a simple network question

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Hardware

Hello Forum!

I have a simple network question. I have a Linux Distribution on a lapton and I have the network hardware ready so so that I can connect to the internet. I already have a computer connected to the internet. So I suppose in order to have two computers I need some sort of hub device. Can anyone offer a suggestion about this?

Hub

So I guess I can just go to my local electronics / computer parts store and buy a hub. I wonder if my internet service provider needs to be informed about all this.

re: hub

A hub won't work if you only get 1 public IP from your ISP.

As mentioned, you probably need a cheap cable/dsl firewall (hard to tell exactly since you don't give the details of your existing setup).

Not only does that do the NAT (so you can have numerous private IP's and only 1 public IP) but most come with both a WAP and wired ports. For a few bucks more, you can get one that does SPI, which adds a layer of protection to simple NAT'd firewalls.

I wouldn't obsess over the brand, all the cheap ones (i.e. $40-$80) perform pretty much the same functions and for that price - anything over a year of 24/7 operation is bonus time in my book.

re: hub

well, a hub would work if he wanted to do masqing and forwarding through his desktop. Set up dhcpd or use static internal ips... even a crossover cable would work for connection sharing if he's trying to get by real cheap.

But yeah I agree the best advice is to get a router with the built in firewall and forwarding stuff. As stated, I'd suggest a wireless router so he could fully enjoy that laptop.

Get a router

It's unclear from your initial post whether you

- want to configure the computer you already have connected (to...what...a cable modem?) to share your Internet connection with other computers (which would also require two NICs in that PC, right?) or
- if you're just looking for the easiest way to connect your (let's assume) cable modem to more than one computer.

Getting a router, connecting your cable modem to it, and then connecting multiple computers to the router's ports would be the easiest solution (unless you know or want to learn how to configure a computer to act as a router).

Plus you'd get the benefit of the router acting as a firewall, since they usually do NAT. And Internet connection setup would also be very easy, since routers usually do DHCP.

(My experience with Netgear is good. I have an old (out of production) Netgear RP114 that's been solid. When we got wireless laptops, I bought a (ubiquitous) Linksys WRT54G to replace it, but found that the Linksys choked on bittorrent traffic, which caused me to have to frequently reboot the cable modem. So now the Linksys is plugged into the Netgear and is acting as a switch.)

As long as you've just got a half dozen computers or less on a home network with a broadband connection, you usually don't have to tell your ISP. But read your TOS to be sure.

(I defer to Susan. She's got way more experience than me.)

- Andrew

re: network question

Well, if you're going to do the firewall/forwarding from the desktop, a hub would work - or even just a crossover cable and another nic. But if you'd rather let the new device do the forwarding, then get a switch. Most have a firewall built in that will forward traffic to and from your cable or dsl modem. Any good commercial switch will work. In fact, if it's a laptop, you might even prefer to get a wireless router (which have rj-45 slots for your desktop).

I've had some bad experiences with netgears, in that they don't seem to last long. dlink and linksys are pretty good I reckon.