How to Set Up a Small Network with Windows 98 Second Edition (PART 2)

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Summary

This article includes Part 2 of the "Set Up a Small Network with Windows 98 Second Edition" guide. Part 2 discusses buying the network hardware.

Note To view the other topics of the "Set Up a Small Network with Windows 98 Second Edition" guide, see the Microsoft Knowledge Base articles that are listed in the "References" section of this article.

The "Set Up a Small Network with Windows 98 Second Edition" guide includes the following topics:
Part 1. Introduction

Part 2. Buying the Network Hardware

Part 3. Connecting the Computers

Part 4. Installing the Network Card

Part 5. Configuring TCP/IP Protocol

Part 6. Setting the Computer Names and Workgroups

Part 7. Sharing Folders

Part 8. Sharing a Printer

More Information

Part 2. Buying the Network Hardware

Your computers can only communicate with each other if they are physically connected. For this, you must have some hardware. Many manufacturers offer starter kits that make setting up your first network easier. However, you can also obtain all the components separately.
  • One network card per computer.

    The most frequently used network cards are PCI 10BaseT/100BaseT Fast Ethernet adapters. These Ethernet cards for the PCI bus can automatically switch between transfer rates of 10 megabits per second (Mbps) and 100 Mbps.
    Network card
  • One network cable per computer.

    Use CAT5 UTP or STP cables (category 5 unshielded or shielded twisted pair cables with RJ45 connectors on both ends).
    Cable with RJ45 connector
  • A signal distributor.

    Use either a dual-speed hub or a dual-speed switch. A switch is an element that connects computers to each other, controls data flow, and negotiates data transfer between 10-Mbps and 100-Mbps connections.
    Switch

Hub or Switch?

The signal distributor is the central component that connects your network. The network cards in all the computers are connected to the signal distributor through the twisted pair cable. This forms a star structure. The term "star topology" originates from the star structure.

The signal distributor does not just connect the devices. It also guides data packets through the network. A hub is different from a switch. When a hub receives a data packet, it forwards the packet to all the other computers. Each computer must verify whether it is the correct recipient.
Diagram of network with hub
A hub forwards data packets to all ports.

A switch is more intelligent. It can recognize which computer is connected to which port based on the MAC address (the network card's hardware address that is assigned by the manufacturer). The switch saves this information in a table. When a switch receives a data packet, it determines the correct recipient and forwards the packet to the correct computer.
Diagram of network with switch
A switch forwards data packets only to the recipient.

A switch, therefore, creates significantly less data traffic than a hub. The more computers that you have in your network, the more sense it makes to use a switch. Your signal distributor must have a sufficient number of ports to support the number of computers in your network. Make sure that your signal distributor has extra ports so that you can add more computers later.

References

For additional information about this topic, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

814235 How to Set Up a Small Network with Windows 98 Second Edition (PART 1)

814237 How to Set Up a Small Network with Windows 98 Second Edition (PART 3)

814238 How to Set Up a Small Network with Windows 98 Second Edition (PART 4)

814239 How to Set Up a Small Network with Windows 98 Second Edition (PART 5)

814240 How to Set Up a Small Network with Windows 98 Second Edition (PART 6)

814241 How to Set Up a Small Network with Windows 98 Second Edition (PART 7)

814242 How to Set Up a Small Network with Windows 98 Second Edition (PART 8)

This article is a translation from German. Any subsequent changes or additions to the original German article may not be reflected in this translation. The information contained in this article is based on the German-language version(s) of this product. The accuracy of this information in relation to other language versions of this product is not tested within the framework of this translation. Microsoft makes this information available without warranty of its accuracy or functionality and without warranty of the completeness or accuracy of the translation.
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Artikel-id: 814236 – senaste granskning 20 juni 2014 – revision: 1

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