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View Full Version : Routers. Best configuration?



Peter_Smith
10th Sep 2002, 07:38
I am about to buy a router/switch for internet sharing of a DSL line. That is a given. I have never used a router before, and I am wondering what is the best configuration. Let's say I put ethernet wiring in several rooms. I want to connect everything together locally, but I do not necessarily want all the computers to have internet access. For example, there could be a print server and a file server that do not need or want internet access. How should I configure the router and or hubs (I already have two hubs) so all equipment is connected?

Say I buy a LinksysEtherFast® Cable/DSL Router with 4-Port Switch. Say I might one day want to have four computers accessing the internet using the same DSL account. How do I get to the other stuff on the LAN?

Or do I need to bite the bullet and get a router with more ports? Or can several of these be daisy chained? Etc., etc. Any advice on these and other questions I have not thought of would be appreciated.:)

Peter_Smith
10th Sep 2002, 19:17
A network guy at work told me I can connect a switch to the four port router and the router's DHCP services will also extend to everything connected to the switch. The problem is apparently solved. If you have any other comments, please feel free.:)

Vanguard
10th Sep 2002, 22:08
I'm sure the router will let you specify which computers have external (Internet) access and which don't. You'll probably want to compile an include list rather than an exclude list. I usually wander to the vendor's web site for info.

For example, I was just looking at a $60 retail ($34-$42 online) router from D-Link and simply went to http://support.dlink.com/downloads/ and selected their DI-604 product manual to read it. By having the manual, you know exactly what you can do with the product before you buy it. Linksys has a similar page at http://www.linksys.com/download/ to retrieve info. Just select your product and then click on the User Guide link of the result page. I saw the following statement in their manual:
<blockquote>The Router can also be configured to block internal users’ access to the Internet with IP filtering, ...</blockquote>
There should be somewhere that you can configure the MAC address for the router. You should make it the same as your current single connection (i.e., the same as your computer) so your ISP doesn't know that you're adding more hosts. Some cable/DSL providers will charge you more to allow more than one PC connected to the Internet at a time (and they track it by the MAC). AT&T Broadband wants to charge another $10/month for their "home networking" which allows concurrent connection for up to 4 MACs. By making the router have the same MAC address as your computer, you can slide in the router without the ISP knowing about it. Packets on your intranet are routed by their DHCP assigned IP address (the Linksys should provide the DHCP server), not by their MAC address. However, if you are running NT hosts on an NT domain, the MAC is used to identify the host during authentication but I don't know if the router's MAC is visible on the intranet; it may only be visible on the internet. Typically you should see a "Clone MAC Address" function somewhere in the configuration of the router.

To add more devices just insert a switch in one of the router's ports. Use a switch instead of a hub. Switches are faster and sustain a higher bandwidth for multiple hosts than simple hubs, but switches are typically higher priced so you need to decide whether to maintain maximum bandwidth or save maybe $20 for a cheaper hub. Hosts connected to the switch can communicate with each other without having to go through the router so this also allows you to keep together the hosts that generate the most traffic without choking the router.

Peter_Smith
11th Sep 2002, 04:51
Thanks, Vanguard. Useful information. I had an inkling of most of it, but the details were good to know.

One thing that was new to me is the Mac Accress cloning. Do you know a way to find the MAC address of the PC, just in case the cloning is not automatic? I want to hit the ground running, so this may be helpful just in case.

Franlkly, this may not matter, but better safe than sorry. I already discused iit with several people at Earthlink, and they basically said that I am good to go if I get my own router. They just will not provide technical support for it unless I pay the $10.00 per month for their home networking package and buy the router from them for $100. No thanks. Seems easy enough to do it yourself, and all the reviews I have seen of the Linksys unit say that you just plug it in and it works.

LeatherMan
11th Sep 2002, 05:30
Here (http://www-dcn.fnal.gov/DCG-Docs/mac/) is a page with info on finding MAC addresses on most Operating Systems.

98 and ME is the same as for 95.

Not sure if XP is the same as for 2000, but most likely is.

Peter_Smith
11th Sep 2002, 06:34
Thanks Leatherman.:)

I ran ipconfig /all as stated for Win 2000. No "MAC address" is listed per se, but two "physical addresses" are listed. Is that the MAC? One physical address is for a "PPP adapter", which I am guessing is just DSL dial-up software, so I don't understand why it has a physical address. Is that the computer itself that is running the dial up software? The other physical address is listed for the "Ethernet Adapter local area connection 2". Is that the ethernet card?

Then which is the MAC that gets cloned to the router? I can guess -- it is the ethernet card, because that is what the DSL modem now sees. Right?

LeatherMan
11th Sep 2002, 06:51
Not sure exactly what you are seeing as I don't use/haven't used Win2000, but the MAC address is made up of 6 hexidecimal numbers such as: 00:60:08:C4:99:AA. For WinME it is listed as Adapter Address.

I'm pretty sure you would use the Ethernet Adapter local area connection 2, and I believe the PPP adapter is a software adapter only.

Peter_Smith
11th Sep 2002, 07:48
Yup, that's it. Six hex numbers. Thanks.