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Simply connecting 2 computers

This is a network at its most basic. Just two computers, no Internet, connected via a crossover Ethernet cable. It's best to assign an IP address to each PC, though it's not required.

2 PCs sharing Internet

Here, you're sharing an Internet connection with a second computer. This can be done with broadband or dialup. Enabling ICS on the "main" PC is required, as well as a crossover Ethernet cable to directly connect the two computers.

3 or more computers, no router

To connect more than 2 computers without a router, use a hub. There are no direct PC to PC connections, so straight-through CAT5 Ethernet is used. The PC running ICS would plug into the "uplink" port on the hub. You can do this with dialup or broadband.

2 wireless PCs sharing Internet

Our two computers are wireless, configured with an ad hoc (PC to PC) wireless connection. ICS is enabled, and we're sharing out a broadband or dialup connection.

Typical wired broadband home network

Here's a simple home network using a broadband router. Note that the computers are not connected to the modem - they only connect to the router. CAT5 Ethernet cable makes the connections. Since there are no direct PC to PC connections, a crossover cable is not used.

Typical wired broadband home network expanded with a hub

If you run out of ports on the router, you can use one of the ports to feed a hub, which in turn feeds more computers. Be sure that the hub's uplink port in plugged into the router.

Typical wireless broadband home network

A wireless broadband router provides for both wired and wireless computers. CAT5 Ethernet cable still needs to run between the modem and the router, even if this was an "all wireless" network.

Adding wireless to an existing network

To add wireless to an established wired network, a wireless access point is used. If the brand of your router and wireless access point differ, you may need to change the IP address of the access point to be "in line" with your home network.

Sharing a printer

Sharing out a printer that's connected to a PC is easy to do. No matter what your network looks like, just share out the printer from the PC. The "host" computer must be turned on so that the other computers can print to its printer. This is the only option for "multifunction" or "all in one" scanner/fax/printers.

Sharing a printer (2nd example)

Now we're sharing out a printer from a wireless PC that's on a router-based network. Even the wireless laptop in the backyard can print to this printer!

Using a print server

A print server is a small device that connects to your printer via USB or parallel cable. It also has a network port to connect to your router. The print server will have browser-based setup pages so you can set the IP address of the printer, etc. Using a print server allows the printer to be "on the network", and not connected to any one computer.

Using a wireless print server

Print servers can also be wireless, and here's an example of one in use. Remember that print servers, whether wired or wireless, really don't work with "all in one" printer/fax/scanners. You may be able to get just the printing function to work, but most likely even that won't work. Stick with just plain printers with print servers, and share out all-in-ones directly from a PC.

Of course, there are many other configurations possible, but this should give you an idea of what to expect. Any questions? Contact us.

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