Setting Up A Basic LAN

Materials

The materials needed to create your network are readily available. For a simple LAN, you can get all of it bundled together in a kit. Many large computer stores have such kits.

Let’s run through what you need:

First, you must have two or more PCs to network. Make sure you have Windows installed on each machine. You can network DOS machines, but it is much easier to network a Windows based machine.

If you are creating a 10Base2 network, based on coax cable, then you will need the following:


  • A Network Interface Card (NIC) for each computer

  • BNC T-Connector for each computer

  • 10Base2 coax cabling

  • 2 50-ohm terminators

  • Networking software that should have come with your NIC

To create a 10BaseT network, you will need:


  • A 10BaseT NIC for each computer

  • 10BaseT UTP cabling

  • 1 10 Mbit hub with enough ports for each computer

  • Networking software that should have come with your NIC

Network Cabling

There are numerous types of cable:


  • 10base-5, Thick coax, thickwire ethernet.

  • 10base-2, Thin coax, thinwire ethernet.

  • 10base-F, Glass fiber.

  • 10base-T, Twisted Pair cable (cat3).

  • 100base-TX, Twisted Pair cable (cat5)

Most people use the following two types of cabling for simple networks:

1. Coax, Thin Ethernet, 10base2
Cabling is quite cheap and can usually be installed as set without using any special equipment. Thin Ethernet looks like the copper coaxial cabling that’s used for connecting your VCR to your TV. This type of cable requires BNC T-connectors and 50 ohm terminators.

Advantages


  • Cheap

  • Installation is simple

Disadvantages


  • Not the fastest alternative

2. Standard/Fast Ethernet (10BaseT, RJ45, Modular Twisted Pair)
There are different types of cable of which only 2 are usable for setting up your network, namely cat3 and cat5. Then there are 2 more possibilities, namely Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) and Shielded Twisted Pair (STP). UTP is mostly transparent and has no shielded layer. Do not use this cable in areas where there is strong electromagnetic interference (this won’t be the case for most of us). STP has a shielded layer (mostly gray) so you can use this in places with strong electromagnetic interference. STP is a bit more expensive. Installation is the same though and from now on I will assume you will use UTP.

Advantages


  • Speed UTP/STP (100baseTX) is 10 times faster than coax.

  • Duplex

Disadvantages


  • Cabling (cat5) is more expensive

  • The 100Mbps HUB is quite expensive

How do you choose which type of cabling to use?

When to use 10Base2 cabling


  • If you are going to use very few PCs on the network

  • If you don’t plan on adding any laptops to the network, as these usually require RJ45 connectors

  • Expansion in the future isn’t much of an issue

  • You feel like protecting your pocketbook

When to use 10BaseT/100baseTX cabling


  • You plan to use 16 or fewer PC’s within a 300 foot radius of each other

  • You plan to use portable computers

  • You’re planning to expand your network

Building the Network

Let’s run through the steps:


  1. If your NIC is plug-n-play, which most are these days, then you can skip this step. Otherwise, you need to record all of your IRQ settings and set up the NIC to use one that is available. Consult the manual for the NIC.

  2. Make sure the PC is turned off and unplugged.

  3. Remove the case cover.

  4. Find a spare slot on your motherboard for the NIC.

  5. Ground yourself by touching something metal with both hands, then install the NIC into the chosen slot.

  6. Put the case cover back on.

  7. Repeat steps 1-6 for each computer you plan to include on the network.

  8. For a coax network, connect each of the T-connectors to the backs of the NICs. For a 10BaseT network, run cabling from the back of each NIC to a port on the hub.

  9. For a coax network, attach the cable to one end of the T-connector, usually the end facing the computers you are networking to. You can come up with your own arrangement. Wherever a cable is not attached to a T-connector, plug in one of your 50-ohm terminators.

  10. Double-check all of your connections.

  11. Turn on the PC.

  12. If your NIC is plug-n-play, then skip this step. Otherwise, you will need to hit Start / Settings / Control Panel / Add New Hardware. Choose not to detect new hardware. Choose your NIC from the list. If your NIC’s installation disk has a xxxxxx.INF file, possibly in a Win95 directory, then click Have Disk and follow the prompts. When installed, click Finished and the system will probably reboot. If the NIC doesn’t work properly when done, then you may need to go into Device Manager and resolve some IRQ conflicts.

  13. Go to Start / Settings / Control Panel / Network.

  14. Click ADD, choose Adapter, then choose your adapter from the list.

  15. Click ADD, choose protocol, then choose IPX/SPX and NetBEUI.

  16. Click ADD, choose Service, then choose Client for Microsoft Networks under Microsoft. If this is not set up as your primary logon, then use the drop down list to choose it as your primary logon.

  17. Be sure that each computer on the network is using the same protocols and is set for Client for Microsoft Networks.

  18. Click on the Identification tab. All computers on the network must have the same Workgroup name. Each must have a different login and computer name.

  19. Click on File and Printer Sharing. Enable both.

  20. To make any directory shared for the network, go to Windows Explorer and right-click on the directory name. Choose Shared. If you don’t want others to be able to manipulate the files, choose Read Only too.

Comments

  1. Vishwanath says:

    I have a D-Link wireless router and two Laptops and a Desktop.Can u Pls let me know how to form a LAN connection so that i can play multiplayer games.

    Regards

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