How to know different Hardware components need for networking

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This guide will help you decide what hardware you will need to setup you HOME network: here are a list of components, you may not need to buy depending on the number of computers you have.

1. Each machine will need a NIC (network interface connectors).
2. a hub
3. router
4. switch
5. cables (crossover / straight through)

Deciding which cable to use:
here's a small chart that will give you an idea which cable should go where:
computer to computer - crossover cable
computer to hub - straight through cable
hub port to hub port - crossover cable
hub uplink to hub port - straight through cable
computer to broadband router port - straight through cable
computer to switch - straight through cable
computer to cable modem - crossover cable
cable modem to router - crossover cable
hub uplink to switch port - straight through cable

note:
Some hubs share the connection on the Uplink Port with the port next to it. Some hubs and switches use a switch or button to enable or disable the Uplink Port. Check your product manual to see how to do this.

Maximum cable length:
Maximum cable length for Ethernet depends on what kind of Ethernet you are talking about! Here are some details on the most popular kinds of Ethernet. (UTP = unshielded twisted pair)
Gigabit Ethernet (over copper), 1000baseT
Speed: 1000 Mbps
Max Len: 100 Meters
Cable: UTP, RJ-45 connectors

Fast Ethernet, 100baseT
Speed: 100 Mbps
Max Len: 100 Meters
Cable: UTP, RJ-45 connectors

Twisted Pair Ethernet, 10baseT
Speed: 10 Mbps
Max Len: 100 Meters
Cable: UTP, RJ-45 connectors

Two computers scenario:

If you only have two computers, you will only need two nic's and a crossover cable. If you also require both computers to have internet access, then you could either
(a). Install another NIC (connect it to the cable/DSL modem with a crossover cable) or fax modem in one and connect it to the internet, then use a software proxy, ICS, Wingate, etc to share the internet.
Two computers scenario(b). Get a router (I would prefer getting a router). Connect it using a crossover cable to the cable modem and connect the computers to the built in switch on the router. Some routers don't have built in switches, in this case you will need to get a switch or hub and connect it to the internal interface of the router.
Two computers scenario
More than two computers scenario (hub/switch cascading):

With more computers you will need a hub/switch and straight through cables, connect all computers to the hub/switch with straight through cable. If you run out of ports then add another hub/switch to your network. Connect the uplink of one hub/switch to a port on the other hub/switch using a straight through cable, or connect port to port using a crossover cable.
More than two computers scenario If you have more than two hubs/switches, then connect all the hub/switches using uplink ports and straight through cables, to regular ports on a main hub/switch.
More than two computers scenario If you require internet connectivity:

(a) Install another NIC (connect it to the cable/DSL modem with a crossover cable), or fax modem in one machine and connect it to the internet. Use a software proxy, ICS, Wingate, etc to share the internet. Now connect the gateway computer and the rest of the computers to the hub's ports using straight through cables.
require internet connectivity (b) Using a broadband router, connect a cable modem with a crossover cable to the WAN port of the router, then connect the other computers to the router's LAN ports with a straight through cables.If you do not have enough ports then get more hub/switches. Connect the uplink ports to the router's LAN port with straight through cables and connect your computers to the hubs/switches. require internet connectivity

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