General Networking FAQ v1.0 ****
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Author: maxpowerLocation: philly PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2002 5:35 pm    Post subject: General Networking FAQ v1.0 ****
Q. Can I "uncap" my Cable or xDSL modem?
A. No.

Q. I have two or more computers and a cable modem, now I want to have all working together and able to access the Internet. What do I need?
A. Get a router. Get one of these: Linksys BEFSR41, Netgear RT314, DLink DI-704 or a SMC SMC7004ABR. Or you can choose to build your own router by using FreeSCO or Linux (more below).

Q. What is the difference between a Hub, Switch and Router?
A. Hub - Also known as a Repeater.
A LAN device which allows the computers connected to it to talk to each other. All the computers share the same bandwidth. Switched technology replaced the repeater concept.

Switch - Also known as a Bridge.
A LAN device which allows those computers connected to it through a network to talk to each other. Each computer connected to the switch has its own dedicated bandwidth. Thus for a 100BaseT (100 Mbps) Switch and 4 computers, each computer gets its own personal 100 Mbps to the switch.

Router - Also known as a Gateway.
A networking device that is used to connect different networks (LAN & WAN) together (example: home network to the Internet). Most SOHO (Small office / home office) routers use NAT (Network Address Translation) to hide internal private addresses from the public Internet, but routers are used more commonly to simply route traffic.

Q. What is NAT and do I need to use it?
A. NAT stands for Network Address Translation. The basic purpose of NAT is to multiplex traffic from the internal network and present it to the Internet as if it was coming from a single computer having only one IP address. Because IP addresses are a scarce resource, most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will only allocate one address to a single customer forcing you to use NAT.

Q. I have just two computers that I want to network together and I don't want to buy a hub or switch; isn't there a special cable I can use?
A. You can use a crossover cable. A Crossover cable is used between "Like-Devices". For example, when connecting a hub to a switch, NIC to NIC or Router to Switch, you will use a crossover cable. A crossover cable simply reverses the Transmit and Receiver pairs of the UTP. When connecting a NIC to a Hub, Switch or Router, you will use a straight through cable.

Q. I'm thinking of setting up a small wireless network. I just want to network a few computers. Do I really need an expensive Access Point?
A. Generally you can run what is called "Ad-Hoc Mode" on the Radio Cards and do not require an Access Point. An ad-hoc wireless LAN is good for a small workgroup scale SOHO operation. Ad-Hoc networks with more than 2 nodes can have strange hidden problems where "A" may see "B" & "C" but "B" cannot see "C".

Q. How do you share an xDSL or cable connection across multiple computers without spending too much money?
A. If you have an old computer (386 or better) lying around, use it with this: and a good hub or switch depending of how much money you can spend. FreeSCO is a Linux build tailored for routing and NAT, which can be run from a floppy disk. The web page explains everything you need to know about setup.

Q: I'm afraid of Linux can I use a Windows based router?
A: Yes, though it is not recommended, has a routing product though it costs little money but does work.

Q: I have tried FreeSCO and don't like it, it doesn't support my hardware or I feel like I'm missing something.
A: Try "Clark Connect", it is based off of Red-Hat 7.0 (soon to be 7.1) version. Check out

Q. Where can I get a good firewall?
A. A router running NAT is in essence, a firewall. Since the internal addresses are hidden from the Internet you generally don't have to worry about hackers getting in. But, keep in mind that many routers allow you to create static bindings to internal address for use with certain services such as FTP, HTTP, and many game servers. Using these static bindings creates holes in the firewall. You many want to use a software-based firewall such as Zone Labs "ZoneAlarm Pro".

Q. I just installed my home network, what IP address should I use?
A. You generally want to use an address range that is not going to conflict with anything on the Internet. Generally home network users will use the - with a subnet mask of There are three IP network addresses reserved for private networks. The addresses are,, and They can be used by anyone setting up internal IP networks, such as a lab or home LAN behind a NAT router or proxy server. It is always safe to use these ranges because routers on the Internet will never forward packets coming from these addresses. These addresses are defined in RFC 1918.

Q: I'm running/have a firewall, home router or ICS. How can I set up a web, ftp, mail server, quake, Half-life or UT server on my home internal network so that people on the internet can see it??
A: You must open ports on your firewall or forward ports on your router to the internal address of the server on your home network. So if you are running a web server on internal IP you would forward external port 80 on your firewall/router to port 80. You can do this through most home router's advanced administration (RTFM). For ICS it's a little tricky but MS tells you how to do it here. Here is a web page that lists the ports for commonly used applications.

Q: I have a dynamic ip address and I would like to have a domain name. Is this possible?

A: Yes. This is commonly called dynamic DNS. All of the below listed sites offer dynamic DNS service. You will need to download a program that periodically checks your WAN IP address and if your WAN IP has changed, the program will update the domain name to point to your current IP. This program can usually be downloaded from the same web site that offers you the dynamic dns service.

Q. I just installed my network but my computers can't see each other in Network Neighborhood.
A. For computers to see each other in Network Neighborhood, you should have the protocol TCP/IP installed. In addition to TCP/IP, make sure that NetBIOS is enabled. NetBIOS is the protocol that small flat networks can use for computer browsing and file sharing. If you are using Windows95/98/ME make sure that you enabled file sharing. Another thing to look at is the workgroup name. If they are different, you can simply search for the computer by name or IP address. In larger networks, you will generally use a WINS (Windows Information Network Server) for all computer browsing.

Q. How to I make sure that NetBIOS is enabled?
A. In Windows 98, as long as you have TCP/IP, Client for Microsoft Networks and File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks installed, NetBIOS is installed by default. Verify in the TCP/IP Bindings properties that both the Client for Microsoft Networks and File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks are checked. In Windows 2000, when TCP/IP is installed, you need to double click on the TCP/IP properties and hit the advanced button. Now go to the WINS tab. At the bottom you will check "Enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP"

Q. I have a computer with Windows 2000 Pro that has a share folder but every time I try and access the share folder it asks me for a password but nothing seems to work.
A. You can try two things; either create an account just for sharing or use the guest account. The guest account is disabled by default.
To enable the guest account, try this:
Start --> Settings -->Control Panel -->Users and Passwords -->Advanced TAB -->Advanced User Management (Hit the Advanced button) -->Double click on the Users folder -->Double click on guest --> Deselect the "account is disabled" check box.
Keep in mind that unless you have a good firewall, enabling the guest account is NOT recommended.


Q. What are the different types of cable for LANs?
A. There are three common types of UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) cable that are used in LANs:

Category 3 UTP , also known as phone cable or Cat3. Cat3 cable is only designed for Ethernet speeds up to 10Mbps. Category 3 cable can be successfully run for a distance up to 100 meters (328 feet)

Category 5 UTP, also known as Cat5 is the most common Ethernet cable used today in modern networks. Cat5 cable looks similar to Cat3 but its electrical properties are different. Cat5 can support speeds from 10Mbps up to 1000 Mbps. Standard Cat5 cable is not recommended for 1000BaseT distances over 25 feet.

Category 5E UTP, the latest cable standard is known as Cat5e (Enhanced). Cat5e is an upgraded version of Cat5 cable. Cat5e provides fast network transmission speed from 10Mbps up to 1000 Mbps. If you are building your home network for the first time and Cat 5e is available in your area, you may want to install CAT5e on your network to insure the best possible transmission speed of your home or office network.

If you need a cable longer than 100 feet you can either install a coupler to join two lengths of cable together, or purchase cable in bulk and install your own RJ-45 connectors. When using a coupler, purchase couplers clearly marked for use with your type of UTP network cable only.

When installing UTP cable, care must be taken not to tear or damage the cable either by cutting or bending it. It should also be kept away from sources of EMI such as electrical motors, florescent lighting, radio transmitters and other sources of electrical noise. If you must pass across any power wires, do it at a 90 degree angle only.

Q: I want to crimp network connectors myself. What is the correct order for a straight connector and a crossover?
A: Here is a picture with the correct order to help you :

And for those who cannot see this picture, the correct order for a straight connector is :
1- white/orange

A crossover cable is :
1- white/green

Don't forget that for a crossover cable to work, one end must be straight and the other crossover. If both ends are crossover, the cable will work like a straight cable.


Making a Computer into a router/firewall with a specific operating system Windows 2k : Another easy to use NAT router, single floppy disc, etc etc. Has a Windows based boot floppy creator, and supports lots of different NICs. (linux based router/firewall software (OS))


Networking Informational Sites

Setting up a Webserver on Cable/DSL and general server tips/info

Networking Computers "How-To"

Security: (A lot of options!!)

Types of High Speed Internet

Types of Networking Besides Ethernet
Wireless:*track=internal (scroll down about a quarter of the page)
The Standards of Wireless Networking:

****credit for this faq goes out to hardocp and its members****

Moderator note: edited to remove HTML character codes - capi

Author: Mongrel PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2002 4:06 am    Post subject:
Nice primer and general purpose FAQ to have on hand for your friends who need that quick bit of help.

Author: EpikalLocation: United States PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2003 1:18 am    Post subject:
Im not sure, but you might could add to the list about site redirection..
its free.. and you have a nice domain. (ex.

Author: Phoenix_ZeroLocation: Over There PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2004 11:00 pm    Post subject:
I'm sure people know but you might want to add in a section in cabling for Cat6

Author: flwLocation: U.S.A. PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2004 3:51 pm    Post subject:
Left out at least some important points

1. DHCP and getting a domain name i.e. etc......

For many ISP carriers this is considered a violation of your terms of service or TOS. That means if caught you could get your Internet Service yanked.

2. A switch is not a bridge and a bridge is not a switch. The general answer buries the real answers. You've confused slang with a devices technical purpose. It's like calling a pringles can with some nuts, bolts and glue a high gain directional antenna.

There maybe some others that I missed but these just stuck out after reading the post.

I do give you credit for the obvious time and hard work you put into it.

Author: muerte_repentino PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 6:58 pm    Post subject:
maxpower wrote:
Hub - Also known as a Repeater

maxpower wrote:
Switch - Also known as a Bridge.

maxpower wrote:
Router - Also known as a Gateway.

on contrary i see networking essentials of MS press, 3rd edition Part1 "Networking Fundamentals" , ch7 "Connectivity device" the section "Expanding a network using components a diffeent definition for each of the mentioned terms, with different implementation for each of them.
i guess this point can be revised by someone to be able to expect the behaviour of each of these devices to predict what traffic will be monitored in each point of the network.

Author: The_PupilLocation: Oceanside PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 5:16 pm    Post subject: Assistance with setting up local area network
Any help is appreciated. This is my first time setting up a network so please be forgiving. Here is the situation:

- I have 3 computers (1 laptop and 2 PCs) that I want to have access to the internet and be able to talk to one another so I can share files

- I have a cable modem, linksys wireless router and a 8-port hub. The route has 4 ports and an internet port. The hub has 8 ports and an Uplink port (port #8 and Uplink port has a line drawn above it... I guess that means one cable going in and one going out)

How should I have the cable connection set up?

How and where do I set up the ip address, subnet, gateway, etc to allow these 3 computers to talk to one another.

Thanks in advance.


Author: tulip4heaven PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2006 9:44 am    Post subject:
Thanks for sharing such a nice tutorial.

Author: peternjugunaLocation: Africa PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 6:08 pm    Post subject:
thanks Maxpower for you tutorial

just a comment on this part of your tutorial

Q. I have just two computers that I want to network together and I don't want to buy a hub or switch; isn't there a special cable I can use?
A. You can use a crossover cable. A Crossover cable is used between "Like-Devices". For example, when connecting a hub to a switch, NIC to NIC or Router to Switch, you will use a crossover cable. A crossover cable simply reverses the Transmit and Receiver pairs of the UTP. When connecting a NIC to a Hub, Switch or Router, you will use a straight through cable.

you say above Router to NIC you use straight through cable. is that so or it crossover cable?

same you say NIC to Switch you use crossover. it that so or it straight through cable?

some body refresh my mind.


Author: AdamVLocation: Leeds, UK PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 9:32 pm    Post subject:
I think you are just reading it wrong. I have added some line breaks for clarity, but not changed the meaning. Does this now make more sense?

maxpower (with alterations to layout) wrote:

A. You can use a crossover cable. A Crossover cable is used between "Like-Devices". For example, when connecting:
a hub to a switch,
a NIC to NIC or
a Router to a Switch, you will use a crossover cable.

A crossover cable simply reverses the Transmit and Receiver pairs of the UTP.

When connecting a NIC to:
a Hub or
a Switch or
you will use a straight through cable.

Author: rashid_15Location: Dhaka PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 8:06 am    Post subject:
thanks for a nice tutorial.

Author: nirp1981 PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 10:40 pm    Post subject:
Thanks for a really good tutorial... kinda old but still up to date!
it was very usefull to me - nirp from <irrelevant URL removed - capi>

Author: Baraba PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:49 am    Post subject:
Helpful tutorial. Saved me!

Moderator note: edited to remove commercial signature - capi

Author: madhudevaLocation: hyderabad PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 3:47 pm    Post subject:
tanx for very good information

Author: davis PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:44 am    Post subject:
general networking is a new and a good thing and we should know about it.

the information provided above is very good and more over helps us in gaining knowledge about it.

Thanks for sharing such a nice tutorial.

Author: smith202 PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:12 am    Post subject:
thank you for providing such a good information.

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