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The following instructions explain configure a simple "peer-to-peer" network using 2 or more computers running Window 95 and coaxial cable (BNC) or 10Base-T configurations..
Once the network is operational, printers can be designated as shared allowing other computers connected to the network to print to these printers. Likewise, folders/directories or whole drives can be designated as shared allowing other computers to use those shares just like they were on the same computer.
An additional benefit is the ability connect to the internet with more than one computer by sharing a modem using a modem sharing program like the one provided by Artisoft or a proxy server/firewall program like Wingate.
Computers can easily be networked with Windows 95 using the "Ethernet" technology. This technology can be implemented using 2 different types of cables/connectors, unshielded twisted pair ( UTP ) and coaxial cable (BNC). A network interface card has to be installed on every computer that needs access to the network. The interface card has an external connector which protrudes from the back of the computer. A cable connects to the interface card connector and the other end is connected to either a hub (10Base-T) or another interface card.
Twisted pair (10base-T) which uses a telephone like connection at the back of the network card and twisted pair cabling. A hub is needed to connect one network card to another. The resulting network is a star configuration which looks like a bicycle wheel with the hub being the center and the computers are at the end of the attached spokes. A hub is just an electronic box with between 4 and 8 telephone style female connectors. One network card is connected to each plug on the hub. The hub needs external power which is provided by either a standard electrical cord or a brick-style plug. All interface cards must be connected to the hub.
For this setup (the most common) go to the "Networking using 10Base-T page,
The second cable type is BNC which uses coaxial cable has a plug that looks like a cable outlet plug and uses coaxial cable.
The BNC setup is described below.
Each computer is "daisy-chained" to the next computer. BNC does not need a hub to complete the connection between interface cards. The cables are plugged into a T-Connector which is shaped like the letter T. One end is for connecting to the interface card leaving the other 2 ends for connecting to either one or two other computers. If only one computer is connected to the T-connector the other end is capped with a Terminator plug. Both the T-connector and Terminator plug are standard parts that either come with a card or can be purchased from many retail outlets. Many computers can be connected in this daisy-chain fashion. The last computer connected will have one end of the T-connector open. This end is capped off by installing a terminator plug.
Both technologies run at 10Mb/sec. For small computer systems there is really no need to worry about which technology to use. The BNC of course is a bit less troublesome because it does not have a hub. Also the BNC makes it easier to connect more than a few computers unlike the 10base-T technology which only allows as many computers to be connected as there are plugs in the hub.
Example of a network with a Hub
The easiest way to do this is to purchase a kit with a hub and 2 network cards.
1) Each computer needs
A very quick and easy way to do this is to buy a kit like the BNC LinkSys kit sold at best buy and contains:
- 2 BNC Network interface cards ( NIC )
- 25' of coaxial cable
- 2 T-connectors
- 2 terminators
Note: Some BNC network cards are multi-purpose and have both 10Base-T and BNC connectors which is fine
Install the Cards
First you need to install the cards into the computers. Turn of the computer. Remove the cover and install the network card in an empty slot. Put the cover back on and leave the computer off for a while longer.
After the cards are installed you need to put a T-connector on each card.
Note: The network will NOT work if you plug the coaxial cable directly to the network card.
Next connect one end of the wire to the T-connector of one computer and on the other side of the T-connector put a Terminator plug. Take the wire to the other computer, connect a T-connector on that network card, connect the cable to one side of the T-connector and put a terminator on the other end of the T-connector.
This is all that is needed to physically connect 2 computers using BNC cards and cabling.
For 10base-T a cable is connected to the first network card, and the other end is connected to the hub. Likewise all other computers are connected to both the computer's network card and to a hub plug.
After you check to make sure everything is connected, you can turn on the computers.
The network cards come with a disk that has the driver on it. You need this disk to properly install the network card in windows 95. Most computers will automatically detect the card when windows starts and ask for the network card disk.
Now you must set up windows 95 to allow the computers to see the other computers over the network.
Windows 95 can share resources (printers/drives) using either of 2 methods. This is called the "Access method" and can be either "user-level" or "share-level".
The "share-level" access is the simplest to setup and administer. Any drives or printers on any of the connected computers that is available for sharing can be added to another computer and used just like if it was a local drive or printer.
The "user-level" is more complicated and requires that users be setup so that resources can be shared.
There are several parameters that have to be configured on each computer for the network to operate correctly. These are done in the Control Panel by double click the Network icon.
- A name has to be given to each computer
- A name has to be given to the workgroup
- The Access method has to be selected
- The Protocol NetBEUI and Microsoft Client has to be added
- The "File and printer sharing" has to be enabled
- Configure TCP/IP if you will be sharing a modem with another computer
- Configure TCP/IP if you will be accessing the internet
When a network is properly configured a computer can be setup as a server, and using a firewall other computers can use the server to access its resources. Another use would be to use the server as a connection point to the internet. A firewall/proxy server like Wingate can be used which would provide security and all needed services to allow the connected computers to use WWW internet connections as well as email. Other programs such as the chat program ICQ can be configured to use the firewall.
One More Item... -
After networking is configured on both computers, you will need to make any drives ( like drive C) that you want to share, available to the network.
That means that only the drives you specifically setup to be shared will show up on the other computer.
This is done as follows:
1) open my computer
2) right click on the C drive ( or other drive)
3) click "sharing" on the pop-up
4) click the "shared as" option
5) click the "Full" under access type:
6) then click OK
This should now make that one drive available to the other computers.
Now that you have a drive SHARED, you can go to the other computer and attach this shared drive. Once attached it will have a drive letter just like the other drives on your computer.
To setup a new network drive to the following.
Close all programs. On the desktop, double click the "Network Neighborhood" to open it.
Double Click the "Entire Network" so it opens.
If only windows 95 or windows 98 computers are on the network, then instead of the "Entire Network" you will double click to open the "Workgroup" icon.
Once it is open, you should see an icon for each shared computer. You double click on the icon of the computer name you want to connect so it opens.
Again you will see the computer name a second time. Double click it again to show the contents of the computer's shared drives. When you see the drives, right click over the drive's name. A pop-up window will open. Select "Map Network Drive"
The "Map Network Drive" will appear. Click on the right arrow to the right of the "Drive" drop down selection and select an unused letter (all available alphabet letters will be shown). Any letter will do. The letter you select will be the new drive shown on your computer that has a direct connection to the other computers drive.
Click the OK button to finish.
On this window, you will see any shared drives.
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