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Lavindathar 01-27-2005 02:03 PM

<font color="cyan">Ok,I have a 1year old P42.6Ghz laptop running windows XP, and last time I tried networking it it didnt really go to plan...

So, a few questions:

i) How do I find out if my laptop has a network card?
ii)How do I find out what kind of network card it is and what capabilities it has?
iii)How do I succesfully network it to a desktop PC/Another laptop
iv) Are there any specifications that the other networkee's card must adhere to for the networking process to work correctly?

Cheers in advance!


Bungleau 01-27-2005 02:19 PM

Okay, in no particular order...

The first thing I look at is the laptop itself. You have two choices of NIC: built-in or add-on. The built-in will show as a wired network plug or switch to activate the wireless NIC. The wired plug is a little larger than a standard telephone plug.

If it's not built-in, then you might have it via a PCMCIA card (now also called PC Card). Most laptops these days support a Type III or two Type I cards. Look for a slot, typically on the side of the laptop, that's about 2-1/4 inches (6 cm) wide and either 1/4 or 3/8 inches tall (5-10mm). If you have one, that's where it would be plugged in.

You have four basic choices for NIC these days: 10mbps wired, 10/100 wired, wireless-B, and wireless-G. If you have to get one, go for 10/100 or wireless G. They're compatible with their counterparts.

You can also right-click on my computer, go to properties, and look at the device manager. That will give you everything Windows thinks it has at the moment.

As for connecting... the easiest wired way is through a router, hub or switch. You can pick them up fairly inexpensively, and you just need to be able to see each other. If you don't use one, you need a special cable.

If you're wireless, an ad-hoc network is the easiest.

The only real rule is that you both can't be using the same IP address.

Which way are you thinking of doing it? Give more info, get more answers.

Vaskez 01-27-2005 03:30 PM

Don't wanna rewrite everything Bungleau, said so will just add: yeah don't have the same IP address, but DO have the same subnet mask, i.e. in this case, make sure the first 3 set of numbers are the same in the IP address.

If it's not wireless and you want to directly connect to another comp, you need a crossover cable (labelled x-over on the cable itself) to switch over the receive and transmit signals, which is normally done by the hub.

LOL so they're calling 802.11b/g wireless b/g now eh? I guess you can't expect people to remember a number...

yeah g would be best, since it supports much higher data rates than b, although it can go back to the slower rate in case a b type card is part of the network - although if you have just 1 b card, the whole net will operate at the lowest common data rate, or so I've heard.

Bungleau 01-27-2005 03:59 PM

They're not calling it wireless b/g... that was just my own shorthand. It's still officially 802.11B/G.

And if a B card connects to a G access point, that access point slows down to B speeds for everyone. It can be addressed in higher-level access points (not the kind you find in your local computer store) that can actually create multiple wireless environments... multiple SSIDs for different groups of people. So all the B people could access VASKEZ-B, all the G people could access VASKEZ-G, and the rest could access VASKEZ-BEER.

No, waitaminnit... that's JOHNNY-BEER.... :D

In any case, I wouldn't buy a B card or access point any more. I would only buy Gs today.

Lavindathar 01-28-2005 06:51 AM

<font color="cyan">I really didn't understand most of that!!


I do have a slot for a network card...but, there isn't a card in it.

I'll try and check for an internal one in a min.

Can I not just run a data cable from a USB port on each cpu and connect them?

Sorry, I don't get networking!</font>

Bungleau 01-28-2005 09:57 AM

Sorry. I was trying not to be confusing, and apparently, I failed... :( And then Vaskez dragged me off into theory, and I forgot all about making it understandable ;)

In any case, networking isn't all that hard. Two computers just need to agree to share data. They do that through a communication protocol -- an agreed-upon way to express the data. TCP/IP is the most common one in use today, and it's what the Internet runs on.

To connect, you need a connection. Sorry, that's halfway redundant ;) But you need to be able to connect to the other computer. That can be done either wired or wireless.

If it's done wired, then you have two choices: Get a hub to sit between the two computers, and they both talk to the hub (who then passes the information along), or connect directly to the other computer. Most computers these days use the hub method. It's the easiest one to set up, as well.

If you use a direct connection, you have a small problem: there are four pairs of wires in the typical cable, two of which are used for data. One sends, and the other receives. The hub takes care of transferring the sent data from your cable to the receive line of the other cable. Without the hub, both of you are sending on the same wire and receiving on the same wire -- so you'll never hear each other. That's the crossover cable that Vaskez mentioned -- inside the cable, it's rigged so that your send wires plug into the recieve spots on the other end, and vice versa.

Few people use these today (in my experience), largely because it (a) is more complex and (b) limits you to just one other connection. If you had a third friend who wanted to join in, he couldn't. Crossover cables are also noticably more expensive than regular cables.

So hubs are the easiest way to go about it.

Now, I'm not sure if someone has come up with a USB crossover cable or not. If they have, then you could certainly use it. I'm not sure how much it would cost, but it wouldn't be the cheapest thing on the shelf ;)

If you go wireless between the two machines, you don't have to worry about the wires crossing. They handle that in the wireless protocol. Plus, you can do wireless with other folks, and add in an access point if you need to in the future.

*edit* I was just in CompUSA today, and apparently, someone does make a USB crossover type cable. It's called a Link Cable, and it was around US$30 (which is what I'd pay for a four-port hub and several CAT-5 patch cables). The speed was only 4-8 Mbps (compared to typically 100MBps with a hub), so if you're using it for something serious (like gaming), you may want to look more strongly at a hub.

[ 01-28-2005, 02:53 PM: Message edited by: Bungleau ]

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