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Home Networking question? What can be done? Easy one.

Old 01-29-01, 01:16 PM
  #1  
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Hello. I am in the planning stages of networking a new home. I guess my current thought is to have different PC's (about 5 of them) dedicated to different tasks. Home office, answering service, kitchen, etc.

I have never dealt with networking before so I am not sure how much access you have to each computer from any other computer. If you have complete access, which I am assuming you do, how are the other computers accessed? Do the other computers show up as icons on the desktop, or what? Is it fairly easy to access the files.

Say if I have a word document on one computer, is it as easy to get it from another computer as it is from the one it is actually stored on? And if I have one printer hooked up to one of the computers, then I assume that one printer is easily used from all computers.


Thanks for any help.

C. Ryan


Side note... Does anyone know of any dedicated home automation systems that can be linked to a PC? I have heard of the Cardio systems, but cannot find any info on them. Thanks again.
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Old 01-29-01, 01:57 PM
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Cryan,
All the networking features you are looking for, are built into Windows 9X/NT/2000. The basic features include file and print sharing. Once you have everything up and running, each computer will have a Network Neighborhood Icon on the desktop. From there you can see all the computer in your network and any shared resources.
Copying a word file from one computer to the other, is as easy as click and draging.

Your main concern is probably the means of creating the network. ie Cat5, wireless, HomePNA etc.
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Old 01-29-01, 02:20 PM
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Correct. What is the newest and best way? Of course I was thinking of ethernet with a single hub, but is this the best way? Is there something new that should know about?

I gues I am thinking of having 5 dedicated computers, however, would like to also have several spare outelts throughout the house for a laptop etc.

Thanks,

C. Ryan
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Old 01-29-01, 02:28 PM
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CRyan,
Its totally up to you. As far as price is concerned Cat 5 is the cheapest, wireless most expensive and HomePNA somewhere in between.
Cat5 is probably the best way to go, but you will have to do some crawling around in your house to drop cables etc.
Wireless is cool becuase you can use your laptop anywhere in the house and still be connected to the network.
I think you can also mix these technologies together as well.

Are you going to want to share a broadband internet connection? Then you will want to use a router like one Linksys or Netgear makes.

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Old 01-29-01, 02:34 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by CRyan:
Correct. What is the newest and best way? Of course I was thinking of ethernet with a single hub, but is this the best way? Is there something new that should know about?

I gues I am thinking of having 5 dedicated computers, however, would like to also have several spare outelts throughout the house for a laptop etc.

Thanks,

C. Ryan



There are other ways to do it (wireless comes to mind), but I would install cat5 jacks and run the wire to a common panel in a central location. From the panel in this area, I would do patches to a switch... probably eight ports for future expansion.

With that many machines, you might want to set one up as a dedicated server. You could house all of your documents in one place this way and control access. You could also set it up as a print server handling the jobs from any of the other systems.

Of course, I give this as advice when:

* I don't have wall jacks
* I don't have a central wiring closet
* I have a hub instead of a switch
* I have documents scattered across the network...

------------------
D.

[This message has been edited by Dead (edited January 29, 2001).]
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Old 01-29-01, 03:32 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Dead:

Of course, I give this as advice when:

* I don't have wall jacks
* I don't have a central wiring closet
* I have a hub instead of a switch
* I have documents scattered across the network...



Those are all easy :
- I drilled holes in the walls
- My wiring closet is the spot behind my pc
- I bought a switch and a router both at 50% off
- All my docs are useless anyways

And despite all that, I have 2 pc's not connected to the lan, and I can't get them on the web through the router since my connection sucks

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Old 01-29-01, 07:19 PM
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If it's at all possible to run new wiring in your house, I'd agree with everyone else and say a wired ethernet network is definitely the best way to go. It's faster, more flexible, more reliable, and better supported than any other solution.

If you absolutely can't wire the house, the only other technology I would recommend is wireless ethernet (802.11b). If you stick with WECA "Wi-Fi" certified products, you'll have no problem with interoperability. The only drawbacks are that it's slower (11 Mbps vs. 100 Mbps), more expensive, and as with any wireless product you may encounter problems with signal strength and/or interference.

Note that you can mix the two. Most of our machines are in one room so they're hooked together in a regular wired LAN. With a Buffalo Technologies wireless bridge and 3 Orinoco (was WaveLAN) Wireless PC Cards, we've got one desktop in another room and two notebooks that roam about the house also connected to the LAN. All the machines share a DSL connection through a Zyxel firewall/router. I have to say that I've been very pleased with this setup.
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Old 01-29-01, 09:40 PM
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I assume that with a network, only only one of the computers has to be hooked up to say a cable modem and all the others can share the conection. Is this correct?


C. Ryan
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Old 01-29-01, 09:51 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by CRyan:
I assume that with a network, only only one of the computers has to be hooked up to say a cable modem and all the others can share the conection. Is this correct?


C. Ryan



That's pretty much it. If it's an external device, you might look into one of the BEFSR81 - EtherFast 8-Port Cable/DSL Routers. This would sit in your wire closet instead of the traditional hub or switch and allow Internet access by multiple systems. If the modem is an internal, you could set up that system to act as a gateway/router to the modem.

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