Networking for Dummies

  slightlymad 22:44 10 Jun 2006

I'm completely new to networking, and I would very much appreciate some help as to where to begin.

I have a new wireless laptop, and I would like it to share both my home PC's broadband connection AND files.

Do I start with a router? If so, a recommendation would be very welcome.

  Taff™ 23:27 10 Jun 2006

It depends if you have ADSL (BT) or a Cable (NTL/Telewest) connection so click here and select the correct one for a good range of different makes and models. You will need to wireless enable your other PC using an internal card or a USB wireless Adapter.

  slightlymad 23:59 10 Jun 2006

Sorry, I should have mentioned that I have ADSL.

As for an internal card, I've just checked my home PC's specs and I see that it's already fitted with an ASUS Wireless LAN Card, 802.11g, 54Mbit/sec.

That's good, isn't it?

Now what? Which router? I'd like the range to be 240 metres.

  mgmcc 08:06 11 Jun 2006

To create a wireless network for Internet access and File/Printer sharing, you have essentially two options:

1) Install a Wireless Network Adapter in each PC and create an “Ad Hoc” Wireless Network. This is a network in which the two PCs talk directly with one another, rather than via a Wireless Access Point. “Internet Connection Sharing” is then enabled on the actual Internet connection in the “host” PC and the “client” PC will have Internet access provided the “host” is running and online.

When you enable "Internet Connection Sharing" on the Internet connection, it automatically configures the network adapter used for your "private network connection" with the IP address and subnet mask If you have more than one adapter available for this purpose, e.g. both a "Local Area Connection" and a "Wireless Network Connection", you will have a drop down list from which to select the appropriate adapter. The "Client" PC's Local Area Connection should be set to get its IP address automatically, which it does by DHCP from the "Host" PC. Also, if you run the Zone Alarm firewall in your "Host" PC, the Internet Zone Security level must be reduced from High to Medium or "ICS" traffic will be blocked.

To enable “Internet Connection Sharing” in Windows XP, open the Network Connections folder, right click the actual internet connection (modem connection), select Properties and then the Advanced tab. Tick the box “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection”.

2) The preferred option for connecting more than one computer is to use a broadband Router and, with ADSL, this should be a combined “Router/ADSL Modem”. This is an ”Infrastructure” wireless network because the connected PCs communicate via the router’s Wireless Access Point. Again, a wireless adapter is installed in any PC that needs to connect wirelessly, but often the main PC is close enough to the router for it to use a “wired” connection with only the remote PC connecting wirelessly

With a router, it is the router which connects directly to the ISP and not one of the connected PCs. The router in turn allocates the IP addresses to the PCs, using one of the address ranges reserved for Local Area Networks, usually

Either of these options will additionally allow you to run File and/or Printer Sharing wirelessly across the network.

If you are running software firewalls, these need to be configured to allow access to the networked computers. This may involve adding their IP addresses in a "trusted" area.

<<< That's good, isn't it? >>>

Yes, that's fine.

<<< I'd like the range to be 240 metres. >>>

Ouch - that's some distance! Even with an absolutely clear line of sight, i.e no walls or other obstacles you could have problems.

  slightlymad 11:24 11 Jun 2006

A big THANK YOU for taking the trouble to write all that out, mgmcc.

I'm delighted to say that my understanding of networking is much clearer, thanks to your excellent explanation.

"A router/MODEM that connects directly to the ISP" - it all makes sense to me now!

Forget the 240M range that I specified - I'd looked at Taff™'s link - Getting the Range - and it says that 240M is for "larger homes, offices and outside surroundings". Thinking about it, I'll only use the laptop in one of two adjoining rooms, and the garden isn't that big...

Right, I'll post a new thread - "Router recommendations", which you are cordially invited to. Please jump in!

Thanks again for your help.


This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

iMac Pro review

Illustrator Charles Williams on how to create magazines and book covers

iMac Pro review

Les meilleures prises CPL (2018)