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Passions in Poetry

Networking

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Alicat
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since 05-23-99
Posts 4277
Coastal Texas


0 posted 01-02-2002 03:40 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

I have a question. I'm looking to network all the computers (currently 2 desk and 1 lap) in February/March. The two desktops will use 10/100 NICs and the laptop will probably use a USB/Ethernet adapter. I'm looking into getting a 4 port hub. Maximum distance will be around 30-40 feet from the hub to the individual computers.

I want to set up this computer, with the internet connection sharing, as the server, with the others as clients. All of them will be in different rooms. So should I run twisted Cat5 between the comps and the hub, or can I run straight Cat5 in crawlspaces between wall outlets, then patch twisted Cat5 from the wall to the comps? If I use wall outlets, do I need to run straight or twisted Cat5 from the hub to the wall?

Since I want to do this right, I would greatly appreciate any info or advice.

Alicat
Ron
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Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


1 posted 01-02-2002 04:31 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

With only three computers, Ali, there's no real reason to make one of them a server. That would require NT or Win2000 and cost you about a grand for a 5-user license. Unless you need the security of a central user database just go with a peer-to-peer network, with no big bosses, and you'll be happier.

What you are describing are called patch cables and they'll work just fine for the distances you'll be using. They're very common in an office environment, because they add a lot more flexibility. Moving a computer just means plugging into a different wall outlet. The disadvantage is two-fold. One, you'll have to wire the main circuits (from client wall outlet to either hub wall outlet or direct to hub) by hand. A Cat5 connection is VERY touchy and requires a bit of practice. One less than perfect wire can reduce your connection speed dramatically. Second, most of the cost of a network these days is in the wiring, so it's going to cost you more. I have five computers (had to go count them, to be sure) and just run cables from the computers to the hub. Life is too short to spend it playing with wires!  

If there is something called straight, rather than twisted pair, I've never heard of it. Two currents running either parallel or at right angles to each other will induce a field effect that will interfere with the signals on both. The twists are absolutely vital to control interference between wires in close proximity and is the sole reason twisted pair can now match the performance of older, more heavily shielded coax. I'll admit my technology is a few years out of date, but ...

I'll be interested to hear how the USB connection fares against the RJ45 ones. My new printer is running USB, but that's the only experience I've really had with it.

Parker
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since 01-06-2000
Posts 3135
... the old black rum


2 posted 01-02-2002 04:37 PM       View Profile for Parker   Email Parker   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Parker's Home Page   View IP for Parker

Alicat, I would recommend a router instead of the hub. The router would also be the hub. This gives you the advantage of having the router be the main link to the internet and even a shared printer can be connect to it for all. You can connect it to phone or cable or dsl as well. Using a router You won't have to have the main computer turned on all the time for the others to get access to the net. Routers cost about $110 Canadian so I'd say $60 or $70 us dollars (more for different features). The router also acts as a firewall of sorts, anyway lots of info on the net on them. SMC or Linksys are two names I know of. I connected SMC to my 3 pc's using a cable connection and I have friends that use Linksys and say its great on DSL. I'm fairly new at this setup but it seems much better then burning out one pc to give access to the net to the rest. I think with using one PC as the main link you may need two ethernet cards. One for the connection to the net and the other to the hub. You may be able to do it without the two cards but I couldn't get it to work. The router which looks like a hub just requires each pc to have one ethernet card. If you use a phone line connection to the net I think most routers can plug the phone into it and who ever is the first to connect to the net would be doing the dialup.

Have fun.

Parker

[This message has been edited by Parker (01-02-2002 04:44 PM).]

Alicat
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since 05-23-99
Posts 4277
Coastal Texas


3 posted 01-02-2002 06:22 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

Thanks for the input and advice, guys. Ron, if I do plan to network the house, I'm gonna have to mess with wiring...just so the clumsy youngest (I'm staying with a family of 4) doesn't wreck havoc simply by moving around. Currently, we're using Xircom's USBNet, which was the best $20 I've spent (they got bought and dismantled by Intel a few months back), and it works great. TCP, IPX, P2P...no worries. Was real easy to set up and has a decent transfer rate of 10 - 12Mbps, which came in handy for transferring archived files from the old comp to the new one (much faster than downloading everything again). However, it only directly connects 2 computers that are no more than 12 feet apart.
The snag lies in the internet connection for multiple computers. The primary comp has a 56K, the secondary a 28.8, and the laptop has 56k, but it doesn't support connection sharing (Win 98). The other two systems have 98SE. If the secondary was to connect first to a router, wouldn't it have to disconnect so the other comps could get a better bandwidth? BTW, the locale I'm in doesn't support cable, ISDN, or anything...56k is the best you can get, so I'd rather share the 56K modem across the network (it's an internal modem..I really don't want to have to buy an external if I can help it). Fortunately, our local ISP gives unlimited access. All comps use ZoneAlarm.

I know I don't have to allow for multiple internet connections, but it would be nice for the younguns...and would keep them from pestering myself or their mother for online time.

Also, Ron: I think the straight cable is called Cat5e, but I could be mistaken. I've been checking out http://www.homepcnetwork.com for tips, links, and reading material.
Ron
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Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
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Michigan, US


4 posted 01-02-2002 06:41 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Parker raises a good point, even if you don't want use the router to directly connect to the Internet. The problem with a hub is that its rated capacity is the total throughput. Say you have a hub rated at 10/100. If all three computers are transferring at the same time, each gets 33.3 of the 100Mbps throughput. Not great. If a router is over-kill, and the price will be at least double that of a hub, an in-between alternative is a switch. It looks just like a hub, but each line is separate, so each line gets the full rating. Better, most newer NIC's will allow you duplex; i.e., send on both the send and receive wires. That means you essentially get a 200Mbps connection. Unlike a router, a switch will usually only run about five to ten dollars more than a hub.

You'll be pleasantly surprised by the speed if you're used to that 10-12Mbps connection. It's substantially faster, for example, than a CD read.

I'll have to find the time to check into that Cat5e, Ali, and read the tech specs. Don't know how they could do it without added shielding, but more importantly, I don't understand WHY they would do it.
Parker
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since 01-06-2000
Posts 3135
... the old black rum


5 posted 01-02-2002 07:11 PM       View Profile for Parker   Email Parker   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Parker's Home Page   View IP for Parker

I don't think the twisted networking cable is the same as twisted pair's. There's straight through cable and twisted cable. Both I'm sure must be twisted pair wires inside.

The differece is thtat the twisted pair is like a null moden cable so the colours reverse themselves so that when they exit the other side side the same colour is at the same pin (or I could have it reversed) I'm not sure...lol. Some netword designer's idea of a twisted joke.

Parker
Ron
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Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


6 posted 01-02-2002 07:49 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Okay, I've been doing some checking.

Cat5e (for "e"nhanced) is still 4 pair, 24 AWG (7/32) TC UTP, as defined in Standards Proposal 4195-b and finalized in ANSI/TIA/EIA 568A-5. The UTP in that definition stands for Unshielded Twisted Pair. It's really not much different than standard Cat5, but manufactured to higher specs. Cat5 is rated at 100M, while Cat5e goes to 350M. It is currently the highest "officially" rated standard, though it appears many outfits are already selling Cat6, Cat6e, and even Cat7 (even though there are no official specs for them). The Cat6 cables are called "solid UTP," which apparently means they use a solid wire rather than stranded, but the UTP shows that the solid wires are still twisted. I couldn't find a lot of information on Cat6/solid, but the larger wires would obviously decrease impedance.

The difference in price between Cat5 and Cat5e seems to be negligible, so it would make sense to go with the latter (gigabit Ethernet, here we come!).

It appears what you were originally talking about, Ali, is a new kid on the block called Cat5e "stranded cable." It has several small gauge wires in separate insulation sleeves, and is more flexible than twisted pair. Because of the flexibility and ability to make sharp right angles (something you shouldn't do with twisted pair), it seems to be popular for patch cables. The TIA/EIA 568A Standard limits the length of a stranded cable to 10 meters, for much the same reasons I mentioned before. Unless you need that kind of flexibility, however, I wouldn't recommend it. Even without the dangers of field induction, it seems to be more susceptible to moisture, too.

I found a real good page on Cat5 wiring (which would also apply to Cat5e). About half way down the page, under a heading of Detail checklist, is an excellent list of do's and don'ts.

http://www.stg.brown.edu/~sjd/wiring/CAT5-wiring.html

Alicat
Member Elite
since 05-23-99
Posts 4277
Coastal Texas


7 posted 01-03-2002 02:09 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

Thanks again Ron for the clarification and the link. Made for some very informative reading.

It would appear that, again, I was making this more complicated than it needed to be. In a flash of insight, I realized that I won't have to designate the primary computer as a server at all, since I already have connection sharing on it, and since the other computers are not directly connected to the internet at all. They can simply share the connnection of the primary. I know this may bog down the connection a bit, but we only have a house line (only can connect after 11pm) and the comp line (about 5 feet from the primary comp). If providers ever do give cable service or better to this area (they do in town, but we're county), we'll look into hooking that up to a router connected to the hub for a shared cable connection.

Thanks again Parker for the LinkSys info...I had already found out about them and was checking reviews for their kits. And with Ron's clarification on normal and switched modes, I'm leaning towards LinkSys's 5-port switched hub kit, which includes 2 EtherFast 10/100 NIC's, 2 Cat5 UTP cables, and WOL hookups. Since I'll be networking the laptop and secondary pc in the living room (to reduce sibling rivalry), I'm pretty sure I can run Cat5 between the wall plates underneath the trailer, and then using twisted to hook the comps to the wall, and by eyeballing the straight diagonal, 30' should be more than enough.

Now all I have to do is wait until I have the cash to hook em up!

Acies
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since 06-07-2000
Posts 14805
Twilight Zone


8 posted 01-03-2002 05:54 PM       View Profile for Acies   Email Acies   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Acies

i agree with Ron on the the cat5e UTP, that's all you need.  You most probably don't need the stranded, they're just mostly used as patch cables.  But if you want to be safe and run backbone wires thru your walls, you might as well stay with a plenum rated cable.  They are more fire resistant cables.  Just make sure as Ron has said, there is a limit to bending twisted pair cables...I believe TIA/EIA-669a sets it at a maximum 1 inch bend.

With regards to the Linksys router too.....the company I work for has seen so many problems with it, specially when connected to a cable or dsl connection running dynamic IPS.  It seems like the linksys router has to be re-set a couple of times a day.  You might have to rethink of getting something else.  I've even seen cheeper ones (e.g. Allied telesyn routers) perform better.

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donde est mi amour?
wo ist meine Liebe?
Nelly Furtado a menina a mais bonita no mundo largo do todo.

 
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