Home network - What do I need to set up in the following scenario?

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I'd like to set up my home network properly but I'm getting bogged down and
confused with all the different wireless routers, modems, gateways etc etc.

What type of unit do I need to set up my network to allow me to connect my
main home computer, a linux computer, a windows 98 computer, a canon usb
printer and my wireless (802.11g) HP Laptop. I'm still using dialup internet
at home and will change someday to ADSL when its available in my area. I'd
like to access the usb modem on my main computer from my laptop wirelessly
which I'm guessing I do through internet connection sharing.

I've been looking at a Netcomm NB5Plus4W and a Netcomm NB600W. Obviously the
NB5Plus4w has the ADSL Modem (which in the short term is not important), but
do they essentially do the same thing as far as the other features go? I
guess what I'm saying is I need an ethernet / wireless switch for networking
but would like the other features suitable for firewall, VoIP, VPN etc. for
when I switch to adsl broadband in the near future and am looking for
suggestions as to the best way to go. If this means buying a seperate adsl
modem later (such as with the NB600W) that's fine. Any suggestions as to
what I should get?



Re: Home network - What do I need to set up in the following scenario?

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I would suggest taking a step back and think about what you want to
achieve... If you just want to be able to 'network' 2 of your PCs (so as to
share the dial-up connection, printer etc)  then you could just buy a
wireless card for your main machine and link them wirelessly - (ad-hoc as
opposed to through a router). You wouldn't need a router or anything
complicated for a simple PC-PC link.

The wireless card would not be a waste of money, because when you upgrade to
ADSL, you can just buy a wireless router with ADSL modem built-in and change
the connection type on your laptop and main machine to talk to the router.

Even if you want to network all 3 PCs now, then you could put wireless cards
in all 3 PCs and set them to Ad-Hoc, but as Ad-Hoc is a direct link, you
will only be able to get 2 talking to each other at a time. If you want all
3 PCs networked at the same time, then you will have to get a router and
that is where my useful input ends!

Re: Home network - What do I need to set up in the following scenario?

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I found one device here that looks interesting. This solves the
dialup to Ethernet part of the problem. I think vanilla Ethernet
packets come out of the 56NET, so the router has no protocol to
terminate in this case.


                                            --- wireless_laptop
 (dialup) --- 56NET -------- wireless_router ---- wired_PC_1 ...
                                             ---- wired_PC_N

Later, you can transition to ADSL, by getting an ADSL modem.
The output of the ADSL_modem could be PPPOE or PPPOA, and
my router terminates PPPOE for me. My home network is like
the one below, except my router is wired-only.

                                            --- wireless_laptop
 (adsl) --- ADSL_modem ----- wireless_router ---- wired_PC_1 ...
                                             ---- wired_PC_N

In summary, find a solution for the dialup part first. Your
ADSL provider may force you to rent an ADSL_modem from them
(mine does), or you can buy your own ADSL modem and save money

The Bestdata product has two Ethernet ports, and also has
a router in it. You will be using only one of the ports,
and connecting it to the "upstream" port of the router.
Hopefully, an ordinary Ethernet cable should be good enough
to connect the 56NET to the router. I don't think it would
take a "crossover" Ethernet cable.

If you are on a desert island, and exotic devices like the
Bestdata product are not for sale in your area, another solution
would be Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) on one of your
computers. That would require PC_1 to be operating
in order to get Internet connectivity to the other machines.
It would look like this. Data comes into the dialup modem on
PC_1, and the ICS software built into Microsoft Windows would
allow packets destined for the other machines, to go out an
Ethernet port on PC_1 and to the upstream port on the wireless
router. I think that connectivity would require a crossover
cable if using 10/100BT Ethernet port on PC_1. If PC_1 has a gigabit
Ethernet port on it, the gigabit port can figure out the
wiring for itself, and then either a crossover or a normal
Ethernet cable could be used between PC_1 and wireless_router.
(A gigabit ethernet port has MDI and the ethernet port can
figure out which wires are transmit and receive, when connected
to another 10/100BT Ethernet device.)

           56K     Eth_cable                --- wireless_laptop
 (dialup) --- PC_1 -------- wireless_router ---- wired_PC_2 ...
              (ICS)                         ---- wired_PC_N

The wireless router depicted above, would have both wireless
antenna and wired Ethernet ports on it. It is a reasonably
commodity item where I live, and dropping into Staples, I can
find several competing products.

My best guess,

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