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Windows 7: getting multiple computers, do I need a switch or a router?

05 Jun 2013   #11
Diosoth

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I went ahead and bought the TP-Link switch since it seems to have the strongest positive review rating of all the models I considered.


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05 Jun 2013   #12
RyanGEI

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Hello Diosoth,

I'm sure that will work just fine with your intentions, but keep in mind; adding additional devices to your network is adding potential troubleshooting steps should anything go wrong. That was the reasoning for my suggestion of using a device that has the modem, router, switch, and WiFi all in one.

On a side note, through my own exprience most DSL providers supplied such a device that I suggested. Is this not an option from your provider? Have you asked them? -just curious for my own knowledge.

Ryan
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05 Jun 2013   #13
carwiz

Windows 7 Pro-x64
 
 

Keep in mind that a Switch is not a router and won't allow connected devices to talk to each other. A switch connects individual ports to the primary port one at a time. The primary port of the switch is connected to a router which will direct packets to other devices, including devices connected to a switch.

Here's an example of a Local Area Network (LAN).


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getting multiple computers, do I need a switch or a router?-local-area-switched-network.jpg 
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06 Jun 2013   #14
RyanGEI

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by carwiz View Post
Keep in mind that a Switch is not a router and won't allow connected devices to talk to each other.
This doesn't make any sense considering that's exactly what a switch is for. As long as all devices connected to the switch are on the "same subnet", they will communicate with each other, even if the switch has an IP on a different subnet entirely; this is because the switch passes traffic based on MAC address rather than IP, unless you have a layer 3 switch passing traffic based on IP, however I find this highly unlikely in this scenario considering the cost of layer 3 switches.
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06 Jun 2013   #15
carwiz

Windows 7 Pro-x64
 
 

You are correct Ryan. I had a spend a few of hours and bring myself up to date on Transparent Bridging. I guess technology has improved in the last 20 years. The older switches were more like port expanders.

Forget all I said in the previous post. The "new" stuff is pretty cool.
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06 Jun 2013   #16
Diosoth

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I'm not too reliant on devices taking to each other... I guess. Maybe.

I might need that functionality to edit stuff and add files to the Raspberry Pi since I believe Windows can't properly read a Linux file system, even on an SD card like the Pi uses. I also just got an old Dell Optiplex 745 PC with Windows XP and will need to get files onto it(right now it's sitting idle until I get my new monitor cable in the mail and can set up a place for the keyboard and mouse and all that- even then it'll be mainly a backup PC). I bought a Kingston 8 GB flash drive to do that with, though communicating between the two would be helpful at times.
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08 Jun 2013   #17
Diosoth

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Just for reference, here's my setup-

1) Gateway PC with Windows 7
2) Dell PC with Windows XP
3) Raspberry Pi

The Gateway is my main PC- it handles my internet browsing, gaming, all that. The Dell is bought mainly to run older games, as well as a backup internet PC if I need it. I will likely keep it offline unless I need to use it for net access, and it won't be on all the time. The Pi will largely be used for XBMC so it needs to be online for streaming, but I'll have a second card for Raspbian which does have a web browser.
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08 Jun 2013   #18
jimbo45

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers
 
 

Hi there
Why do you need a switch - or even a HUB at all --if the computers are on a HOME computer network you can wire then in via LAN cable (usually 4 ports on a typical home router) or if the computers have decent Wi-Fi cards in them (laptops will have these built in - a desktop can use cheap USB Wi-Fi) and if you enable sharing the computers will be able to see each other all on the same LAN. Nothing more technical than that is needed.

Depending on what you want to do the Wifi should be decently fast --even for video streaming a 54 mb/s Wi-Fi card should be adequate -- although there are faster cards available now. The router Wi-Fi system preferably should be the newer faster protocol.

Network multi-media streaming should be fairly easy - whether via XBOX, Logitech devices or whatever. Plenty of decent hard / software around for that.

So I'm confused as to what you are trying to do here --sounds to me really simple -- I don't know where all these "switches", "Hubs" and Cross over cables come from or are are even needed. Any basic Wi-Fi capable router will do what you want. Simple networking / sharing does the rest.

Switching computers to a single monitor is also easy. I'm not sure but there might be some hardware around that could display the output of several computers concurrently on a single monitor (large monitor) in some sort of Windows -- I haven't got any experience with that though - I just manually switch via a Logik 4 port HDMI box. HDMI cables from computers into the box and the output HDMI cable to the monitor.

If your computers don't have HDMI do the same with the RGB connectors (used to be called VGA output). Also don't forget that modern TV sets also have computer input facilities so you might be able to use a TV as well as a Monitor for your computers.

(I'm assuming this is a simple HOME setup --obviously in commercial applications switches and all sorts of other networking hardware is used).

Cheers
jimbo
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08 Jun 2013   #19
Diosoth

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I don't have wi-fi in my house. My PC has a single Ethernet plug, as do the Dell and Pi. I'm also on a budget so buying an expensive router with wi-fi plus wi-fi adapters for the other devices would've been pushing it. I also have issues with wireless devices in this house- cordless phones, cell phones, etc, so I prefer to stay wired.

Right now I have my Gateway PC hooked directly to the modem with no router, switch or hub in between. I'll add in the switch so the Pi can be online for XBMC and so I can use the Dell online without having to swap cables.

As far as networking or streaming from one device to the others... I'm trying not to have everything reliant on one computer. I've had several issues with this PC(rootkit malware, fried HDD from a power surge, other malware infections, recent issues with Windows Update conflicts) and want my devices to all work independent. I bought the Dell largely as a cheap alternative in case I have yet another major issue with my Gateway and would need a means to get online and do other tasks if this one becomes inoperable(secondary rason to play older games that 7 has issues with but ran fine in XP). The Pi with XBMC is going to be an alternative to getting satellite TV.

Monitors... well, I have the Gateway which has VGA and DVI-D, and my Gateway PC does HDMI out. I've been running on VGA but I just ordered an HDMI-DVI cable. My recent TV purchase has a VGA input so I will hook the Dell up to that, with the Pi going in through HDMI. So I have 2 monitors, one will be shared between two devices that I won't be using at the same time.

You might wonder why I don't just link the Gateway to the new TV and use the monitor with the Dell... mainly it's positioning. The Dell case is made to sit flat so I could put it on a shelf above the TV. My Gateway PC and monitor will be staying where they are.

I get what you're saying but my setup is designed to keep all 3 devices independent and wired, without spending more than I have to. I know I could stream content from my PC to the Pi, but it seems almost.... confusing? to do that since I cold just watch the media on the PC direct. The final cost for the Pi after all the peripherals was pushing $100.
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10 Jun 2013   #20
RyanGEI

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Diosoth View Post
Right now I have my Gateway PC hooked directly to the modem with no router, ... <--- This sentence; explains this sentence---> I've had several issues with this PC(rootkit malware,..., other malware infections, recent issues with Windows Update conflicts) and want my devices to all work independent. (Router firewalls are very handy and better than the Windows provided firewall IMO)

I get what you're saying but my setup is designed to keep all 3 devices independent and wired, without spending more than I have to (again this can be done as I mentioned in my OR to your OP for $60-$100US on a simple router with 4 LAN ports on it). I know I could stream content from my PC to the Pi, but it seems almost.... confusing? (sharing media across a network has become much easier than it once was, but either method is viable) to do that since I cold just watch the media on the PC direct. The final cost for the Pi after all the peripherals was pushing $100.
A surge protector/UPS would solve "fried HDD from a power surge" in the future, and cost as little as $20US.

Again, the choice is yours but the way you're choosing to do this, in my opinion, is going to generate more headaches than what I'm suggesting.
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