Basic Network guide

Author: Mussels
Date: 2007-05-11 09:40:27

Basic wired setup guide

We'll start with a cabled setup.

To use this kind of connection, you will need to have the following:
A modem, router, or switch with a free Ethernet port, a suitable Ethernet cable (100Mb or gigabit certified) and an Ethernet LAN card in your PC.

Attached are some images of my router, and a 5 port ethernet switch.

The front view.

Rear view. Note the router has an aerial for 55Mb Wi-fi, 4x ethernet ports, and a USB connection.
Also note the blue ethernet cable linking the two.

Assuming your network is already functional, connecting to your PC should be as simple as plugging the cable in to your network card, waiting a minute and then you're good to go.

Different Ethernet devices can connect together. This is called up-linking. In my home router setup, I have the following hardware:
  • Wireless router
  • Gigabit switch
  • 3 Wired PCs
  • One wireless laptop
In this setup, the router runs a single cable to the gigabit switch, and my PCs connect to the gigabit switch. This allows the PCs to have high speed access to each other, and 100Mb access to the router (and therefore the internet). The laptop accesses directly via the wireless, but can still connect to the desktop systems for gaming and file sharing.
    Some good hints:
  • Never connect more than one cable between devices - it won't make it faster, and may slow down or 'break' the network. (Example: If your PC has two network cards, connecting two cables to your router will not make anything faster.)

  • Some motherboards come with dual network cards, and support a feature called NIC teaming. This feature is explained in more detail in the 'Advanced networking' page of this article.

  • Shorter cable lengths are better. While an extra meter wont make much of a difference, an extra ten metres of wasted length could cause problems with electrical interference. Try and get cables as short as possible.

  • Cables are a trip hazard - if they have to run more than a meter or so, try running them along walls, above door frames, and so on. Professionally installed cables are a good idea, but if you can make it safer yourself, do so.

  • Cat5e is the standard for modern 100Mb cables; Cat6 is the preferred type for gigabit. However cat5e cables will easily handle gigabit speeds for short distances, so there is no need for the more expensive Cat6 unless you're running it more than 20 Meters or so.

 Wireless Networks »
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