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Home Networking

Tips

Before you start ensure

You are recommended to have a

To get your network going
proceed one step at a time,
proving it works at each step.
Start with everything in the same room

  • install drivers and adapters
  • configure router and PC
  • connect PC and router with cable
  • then connect wirelessly
  • then move PC to another room
  • Use WPA2 and AES encryption[1]

References

If you want to know how things work

Its unlikely there will be Windows problems

edit

Real broadband via cable broadband is here, but 100 Mb/sec up and 10 Mb down - all the time.

A wireless network, "not"

The initial idea was to use wireless, because it would be 'quick and easy', so I went to my local PC supplier and said put a solution together for me, but make it all from the same manufacturer to enhance interoperability.

As it turned out the PCI adapter caused the bog standard PC to lock up solid, not even a blue screen of death. It didn't install or work any better on a second PC. And that was when the installation program didn't crash. I did get a courteous response from Taiwan suggesting I downloaded a new driver, but since the part had literally come into the country the week before this didn't seen a reasonable solution, and they didn't address the crashing install program at all. To cap it off the router, which seemed to work OK in the short interval before the PC froze, had a web based user interface with several spelling errors, not confidence inspiring.

I packed it all up and bundled it back to the shop, having spent so much time on it I might as well have wired the house from the beginning. I purchased a wired only router, but, as it turned out the replacement router had a problem, and when replaced free by the manufacturer, the replacement had wireless functionality!

So that took me to the next step, wiring the house.

A wired network

There were some considerations, Gigabit or 100Mb, cat 6 or cat 5e cable, wire to T568A or T568B? First, wire plugs to T568A pin/pair assignments; second, both cables will run Gigabit, I chose cat 5e for cost and because cat 6 is new on the market; lastly, 100Mb is the sweet spot in the market, at most you will have 10 or 20Mb coming in from the internet, so how much local traffic are you generating? So I measured up, and went out and bought, to put one outlet in each room:

Then there are tools, well ignoring those required to locate studs in the walls, cut holes, drill holes, and thread wires down the walls (a heavy sink ball chain on a string is most effective), the tools I got to work with the ethernet cable were

Really the hardest part is deciding where to cut the holes on the wall, and drill up from under the floor, so they are beside a stud and away from power cables. When running the cables it is useful to keep the following in mind:

  • don't kink or squash the cable, you will spoil its properties. It is useful to have a second person to assist in feeding it through walls and floors
  • allow for as much separation from power cables as possible
  • allow a couple of metres at each end to give working space and allow for future adjustments
  • use proper cable hooks to support the cable, 0.5m spacing worked for me

Example default addresses [2]

Connecting

So what it all looks like is

  • the coaxial cable coming in to a cable modem from the wall
  • the cable modem connected by ethernet cable to the 4 port (100Mb) router
  • the router connected by ethernet cable to a 8 port switch
  • the switch connected to the (currently) six outlets around the house, via the underfloor cabling, and to the same room PC
  • as it happens we are now also using the wireless connectibity for laptops

Both the cable modem and the router have a web based interface.

Configuring

Once you have everything wired together, follow the instructions provided for your router, they will be along the lines of:

  1. check that your computer has the network connection set up as "Obtain IP address automatically"
  2. open a brower window and enter the interface address of the router (eg http://192.168.2.1/)
  3. you should see the router's configuration screen
  4. set up the router connection, you need to know if your IP address is static or dynamic. If static you may also need to know your gateway address (by default it is your static IP address with the last octet of the IP address changed to "1"), and DNS server addresses.
    • note your router is the gateway for you internal network (your side of the modem), and it communicates with the ISP's gateway (on the ISP's side of the modem)

Finally, after you have got everything set up, your router configured, etc, don't forget to save (backup) your router settings, and remember to back them up every time you change them. Trust me, you'll need them sooner or later. After some experience with DHCP, both the cable modem and router support DHCP, fixed IP addresses have been allocated to avoid problems with changing IP addresses after power outages or hardware changes.

See also
Binary prefixes
Zone Labs How to Set Up a Home Network

Page last modified on 2014 Aug 17 20:11

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