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 Post subject: Connecting LAN PCs Over a Switch
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:35 pm 
Klamath
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Ok. So I may have misunderstood all of this from the start. I want to connect several computers to one another. I wanted a connection that wouldn't involve all of the security measures and difficulties that I often associate with a router. From my understanding, LAN parties use hubs, or switches, to create a connection to one another. I have purchased TRENDnet 8-Port Ethernet Switch along with appropriate ethernet cables and connected two PCs to one another.

In my Local Area Connection it lists "Unidentified Network" and there is no indication of connectivity between the computers.

Apparently I thought it much simpler (simple as connecting the ethernet cables into the switch). I am obviously misunderstanding how this is supposed to work, and/or something crucial to making this all work.

I've spent well over an hour searching. I find things related to DNS and DHCP and tried a few things, but I'm guess I'm not doing it right at all.

My goal is to connect several PCs without using a router or wireless connection. If using a switch is the wrong thing after all, please tell me what I need.

Thank you for bearing with my ignorance,
-Houndf


Last edited by Houndf on Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Connecting LAN PCs Over a Switch
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 9:42 pm 
Team Member Top 50
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A router would actually be easier, but you can use a switch just fine. What a router gives you is DHCP, it automatically allocates the IP addresses to the computers attached to it, which a switch does not. To use a switch in this case, you will have to statically assign an IP address to each computer connected to the switch.

FYI, a router by itself doesn't require any additional security measures, beyond the ones required by connecting to the internet. That said, a wireless router does require additional security measures, but that is due to the wireless component, not the router itself.

To assign the IP addresses statically, go to Control Panel > Network Connections > Local Area Connection > highlight TCP/IPv4 > click Properties. Select "Use the following IP address", then fill in the fields as follows (if they are not using windows, it will be a similar process):
IP address: 192.168.1.x, where x is a number from 2 to 255 that is unique to each computer
Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0
Default gateway: 192.168.1.1

If you want more information about this, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_address.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting LAN PCs Over a Switch
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:46 pm 
Bitchin' Fast 3D Z8000
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Houndf wrote:
Apparently I thought it much simpler (simple as connecting the ethernet cables into the switch).


It is.

Houndf wrote:
I am obviously misunderstanding how this is supposed to work, and/or something crucial to making this all work.


The first thing you need to understand in all this is how a computer acquires an IP address...ok, so to answer that, you can either have one machine acting as a DHCP server or you can manually set IPs on each machine. Without one of the two, your computers are as good as door stops.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting LAN PCs Over a Switch
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:57 am 
Hired Gun
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Are you scared of Routers? You can connect a router to your switch and it would take care of the IP problem for you. If you don't need internet, just don't plug it into the modem.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting LAN PCs Over a Switch
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:33 pm 
Klamath
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Thank you mag. Setting static IPs worked.


In particular, I preferred not to have a device that broadcasted any wireless signal, in addition to minimal operational functions. Not sure if you can even turn off wireless for most routers; in retrospect, a switch or hub seemed to be more easily manageable.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting LAN PCs Over a Switch
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:03 am 
8086
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It is ironic that using the "simpler" switch actually complicated the configuration due to the lack of a DHCP server.

However, assuming these are Windows clients, it's well known Windows will self-assigned an APIPA address (from the 169.254.x.x block) when a DHCP server cannot be located (not sure if Linux works the same, probably does). In fact, it works by randomly generating an IP in that block and then tries to communicate w/ it. If it finds it in use, it randomly generates another IP and tries again, until eventually it has a unique IP address.

http://www.conniq.com/Windows-networkin ... sta-04.htm

The idea being, that in the face of no DHCP server, the two PCs *should* be able to communicate without having to manually configure TCP/IP, it would just be two IP addresses randomly selected in the 169.254.x.x block.

So it raises the question, why didn't this work in the presence of only the switch?! Again, that’s the whole point of the APIPA protocols.

What I suspect is that it would have worked. Because the network was generated randomly, it’s “unidentified”. And since it has no default gateway, access is “limited”, but you still have local access. IOW, all the information reported by Windows is purely informational, and doesn’t necessarily reflect a problem. It’s only a problem in specific contexts, namely when you’re actually expecting a DHCP server to respond, which is not the case here.

In the absolute worst case, you might have to dig out what IP addresses where assigned and use them explicitly (Windows naming in the absence of a master browser is notoriously unreliable). But again, it *should* have worked. I suspect Windows naming was the issue, not TCP/IP.


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