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> Overview, Using the right method for your system.
post Nov 28 2006, 02:20 PM
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Windows Networking

There was a time when only businesses would run their computers as a Local Area Network (LAN) system. This afforded them the luxury of "sharing" files and resources like printers and scanners. For the home computer user, the primary benifit is the ability to "share" a single internet connection yet allow each computer on the local network to have independant access.

Just how this is achieved depends upon a variety of things; The type of Internet Connection, Dial-Up, Cable or ADSL modems and, not least, the type of Windows operating systems being used.

In all cases, each computer on the LAN (local area network) should have its own Network Card and a physical networking Patch cable which connects them all together. Just how they are connected together will depend upon the hardware you have.

HUB method
A Hub is a connection box to which each computer on the LAN is connected with a network patch cable and one socket on the HUB connects to a Modem

Router method.
A line router is very similar to to a HUB except routers often have built in firewall protection and can also have a built in Modem.

Direct Connection
Another method is to connect all the LAN computers to ONE dedicated computer. This will become the Gateway computer. The advantage of this method of connection is that no additional hardware is required. Two possible disadvantages are the Gateway computer MUST always be on for any other computer to gain access to the network and, the number of computers that may be connected to the LAN is limited to the number of network cards that can be installed into the Gateway Computer.

For many Home Networks, this latter method is the simplest and has the added bonus of disallowing internet access to a PC, in a child's bedroom for example, when the main Gateway PC is switched off.

Windows XP:
Networking on Windows XPHome or XP Pro should be a fairly straightforward affair. If you are having problems, visit here: (edit by Chris Kaminski)

Windows2000/98 Second Eddition.
For an excellent walk-through of how to setup Internet Connection Sharing on Windows 98se, or Windows 2000 Pro, visit here:

Windows ME
Networking with WindowsME can be a little tricky. After having flailed to locate an easy to use tutorial on one place on the web, I decided to write my own. Visit: HERE to read it.
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