Networking wirelessly with Win XP

Geedorah

Registered
Hi, I have no idea how to go about this or if it is possible at all, so any help would be hugely appreciated.

I have a laptop with a wireless LAN card (Win XP), a G5 (currently without a modem) that are all in different rooms from the main phone line point. Can anyone please help me to work out the best way of sharing an internet connection between the two computers?
I have searched around for a solution, but I just can't really understand what is the difference between the routers, gateways etc.

Thanks alot in advance.
 

symphonix

Scratch & Sniff Committee
Only the "Airport Extreme base station with modem" has a modem built in. All of the other Airport routers (Airport Extreme without modem, Airport Express) are designed for connecting to broadband or LAN networks.

Your options are:
- Put a computer with a modem (ie: your laptop) into the room with the phone point and share from that computer.
- Put a router with built-in modem such as the Airport Extreme in the room with the phone point. This is probably your best option for usability in that neither computer actually has to be turned on to allow the other to access the net.
- Extend the phone line to the room with the G5, and share from that computer. This is the cheapest option (and the one I'd go with), because putting in a phone point usually costs less than either a router, wireless card, or just about anything else. This option means the G5 would have to be on in order to share Internet to your WinXP laptop.
 

Geedorah

Registered
Thanks alot for your reply. The phone line extension is'nt really an option so I guess I need to look at a router with built-in modem (is this what a gateway is?).
So with that option, I'd still need a wirless modem for the G5 wouldn't I?
In that case has anyone got a good mac compatible one they can recommend please?

Thanks.
 

WinWord10

1337 H4x0r
Geedorah said:
Hi, I have no idea how to go about this or if it is possible at all, so any help would be hugely appreciated.

I have a laptop with a wireless LAN card (Win XP), a G5 (currently without a modem) that are all in different rooms from the main phone line point. Can anyone please help me to work out the best way of sharing an internet connection between the two computers?
I have searched around for a solution, but I just can't really understand what is the difference between the routers, gateways etc.

Thanks alot in advance.
Hopefully I can clarify as per the differences between popular networking devices.

A typical router splits your internet connection and creates a local network by assigning local IP's to each connected machine. It also provides features like a web-interface for configuration, a firewall, and DHCP capability for resolving IP addresses from the modem.

A typical gateway acts mainly as a modem, but also has some of the functions of a router (usually features from the web interface of a router.) Gateways are most popular with DSL users because they eliminate the need for a client PPPoE (peer to peer over ethernet, a protocol most DSL users need to "login" with before they go online) program to be installed on the user's system, but are also somewhat common for cable connections. Gateways can be useful in certain networking situations where a limited number of computers and only limited modem and router features are required, but usually (in my experience) they don't do either function especially well. I've never heard of a gateway with a dial-up modem, so you can probably forget about this option entirely.

A hub is the most primitive of the three, simply splitting a line into several new lines, each with a different local IP. Hubs are usually not configurable.
 

nixgeek

Mac of the SubGenius! :-)
To clarify...

A router is a device that seperates two or more networks by IP address (if we're only talking about TCP/IP). Remember that an IP address (or IPX/SPX if we're talking Novell) can be changed, meaning it is a LOGICAL address. Depending on how a router is configured, it can forward requests from one network to another. This brings me to the next description...

A gateway is basically your last point outside of the internal network to another very different network. In a LAN, this can be a computer from a 192.168.x.x address network trying to access a resource from a 10.x.x.x address network. The router allows for the two different networks to communicate with one another, which causes it to act as a "gateway" for machines on either network to talk to each other even though they have different addresses.

Remember that the Internet is one LARGE network, often referred to as "the cloud" (since we personally don't have information regarding other IP addressed computers on the Internet). Your router can act as a gateway to the Internet cloud, which is why on a 192.168.1.0 private network with a computer having an address of 192.168.1.5 (for example), the gateway would need to be set to whatever the IP address the gateway has internally (192.168.1.1, for example, if that's the internal IP for the router).

The difference between a hub and a switch is the following:

A hub basically repeats the signal sent from a computer to any other devices connected to the other ports on the hub. This is why a hub is sometimes referred to as a multi-port repeater. Unfortunately, since the connection among all the ports is shared, your bandwidth is reduced by the number of devices you have communicating on each port. So a 100 Mb switch with 2 computers connected to it will be slower than if only 1 computer was connected to it. Those two computers would have an effective 50 Mb of bandwidth if they were sending/receiving data at the same time. You can also experience data collisions which slow down your network even further if a lot of devices are connected to the ports and are constantly communicating.

A switch is one step up from a hub. A switch also repeats the signal like a hub, but each connection on the port is a point-to-point connection, which means you can fill up all the ports on a switch and still have the optimal bandwidth possible (for example, 100 Mb for each port on a 100 Mb switch if one device is connected to each port). A switch does this by reading what is called a MAC (Media Access Control) address which is physically burned into the hardware of the network card (meaning it can't be changed*). This means that the switch can determine who sent the data and who received it, and send it directly to the receiver without broadcasting the information to other devices that don't need it and causing data collisions on the network. Switches have pretty much replaced hubs today.

* MAC addresses, while not PHYSICALLY changeable, can be spoofed. This means that a device can "lie" about what its MAC address really is. Think of it as an alias for an application....it isn't really the application, but acts as though it is by forwarding the request to launch the application over to the application itself. Similarly, a computer can use software to "lie" about it's MAC address by communicating to others using that fake address while the software forwards any information for that fake address to the real MAC address of the computer.

Hopefully that cleared things up, even though it was a bit extensive... :p
 

nixgeek

Mac of the SubGenius! :-)
One more thing...

Most routers that you can buy today for your home are actually integrated solutions. For example, a Linksys 4 port router is actually a router and 4-port switch in one box. This is likely to cause mor confusion than anything. Usually, the devices I mentioned above only do one thing: a router routes between different networks, a switch connects multiple devices in a more efficient manner than a hub, which just repeats a signal to all its ports.
 

BorneoBound

Registered
Geedorah said:
Thanks alot for your reply. The phone line extension is'nt really an option so I guess I need to look at a router with built-in modem (is this what a gateway is?).
So with that option, I'd still need a wirless modem for the G5 wouldn't I?
In that case has anyone got a good mac compatible one they can recommend please?

Thanks.
I would recommend an Apple Airport Extreme Base Station to plug into your phone line. This contains the modem to dial up your ISP. It will allow your Windows XP laptop and the Mac G5 to access the Internet using their wireless networking cards. The two computers can stay in their current locations.

To be a little bit pedantic, the G5 needs an Apple Airport Extreme wireless networking card installed, not a wireless modem. It may already have one. If you open "System Preferences" and choose "Network" you will get a list of network connections. If the list contains "Airport" then the card is already fitted. If Airport isn't on the list double check using the "System Profiler" program in the "Applications/Utilities" folder before buying a card.

I recommend the Apple equipment because it is designed to work together and should be easy to configure using the G5.

Hope that helps.
 

Geedorah

Registered
Thanks alot for everyone who took the time to reply, was very helpful.
After all that I'm gonna go for the airport base station thingy.
Thanks again.
 
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