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Connecting two computers to share data

Old 07-27-01, 10:21 PM
  #1  
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Connecting two computers to share data

Me again from the Do-For-Me Generation.

Actually, the thing is I've spent about 45 minutes searching on this topic and can't find a really good site that explains it simply enough what I want to do and the best way to go about it. I actually found one site, but I lost it and cannot find it again.

I'm waiting for my new computer to arrive. I want to be able to connect the two computers (possibly three) through a network.

What is the easiest and least expensive way to do this. My new computer comes with an Ethernet card which I believe I need. Not sure if the one I'm using now has a card. What exactly do I do from here? I want to be able to share the dialup connection and the files from the hard drive on either computer.

You don't need to tell me how to do this, but if you can point me to a site that tells me the easiest and least expensive way to do this, I'd appreciate it. Grazie.
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Old 07-27-01, 10:26 PM
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Well, if you plan on having only two computers sharing data between them, you would need to have an Ethernet card in each machine, and then you could have a crossover cable connecting the two of them. Then you would set the operating systems up so that they could talk to each other and kinda go from there. If you're wanting to share your dial-up connection, I recommend either using the Internet Connection Sharing that comes with Windows (if you can get it configured and working properly) or you can go to http://www.analogx.com and download a program called Proxy which basically does the same thing, only it's a little bit more complicated to get setup.

For three computers or more, you would need an ethernet card in each computer, a hub to connect each of the computers into, some ethernet cable to connect from the computers to the hub and then everything else is done pretty much the same way as far as getting the computers to talk to each other.

Here's a site that you might find useful for this and other questions that you might have later on.

http://www.pcnineoneone.com

Hope that gives you at least a little bit of what you needed to know.
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Old 07-27-01, 10:28 PM
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http://www.homepcnetwork.com/
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Old 07-28-01, 12:54 PM
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Thanks for the links. I'll check them out later. Thanks also for the clear description Dayewalker.

I'm sure my question will be answered there, but is there anyway to connect them without having to get a wire through the walls and all that. The computers will be on different floors, but I guess there's no way to get around having to get a long cable to connect them or to connect them both to a hub?

Last edited by LBPound; 07-28-01 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 07-28-01, 02:45 PM
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First, expect to spend some money.

Your cheapest route for two computers would be putting an ethernet card in the other machine and connecting both with a crossover cable. However, crossover cables aren't easy to find, and when you upgrade to more than two computers, it will be almost worthless. You will also need to know quite a bit about setting up a network -- if you go this route, drop me an email, I have detailed instructions for doing so. And, if you are sharing a dial up connection, you will have to know quite a bit about setting up one of the computers as a proxy server. Not overly hard, but does require some expertise, especially if you want it to be secure.

Your other option (which I would do) is to buy one of these: SMC Barracade for about $80. It's originally designed to use a cable modem or DSL (which means it will still be useful when you eventually upgrade your connection), but provides a redundant connection with an external modem. If you currently have an internal modem, and need an external, expect to spend between $50 and $80 for one. Make sure it is not USB, the Barracade needs a serial connection for the modem. This one is considered top of the line. At this point, you'll run normal cat5 cables from the Barracade to your PCs (each of which will need an ethernet card).

Why go this route? Because, you will not have to do any network configurations. The Barracade is a DHCP server and a proxy server/firewall, so it is secure, and as long as you tell windows to look for a DHCP server, it will do all the configurations for you. This is about as plug and play as it gets. You'll also be able to attach 4 computers to this device without buying anything else. If you want to expand past that, it will support sharing a connection with up to 253 computers on your network. Again, all the proxy work is taken care of, so you don't have to worry about configuring a computer to share a connection with others, or screwing it up and allowing people outside your home to share your connection. It will grow with you, being even more usable when you get a cable modem or DSL. It's a professional solution for your problem, and since you did it right the first time, you won't have to do it ever again.

You will however, have to run the cat 5 cable all over your home. If you have money to burn and want to avoid this, you can buy this smc barracade ($220) will allow you to set up a wireless ethernet network with up to 253 computers with no other hardware other than the ethernet cards. You will have to buy wireless cards for all computers though (~$50 each).
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