A Student Network with Broadband....

  User-C421DCE2-920F-4E57-9746A3C88082CE09 17:06 10 Apr 2003

Hello, you helpful bunch!

I am a first year student at University living in Halls this year, and planning to move into a house next year with four mates. We all have computers (4 desktops and 1 laptop) that we've bought within the last year, and they all have network cards in them.

One of our projects for our house is to set up a network with broadband internet access, the ability to look at each other's hard drives and to be able to play both internal games (ie with each other) and games with people in a similar position in a different house, presumably over some server on the net.

I would appreciate some basic advice on what sort of hub is advisable, what cables are best, and anything else that is needed. Also, what sort of price are we looking at for the equipment, and then for the broadband connection. For that matter, can we even share a connection between all of us?

I really am a beginner, and don't know what I'm on about!

Oh - and the games are purely for short breaks between the hardcore studying that we will undoubtedly be slaving through! Honest! ;-)


  MartinT-B 17:21 10 Apr 2003


In the forst instance I'd advise you to Browse the World Of Windows Netwoking (WOWN) site click here

It's a very German (plain) site, but is full of FAQs and advice for networking all types of OS's and PCs.

Then work out a budget and see what you can afford to do vs what is best for the property and ISP connection.

Some ISPs don't care if you network (Telewest don't) Some do. You may have to lie to your supplier !

Also, You can probably only have one subscriber, make it the most reliable in the house, and (s)he will then have to allocate secondary emails to the other housemates if you all want ISP mail.

Alternatively, do as I did. Buy a Domain and get someone to host is for you. That is much cheaper than having an ISP - about £50.00pa or £1.00 per week. This will then give you your own email which is yours for as long as you won the domain and pay the host. You will still have to set the OUTGOING mail to be the same as the main subscriber, but you set your in-coming mail deatils as proviede by the host you choose for your domain.


NEVER EVER BUY A DOMAIN FROM A UK COMPANY. Get it in the US, even .co.uk are much cheaper there. Steve, My flatmate bought his sister one for $25.00 for 2 years. Mine cost $150.00 for 10 years and is a .com from Verisign. Clara.net wanted £45.00 for 2 years for the same domain!


  MartinT-B 17:28 10 Apr 2003

Ooops not clear above :)

You will HAVE to have an ISP.

But if you want your own email, rather than have a secondary assigned to you by the Subscriber (remember they can read all the emails on all accounts if they want) go the Domain route.

The advantage is that it's your email for the rest of your life, no matter where you move (as long as you keep renewing your domain).

I'm not that bothered about email addresses, though - we've all got our own Yahoo an Hotmail accounts, so that's not really a big problem.

The main thing I want to know about is the actual set-up of the network -

Do I use USB? Parallel? Series? Firewire, even?

Is wireless networking worth looking into?

What Model of hub etc. is recommended, and what sort of features should I look out for. I don't really even know what a hub does! Does it have to be controlled by a cenral PC, or is it standalone?

Tell me to sod off if I'm being too amateur!

Thanks for the WOWN site - I'll 'av a butcher's.


  Eagie 17:53 10 Apr 2003

What you'll basically need is a broadband router which will connect to your adsl connection. Your computers will then connect to this using cross-over cables from their network cards.

Yes you could go wireless but this would involve a wireless router (obviously!) which I think would set you back a bit more, you would also need wireless network cards in your computers rather than the standard ones you already have. Ultimately it would be nice but costly.

I'll leave it to others that have experience in routers to recommend a particular model.

Good luck.

  BlueMeanie 19:52 10 Apr 2003

Confirm that a router should do the trick.

I bought a cheap one from a computer fair last month for £45, it accepts the WAN connector from the cable ptovider (NTL for me) and has four 10/100 Mhz outlets. I connect my upstairs PC, home PC and/or laptop to the router (plus one spare outlet).

The router also allows home network file sharing, (I use NetBUEI protocol for filesharing)

I am running windows 98SE and the installation was easy peasy. I use network cables (Cat 5) to share the broadband facility.

I understand that NTL do not help with network problems, but do not object to home sharing.


Thanks, that's a help. Keep the advice coming!!

Have you got a wireless network in the libary?

  fitshase 22:43 10 Apr 2003

I think that you would be better off with a "normal" network.

As all of the computers already have a NIC (network card) in them, it would be costly to go wireless. Also, as you will be doing a lot of bandwidth testing (i.e., playing games over the network), a cabled network would be better than wireless.

I am guessing that you won't mind a few cables trailing around the house?

As for the hardware and cable types:

I would go for the normal CAT 5 or CAT 6 cable as opposed to USB, firewire, etc., as this is the most stable and cheapest.

The best thing to go for is a router with a built in 4 port switch. This means it is the simple case of running a cable from each machine to the router and then 1 cable from the router to the broadband connection (which leads me on to....)

You will need to see what is available in the area. Check with the cable companies (NTL and Telewest) and also with BT to see if you can get their services. If you can then it will cost an average of £25 per month for the connection.

Check here:
Telewest click here
NTL click here
BT click here

Hope this helps



  tbh72 01:52 11 Apr 2003

I would go cable, get everyone to chip in £1.50 a week & you can have a 1mbps connection "LLESS THAN A PINT OF BEER EACH / STUDENTS might be tricky"

This is fantastic!

Fitshase and tbh72 - that's exactly what I need!

One problem - the four-port router (is that the same as a hub?) won't serve five of us, will it? Or is there a way to connect the fifth computer via some other method?

Thanks again! I'll close this thread soon, methinks!

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

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