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Author Topic: Networking how to questions?  (Read 4849 times)
haywire
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Posts: 507


« on: March 04, 2010, 09:31:01 pm »

I have a bunch of computers in my basement nerd room.

I'd like to install an app I found that allows you to share keyboard/mouse between computers but they must be networked.
This would allow me to get alot more work done without switching my seat and all that, essentially, I could have three or
four screens in front of me, each connected to different computers... That would be controlled by one keyboard and mouse.

I have never networked computers before, other than getting them connected to my broadband router to share internet.

Can someone please let me know... ?

1) Do I need two network cards in each machine, one for high speed internet router and one for network hub?

2) How do I network windows xp and my windows vista computer, along with my vector linux box?

3) Is there any websites for general help with networking that I can read and perhaps gain some knowledge?

My first attempt was a dismal failure, I gave up after pulling my hair out for a few hours with zero as far as results go.

Each of my computers has just one network card installed in them, so I was thinking perhaps I need two network cards in each
machine, one for connection to the broadband router, and one for the networking?

I'm sorry but I know very little about networking, I used to have just one or two pcs and to share files I would just burn cds or use a usb pen drive. I need to get the networking going so I can use the computers I have together more effectively...

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated...

Steven



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hata_ph
Packager
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Posts: 3261


-- Just being myself --


« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2010, 12:25:20 am »

1 network card per PC is enough. You need to have a network switch and network cable. Router is for if you want to connected to the internet.
Connect the PC to the network switch using network cable will make a small home network. Assign each PC with a static IP.

1. Just need 1 network card and connect it to the network switch. And if you have a router, just connect it to the switch too. The router will connect to the internet. Most home based router have DHCP option, use DHCP to auto assign IP to the client or use static IP ih you want to disable DHCP.

2. Once all client are connect to the switch and IP is assigned to them, it is already in a network. You can ping each client via it IP.

3. http://www.howstuffworks.com/home-network.htm

PS: Keep thing to the basic first and then you can expand it function on later time.
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M0E-lnx
Administrator
Vectorian
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Posts: 3195



« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2010, 11:08:57 am »

I've never even thought of doing anything like that. The closest and easiest thing I can think of would be remote desktop to each machine and you still pretty much get the same user experience, except, from one screen (or 2, as many as you have on your local box). I've never heard or tried to share mouse and keyboard with more than one box except with an old kvm switch? I think is what it's called...
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toothandnail
Tester
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Posts: 2527


« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2010, 12:30:56 pm »

I have to say that I suspect that a cheap KVM switch would allow sharing one keyboard, monitor and display much more simply than attempting some sort of network takeover. If nothing else, what software is required to accomplish this, and what platform does it run on?

I've been using a cheap 4 way KVM for a number of years. With it, I can switch  between up to four machines quickly and easily. Saves a lot of space.....

Not that networking the machines is not a good idea in itself, but there are lots of other things you can use a network for other than controlling multiple machines.

Paul.
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haywire
Vectorian
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Posts: 507


« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2010, 01:12:31 pm »

http://synergy2.sourceforge.net/

This is the software I was looking into... I have a network "hub" do I need a network "switch" instead of a network "hub"?

I will try this again but If I can't get it going, I think a switch would be perfect for my needs, I don't need to share files so much, I just would like to have 3 comuters on one desk all controlled by one keyboard and mouse...

A mechanical switch, I can handle that alot easier... I should mention I wanted this mostly for my 3 windows machines, which are used to video editing and I am often rendering stuff on 2 or 3 at once to make projects go faster, for example, I add a "film effect" to the video clips I use, or an auto color correct
filter and so on... Its very helpful to have 2 or 3 computers applying the filters and re-outputing the videos for final edit.

Is there a place I can get a switch and the cables to handle 4 computers, its kind of confusing as to which cables you need and so on...
If there was a kit that included the switch and all the cables, I would much prefer that...

Steven




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M0E-lnx
Administrator
Vectorian
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Posts: 3195



« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2010, 01:16:19 pm »

Hub and switch are essentially the same thing AFAIK, but I still think a kvm switch would work better/easier for you
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haywire
Vectorian
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Posts: 507


« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2010, 06:48:34 pm »

Yes I think for my needs, the switch would be better and more hassle free... I found a 4 port switch that comes with cables for 60$ on ebay. I think I will just order that... Problem solved...

Steven
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GrannyGeek
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Posts: 2567


« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2010, 09:47:17 pm »

Most routers I've ever seen have a switch built in. Routers may have four ports or 8 ports or some other number. If you need more ports, THEN you get a switch and plug an Ethernet cable between the switch and a port on the router.

With a router you can connect to the Internet AND set up your network. If you're using a wired network, you simply connect Cat5 cable from the Ethernet port from your computer to a port on the router. Setup is easy and you can use the DHCP server in the router to assign addresses to computers or printers connected to the router or you can assign addresses yourself if you want to use fixed IP addresses.

Routers have the additional advantage of offering NAT (Network Address Translation) that serves as a firewall and prevents your ports from being invaded from the Internet.

So you don't want a switch; you want a router.
--GrannyGeek
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Happily running VL 7 Gold on  a Sempron LE-1300 desktop (2.3 GHz), 4 G RAM,  GeForce 6150 SE onboard graphics and on an HP Pavilion dv7 i7, 6 gigs, Intel 2nd Generation Integrated Graphics Controller
haywire
Vectorian
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Posts: 507


« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2010, 01:11:40 am »

I have a 4 port router, which I am using for sharing internet, that works fine.

I'm a bit confused but I think I'll give it another night before giving up and buying the switch.

I would prefer the computers be networked so I can easily share files. for most of what I do, my 4gb pen drive works
wonders, but it is an extra step or two that I could skip if the computers were networked.

Steven
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nightflier
Administrator
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Posts: 4038



« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2010, 05:13:14 am »

I think that having all computers on a network greatly increases their usefulness, that's the way I'd go.

A switch is a little smarter than a hub. A hub sends everything received to all ports, letting the computers decide whether to accept or not. The switch keeps track of what device is where, and directs the traffic accordingly.

New 5-port switches are as low as $10 on sites like Newegg. Cables are around $5 each.

Note on cabling; I invested in a $20 crimper tool and a bag of connectors, then buy the cable at my local hardware store. The connectors were $0.50 each and cable goes for $0.15/ft. I quickly recouped the initial cost and it's a great convenience to be able to make custom cables.
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GrannyGeek
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Vectorian
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Posts: 2567


« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2010, 08:37:48 pm »

What have you tried that hasn't worked? Each computer needs a length of CAT5 Ethernet cable going from the computer's Ethernet port to a port in the router. The router needs a length of CAT5 from its WAN port to the broadband modem.

Each computer needs its own name plus a shared domain name. For my home network I use names like hall.OURDOMAIN, laptop.OURDOMAIN, tower.OURDOMAIN. All the computers need an address on the network. Do you know the router's address? It should be in any documentation you have for it. My router is at 192.168.2.1. Different routers have different default addresses. They are almost always something like 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1. or 192.168.2.1. These can be changes, but the router address determines what the first three groups of numbers are. The fourth number needs to be different for each computer.

The router can assign addresses automatically if you use DHCP built into the router. If you want fixed IP addresses, you assign them yourself. Have you gotten into the router's configuration pages? Generally you use a Web browser for that.

If you want to have Linux and Windows computers on your network, you need to set up Samba in Linux. I've never done that but plenty of people here have. It can sometimes be tricky, but difficulties are solvable. I use nfs for networking, which is Linux-only unless you buy Windows third-party software.

Networks are wonderful things! Good luck, and don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it.
--GrannyGeek
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Registered Linux User #397786

Happily running VL 7 Gold on  a Sempron LE-1300 desktop (2.3 GHz), 4 G RAM,  GeForce 6150 SE onboard graphics and on an HP Pavilion dv7 i7, 6 gigs, Intel 2nd Generation Integrated Graphics Controller
hata_ph
Packager
Vectorian
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Posts: 3261


-- Just being myself --


« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2010, 02:27:47 am »

Just stick to the basic configuration, setup the basic networking first and the rest can be apply later. It would be nice to let us know what is your progress? Tongue
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newt
Vectorian
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Posts: 1132



« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2010, 08:07:48 am »

Just to keep things clear, these devices have all been mentioned and are all somewhat different especially the network vs KVM devices:

Network Hub - Anything that comes in one port is sent out to the others. Every computer connected to the hub "sees" everything that every other computer on the hub sees.
Network Switch - The net result of using a switch over a hub is that most of the network traffic only goes where it needs to rather than to every port.
Network Router - A simple way to think of a router is as a computer that can be programmed to understand, possibly manipulate, and route the data its being asked to handle.
Network Cables - Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6 (RJ-45 jack end)

KVM Switch - Not a networking device. Keyboard, Video, and Mouse. Sometimes includes Audio (KVMA).
KVM Cables - Does not provide networking connectivity. These are typically a vga, ps/2, ps/2 cable. Sometimes vga, usb, ps/2. Sometimes includes audio.

Source for network device definitions: http://ask-leo.com/whats_the_difference_between_a_hub_a_switch_and_a_router.html
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toothandnail
Tester
Vectorian
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Posts: 2527


« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2010, 01:58:03 pm »

I have a 4 port router, which I am using for sharing internet, that works fine.

That should be all you need to share data between your computers. Between Linux machines, NFS is probably the best option, but for Windows machines, Samba will do what is needed. Linux machines can also use Samba to access Windows resources.

Quote
I'm a bit confused but I think I'll give it another night before giving up and buying the switch.

The two options are not mutually exclusive. My desktop machines are networked, but I still use a KVM so that they can all use the same screen/keyboard/mouse. Saves a lot of space ( Smiley and money...)

Quote
I would prefer the computers be networked so I can easily share files. for most of what I do, my 4gb pen drive works
wonders, but it is an extra step or two that I could skip if the computers were networked.

Since you already have a 4-port router/switch, that should not be too difficult. I would still suggest that a KVM is more effective (not to mention a lot simpler) for sharing the input/output devices between the machines.

Paul.
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newt
Vectorian
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Posts: 1132



« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2010, 04:56:59 pm »

To add to toothandnail:

If you have your systems all networked and don't want to spend the extra money on a kvm switch then you can always try the remote control route (vnc, nx, etc).
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