Create a wired home network

Hi all,
I want to create a wired home network so i can learn windows server 2003, exchange, active directory etc.
I have broadband (with a bt home hub)
i have 3 laptops and a pc all running xp pro
i have a netgear 10/100 8 port switch

On a previous question in ee i was informed i could have achieved this with virtualization however i would like to create a wired network. i obviously need cabling etc but can you inform me how i set this up or give me some pointers on how to achieve this.
i have limited knowledge and experience - any pointers??
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KCTSConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Simplified config

The 2003 server must had 2 network cards,
The Internet must be connected to it,and a cable from the second network card to the hub which will connect to the network..
after that, you had to start reading on active directory,
You don't need 2 network cards in the server.
Connect all the machines and the BT hub to the switch with network cables
Configure your domain controller to use a DNS forwarder that points to your BT hub
Configire DHCP on the DC to issue IP addresses with the DNS server set as your DC and the Default gateway as the BT hub
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In my opinion, please purchase a normal wireless router. Now configure a wireless router & so you can learn more things such as port forwarding, triggering & wireless issues. The cable from ISP put into router's wan port & then connect a cable between in LAN port of router & switch. This is the structure of wired network, if your server will down so the dependency is less. Another thing is so many times you can install or reinstall your OS with any settings.

Tushar Kaskhedikar  
latchwaysConnect With a Mentor Commented:
KCTS' config is perfect for achieving what you want. THe BT home hub is adequte, you do not need to replace it or have two network adapters.
davidreimelConnect With a Mentor Commented:
It is not a qustion of wires or wireless. Typically a computer, or as your case, a group of computers connected to the internet via a "modem". is a complete network that can have a server added to it. The Internet "modem" in our case the bt home hub is really not a modem, but a intenet router with some essential server features built in. If you do "start" and "run" and type "command" and click ok you will open a dos promp on one of your laptops. in that dos window type "ipconfig  /all". you will see the ip address assigned to that computer and the "default gateway" address. it will typically look like or If you type that number into a browser you should be able to connect to the interface that controls your modem.

Once you figure out the username and password for your device. Look at manufacturers website for the default username and password if you never have set it. Check around for DHCP. This is the part of the device that loans numbers to your laptops when you turn them on.

Typically in a setup like yours you will have a pool of numbers you can use to represent a computer. For example through is typical. The 192.168.1. will be the same, the 1-254 on the end will need to be unique for each computer.

The DHCP will use a smaller group of these numbers to "Loan" to computers that attach to the network. typically 50-100.

When you setup your server and attach it to yuor network. Make sure you assign it to a uniq number. Like This way it will not conflict with any number loaned to it by the router.

You can begin to experiment with all kinds of server functions. For example turn of DHCP on the "modem" and turn it on in the server.

Setup local security, DNS, proxy services, file services. Have fun!

TCPIP is complicated. I have oversimplified it to try and get you going in the right direction. Keep learning more about TCPIP, and the server thing will come naturally.
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