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Thread: Routers, LANs, WANs?

  1. #1
    So what do you guys have setup at your homes as far as networks? Ive got a laptop and a desktop that i want to network and im looking for some ideas.

    What typ of routers are you guys putting to use? Anyone have a WAN setup and what does it take, as far as hardware, to set one up?

    My main objective for networking is that i want to download with two computers but write to the same external hard drive.

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  3. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    tesco's Avatar FST Programmer
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Do you have an external ethernet modem?
    If you do then the easiest and best way to set up a network is to buy a router (wireless or wired, up to you).
    If not then either get one or you're forced to have the main computer on whenever you want to use the net on the other one.
    For this you could either use a crossover cable to connect the computers to each other directly or use a hub or router.

    I have an external modem and router upstairs in my old bedroom. One pc is connected directly to the router upstairs. A wire from the router comes to the basement to a hub which my computer, my ps2 and a pc outside my room are plugged into. (The hub saves me running 3 ethernet wires to the router upstairs, or 2 from a router in my basement to the modem+pc upstairs).

  4. Software & Hardware   -   #3
    Imo don't even consider the crossover cable thing, best option is just to buy a router.
    Also i think you're a bit confused about what WAN means, but its not important you can just forget about it, routers are routers pretty much.

    what have you got at the moment, i.e.
    do you have a modem already?
    If so does it connect to your computer through a network cable or a usb port?
    do you want to have wires going everywhere or are you gonna pay the fairly small amount extra (and also have a bit more hassle setting up security) to go wireless?
    Have you already bought the external hard drive?
    The easiest way of connecting an external hard drive is just hooking it up to one of hte computers, but then when that computer is switched off you won't be able to access the hard drive. Is that ok?

  5. Software & Hardware   -   #4
    I should have been more clear. I do have a router. Its a Linksys four port and wireless combo. We have three laptops in the house, two of which access the internet wirelessly. I have a desktop that i will be hardwiring to the router. I plan to setup a workgroup for the hardwired laptop and desktop, the wireless laptops are on their own.

    I do have the external harddrive setup already and its fine, i rarely shutdown my computers.

    What i am interested in is other options for my network. I dont know much about WANs but i am interested. I have an office a few cities over and am interested in connecting yet another PC to my home network. I am familiar with VPN and VNC but ide rather not use those. Is setting up a WAN a pain?

  6. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    I can't really help cos i've never tried to do that at all, but i would think you would still need to setup a Virtual Private Network, although probably not using M$'s tools, but rather at the router level, maybe through ssh/ssl? tunnels.
    I would guess it would be fairly complex, but probably do-able. The linksys routers are mostly compatible with ddwrt firmware and that supports these kind of funky features.

  7. Software & Hardware   -   #6
    lynx's Avatar .
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Yorkshire, England
    I initially thought you were getting confused between WAN and wireless networks, but I see this is not the case, but I think you're still suffering from some confusion.

    The only way you are going to be able to set up a WAN without using some sort of virtual network is to have dedicated lines installed. Apart from the fact that it would be prohibitively expensive for an individual, I'm pretty certain that's not what you had in mind.

    You need to look in greater detail at what VPN consists of: it is basically a link between two LANs (your home and your office) across an existing WAN (the internet).

    Once that link is set up you can choose for yourself what you send across the network just as if they were on the same physical LAN. The only restriction is the UPLINK speed to your ISP, since that's the limiting factor in both directions.

    However, you do need to set up more information so that the PCs can communicate with each other. Ideally you would have a WINS server, but that means one of your PCs has to be a server.

    The alternative for a small network is to use a file called LMHOSTS. It is similar to a standard hosts file and lives in the same place (%systemroot%\system32\drivers\etc, there's a sample called lmhosts.sam). The names are Windows names rather than DNS names, although these are usually the same on XP. Unfortunately it also means that your PCs have to have fixed IP addresses, but that shouldn't be a problem with so few PCs. There are a few other things that can appear in an LMHOSTS file, but you won't need to worry about those.

    I'd still set up VNC (I use UltraVNC) as it is useful for remote configuration.
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