Routers for cable connection with print sharing.

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Routers
We want to connect 2 computers thru one cable connection. My concern is that 1) it will slow the connection down so much as to make on line gamming difficult, 2) our cable modem is very very very old but reliable and 3) security. Routers have come a long way in security features but will adding another link in the chain cause the cable transmission to be slower thus causing lag with on line gamming. Although routers have security features in them would the transmission speed be better if we just purchased a cable modem with the ability to connect 2 computers directly. We don't want wireless however I am interested in any information about the linksys modem + wireless router. Which would be better to use a router or cable modem wired? What is the diffrence between g1 and g2? Must be easy to use and configure. Any tips or tricks would be appreciated. Sincerely,
ASKED: July 31, 2006  5:41 PM
UPDATED: October 18, 2011  5:05 PM

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Most of my experience regarding online gaming is via the X-Box, but I’m guessing PC gaming is similar. In my house, I have about 4 computers, and 2 x-boxes connected through a Linksys router and a 3MB DSL connection. I rarely have lag problems, and when I do, I think it’s mostly due to the number of players in the game as opposed to my link.

Hope that helps

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  • Dogbreff
    I agree with Wholesome. If your cable MoDem only has one RJ45 port then consider putting a HUB on it and connecting both PCs to that. The response time will depend on your line speed and also how many people are playing the game at the time but it shouldnt be noticeable.For quick answers go to PC world but buy from Ebay.
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  • DSchmidt
    My brother and I are avid PC gamers (you name it, we've probably played it). We have a cable connection to the internet. The cable modem only has 1 ethernet jack (like yours). And yes we use a router to connect both computers at once. The ONLY time I have ever noticed any slowness on in games is when my brother is downloading about 10 things at the same time. Other than that I play games without any lag whatsoever. So you should be completely fine with 2 computers for gaming. What you will notice is that most computer games don't use up even a quarter of your connection speed. In regards to your wireless connection...I have experienced slowness in the past from playing over a wireless connection. This is usually a result of low signal strength though. If your signal strength is good you shouldn't have any problems.
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  • Paul144hart
    Remember your cable modem has a 10MB link (most likely) but the actual service is at best 3MB, and most likely slower during peak usage hours. So, a router handling traffic at 100MB would not be a problem.
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  • Marcola
    A lot of ISP now offer speeds up to 5mb but that is only for download speeds. Upload speeds range from 128k to 768k on normal connections. You can purchase a higher quality links but I don't think that you need one. I also think you are stressing a bit over the network latency. Gaming is not client/server technology and there is a very small amount of data only traffic that is transmitted during on-line play. Keeping your current modem and installing a SWITCH not a HUB will improve the performance on your LAN but your internet access speed can only perform at the speeds that you ISP can give you. A HUB broadcasts all packets to every port on the HUB to see which machine responds as the one who is supposed to receive the packets. This ends up cluttering your LAN with unnecessary chatter. A SWITCH maps MAC address to ports and IP address and will send requests directly to the party eliminating the broadcasts and freeing up that precious bandwidth. You can pick up a 4 or 5 port 100mb switch for around $50...
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  • Marcola
    Sorry but in addition to my previous post where I ignored your request about the file and printer sharing ... Printer sharing will not affect your internet access speed but will affect the LAN speeds. Another reason for purchasing a switch. You can increase your response times even more by stepping up to 1GB on your local network and still pipe to the ISP at normal speeds. You can pick up two 1gb NIC's and a 1gb Switch for around $100.00 ...
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  • Imaanaadi
    i agree wid u while playing online game the net speed becomes slow it is becoz of the speed of the connection n the hardware u usaing for this purpose u should use the hidh speed internet it can be dsl link similarly u can use the harware resources u can use the hub while connecting ur computer in my office i also have 2 computers connected u face this problem while playing gane i do face sometime just using internet becoz in office i cant play game ok
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  • EDtHeAd
    You should not experience any noticeable slowdown adding a router to this mix, provided it is set up correctly. I have cable modem service with a wireless router (which, by the way, is also capable of wired routing with 4 wired connections, which is standard) and I experience no slowdown in speeds whatsoever. It is also worthy to note that I am a CATV veteran of 26 years, and am currently installing and configuring high speed internet access on 7 rural area CATV systems. I also make my main living reparing computers and computer networks, so I have seen many, many of these types of setups over the years. Adding devices such as routers, hubs or swithches have no noticeable effect on transmission speeds. In reading the other posts, all seem to have a good grasp on why, especially the ones quoting network speeds vs cable modem speeds. Those statements are generally accurate. Hubs do generate more network traffic but this would not be significant on a 2 (or 4 for that matter) computer network. The frequency of packet collisions do go up using hubs, so it is a good thing that hubs are getting harder to find. Packet collisions are more of a problem for gaming than traffic and speed issues in this context. I am not sure what you mean by g1 vs g2. In the wired world, the concern is 10 mbs vs 10/100 mbs vs Gigabit, all faster than cable. In the wireless world, Wireless G is faster than B which is faster than A. All are faster than the fastest cable modem service. I have not seen a cable modem with additional connections, but any such would no doubt just have a router built in, which is common in the satellite modem world. CATV operators would not want more than one MAC address (read modem) for a particular connection, as that would warrant an additional fee and cause other confusion at the CMTS. There are some cable modems which are made for USB OR Ethernet, but I am not aware of any that allow simultaneous connections of these two ports. In any event, simply put: Quit overthinking this and just do it! You won't be sorry!
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  • Dfng2002
    Getting a switch will not help you,as you probably only get one IP from your provider, most switches in that price range ($100) will not do NAT or DHCP for you to hook up to the internet with more than one PC and will not have a firewall and nor does your modem most likely. As far as bandwidth, me and my son game on a DSL connection that is 1MBps/384 without any lag or other problems. We play through two wireless connections, and one wired. The speed of your LAN on a router is far larger than any pipe you could afford for your home. I use a Linksys wireless G router.
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  • Mortree
    Dfng2002 should be ignored. The switch feature doesn't cost more than a reliable hub nowadays -- unless you go to a high priced store. (CompUSA is sort of high priced compared to the same items at Best Buy.) A basic firewall with 3-4 port switch is likely $50-$60 though you can go much higher especially if you add wireless. A switch does have an advantage even on small network when one of your networks devices decides to die a spastic dead and shoots out a ton of crap. The switch will screen most of the outright bad packets off the rest of the network. A hub will allow bad packets to blosk and slow things down. Wireless is nice BUT...wireless hacking is rampant. That is people snoop, steal bandwidth (why should they pay if you got Internet) and outright intentionally jam wireless. I personally have been hacked through 128 WEP. (Yes I am sure it took them some CPU time.) True businesses tend to get it worse in general. But you never know if vandals live in your neighborhood or visit until too late. Your mileage may differ. So I personally like wireless to be off unless I need it. I use a second network device which I can turn off/unplug. Theoretically you can disable wireless on lots of firewall routers...but it tends to be too much work to actually login and reboot. Also wireless gets jammed or overused accidentally. Jamming can come from wireless phones, microwaves, etc. I think the 802.11a band is supposed to be the most free of jamming from non-network devices. Overuse-wise...well there are only 5-6 channels for each type of wireless. If there are a dozen or more people within 800 feet of you that also use wireless there might not be free radio channels. So there will be collisions and weirdness from other people operating on the same frequency. Yes the strongest signal tends to win and theat tends to be the closest -- except that can change moment by moment in the middle of a data packet even. People walking in house block someof the signal as do cars on street which may block or reflect. Bottomline wireless is nice for going out on patio on sunny day but don't rely on it for fast and error free. A momentary burp means nothing for websurfing or most file transfer -- but can be killer in a game or high rate streaming media. You probably have a fixed desk area set up for gaming anyway.
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  • Mortree
    P.S. I'd avoid Linksys. They aren't significantly cheaper than Netgear (best) and DLink. But they have occasionally have quality control problems with firmware. I have one of their BEFSX41 firewall routers and they still have major problems affecting configuration for both security and gaming purposes -- after 3 years!!! That is features do not work as they are described or appear. So it might not be that you didn't understand the first time -- it might be that the router itself didn't do it right. If you want to cry or laugh Google the various user forums on the Internet on BEFSX41 firmware. Of course the company cleans its forums of lots of negative user comments and information. But the Linksys forums still aren't pretty on this router. And it is not Linksys's only problem child. That's not to say that Linksys hasn't turned out some fantaistic products. The problem is that it takes about 6-9 months for the user community to figure out which ones stink and 12-18 months to find out if it will ever get fixed. Frankly I don't trust any of their routers because I suspect the same programmers write code for several routers. Maybe if the hardware (CPU) changed enough they'd need another programming team. But it is hard to find out what hardware each router has inside.
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  • ITDefensePatrol
    First, the pieces are: cable modem - has 1 port out to ISP, 1 in towards you; gives you 1 IP address probably router - probably needed for- dividing network and IP addresses IF your ISP only gives one IP on inside, they you will need to split from modem-inward (call this DMZ-outbound) and put another thing there. this will have a port (usually labeled "WAN") which I will call "DMZ out". this item will have a bunch of ports on the other side for your devices (the "inside"). This item will need to move packets from your inside network to the ISPs network ("WAN") - this is called routing. which means you will likely need a router (duh). A switch will only move packets; it wont route between two networks. To get the IPs for your inside network, you can manually configure, or you can use DHCP to automatically set. Routers ususally will have DHCP built-in (you can turn off if you want). wether your inside network is wired or wireless is your call. newer wifi is pretty stable and fast. it depends on whether your devices are close enough to the router and if you want to punch holes in walls. If you look for the sales (sunday papers) you can get a router for less than $50 in US, as low as $10 on sale/rebate . Same goes for network cards (wired or wifi).
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  • Dfng2002
    Mortree, you were not paying attention to the statement, I did not say "switch feature" as the Linksys wireless I have does have a built in 4 port switch, this is good, however my point was that just buying a "SWITCH" will not provide him the things he needs for most service providers only give you one addressable IP, you will get no where without something to route and provide for more than one IP. As far as your lack of faith in wireless, well you may have had some bad experience with it, however most people do not have any of your over fabricated issues with wireless unless they live in an apartment complex with everyone using wireless technology. Or in an overpopulated city that stacks people up like sardines in a tin can. Yes a wired solution is more concrete, but wireless is not the horror story you paint.
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  • Marcola
    Tip to All: Read all comments before commenting! If using wireless no matter who's flavor do two things to help prevent hacking. 1. Disable SSID broadcast. 2. Use WPA instead of WEP. The switch suggestion was to NOT buy a hub but a switch instead.
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  • PDMeat
    My 2c is to just get a linksys router/firewall device with built in 4 port switch. You shouldn't have to touch your cable modem at all. Linksys models like the WRT54G are about $40-$50 and pretty easy to setup. If you turn on the wireless, don't forget to use at least some level of basic security otherwise your neighbors will be surfing on your connection (and potentially sharing their viruses with you).
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  • Marcola
    PDMeat was correct with everything except not having to do anything to your Cable Modem/Router. If they haven't already, your ISP will need to set the Modem/Router that connects to their network to "Pass Through" mode to allow your internal router to handle DHCP and Routing.
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  • Mortree
    Actually Dnfg2002 I meant the same as Marcola. There is NO reason to buy a hub -- unless you want to do diagnostic network sniffing cheaply. How someone obtains switch features varies. Yes sometimes switch ports are built into the firewall box. Sometimes there are not enough ports or whatever and you buy a small switch box ($30- $50 for 4 ports from 1 upstream port).
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  • Mortree
    Sorry for the complex posts. Yes I emphasized that a switch is preferred over hubs. However at no point did I say a switch alone solved all. So ITDefensePatrol and Dfang2002 have a point. However -- leaping back the idea of a firewall box (inheriently a router in modern times) potentially with a small built-in switch, or maybe not. (1) You do NOT need a router in addition to firewall box. You won't find a consumer firewall box that is not also an Internet router. (2) Sometimes you need multiple IPs to play games on multiple machines connecting to master game servers out on the Internet. It is a matter of forwarding those external IPs and their ports to specific machines on your home LAN inside the firewall. But normally all the IPs you get from an ISP are part of the same Internet subnetwork. Again the firewall is a router and can connect any number of external networks to your internal network. (3) If you have only 1 external IP from your ISP the NAT feature often lets more than one internal machine play games. Here you use port forwarding to allow external players to connect inbound to games where one of your machines is master/server. You need a lot less effort if your machines are never directly master/servers. There are commercial peer-to-peer network that can help with mastering without direct (unsolicited) inbound connections. If you are a mere player things are simpler when configuring a firewall for access. The big question on what needs to be done often comes down to where the master/server host is located -- inside the firewall or outside. Obviously if the server is one of yhour machines inside the firewall then all other machines inside the firewall connect easily. Sometimes you have to reconfigure client machines to use different ports for server replies when the server is outside the firewall on the Internet. Most modern PC games address this. Any Xbox experts?
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  • Mortree
    All good points on wireless. Wireless does work. And do you care about security and reliable performance? You aren't running a bank (don't go to bank account over wireless) or broadcasting pay TV. I wouldn't worry about security if you only have Xboxes on network. Yes. If you live in the country or large lot with your nearest neightbor 800 feet away -- no worries. Closest to guaranteed ideal conditions and performance. Even in the city if on 3-4 families on your block use wireless you should be able to work around things...unless applicances and phones make several wireless channels unuseable for anyone. However in the dozen wireless installs I have seen in ordinary neighborhoods (no appartments) -- I usually see 4-12 SSIDs (home wireless networks) depending on day and time. Everyone is getting wireless because it is so cheap. Removing SSIDs gets rid of obvious signposts for casual less techncial human intrusion. But crackers can download software (airsnort) that can work around that. WPA is nice. But by no means crackerproof. WPA with strong "password" was broken on an ordinary home machine in 30 minutes over 3 years ago. The question is whether any kid vandal or adult snoop will let their machine run that long. Its not like the cracker has to do anything besides look for the result. P.S. "weak" user-friendly, easy to enter passwords were cracked in less than 30 seconds in some cases. Just remember that the quoted ideal conditions and performance don't always apply. Wireless is SHARED media and subject to the problems of public facilities.
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  • Mortree
    If you care about wireless security -- open your eyes as to what the grey (shady) guys are doing. The black (pure evil) guys are of course more advanced than this and I am not distributing links. Common software downloads http://www.wardriving.com/code.php (Note the WPA cracking module for unfixed WPA and the GPS mapping software for distributing street location and database of cracked keys) http://www.wifimaps.com/ Of course commercial sites are more heavily reported than residenctial because commercial access points are more likely to be long-lived. Plus they have better Internet service on average. Plenty of home wireless only has dialup. Still homes are sometimes reported. Wardriving is probably not much of a risk in farmland communities of 5000...though even small towns can have geeks. Any college town or city of 30000 is practically guaranteed some regular activity. But even major metropolitan cities have large areas that are "unmined" (gunfire distracts geeks).
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  • Mortree
    Wireless data transfer is highly reliable - as long as transfer occurs at all. I'd endorse wireless for any office application where information wasn't confidential as smooth data delivery isn't an issue. You will never know it slowed dramatically in the middle. Overall all speed usually doesn't change enough to be very noticable. Wireless is practically mandatory for apartments and temporary LAN parties. Wireless does work for all but the most serious gaming purposes if you chose the right locations to place machines and access points. The key points are serious gamers might find occasional momentary slowdowns disrupts gameplay and you can't always put stuff where you want due to walls, fluorescent lights etc. You will want good desktop security for PCs on wireless networks in the long term to avoid desktop hacking...unless you don't care. It is true that modern worms and viruses no longer routinely cripple your machine, instead preferring to steal useage for illegal purposes (spam, zombie attacks on public websites, etc). Professional security source say 90% of home machines are infested and that 75% of those do not know -- implying 23% of all home machine user know they are infected and either don't care or can't afford. Alternatively you won't have any serious wireless security issues if you have both wireless and wired LANS using two firewalls (one each LAN) and multiple external ISP IPs. Then you keep all gaming machines on the wireless network and serious home banking, etc machines in the wired LAN.
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  • Mortree
    Why guess about existing wireless usage? Low-end Wireless routers are cheap ($50-$80). Buy one and try it with one machine until you get a feel for whether it meets your needs. Failure is only mild irritation for most people. Better yet borrow wireless gear for a couple days test. If you already have or can borrow a wireless card or equipped laptop -- just open the XP wireless configuration. You can see the majority of wireless networks near enough to potentially compete. You won't see networks where people turned off SSIDs for security reasons. If you see less than 5 networks on Friday night and Saturaday afternoon you should be able to find some channel free of competition though not necessarily the fastest. My point has not been that wireless fails frequently -- but rather that, unless you live far from neighbors, poor suitablity is unpredictable and certainly not unknown. I would avoid committing to buying several cards or an upper end wireless router/firewall until you've tested where your local conditions meet your needs. You can get into several hundred dollars if you have several machine and go upper end name brand.
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  • Technochic
    Getting back to the original question, I have this set-up at my house: 7 computers and a networked printer on a home network. We are using a linksys wireless router with a 4-port switch connected to the cable modem, and an additional 6 port switch connected to the router to get everyone networked together. BTW, I did not have to make any configuration changes on the cable modem whatsoever. My ISP only provides one IP to us, so in order to get it to work, I had to clone the IP address of the first computer set up by my ISP into the router advanced configuration page. Do you know how long it took me to find out that was the reason I could only get on line with that one computer? I was amazed that none of my network admin friends could tell me that's what I needed to do! I think I actually stumbled on it myself, but that's not new to me. Anyway, yes the Linksys router provides the DHCP function that allows us all to get on line. And I can tell you, at least at my house, we can have two kids gaming, and one listening to streaming music at the same time and none of them complain about slow speeds at any time. Meanwhile, I'll be browsing or checking email and I don't notice any issues either. Happy computing all!
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  • JAMNTHIS1
    Wireless is out of the question. I read an article last year about a guy that would drive around in his car and pick up people's wireless signals to hack into thier personal information. The gov. is already invading our privacy with large companies cooperation, I don't want everyone to have access. Basically, I just need to get a Netgear 4 port switch with a printer port if possible. Are Netgear routers easy to configure and maintain. Updates etc.? Network diagnostics; would this be to monitor what web pages are being looked at or to determine if someone is trying to gain access. One other thing I need to be able to do is prevent access to specific websites. I would like to do a broad range and specific sites. I don't want this to be permenante. If it does a broad range of sites, I want to be able to view and edit the list. Is this part of the network sniffing that is being referred too? I would really prefer not to buy a software to do this and it has to be something that only I know about. Explorer options are easily changed in here. It needs to be the super secret site blocker. Friends come over that know enough about computers to be dangerous and passwords ect. are easily obtained by them. I need to make sure it is a super super secret back door entrance. Send private message if nessasary.
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  • Marcola
    It is fairly easy to harden your wirless environment by doing 3 simple things. 1. Disable SSID broadcast. 2. Enable WPA (not WEP)128bit or higher encryption. 3. Capture the MAC address of each of your machines and add them to the access list in your router. The pluses are the hackers cannot see your network ID, WPA is much stronger than WEP and tougher to crack and if they break the first two the router will only allow the MAC addresses defined to connect.
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  • Tangor64
    Wholesome is correct, Dogbreff is not, sort of. Running multiple devices through a router (NOT a hub) should not degrade your individual performance. Theoratically, a router with DHCP is capable of controlling the data from 253 devices. I wouldn't put that kind of load on a home network and would expect performance degredation long before that number, but it's theoratically possible. I've had the best results from the Linksys WRT54G. It's got both a 4 port wired router and wireless, which can be disabled if you want. I wouldn't use wireless for online gaming because of the lower speed, but I know people who do and have no problems.
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  • Tangor64
    To add to my last post... Use a Router. neither hubs nor switches have built in DHCP. This service assigns the address that identifies your computer on the network. If you rely on one of them, you will have to purchase an additional IP address from your provider. The router will take the 1 IP address the ISP gives you and masks all your equipment behind it. Your equipment, printers and all, will rely on addresses given it by the router. It'll save you money and headaches in the long run.
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  • Techsoldier
    The wireless routers can provide multiple LAN connections that can be made or be used for wireless capabilities depending on what you buy. And if you hook two computers up then you not always have to worry about the internet slowing down
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