Ethernet LAN

We describe here the 10Base-T Ethernet network. It is the most prevalent network in the world and is expected to be so for quite some time into the future. If you use Category-5 cables, it would support the 10-Gigabit Ethernet too.

Trivial case -- The two-computer network
This requires only a special cable called crossover cable to make the LAN, provided the two computers already have 10Base-T network interfaces - most new computers do. If you want to share a dial-up connection to the Internet, then the computer having the modem should have a special gateway program running in it. If the computers are in two rooms, run a cable-span between them as shown in the diagram and use one crossover cable at one end as the patch cord.

We will provide the crossover cable and help with installing network interfaces and the Internet connection sharing.
Two-Computer Network

Cable drops
To successfully install a LAN in the office or home, you should learn how to install a cable drop between two rooms. This is a job for the home handy person. The hard part is to drop the cable to the locations of the wall plates and to cut holes on the wall for the wall socket assembly.

The following diagram illustrates how a wall socket is assembled. We will supply all the hardware involved as part of an installation kit - outlet box, Ethernet socket, wall plate, cables and a punch tool to secure the wires in the socket. Run a cable from one wall socket to another to complete a cable span. Usually you will install multiple-socket wall plates near the network hub. Then a cable each will go from there to all the locations of the computers in the other rooms. Our picture shows a wall plate with only one hole for a socket.

Cable span
If you have more than two computers or if your Internet connection is over ISDN, DSL, Cable-TV line, Satellite etc. then build a hub-and-spokes type network as follows.

Standard 10Base-T Ethernet network
In this network, all the network devices such as computers, routers etc., known as nodes, connect to a centrally located network hub. We color-coded the next diagram for easy reference.

Local Area Network
You would place the (green) hub on top of a table or hang it on the wall. Each (blue) straight-through cable shown would probably be made up of three segments: a patch cord each at the hub end and the computer end and a cable-span in-between. (See the right-hand side of the illustration of the Two-Computer LAN.) Ethernet standard requires that the total cable length between two devices be no more than 100 meters (330 ft). The network interfaces are shown as (blue) horizontal lines on the (gray) computer boxes.

You would run cable spans from near the hub to all the locations where the computers are placed. This will result in multiple-socket wall plate(s) near the hub and single-socket wall plates on the walls near the computers. Each computer would have a patch cord connecting its network interface to the wall socket. A number of patch cords equal to the number of computers would be used to connect the network ports on the hub to the wall sockets near it. This completes the installation of the Ethernet cabling system.

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