Very basic networking questions

  cas5090 09:38 29 Feb 2008

Hi, please bear with me as I am a networking ignoramus.

I own a desktop pc built by CCL in 2001. It uses Windows XP home edition, 1 gb RAM and I am on talktalk broadband.

I want to buy a laptop and network them.

Is it easier to network if both desktop and laptop are on XP?

How do I find out if my desktop has whatever it needs to be ready for networking.

Many thanks.

  MAJ 10:03 29 Feb 2008

It doesn't matter if you have XP-XP or XP-Vista, you shouldn't have any problems. The PC will need to have a LAN port/NIC/Network Card (all the same thing) installed if you want to network them. As this is a new laptop, it will likely have a wireless adapter already built-in, i.e. it will be 'wireless ready', plus it will have a LAN port. So all is there for you to be able to set up a wired network.

If you want to set up a completely wireless network and also share your internet connection wirelessly, all you will need is an ADSL wireless modem/router (about £50) and a USB wireless adapter (about £15, for the PC).

If you want to leave the PC wired to the router, then you don't need to buy the USB wireless adapter.

  cas5090 10:06 29 Feb 2008

Thanks for that MAJ.

How do I find out if my desktop PC has a LAN port/NIC/Network Card installed?

  MAJ 10:11 29 Feb 2008

Look for one of these connections click here on the back of your PC, cas5090. It will have an picture of three little monitors embossed in the plate beside it.

  MAJ 10:14 29 Feb 2008

Don't mistake it for your built-in modem's connection, cas5090, they are similar, but the modem's connection doesn't have the 'three monitor' symbol.

  cas5090 10:28 29 Feb 2008

Great stuff, thanks again, yes it DOES have that connection at the back with the three monitor symbol so that means it has what it needs?

You said "If you want to leave the PC wired to the router, then you dont have to buy the usb wireless adapter".

Sorry to be thick.....I have no idea if I want to leave the PC wired to the router or not as I am not sure why I would or wouldn't. Can you explain it a bit for me? Cheers.

  MAJ 10:46 29 Feb 2008

1. Yes that means it has what it needs, cas5090.

2. I'm assuming that you will want to go wireless because you wont want the laptop wired to the PC or to the router, as it would mean you can't move around the house with the laptop.

The router will be plugged into your phone socket, cas5090. If your PC is situated near to the phone socket, then you can leave the PC connected to the router, that will save you about £15 on the USB wireless adapter because the PC wont have to connect wirelessly to the router. The laptop will connect wirelessly to the router because it will have a built-in wireless adapter.

If your PC is quite a distance away from the phone socket (and hence the router) then you will need the USB wireless adapter in order that the PC can connect wirelessly to the router.

3. For further information:

Initially, the PC (or the laptop, but usually the PC) will have to be wired to the router temporarily, so that the router can be set up with Talktalk's settings and your wireless security settings.

  Tech Guy 10:50 29 Feb 2008

"Sorry to be thick.....I have no idea if I want to leave the PC wired to the router or not as I am not sure why I would or wouldn't."

If you contact TalkTalk and get their wireless router (Echolife HG520s) or any other ADSL wireless router. You will be set.

Yes you would leave your PC atached to the router and have your laptop wireless. Very easy to set up and you can use your desktops harddrive to play music off on your laptop etc..

And when you need to transfer a large file (e.g. movie) just plug the laptop into the router, via ethernet cable and will transfer much much faster.

All in all a great little home network.

  cas5090 20:13 29 Feb 2008

Great, thanks so much for the advice.

Although my broadband is with talktalk I actually use a speedtouch modem to connect that I got when I was with wanadoo broadband. Does that mean I still want talktalk's wireless router (Echolife HG520s)?

Thanks again.

  cas5090 20:15 29 Feb 2008

Also meant to say, I have a long wire (sorry I have forgotten its name, its the high speed internet one, its blue) that goes from the back of my speedtouch modem into my phone socket. Does that mean I do not need the usb wireless adapter?


  MAJ 20:23 29 Feb 2008

If you want to go wireless, you'll need a wireless modem/router, cas5090. I'm not sure which 'long wire' you mean, does it have an end connection like the one in my last link, or, does it look like this? click here

You don't have to buy Talktalk's wireless modem router, you can buy any ADSL wireless modem router, but Talktalk's offering should be okay if that's the one you want to go for.

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