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Networking at home


I am setting up a network in my home. I am building the home and have had the luxury of exposed walls. I have 20 ports of "home runs" using Cat5, to a central location in the basement (where I intend on putting the server).

My intentions are to be able to print share, multi-game and to share Internet access. I have an IBM PC that is set up to run a Win2000 server. At any one time there should not be any more than five workstations "going" at once.

My question is, should I purchase a Hub, a router, a switch, a patch panel or all of the above?

Also, if I need an assortment of the above, how many ports should I get for each device?

Thanks for your help.

Dazed and confused,

Well, since this is a LAN question and not a SAN question, I'll try my best.

A hub should be fine in your environment, especially if only five ports should ever be active. Assuming your Internet connection is via a cable modem, get yourself a hardware firewall like the Linksys cable router. This device is fairly cheap, and provides DHCP and NAT(network address translation)for all the PC's in your house.

If you have a dialup Internet connection, then set up the 2000 server as the Internet gateway. This server will need two network cards. One for the "internal" home network, and one for the "external" Internet network. The file and print server should be on a separate machine on your network for security reasons.

Get yourself a software firewall like "BlackIce" to provide intrusion detection. Also, on your home network, use non-routable addresses like 10.x.x.x or 192.168.x.x

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