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Old 01-28-2005, 09:57 AM   #6
40th Level Warrior

Join Date: October 29, 2001
Location: Western Wilds of Michigan
Posts: 11,752
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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