Home networking


Old 11-01-02, 07:43 AM
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Question Home networking

I have minimal understanding in this field but what I would like to do is network the 3 PCs I have. Currently we are each using a 56k modem on a shared phone line. We have to scream at each other to use our PCs. I have a small home business and my 2 teen age girls use IM constantly and research homework on the WWW. I know very little about DSL and cable but understand that both allow an in house network for multiple same time users. The systems I have is an old p166 with windows 95, a new PC with ME and a lap top with MS 2000. How can I network these in lay mens terms? What would be the estimated costs and which is better DSL or cable? Can they be networked and still use a 56k modem or does that defeat the purpose? Lastly the 3 PCs are on 3 different levels of the house but there is a wire chase allowing all to be wired to one central location. I do have wiring knowledge and can accomplish that task myself.


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Old 11-01-02, 08:02 AM
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The physical wiring is not too difficult. Setting up the configurations is more so, and running the DSL software requires a robust machine (not the P166)

Each computer needs an ethernet card.
The wiring is cat-5 8-strand wire.
Each wire runs from each computer to a central point, where they plug into a hub, switch or router.
The hub, switch or router plugs into the DSL modem and the modem is connected to the phone line.

Each machine must be configured for a network. Each needs an IP address (e.g., and a subnet mask (e.g., Each must have protocols installed (netbui, tcp/ip). Printer and file sharing should be enabled. Some routers have a built-in firewall, or you can use a software firewall (e.g.,, ZoneAlarm). Each must be in the same workgroup.

Check the Network and Internet sharing sections at

Read as much as you can on the topic of networking. Win 9x, ME and 2000 are different in how they are set up, but can be networked.

Get the network working first, then add the DSL.
Old 11-01-02, 08:21 AM
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Are you saying that the P166 can not be used in the planned set up? This could become costly.


Old 11-01-02, 09:42 AM
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Install a NIC card in all machines. Even a cheap $10 card will work, and all machines should have an available PCI slot (the white one). Then run a Cat5 cable from each machine to a central location, either in a different room or to one computer. The DLS or cable modem and line will have to be there. Then buy a Linksys 4 port router/switch (less then $100 right now). The modem will plug into the WAN port, each computer will plug in the LAN port (you have 4). Assuming the DSL or cable (which is what I preffer) is working, and each computer has TCP/IP installed (it should), you should be able to browse the web.
Old 11-01-02, 09:53 AM
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My two cents:
This is long.... dang..... but in plain in-go-rishy!!! (LOL)

in choosing between cable and DSL, check which can be installed faster. Some areas have long waiting list for DSL, cable is usually easier to get and almost as fast.... depending how long your DSL line is. The service should provide/rent appropriate modem (not the same as phone modem). Ask if type modem needed is available for sale locally; Best Buy, (yeuck) Radio Shack, Frye... Rates may be cheaper if you provide your own modem.

You will need to purchase (most economical way) 4-port Router and network cards for each PC (3 isn't it?). And CAT-5 cable with RJ-45 ends, looks like fat phone plug, has 8 wires inside. Enough cable to connect 3 PC to the Router. Do you know how to install add-in cards and load drivers? If not, can you read and follow instructions?...... Hate to sound like what I am, but many issues could be avoided if users RTFM!!! Read the ---- manuals.

This is just the hardware.....crawlspace, attics, fishing down walls, wallplates are not factored in here........

Costs...... varies by brand, sales, features.......only ballpark figures and erring on the high side; Router-- $90, Network cards -- $20 each, cat-5 cables(premade) -- not cheap, depending on length, say $50 each..........

hope this answers most of your questions.
I hope this makes sense..... If I am wrong or missed important points, please help me out!!!!

Old 11-01-02, 07:06 PM
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You can run the P166 on your network. I have run 386 machines on mine and they work fine.

The router handles all the work of negotiating the traffic. Most of networking is straightforward from the perspective of setting up the computers. Look at the Help files on the computers for direction.

You can share a 56k dial up connection or upgrade to DSL or Cable, as suits. The IM activity takes little capacity so that won't drain the connection. If you get DSL or Cable you will never want to go back.

When you are all connected you can IM each other through the house.
Old 11-02-02, 07:50 AM
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A couple of suggestions:

1) Try to find out from others (people at work etc) how reliable their hi-speed connections are before you decide on DSL versus cable. You have to average a few data points, and take into account peoples' need to embellish their pain :-). I've used both in my area, and both have been fine. But in some areas, one of the hi-speed providers may have a poor reputation for service.

2) Definitely go for an external router as suggested by others. In case someone suggests it -- Windows 2000 can do the internet connection sharing for you for the cost of a second network card and a cheap hub -- but you really don't want to go there, because you'll be screamed at every time you reboot, etc. I've found the linksys cable/dsl router to be extremely reliable, and it will even handle DSL properly, freeing you from installing the horrible PPPOE (point to point over ethernet) protocol clients that usually come with DSL.

The rest is exactly as has been described. An inexpensive NIC card in each machine. Standard (cat5) network cables between the machines and the router. You may need to install drivers for the NIC card from the CD that comes in the package (or from the manufacturer's WEB site.)

Good luck.
Old 11-10-02, 06:23 PM
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a few suggestions like so many people have already said a good thing is to check with your neighbors to see which ones have dsl or cable and which one works best for them in your same area.
that might give you an idea on which one might be best in your area. it seems to me from talking to different people that which service is best depends alot on which area you are in. i have dsl and am networking 2 and soon to be 3 computers. i have a xp pc, and a win 98 laptop with a linksys 4 port dsl router. plus if you need tech help configuring the router the people at linksys were very helpful to me. the price of wired networking is really dropping due to the popularity of wireless so you can get a good deal on wired network products now. try this link to get the best prices of items on sale in just about any state on comp. stuff and alot of electronics. this site has the best prices for the week at bestbuy, circuitcity, officemax etc. the link is www.salescircular.com hope this helps. gary
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