Hi, networking either works "straight out of the box" or.........
To eliminate the HUB, purchase a Cross-Over cat5 cable and use this to connect two machines together. Try both Win98 machines first.
I usually use TCP/IP (for internet use) and NetBEUI (for file sharing) if they will not talk to each other then activate file sharing and then make a shared folder on each PC (right click on a folder of your choice).
Is the workgroup name the same on all machines ?
Are the cables straight thr', ie place the plugs at the end of the cables side-by-side and compare the colours of the wires, they should match on both plugs. If they don't then they are cross-over leads !
Enter Network Neighborhood, and press "F5" to refresh several times and see if the other machine can be detected.
Try FIND, COMPUTER, by entering the name of the other machine and see if it can be detected.
I often find that re-booting the PC, after all the cables and protocols are in place, will enable the computer to detect the other machine on the network.