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Small Lan - Cost Free

 
"The Hood"
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Do any of you know of a reasonable LAN that my church can set up to connect 3 PCs? Of course they have nothing related to MONEY to spend on such a thing.
Also they have 1 Win95 and 2 WinME machines.
Needless to say - they have very little technical experience - and I am basically an application person - so have mercy please.

Any advice?? - Thanks
 
Greenhorn
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A network card in each, and some CAT5 cable is all you need to setup a peer to peer network.
Thats assuming they are physically near each other.
Otherwise you could go the wireless LAN route. Cost for that is going to be quite a bit more though. Probably in the $200 - 300 range.
Ryan
 
Ranch Hand
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Do you want this LAN connected to the internet? If so, things get a little more complicated. Typically the setup you describe is accomplished by having a Linux box act as a file server, firewall, print server, internet access point, etc. This can be done very cheaply (~free)---if you know what your're doing. It's not trivial, but it's the safest, cheapest, and most reliable way to go.
Setting up an "out-of-the-box" LAN, wireless or not, is tougher than the manufacturer's hype would have you believe.
I would throw myself on the mercy of a local Linux User's Group (LUG). Beg on their mailing list. Offer what you can through the church: food, socials, dances, etc. In fact, the geek you seek may be in the church already.
Good luck!
 
Ranch Hand
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On similar subject so I'll post it here.
I'm crap when it comes to Hardware stuff.
I use three computers now, my work laptop which is NT.
My home PC (Win 98) and now I have a new Laptop (Win ME .. soon to be XP maybe!).
Thing is I have stuff on my work laptop that I would like to transfer to my new laptop ... stuff like software installation files I downloaded .. however, my work laptop does not have a CDRW and I'm restricted to what cards I can plug in (I Do have an ethernet and Token Ring card in it already though.)
I'd rather not have to download these large files again (my home laptop only has access to the net via a 56k modem URGH) so uploading them to a storage site and downloading them again is not preferable. ... Is there a fairly inexpensive way I can link the two together to transfer this stuff? My new laptop has an infared port, if that's at all useful ... I've no idea what this is all about?
 
Cindy Glass
"The Hood"
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Is there a difference between having the LAN connect to the internet vs just having each of the PCs on the LAN connect to the internet?
 
High Plains Drifter
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There is. You could connect each PC directly through dialup, of course. You can also get an appliance that dials up your ISP and asks for an IP address, but then proxies access requests for each local PC. These are sometimes called NAT (network address translation) devices, but there are old sorts around; the older equipment you can find for next nothing.
I have some old ISDN routers that would serve the purpose, and you can have them, but you probably don't want to get into ISDN services.
 
Ryan Helton
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Angela,
All you need is a ethernet card in your desktop pc and the ethernet card in your laptop. Purchase a CAT5 CROSSOVER cable (regular CAT5 will not work, it must be a crossover cable) and connect one end to each computer. You will then be able to access each computer from the other.

Cindy,
If you have a broadband connection to the internet you can share that connection via hardware and or software. If you use dialup you can also share the connection although, I would say it may be easier and more effective to just dial up using each individual computer.
[ January 29, 2002: Message edited by: Ryan Helton ]
 
Ranch Hand
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There is a network kit called 'Easy Network Kit' from Stratitec that includes two ethernet cards, a five port HUB, and two CAT network cables. Using this you can connect upto five (only two cards come with the kit) computers. The kit comes with instructions, CDs, manual, free tech support, etc..
Compatible with DSL, Internet cable. You can have the LAN connect to internet.
I bought this for my home from SAMs club. It costed me 35.00 USD. If you are comfortable with this price, you can check out at their website.
I have not yet set up the network. So not yet tested the kit. This information is from the box.
You can call 1888.336.4418 for more info.
Hope this helps.
Thanks.
 
Ryan Helton
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For $35 that's a steal!
 
Cindy Glass
"The Hood"
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WOW!! You can even get this Network at your local SAMS club for $38.87!! Ten bucks more ups it to 8 ports.
There is a SAMS just up the road.
So can you explain the benefit of having an Ethernet switch, vs just putting cards in each PC and hardwiring them, like Ryan was saying?
And do you need ethernet cards for the printers too?
[ January 29, 2002: Message edited by: Cindy Glass ]
 
Merlin M Koppula
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I am not so good at hardware. But, my understanding is that, when you use a hub, you connect modem to the hub instead of having a modem on each computer. Either way, you will need one card per computer that you want to share resources.
You should be able to connect a shared printer to any of the computers to be used by others.
Thanks.
 
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