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Q: Peer to peer network ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Peer to peer network
Category: Computers > Hardware
Asked by: mccm-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 02 Nov 2002 15:20 PST
Expires: 02 Dec 2002 15:20 PST
Question ID: 96812
I have to make a peer-to-peer network for 7 PCs in order to access a
modem connected to a DSL line. The PCs have the network card. What do
I need to buy?
Thanks for the advice.
Subject: Re: Peer to peer network
Answered By: funkywizard-ga on 02 Nov 2002 15:54 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
If the dsl modem is directly connected to the pc with a usb cable or
phone cable, your only option is routing software for your pcs. One
product that I use extensively that has a 30 day trial is wingate [ ]. The one computer with the dsl modem would run the
wingate server and would need to be running at all times, since it
provides the internet connectivity for all the computers.

If the dsl modem connects to your computer with an ethernet cable, you
have a few options. You can still use the method described above, with
wingate or similar software, if the routing computer has two network
cards, one for the dsl modem and one for the rest of the network.

The most tried and true method however, is purchasing a cable/dsl home
router. What this does is connect to your dsl modem and to your
network, taking the single ip address that your dsl line provides and
makes it accessible to any number of computers on your network. This
uses a technology known as network address translation. Linksys is
probably the most well known and best selling router provider [ ]. Other well known providers are dlink [ ] and
netgear [
]. Many of these routers that should meet your needs are available at
virtually any computer store online or not.

Depending on wether or not you have an ethernet hub or switch, you
will want certain functionality in your router. A router that is
advertised as a "4 port dsl router" means that in addition to being a
router for your network, you can connect up to 4 computers directly to
the router without having to buy any additional hardware. Since you
need to connect 7 pcs, a network switch would be recommended. is one provider of ethernet switches that has lower prices
than I would normally find elsewhere [
]. Another provider is [
]. Since you need to connect 7 pcs and the router, you would need at
least an 8 port switch, but a 16 port switch would be recommended in
case you ever need to expand your network.

Also, you need all the ethernet cables of the appropriate lengths to
connect to this central switch. I have found Ebay is a good place to
find the cheapest prices on ethernet cabling, but any local computer
store should suffice as well. The only thing to remember here is to
get patch cables (as opposed to crossover) to connect your computers.
All ethernet cable sold today is rated category 5 or better, which is
required for setting up a network.

Given that all the computers already have ethernet cards, I would
estimate the total cost of this project to be $200 or less.

If I have mis-interpreted your question in any way, or you would
simply like additional information, please ask for a clarification of
the answer, and I would be more than happy to assist you.

Request for Answer Clarification by mccm-ga on 03 Nov 2002 15:53 PST
Thanks for your advice. I have two quotes, one for $1980 and the other
for $945. The highest recommends an 8-port hub to connect to the
modem, which will be in the telephone panel of the office connected to
the dsl line, and the other guy said I need an 8-port router. Each PC
is in a private office and only one needs a network card. I want to
run the cable over the hung ceiling and bring it down inside the
gypsum board walls to boxes/jacks on the wall. I estimate no more than
300 ft cable.

Clarification of Answer by funkywizard-ga on 03 Nov 2002 19:37 PST
Professional installation of cabling may cost quite a bit, however,
the actual equipment itself in this case should cost no more than $300
if done efficiently. Since you want the cables to come through wall
jacks and above ceilings and such, I would say $1000 is probably a
fair quote for this type of installation.

Depending on the location of your dsl modem and your pcs, you may want
the ethernet switch or the router to not be in the closet with the
modem. Basically you can locate these anywhere, so long as the
computers are no more than 300 feet from the ethernet switch and the
router as well. If it must be in the telephone closet, more cabling
(and thus more cost) would be required. If total cabling needs to be
around 300 feet, this should not be a significant expense.

An ethernet hub as quoted by the $2000 company would not be
recommended for various reasons, namely performance and reliability. A
switch provides a dedicated connection to each computer, such that one
hoggy user cannot slow network performance for the rest of the users.
Also, a network switch greatly simplifies the layout of cabling,
allowing each pc to be up to 300 feet from the switch. Determining
what cable layouts work with a hub is much more complicated. Also,
these days switches don't cost more than hubs. An 8 port workgroup
switch can be had for $50, and a good 16 port switch can be had for
less than $150. In short, *do not* settle for a hub.

It should be noted that you will likely need fire safe "plenum rated"
ethernet cabling since you plan to install the cables in walls or
ceilings, as using non-plenum rated cable may violate fire codes (this
will vary depending on where you live). This will cost more than
normal cat 5 cable, but still not a whole lot of money. For instance,
one seller on ebay [
] offers a 1000 ft spool of plenum rated cat 5 cable for $170. 1000
feet should be enough to connect every desktop, and even less will
probably be acceptable. The only additional cost would be in crimping
the cables (basically adding usable end connectors to bulk cabling). A
crimper and the ends of the cables can be had reletively cheaply, but
if you don't want to do this yourself, many ebay sellers offer up to
300 foot cables readymade. If you do not need fireproof cabling and
you are willing to make your own cables (or know someone who is
willing to do this), you can easily get a kit such as this one [ ] that
includes a cable crimper, 100 cable end plugs, and 1000 feet of

As for the specific hardware to use, I do not see anything that would
cost $2000 or even $1000. An 8 port switch shouldn't cost more than
$50, a router that meets your needs shouldn't cost more than $100.
From what you have described, there is almost no way cabling would
cost more than $200 and much more likely to cost $100 or so. If I
personally lived in your area (which I doubt), I would do a full
installation of everything you need including hardware for less than

For cabling, lets say the dsl modem needs to be placed in the
telephone panel, and you can find a place to put the dsl router and
switch that is no more than 50 feet from each desktop (if the telphone
panel is no more than 50 feet from each desktop, this would be ideal).
One seller on ebay I often buy from sells lots of 5 - 50 ft shielded
cat 5 ethernet cables for $35 including shipping [ ]. If
every desktop is within 50 feet of the ethernet switch, this makes
total cost of cabling $70. If you need longer cables, one seller on
ebay offers 300 ft cat 5 cables ready made for $36 shipped, with
shorter cables being cheaper. [

Also one thing I should mention is that you may be able to get an 8
port router, meaning a router that has the ethernet switch built into
it. This provides less flexibility in placement of the router, switch,
modem, and computers, but can save you $50 in hardware compared to
getting a 2 port router (one port for the modem, one port for your
network) and an 8 or 16 port network switch. I would recommend getting
a seperate switch. Dell offers several ethernet routers [
] that should do the job, as well as a number of 8 port [
] and 16 port [
] switches.

In conclusion, I would say that if you want this to be a "do it
yourself" job, you can easily buy all the hardware you need for about
$300. If it weren't for the case that wires cannot be easily installed
in your building without putting them in walls or ceilings or ducts
etc, a network knowledgeable individual should be able to set this up
for you in an hour or so. Even without said helpful individual,
reading through the instructions that come with the switches and
routers to become knowledgeable enough to do the installation yourself
should make this project take no more than an afternoon.

If you cannot do this yourself, or find a knowledgeable friend/high
school/college student to do it for you for a low price, you may end
up having to pay $1000 for professional installation. This is
especially true since you stated wires must be hidden or put in places
that are hard to get to. Even with professional installation, $2000
sounds like a very high quote.

I hope this provides you with the information you need.
mccm-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Peer to peer network
From: ldavinci-ga on 05 Nov 2002 14:18 PST
All you need is a ethernet switch/router.  You could use two 4 port switches
and a hub to make a eight port switch, or simple get a single 8 port switch.
There is a difference between the hub/switch since the performance using just
a hub is prone to collisions on the network(computers talking simultaneously)
for large number of nodes(atleast more than 10).  You could then use a single
computer to run as proxy for the internet access.  It would be much simpler
if you get a hardware firewall with NAT and builtin multi-port ethernet switch
to do the same.  The other option is to setup Linux with Masquerading and
two ethernet cards which will then act as a firewall/NAT router.

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