Hi i have 3 computers i want to network, however they will all be in separate rooms, with each room not having its own phone jack. This eliminates phone/normal ethernet from my options. So im left with only wireless network right? Can anyone give advice as to which products i should look at, and which wireless format (HomeRF/802.11) i should opt for? I heard 802.11 is the better option. I am looking for the most affordable solution, but with a minimum speed of 10mbps.
Actually, I would think that phone net would still be your cheapest way to go. You can get 50' of phoneline from walmart or Home Depot cheap. Just get one of those port splitters in a room so you can plug in your extension. The phonenet stuff is pretty forgiving of wierd wiring setups (from what I understand anyway - many old houses have truly screwed up phone networks after a while, Im sure the standard has to be able to run somewhat over those as well).
To go wireless, it looks like about 150$ - 200$ for 802.11b nics and 250$ for a base station.
Intel has recently dropped their old wireless for 802.11b (I forget the standard name, I think home rf ?) maybe you could get some of their old stuff cheap but I think that it runs about 1Mbps not 10.
Also, there was a networking standard that was supposed to go over power wires. I dont know if it really got anywhere though. Speeds are likely in the 1-2Mbps range. Check out www.practicallynetworked.com - they had some info on this stuff.
thanks a lot. its going to be in a new house, so i think the phonelines will be fine.
So i should just get phoneline network, and get those really long cables? Will phoneline work with 3 computers, and will the speeds be at least 10mbps? And if you know any particular products i can look at, that would be great
You should only need to use a phone extension if you have a room that doesnt have a phone jack, otherwise it just plugs into the jack like a phone (actually, I think some of the internal cards have ports like internal modems, you have a port in the back where you can plug in your phone if you need to). The standard you would want is Phone PNA 2.0 (the first version runs at 1Mbps).
I would go with one of the name-brand networking companies. Linksys, Netgear, or SMC. If youre running Win98SE or higher (Up to Win2k) you might want to get external USB adapters. They should be easier to set up and play with. The bad part about USB adapters is that they usually cant run at truly full speed (USB can only run at 12Mbps and there is some extra overhead, especially if you have other Usb devices. I would guess that you would actually run about 7 or 8Mbps sustained speed by using USB. I dont think thats too big a loss, particularly if its easier to set up. The main advantage would be that you could switch things around easy, like if you get a new computer, or someone takes one over - you could un-plug the adapter from one of yours that youre not using.) Another thing to look out for might be a network starter kit, that should get you two adapters for a better price, and possibly some software thrown in.
All three of your computers should work fine. The phone stuff works alot like ethernet. You will have one shared wire so only one computer can send out a signal at a time, but it will change from computer to computer that it will feel like they can all talk at once (unless you copy very large files from one computer to another. Then the network will slow down for a bit until everything has been moved). The Phone PNA 2.0 stuff can also talk to the older 1.0 stuff, though your network speed drops for the entire network (I think that everything drops to the speed of the slowest link, 1Mbps in this case). For a home network its a good speed and the wiring is easy (If youre mainly interested in sharing the internet, usually your connection is 1.5Mbps at best, so you wolnt have any problems from the speed of your internal network). Also, the companies used to include software for sharing an internet connection, which might be easier than using Microsoft Internet Connection Sharing or cheaper than buying another program to do so.
The external USB adapter would act just like the pci card, the resources it uses will be simpler though (the only real difference, the adapter wolnt get its own irq like a card will, it shares the irq with all the other usb devices). They look more like a copy protection dongle with a rj-11 jack stuck in the end. This would plug into a hub or the back of your computer (which, tehcnically is also a hub). Ive heard of some usb hubs having built in ethernet adapters, but I doubt that anyone does this with phonenet (If someone did though, I bet it would be Xircom.)
You likely wolnt have any big slowdowns. Running or installing programs over the network rather than localy will be slower but you shouldnt be able to notice any slowdown in connecting to the internet. If you go wireless youll have the same problems (wireless is also half duplex - in both cases you have only one media transfering the signal. Either one long phone wire, with other wires spliced onto the main one, or the air, only being able to carry one radio signal, at a certain frequency, at a time. Actually, the phone net should be a bit faster than wireless. Even though wireless can go up to 11 Mbps, in practice speeds are about half than. Wireless speeds drop even further if you enable WEP. I imagine the phonenet stuff is able to reach the theoretical mamimum better than that.)
thats great..so its phoneline then! i really appreciate your help
I was thinking, what kind of device (router/switch?) can i use so that i dont need to have the host computer running all the time? i dont need any of the extra features such as firewall, all i want is something to split the cable modem so that any computer can access the net at any time. I think ive heard of a product that works like this:
internet->cable modem->device->phone jack
now any phone jack will have network access.
And to add a little more confusion, i already have an ethernet network with a hub, but obviously i cant use it in the new house cos i cant have wire running around everywhere. Can this be of any use in the new house? Whew, this networking stuff is confusing.