Networking w/4 PC's - how to setup server and 3 users?

Posted on 2003-03-16
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-30
I have 4 systems at home networked using peer-to-peer style networking. It works, but it's kind of "grown" into this over time.

I'd kind of like to set it up as a single server (w/DSL) with each of the other 3 machines being accounts/users who can access it and the internet through it. I also feel like I need to learn this aspect of networking, and that this is a good method.

First question: is this a good idea, or is it preferable to stick with peer to peer? Am I getting in deeper than I need?

Second question: if this *is* the way to go, are there any docs or sites the can help me step through the process? I was frightened off of doing it by the Win2K install a few years ago, which asked for IP addresses, DHCP, DNS, and a host of other acronyms I didn't understand during the install.... nor could I make sense of the choices. What's a good resource for this? ALl I have found seems to be more concerned with how to wire it up rather than how to set up the software to make it work.

Thanks for your time and help.


Extra notes:
1. One system runs Win2K, the others run Win XP Pro. I could change them to all XP, but wasn't sure if the server should remain a 2000 system. Open to your suggestions.

2. Nothing is wireless here. It's all 10/100 connected to an SMC Barricade and then to the DSL.
Question by:iamspartacus
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Accepted Solution

Beerman earned 500 total points
ID: 8147713
If you are interested in learning networking or to become certified in windows, yes you should definitely setup a server.  This will help you learn far better than just a book.  You will run into problems, but that is actually a good thing.  The problems you face (and fix) will make you a much better troubleshooter and network person.  As far as books, I always liked Sybex series books in the mcse track.  Microsoft press is also ok.
FYI, the reasons for a server environment include centralized security and administration (you have all of your files and resources on the server).  You can use either 2k pro or Xp pro for clients.

Assisted Solution

Baddog earned 500 total points
ID: 8147969
What I have done with my home network (4 PCs) is set one PC as the server with Active Directory installed.  

Create users for the other three computers and have them log in to the domain. From here you have several options, but what I have done is used a proxy server (WinProxy 5) on this machine and have the clients computers go to the Internet using the Proxy.

I have another option and that is for the server to perform NAT to allow the other three PCs to access the Internet. In other words, I am using Windows 2000s built-in routing capabilites.

My third option is to use my ADSL router as the gateway to the Internet. Here, I have used a switch to connect all the computers and the router on the same subnet. In this case, the ADSL router is performing the NAT function.  

Granted, I have done a Microsoft Systems Engineer course and am very familiar with the network structure. But what I would recommend is for you to buy some books dealing with Windows 2000 Server, Professional, and Active Diretory. These will give you the much needed information to properly set up your network (my bookshelves are full of these books).

If I can suggest a book that I believe is an excellent guide as it covers the 4 core exams for MCSE certification and contains wealth of information for Networking:
"Windows 2000 MCSE Study System by IDG Books."


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