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Re: OT - Router vs Ethernet Hub

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David,

As others have pointed out, you are best off with a router...however, it
is _NOT_ the only way to do it.

When you get an broadband connection (or even a dial-up connection), you
are typically paying for one (1) IP address.  For most residential and
some commericial situations, this will be a dynamic IP address.  If you
hook your hub up directly to the cable modem, then you can create IP
conflicts as you will now have multiple computers "directly" on the Net,
each of which will want/need its own IP address.  At a minimum it might
not work to well but it could be that your ISP will go ahead and assign
multiple IP addresses...but then send you a bill for the multiple IP
addresses.

This is where a router comes in.  NAT (which others have mentioned) is the
process in which the router "converts" traffic from the "outside" IP
address (i.e. the one that you get from your ISP) to the "inside" IP
addresses of your internal network.  The "inside" IP addresses can be
dynamically assigned by the router or you can statically assign IP
addresses for computers (and printers etc).  The router then "routes" the
appropriate items to the appropriate computers.  The "side" benefit is
that the NAT function also acts like a firewall (although it is not truly
a firewall...but some routers also have true firewall functions).

Now, you other way to do it is to hook one (1) computer directly to the
cable modem and then use the built-in Internet Connection Sharing
(ICS) function of Windoze.  To do this, you would need two network cards
on the that computer.  The second network card would have an ethernet line
that goes to the hub.  The ICS function is basically a NAT function built
into Windoze.  The downside of this approach (besides having to have two
network cards in the one computer) is that the computer hooked directly to
the cable modem is "directly" on the Net with no protection, unless you
have a software firewall (or install a hardware firewall) running on it.

The end result is that the best soution is to go buy a broadband router.
They are cheap.  You can get a wired (i.e. no wireless WiFi) router for
less than $50.  Since you have a hub, you could just get a one port
router, but a router with a built-in 4 port switch likely costs almost the
same amount and more than likely it more readily available.  Regardless,
you will need to do either a router or a computer running ICS...you
cannot/should not hook the hub directly to the cable modem.  FWIW, when
you get your router, you can run one ethernet cable to you "in" on the hub
and leave the other 3 ports on the router unused (assuming you get one
with a 4 port switch).

HTH,

Scott
Adrian, MI


On Wed, 6 Jul 2005, Jordan Truesdell, PE wrote:

> M. David Finley, P.E. wrote:
>       The Situation:  My office computers are currently connected
>       using an ethernet hub.  I am planning on changing to cable
>       internet access.  I want all of the computers to be able to
>       access the internet through the cable connection.
>
> The Question:  Can the cable modem connect to the ethernet hub or
> directly to one of the computers?  Or do I need to have a router in
> addition to (or instead of?) the ethernet hub?
>
> Thanks,
>
> M. David Finley, P.E.
>
>
>
>
> You'll want a router to bridge between the "modem" and your network, as
> well as provide rudimentary firewall services.  You generally connect the
> modem to the WAN port on the router, then any LAN network port on the
> router to your existing hub and the whole system will work.  Just about
> any "DSL/Cable" router will work. I prefer netgear, but haven't had much
> problems with the linksys one at the office.
>
> Connecting the hub to the modem will have the effect of each computer
> seeing the internet "bare" as well as possibly causing some issues with
> your internet provider if they're not expecting to see multiple computers
> at your modem.
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