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Practicallynetworked Glossary

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  Most Popular Tutorials

• Microsoft Vista Home Networking Setup and Options
The most daunting part of upgrading to Windows Vista may be trying to figure out where in the layers of menus the networking and file-sharing options are hidden.

• Do It Yourself: Roll Your Own Network Cables
It may not be something you do everyday, but having the supplies and know-how to whip up a network cable on the spot can be very handy.

• Tips for Securing Your Home Router
Seemingly minor and easily overlooked settings can still have profound security implications. Here are some steps you can take to make sure your wired or wireless home router and by extension, your network is as secure as possible.

  Most Popular Reviews

• Microsoft Windows Home Server
If you have a home network, you'll welcome the easy file sharing, remote access and the image-based backup features of Windows Home Server.

• Iomega StorCenter Network Hard Drive
Iomega's fourth generation StorCenter Network Hard Drive brings many of the features found in higher-end storage devices down to an attractive price.

• MikroTik's The Dude
This free tool delivers many of the same capabilities that you'd find in pricey network monitoring tools. As long as you don't mind tinkering, The Dude is a decent network utility that should be worth the download.

MMR Intro

Install Network

Test Network

Install Router-
ISP Port

Install Router-
LAN Ports

Check Internet

File & Printer Sharing

Adding computers


  Router? Bridge?
Switch? Hub?

Mixed Media Lans

So you've been looking at those wireless or phoneline cards and thinking about getting one to connect a computer into your Ethernet network. But you've read the information on this page about Mixed Media networks and know that you're going to need something to make the different networks play together.

Well, you've come to the right place!  This article will show you how to make your own Mixed Media Router (MMR), which will be capable of supporting both File and Printer sharing and Internet sharing among all the computers on your LAN.  The MMR can support networks with Ethernet, HomePNA phoneline and wireless pieces, and even support all three types at once! 

The cost of this project is about $100, plus the cost of the Network adapters for the types of networks that you want to connect together.  You'll also need a Pentium class computer with at least 64MB of memory and at least 10MB of free disk space, running Win95, 98 or NT 4.  This can be the computer that you're currently using to share the Internet.

What's a Mixed Media Router?

The diagram below illustrates a simple example of a Mixed Media network.  This network has only 3 computers: 

  • one with a Wireless network adapter; 

  • one with an Ethernet network adapter; and 

  • one with both Wireless and Ethernet adapters.  

It could just have well had Ethernet and HomePNA, HomePNA and Wireless, or all three!  (If you'd like to look at more Mixed networking examples, Vicomsoft has an informative article on Wireless networking.  It explains the issues of combining multiple network types and illustrates a number of network configurations.)


The computer that has both adapters also has an Internet connection.  This connection can be via Dialup modem, cable modem, DSL, ISDN or any other method to connect to the Internet.  This well-connected computer will be used as the MMR.

Mixed Media Network example

The Mixed Media Router manages the data flow among the three networks that use different connection media, so that a single Internet connection will be shared among the computers in all the subnetworks, and File and Printer sharing will work.


Why do I want to make one?

There are off-the-shelf products that you can buy to do what the MMR does.  Why would you want to spend $100+ to make your own?

  1. You can't always get what you want!
    The simplest reason for making your own is that you can't buy a product that meets your need.  Not every manufacturer makes a Bridge / Gateway / Router for their product (go here for an explanation of the difference between these alternatives).  This is especially a problem for Wireless products, which still don't allow you to mix products from different manufacturers.

    In other cases, the products are announced, but not out yet!  Or maybe you're a really creative networker and have a LAN with Ethernet, Wireless and HomePNA nodes!  Can't buy anything to solve that problem, unfortunately.

  2. Off-the-Shelf is too expensive
    A Symphony Cordless Ethernet Bridge will set you back about $350-$400 depending on where you get it. Making your own can cost as low as about $250 (including the cost of a PCI interface card).  Other wireless bridges (or "Access points") are similarly priced.

What do I have to do?

To get the MMR up and running, you'll need to follow these steps:

  1. Install the Network adapters and TCP/IP

  2. Test the Network

  3. Install and configure the Routing software.

  4. Check Internet sharing.

  5. Configure and check File and Printer sharing

Ready to start?

Let's get the Network set up! Earthweb HardwareCentral earthwebdeveloper CrossNodes Datamation

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