network setup

I want to set up a wired or wireless network in my house to share files between 3 laptops in 3 different rooms and to be able to surf the internet and play networked games.  There is no ethernet network access point in the house, the only type of connection is a regular phone connection in each room.

These are the kind of questions i am wondering about.

>>  I was wondering what kind of hardware do i need to do the job.
>>  I would like to know about speeds of downloading and cost of the hardware too if possible.
>>  What are the advantages/disadvantages of wireless/wired connection.
>>  How do i set connect the hardware and software once ive bought it.
RaftorAsked:
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browolfCommented:
Hi Raftor,

In my house i have 2 pcs and 1 laptop connected to a wireless DSL router. the 2 pcs are connected via ethernet wires and the laptop by wireless. I could if i wished connect my pcs using wireless ethernet cards instead. The benefit of wired connections is that you can get faster network speed, ie 100mbit. wireless only goes upto 54mbit afaik and i'm not sure if this would be shared amongst all the wireless connected devices. As far as downloading goes. a 1mbit dsl connection would provide approximately 35kb/s bandwith each to 3 laptops if they were used simultaneously. I dont know how well network games work in a wireless environment. wireless home routers have recently in the last year become popular so they are resonably priced. mine cost about £80 but mine had a bundled pcmcia wireless card. You can get them for around £50.

Routers are surprisingly easy to setup. Although the laptop side was a bit quirky.  

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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
>>  I was wondering what kind of hardware do i need to do the job.
Wireless Access Point (probably a typical Wireless Access Point/Cable DSL Router).  
I asked a similar question for hardware to share a modem connection
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Networking/Q_21185190.html

>>  I would like to know about speeds of downloading and cost of the hardware too if possible.
Downloading will be SLOW.  56K / 3 if all three computers are downloading simultaneously - or about 18Kb per computer (2 KBytes) per second - assuming you have a FAST 53K (FCC Limit) connection.

>>  What are the advantages/disadvantages of wireless/wired connection.
Wireless would be best as you don't have to run cables through your house.  But you are subject to interference from 2.4 GHz phones (when someone is speaking on one, they tend to interrupt your signal) and your speeds are going to be at best 1/3 of a wired network and at worst, 1/100 that of a wired network.  For gaming IN HOUSE, that's fine.  For transferring files (movies for example) between computers, that's SLOW.

Wired means you'd have to run cables through your house.  Punch holes through walls and/or floors.  BUT, they are rarely subject to any kind of interference and run at a reliably fast 100 Mbits/second (realistically, 10 MBytes/second)

>>  How do i set connect the hardware and software once ive bought it.
Depends a little on what hardware you get.  That's better answered by a seperate question once you have the equipment.  Also depends on what solution you take - wired or wireless - and what your notebooks already have.
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stockhesCommented:

Another issue must be raised speaking wireless or not
Security !: I know coding's & encryption gets better, but your data is more safe in a shielded cable than in the air.
If you are doing a lot of inhouse sharing I would go for a wired solution, because wireless seems to - not like concrete ,any metallic obstacles, cellulars, and if you sneeze the bandwith drops below 10 mbit. ^O^

but then again laptops yilds wireless and desktops yilds wired.
 
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Security is an excellent point - Wireless, even when secured, isn't very secure.  I don't think you're likely to get "hacked" for yourr personal info, but people have been known to "War Drive" - search for wireless networks and if you have a hacker who really wants on your network, they'll get on your network within a day or two of steady work.
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BjornEricssonCommented:
Well, first of all, imagine your home network getting hacked? What are the chances, but you are right and I agree, wireless are not very secure, especially not bluetooth.

To get to the point, depending on the amount of money your are prepared to spend, your safest and best option is always the most expensive (obviously).
Personally I would get a small router with a build in firewall, ranging from $60-$400, this allows you to spread an Internet connection and also protects you from outside attacks. Assuming that ever system has a network card, there isn't anything else you would need than cables it that would be the prefered choice.
_________
|_Router_| -------> Laptop
  |       |
  |        ----> Stationary
  |
  V
Internet

The most commonly used in home networks are probably ring-networks, imagine a ring of machines and in the middle you have the connection point where everyone can reach it.

Of course you wouldn't need routers, hubs, switches. You could get away with one networkcard/machine and one machine with two. Add some software like, I-share and you are ready to explore..
/B
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RaftorAuthor Commented:
>>Can you convert the existing phone line to a ethernet line and hook it up to the network cards? Will this line be able to provide high speed internet or will it remain the 56k land line speed?

>> Using the existing phone lines in the house (each room has a phone line connection) can I network the 3 notebooks?  

>> If i wanted to connect 3 laptops for network gaming, what would i need. Is it a swith or router or what? How much are these and are they hard to configure?
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
>>Can you convert the existing phone line to a ethernet line and hook it up to the network cards? Will this line be able to provide high speed internet or will it remain the 56k land line speed?

Probably not - the existing phone line is typically CAT3 cable - or worse.  In addition, network cable requires 2 pairs of wires, phone cables typically only have 2 pairs of wires and your phone service uses 1 of them.  You could look into a Powerline network conerter, but unless I miss my guess, all computers must be on the same circuit (breaker or fuse).  If you contact your phone company, they MAY offer DSL service which uses standard phone lines, but wouldn't be able to provide service to more than one location in the house without buying additional equipment and service.  DSL is MUCH faster than dialup, but the technology is still quite limited and you must be within 4 miles of a telephone switching station (and these aren't always as close as you might think).

>> Using the existing phone lines in the house (each room has a phone line connection) can I network the 3 notebooks?  

See Above.

>> If i wanted to connect 3 laptops for network gaming, what would i need. Is it a swith or router or what? How much are these and are they hard to configure?

Probably a simple hub would suffice.  There wouldn't be anything to configure - assuming each laptop was using a fairly new operating system.  XP for example, will auto-assign an IP to the computer if it's connected to a network but doesn't have one defined by you or get one from a Router/Server somewhere on the same network.

Basically, if you weren't worried about internet connections, and just wanted to game amongst yourselves, then you'd get a hub (or preferably a switch - a little more efficient and thus faster) and plug your computers into it (computers have to have a network card).

If you got a high speed internet connection, then you'd get a router and everything would connect to it - but it depends which route you want to go with that - Wireless or Wired.
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browolfCommented:
switches used to be expensive versions of hubs. Being more effficient in their operation. Nowadays switches are so cheap no-one bothers with hubs.  neither switches nor hubs that are typically aimed at small usage e.g. 5 port need configuring. they just work.

a router is sort of a modem and a switch joined together.  
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