LAN in home between PC and Laptop plus Westell DSL modem. Question revisted.

Posted on 2007-07-31
Last Modified: 2012-08-13
Revisiting a question I closed last night thinking I had all answers. NOT. I'm installing a home LAN, and I just got a new question.  I  need to know something more about the router and my DSL cable box (Westell) that has surfaced this a.m. when I "unstuck" the modem from where it was fastened and flipped it over to see what's what. I did give the Westell number (6100) so I didn't bother to "unstick" it and name every port or exit or switch on its back side in the area I was chatting. (My apologies to "Punky" that I didn't get the thing off back of desk and walk him through what I now see and ask enough questions...I was constantly asking for a review, and I thought I had it and obviously I did not!)

Here's my setup with the DSL cable box and PC:

My Westell 6100 has a DSL cord (the usual phone size plug) that goes through a small box after leaving the computer. Another cable comes out the other side of this box and goes into the phone jack on the wall but it's UNDER the wall plate and is a "piggyback" on my land line wire inside the wall.  For now I'm stuck with this arrangement. If I were to change it, I'd pay through the teeth I'm sure. Just sending out a tech from Verizon is quite costly then factor in a different modem for networking. This MIGHT create a new billing for Internet access, and I cannot take that risk. I came in eons ago with a very special deal (about $19.95/mo), and now it's much more expensive. I can't afford any of it. The router and adapter are a financial stretch too!

To do a "crossover" I have to start all over to learn about that AND take out my modem/fax card (to install another NIC) which I prefer not to do if at all possible. I CAN and will do it if that's my only choice, of course. I think my HP 3210 has a built in fax plus (but I lose the modem that can come in handy now and again if lines are being worked on DSL-wise). it's ready for networking (just have to figure that one out as soon as this part is understood).

Here's how things look when I view the Westell backside:

I have the Westell flipped over on it's top so I'm looking at the back with the incoming DSL line port that ends up in phone jack (piggybacks my land line and is hardwired so I cannot just pull it out of the wall).  USB port is next (don't use BUT is that a possibility and pardon my ignorance in this question!), then comes the Ethernet plug from PC (the one similar to phone cord but larger/wider). Next is a "hole" for lack of a better term and it's red (nothing in it). Next is the 10.5 VAC line that goes to the surge protector for power. At the far right (remember it's upside down facing me) is the off/on switch. That's it. There are no more phone ports/jacks (whatever they are called) on the Westell.

Herein lies my question about the line to the computer: If I begin at the DSL Modem (Westell) and go into the Wireless Router what is it that goes to the router? I see NOTHING I can spare to put to it. I HAVE to keep connected to the DSL jack obviously or we have no Internet connection. One "hole." OR is there a splitter perhaps for that? Dumb question? I have no idea.

I have only seen a CAT6 network cable, and the male ends will not work with my current setup due to the limitations of the Westell UNLESS the CAT5 plug on one end is like a traditional phone jack. I was told to take that off (and therein lies the problem....I cannot for reasons explained above. If Punky comes: I'm so sorry I couldn't frame this one remaining problem better, but I had to sleep on it and look the Westell over more carefully.

So we just need to start from the beginning and be sure I know exactly what to do in steps and/or diagrams here. My daughter wants to fix this up (she sells on the Internet and needs her laptop) quickly, and each day seems to bring a new question. I may not even have all upcoming questions here. I don't want to buy more "wrong" equipment even if we get refunds. But I need another complete walk-through from the start to the end to BE SURE I'm even understanding any of it. I have never looked at a real router so I'm not sure which to buy. I know nothing about the HP laptop 9000 series wireless adapter so I'm lost there also.

We really do need to get this "show on the road" to save my computer for me (keep others off of it as I'm starting to have problems with it due to someone else messing around inside, but that's in another question elsewhere. Sorry again for long way around barn, but to explain this (like you might) is tough for me. Maybe I need to take a tech writing course or three? :)

Thanks a bunch.  
Question by:Lindsay37
    LVL 63

    Expert Comment

    I am not sure what your question is at this point.

    If you have a router, it should be able to handle up to 4 wired computers , and more wireless.

    Are you saying you do not have 4 ports on the router, or that they are all in use.

    Regarding the FAX/ modem. You need to hook that up via a standard DSL filter into any phone jack. If you do not have any spares, you can simply wire in a new one using the original as a template.

    I hope this helps !
    LVL 32

    Expert Comment

    Sounds like what you're saying is that the Westell DSL modem only has one network port, which is currently connected to your computer.

     Wall -> DSL Modem -> Computer

    To insert a wireless access point in the mix, you'll have to unplug your computer and plug-in the wireless Acess Point (WAP) in its place.

     Wall -> DSL modem -> WAP

    Next, you should connect your computer to the wireless AP, thus:

     Wall -> DSL modem -> WAP -> computer

    You'll need a new cat-5 cable to go from the WAP to the computer. This is assuming your Wireless AP has room to plug in a wired computer. Most of them have room for four computers to be plugged in. Please post the make and model of the wireless access point.

    Author Comment

    Okay, now I'm  lost pretty much here. Unplug my computer? Say what? OR unplug "something" from my computer? And then what? Go from the Westell to where? WAP? Are more cords needed (I have too many as is). Don't the objects come with cords (short I hope!)?

    Oh, I will be buying a new computer in a few months so let's keep this all in mind also, please. What I buy now MUST work on new PC also.

    On to the other question/answer above:

    My Westell has ONE port. All my many hours have been spent on learning about routers and an adaptor for the laptop. Anything else is so far lost on my tired brain.

    Someone suggested we go cross-over to save money. What about that? I don't know how yet, but I can learn however am running out of time due to schedule of what I have to do other than this. I need to give the stuff to my daughter thus the need for absolute clarity on what to buy, what to spend, what to look for, how to make it work, etc. etc. She has never been near this either. I'm just trying to facilitate plus keep her friend from messing with my computer (dealing with passwords elsewhere on this site).

    WAP seems to be quite expensive. Can't afford, and I do not see what happens totally (thus confusion) plus the laptop is not even in the picture in one note above. Back to cross-over please. Sounds less messy and expensive. But I need a CLEAR picture of it all in order to take one clear, concise note to my daughter and she goes to the store or on the net to buy what she needs. Without that we just wait for a bit until we figure out what we are doing here. I wish I knew more, but the old learning curve is on and climbing. The info overload is fully operational right now. ;)

    <<Are you saying you do not have 4 ports on the router, or that they are all in use?<<
    I have NO router yet. I want to know exactly what is needed to buy at this point as we already bought stuff based on Best Buy's knowledge which was not enough obviously because they did not have enough info to know what we needed. I am stepping in because here is where I come for answers. You people have saved me a small fortune, and you never let me down. I'm sorry I'm unclear at times, but again, I'm in very uncharted waters right now. I'll try to get more concise myself so as to help all of you.

    My Westell has ONE port. What I knew last night was I needed to get a router with four ports and a wireless adaptor for the laptop (no one said anything was wrong with the modem (the model was known so it just needed to be checked on by whomever was reading and answering me before I started a new thread.

    As to networking cords, I'm still very confused not knowing exactly where they go and how much length I will need. Details needed very carefully!

    >>Regarding the FAX/ modem. You need to hook that up via a standard DSL filter into any phone jack. If you do not have any spares, you can simply wire in a new one using the original as a template.<<

    I'm lost on this last bit as DSL filters are not yet part of my vocabulary. "Wiring in" is also an unknown. I need kid language. ;o) I can do anything once I understand the lingo! ;)

    Thanks to both of you. Hope I can get this cleared and fast!


    LVL 63

    Accepted Solution

    OK, you need to buy whatever router is on sale that has 4 ports and handles 802.11G wifi. on sale should be $20-$30

    follow the directions that come with it and in 10 minutes you should be up and running.

    LVL 32

    Expert Comment

    You may find this link useful:

    By "unplug" I meant unplug the network cable, not the power. All those -> symbols in my description above are network cables. You can buy network cables fairly inexpensively at any computer or dept. store these days. Just shop for price a bit. Almost any network cable should be compatible, but if you're buying one look for CAT-5 on the label.

    These pages have pictures of wireless routers. You don't need to spend more than about $40 on this item. They almost have room for connecting upto four "wired" devices (PC, Printer etc.) as well.

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