Setting up a Home network


I would like to setup an home network (wired rather than wireless).

I already have a network card in one of my computers, but not in the others.

So, my questions are:

a) What type of equipment do I need to buy
b) How much will I have to spend
c) How do I set it all up

Please give full explanation as possible.

Thanks in advance,
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

You have asked a very general question.. I am  more comfortable in giving links

a) at leat 1 network card per machine, if u only have 2 machines, you can use a crossover cable between the two.  If you have three or more machines you need a hub or switch and a cable per machine.
b) Network card £5, Hub £15, cable £3
c) If it is just two PC's run a cross over cable between them, give them both rfc1918 addresses ( &, subnet mask are good choices) in the IP address setting under TCP/IP in Network settings.  For more machines plug each into your hub / switch with each having a rfc1918 address and it should work.
Depending on your system, you may have to disable / reconfigure any firewalls and change the setup of your router - if you intend to use ICS (Internet Conection Sharing)
Put Your Flow Data to Work

SolarWinds® Flow Tool Bundle combines three easy-to-download, easy-to-use flow analysis tools that can help you quickly distribute, test, and configure your flow traffic.

you're far too quick...

I'd suggest getting a broadband router, as you'll need a switch to connect the machines anyway, the simplicity and safety of a hardware firewall is well worth the few dollars extra.

This will handle IP addressing for the other machines, the just need to have an ethernet card and be set up for DHCP, just as if they were directly connected to the cable or DSL modem.

You'll want to make sure the workgroup name is the same for all the machines, and that the machine names are different.

Open the Windows Me Network control panel by clicking the Start button. Select Settings, then select Control Panel. Double-click the Network icon in the resulting Control Panel window.  
If File an printer sharing isn't present:

Select the Configuration tab and click the Add button.  
Select the Service component and click the Add button.  
Select File and printer sharing for Microsoft Networks then click the OK button
Double-click on the “Network” icon in the control panel
Under the Configuration tab, click on the “File and Print Sharing…” button.
Check the box(es) next to the resource(s) you want to share and click on “OK”.

Create a folder you want to share, right click on it and select properties.
Select to share the folder.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial

Trying to catchup with CO's speed..    

Some of the following suggestions have been answered by others.  Here are my suggested steps:

1) How are you connecting to the Internet - select one of the answer:
1b Dial-up to the Internet.
1c Broadband such as cable modem or DSL?

2) Count any network enabled printers you plan to connect to the network directly.
2) Count how many computers do you have or planned to connect to the network.

3) Put a network card into each computer
3a It's cheep so only get only 10/100 - cost estimate around $20/each or less shop around.
3b Replace the existing one if it's only 10Mbps

*** Dial-up
4) If you are using dial-up (1b) buy a 10/100 switch
4- with enough ports for all computers and printer
4- you will be using Internet Connection Sharing as suggested by others
4- You can also try to buy a dial-up modem/router - harder to find. $130/200.

*** Broadband
4) Buy a broadband router with enough switch ports for your computers/printer
4- you can also buy a router with switch port and print server
4- cost estimate for a DSL/Router with 4 ports switch $49-79.. a little more with print server
4- if the router does not have enough ports get a larger 10/100 switch ($50-120)

5) Determine where you will put the computer
6) count the number of cables that you will need to connect the computers/printers
6- to the switch ports on the switch or broadband router.
7) buy or make  your own cables - roughly $3.00/$25.00 for 3feet - 25feet....
7- get CAT5 or CAT5E cables with boot (rubber protector) on the end of the cable

*** connect the DSL system
1) connect the DSL/modem to the DSL/router using the cable that came with router.
1- use the WAN port on the DSL router (go to connect the rest)
2) connect the cables from computer to the switch port.
3) power on the router and the first computer - follow the direction on router to set it up.
3- go to connect the rest

*** connect the dial-up modem/router type
1) connect the dial-up modem/router to the main computer (need to be on for others)
2) set it up based on the dial-up modem/router instruction that came with it.
3) connect the computer to the switch port
4) setup Internet connection sharing.  (go to connect the rest)

*** connect using dial-up modem
1) setup the modem and test dial-up to the Internet - modem cost $80
1- do not get the winmodem which uses your processor to function.
2) setup Internet Connection sharing

*** connect the rest
1) connect the cables from computers to the switch ports.
2) power on any other computer to test your network.

I would wanna give you a nice deal:

go to and download the E-smith server version 5.6 approximate 350 MB
after installing creating the ISO and install, then from one of the other maschines go https://maschine name/server-manager and then you are ready to configure it as your internet gateway mail server apache (http) this wonderfull ("toy") can do VPN and all you ever wanted. Then get some 10/100 Network card for the rest of the PC's, if you wanna do a smart trick here add an extra NIC for the server and you have created your own DMZ where you hide your internal LAN.

I'll garantie you can make the whole installation of this type of server within 45 min after installing the Software.
dechAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your comments so far,

I have decided to go with the router option.

If possible provide more details on that, including where I could buy all the components and which ones I need.

Please take into account the following:
I am currently on dail-up, but will be moving into broadband very soon
I am in the UK
I am technically able, but lack experience with networks (so explain wot the different numbers for the components mean)
I am a student, so money isnt free flowing, but I am willing to spend extra for quality.

Thanks very much,
As far as broadband router for a home network, you need to look the following (not inclusive):

1) do you need wireless (more expensive)
2) do you need a print server build-into the router (most likely not).
3) do you need vpn

Router with a 4 port 10/100 switch (wired) will run you about 25 quids... may be more expensive in UK.... you may need to buy NICs for your PC... one network cable for each PC connecting to the Hub..... that's it....

It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Network Analysis

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.