier to build up a rapor if its the same operator everytime, if they cannot take your call they will always ring you back. If by any chance they do not have what you are looking for they will attempt to find it for you. The only disadvantage is that when for instance a new microsoft product comes out, they stop selling previous versions. On the whole, great service, friendly and reliable.
Picture the scene. My friends and I (note the good English!) have just finished our A-levels, and have about 3 months free to have some fun. One of your friends parents go away, and he decides to have a party. But this is no normal party, this is a network party! It may sound a little sad to most people, but it's actually quite a lot of fun. Computer games you see, that's the reason! A lot of the computer game doubters say that they are an anti-social affair, but that could not be further from the truth. Computer games are better when played with or against another person, but unfortunately for us PC gamers the chance to do this is not all that common. The internet does allow you to play against others, but the slow speed of a normal 56K modem limits the type of game you can play, and the speed at which you can play it. The answer lies in a network! The idea of a network is simple, although the practicalities of setting one up can be a little harder! A network connects a number of computers together, allowing them to share information and resources. This means that you can share things like printers, and CD-ROM drives, of if one person has some files that another person wants they can be transferred across the network. Of course, networks are of great importance in places like offices, where a central server can be linked to a number of workstations. The server holds all the information, so that any user can access their work from any workstation. The internet is just a massive version of a smaller network, but what I'm concerned with here is a network called a LAN, which is used for home/office use and is what we use to play games over! The kit you need is pretty simple, although there are various ways that you can go about things. If you just want to hook up two PC's for a bit of head to head gaming you can use a standard parallel or serial cable which fits between any two PC's. You can then run a p rogram that comes with Windows called direct cable connection and you should be able to access each others PC's and more importantly, play games. In reality I have always found direct cable connection a little hit and miss, working when and if it feels like it. For more than one PC you are going to need some extra kit for your PC, what are known as Network cards (or NICs - Network Interface Cards). There are all sorts of different cards, cables and ways to network depending on what, and how fast you want to do things. The most common types of card are 10/100 combo cards, which offer a circular (BNC) slot for 10Base5 networks and square holes for 100BaseTX networks (forgive me if I confused any names, have you seen how many there are!!). Basically, the 100Mbit networks require extra equipment which are known as hubs. A hub is like a train station, taking all the incoming data and sending it out on the correct route, but because of their extra expense we don't bother with them. A 100Mbit network will offer speeds upwards of 10 megabytes per second which is VERY VERY fast. Normally we use a 10Mbit per second peer to peer network. This uses co-axial cable (similar to the wire used in TV aerials) to connect the computers in a chain, with the cable going from the network card of one PC to the next PC, in a long chain. At the two ends of the network you need what are known as terminators, which complete the loop of the network and let the network know that there are no more PC's to come in the line. Along the chain of PC's T-pieces are used to connect to the PC's. This is a T shaped connector with three connections, one of which plugs in to the PC with the other two have cables joining to the other PC's. Setting up a network to work on PC's is a fairly easy task, although it is often a case of trying a lot of different settings until it starts to work. There are sets of protocol which must you use to talk to other P C's, but saying as we're using Windows the usual set of protocols to use are those made by Microsoft. Installing the correct protocols and putting all your PC's in the same Workgroup should be enough to let you 'see' each other on the network, although depending on what Operating Systems you use (i.e. 95,98,ME,NT,2000 or XP) you may find it difficult to get everything working well. It's well worth you all using the same operating system during the networking to simply make things easier. It's one of those occasions where everything should be fine whatever OS you use, but as so often happens this isn't the case. The type of network we used runs at just over 1Mb per second, which is very fast considering that a 56K modem downloads at 5kb per second at best (remembering 1Mb = 1024Kb). It's more than fast enough to play games against each other or to share files over the network. Even better is that it's cheap too. A netword card is only around £10-£20 and the cables and terminators are only a few pounds. Once you've got your network up and running (budget a few hours for this) you need to get down to same game playing, and although it really isn't quite appropriate here I'm going to tell you a few good ones to try...... On the shoot 'em front there are the old favourites Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament, as well as the more strategic Counter Strike mod for Half Life. Red Alert 2 takes the top strategy game prize, while Star Wars Episode One Racer proves a surprisingly exciting game to play. Championship Manager is good for the footy fans and Grand Theft Auto is worth it for the nostalgia value! A surprisingly good network pastime is to play a SNES emulator called SNES9x which allows you to play multiplayer SNES games on your PC's. This isn?t the time or place to go in to emulators, but for anyone interested there is a SNES9x category on Dooyoo! So overall, a network party is a great way to have fun. Run it over the course of a few days, and mix in the more usual pursuits such as films, food and drink and you can't fail to have a good time!
Recently I wanted to connect two PCs to a single printer. This must be quite a common requirement, and I know there are various ways of doing it. I selected a Belkin Bitronics autoswitch for parallel cable connection, and when used in this mode it doesn't require a power supply. One of the computers required a 10 metre cable, and I had a lot of trouble tracking this down. I located it at misco, and incidentally their catalogue contains a very useful section on cables and connectors, with detailed diagrams so that you can be sure to get the correct one. In this case I needed a DB25 A-A male parallel cable. The system now works really well, with each PC appearing to have full use of the printer (but not at the same time, of course!). The only slight problem I encountered was that I had to change the BIOS set-up for the LPT1 connection on one of the computers to EPT, which was fairly straightforward. I hope these comments will be useful to other Dooyoo members who may be thinking of doing something similar.
After attending a local seminar, put o by Sphinx CST one of my suppliers, we were ushered into a meeting by a company called CISCO - mainly due to the lure of free bottles of Budweiser, to hear their views on the way forward for Wireless LAN infrastructure. I had to admit - I was impressed, very impressed in fact. Some of the uses for Wireless LAN using a varastion on the New G3 technology is amazing. Using this technology it can eliminate the need for nurses and doctors to worry about paper on Clipboards, Recabling the office can become a thing of the past - you wanna rearrange your desks nowadays it may involve more Cat5E terminations and/or floor boxes. not with G3, as long as there is a line of site from the transmitter to the receiver - you have a connection. Personnaly - i see it being the way forward for LAN infrastrucuter - at least I hope so.
I’ve recently installed a peer-to-peer network in my home. I can't believe I didn’t do it before I guarantee you can't lose. You can get your old 386 from the cupboard and put them in your sons or daughter bedroom and they act like Pentium three. The Peer-to-Peer network is simple and inexpensive. Each node connects to a hub, thus forming the LAN. Every computer on the network is a peer, which means each PC can share files and access the hard drive of any other computer on the system. Allowing your old 386 becoming powerful No computer on the system controls the network or has priority over any other. Plus, all the software you need is built into operating systems like Mac OS and Windows 95 or later. Peer-to-peer networks are · Simple · Low Cost · Easy to install · Best for smaller businesses · Cumbersome for finding, retrieving and storing files So remember if you want to network your home up or you’re small business considers a Peer-to-Peer network. The best thing is that no file server is needed.
I bought a new computer, to add to my home network. I had an old setup by using BNC (ie coaxial cable), this worked fine and i had my internet connection shared using a program called Sygate. Everything was fine until i realised that it was nearly impossible to find a PCI network card that had port for BNC. So I took a look at my bank account and decided that I could afford to buy more network cards. Again since I needed to change my network setup to RJ45 connectors and i have more than two PCs a Hub was also needed. So i went to PC World and had a look about. What caught my eye was a network starter kit made by LinkSys. This kit included two network cards and a five port hub. It only costed fifty five pounds which i thought was a bargain. I got home and put the network cards into my new machine and one of the other computers, set them all up and everything worked fine. Then when i tryied to copy files accross from the other computers the computer i was coping the files to restarted by itself without warning, the same thing happeden when i was having a relaxing game of Quake 2 with my friends. The other computer with the new Network card also did the same when I was doing the same actions. I run the diagnostics program supplied on the disk that came with the Kit and while executing the diagnostics the computer restarted by itself once again. Also like to say that WinME's ICS dosent work on the network either, and the program that i was using before to share my connection didnt work on the network anymore either. In conclusion if you are going to buy a network card or Kit, be prepared to spend a little more than what you want to. Its worth it, im now stuck with a couple of Network cards that do nothing more than restart your computer for you.
An alternative to buying a network card is buying a special USB cable for networking. All computers have USB ports on the back nowadays, so every computer can use USB cables. The good thing about USB networking is that you don't have to open up your PC to plug in a card (very useful if you have a laptop). You just stick in the cable in the out put. There are several kinds of USB networking. The one I have is a simple USB cable (USB plugs at both ends) with a little electronic box in the middle. With that cable comes a floppy disk that you install on your hard drive (it's a small installation and easy to do). No need to go into control panel and change settings. Then you run the program "USB DataBridge" and you can transfer files from one computer to the other. The transfer itself is very fast and stable (at least it never crashed with me yet). If you want to play games with USB cables, then you'll need to buy a USB network card. It's basically the same as buying a normal network card, but a bit more expensive, but faster. The principle is the same as normal network cards, but it's easier to setup an USB network card. It's also easier to play with more than two computers, as every computer is connected to a hub. With a normal networking system, every computer is connected to the two next to it, all in line, which makes some games slow (at least for the computers at the end). Tip: Don't try to connect computers by having an USB hub and cables going from the computers to the hub. Won't work! You need to get an USB network card or the cables I have described above.
this could prove a real good and cheap method for inter connecting 2 pcs over a parallel port and transfering data from one to another at min speed of ~ 5mb / min . all u have to do is to set up a lap link cable , that is different from the ordinary printer cable as the connections reqiured for this job are cross linked and a software like link maven that could be downloaded from anywhere.the cable connections are as follows: DB25 Male DB25 Male Pin Pin 1--------Shield 2--------------------15 3 open 4--------------------12 5--------------------10 6--------------------11 7 open 8 open 9 open 10--------------------5 11--------------------6 12--------------------4 13 open 14 open 15--------------------2 16 open 17 open 18-------------------18 19-------------------19 20-------------------20 21-------------------21 22-------------------22 23-------------------23 24-------------------24 25 open
I got a Network Starter kit off the Internet from PC World I paid it with a Visa Card, It came in about 4 days later. It was so easy to connected to the two PCs, It is just the ticket to connect your computers together and share documents, files, hard drives, programmes, CD-ROM's, multimedia, printers. It lets me and my brother play mutliplayer game with ease because it has a 10Megabits-per-second data transfer rate. It works well with Call Of Duty, it run mega fast. It easy to set up by using the software and READING the user guide. If your have a internal Network Port (which means you dont have to open your computer to use the HUB) and windows xp your dont even need the Install disk cos XP has a Small Home Network Config it is EASY, CHEAP, If you want one goto WWW.PCWORLD.CO.UK
The config editor app provided by cisco is a superb example of just how WAN configuration software should be designed. The interface is as easy as any other drag and drop fair out there. Only instead of the usualy graphical components you're using WAN components and leased lines, etc to make yuour diagrams. Once the components are on the digram you can config each aspect of the various bits of kit. And assuming the data-path exists to that device (I.e. leased line,dialup, network, etc) you can then send that new config update automatically. The design of the software is so good I've found myself using it to design new network schemas instead of using visio, etc. Given that this is a free tool it makes it even better. If you're thinking about buying cisco and want to convince yourself then go the the website and navigate until you find it (Trust me it's no easy task in itself!) and downlaod it. Fire it up and just look at what the various bits of kit it can config and what they can offer you. Use it to design your next network upgrade with cisco kit and then use it for real. Go on... treat yourself.
There are lots of ways to network two PC's together but this is the easiest. For game playing or sharing internet connections, these are the easy steps to follow: Buy two 10/100 network cards (about £15 each). generic cards should be OK, get PCI if you can fit them in your PC. Buy one RJ45 Cross-Over cable (about £10), it is important to get a cross over cable or they will not connect! Fit the network cards in your PC's and connect the cable to the two RJ45 sockets. Install the drivers as directed in your network card documentation. Now, here is the complicated bit! You need to open the network icon in your control panel (95/98) or Network and Dial-Up connections from your start menu (2000). You need to add two Protocols, (Local Area Connections, Properties in 2000). Add NETBEUI and TCP/IP. NETBEUI needs no configuration but TCP/IP does. You need two unique address and some other settings. For ONE OF THE PC'S: Specify an address of 192.168.1.1 sub net mask 255.255.255.0 No default gateway No DNS or WINS etc. FOR THE OTHER PC: Specify an address of 192.168.1.2 all other settings the same. If you have 95/98, give your PC a unique name and a workgroup called 'WORKGROUP'. Give the other PC a unique name and THE SAME WORKGROUP NAME! Voila! All done. Reboot as needed. To test, from one PC, with the address 192.168.1.1 open a command prompt and type: ping 192.168.1.2. You should get four replies, try the same from the other PC and type: ping 192.168.1.1. You should get four replies. Double click on Network Neighborhood (95/98) or My Network Places in 2000, you should see both PCs listed in the Workgroup network. Now you can network games and share internet connections! Note: Some games still need IPX/SPX protocol to run. Follow the steps above for adding a new protocol and all should be funky! happy surfin g/gaming! To add more PC's to your network, you will need to buy a 'hub' and standard RJ45 cables. Hubs can be expensive but it is better to go for a small 10/100 if you can afford it. For each new PC, do exactly the same as above but give them a unique IP address, increment by one each time, i.e. 192.168.1.3, 4, 5 etc.