I think I can, I think I
can, I think I can...
Setting up a home network has always sounded like a good idea to me.
But until recently I have never had two computers to rub together at the
same time. This is largely because anytime I would see fit to purchase
a new computer; one of my kids would immediately cart off the old one to
a college dorm or some such place. It has not been an altogether bad system
except on holidays or during summer break when everyone is home and wants
to get on the computer at the same time. Which generally means that I get
very little time on MY computer.
When I purchased my latest computer I was determined to keep the one
from which I had upgraded and network the two together. My main goal was
to have both computers share my broadband Internet connection, in my case
this is the RoadRunner Cable Service. I am aware that I could do this by
paying RoadRunner for an additional IP address. But since the second computer
will only be used during school holidays I didn't want to pay an extra
monthly fee. The solution was to get them connected using a single IP address.
When I started out on this little adventure I knew where I wanted to
go, I just had no idea how I was going to get there. I had read numerous
articles on the subject in the past but had not studied them closely. I
only stored the information away in my brain in a very general sense thinking
the information would be "out there" if I ever needed it.
I love researching on the Internet. I always look forward to packing
up my little knapsack full of questions to journey through the infinitely
vast labyrinth of information that is the World Wide Web. Unfortunately,
it can be difficult to know what questions to pack. How do you search for
something if you don't know what it's called? It always pays to bring along
a healthy helping of determination. If one pass through the search engine
reveals nothing (or too much) try some other wording. Try another search
engine. Try, try and try again. I think I can...
Along the way I remembered that one of the articles I had read was written
by an Alamo PC member. The article had been written before
I joined this wonderful organization so I didn't have a copy of the PC
Alamode in which it appeared. I tried searching for it on the
Alamo PC web site. But I could not remember who had written it. I finally
decided to ask Clarke Bird for help. He was kind enough to track down the
author for me and send me a photocopy of the article, written by K. Joyce
McDonald. He also sent me her e-mail address so that I could contact her
The article didn't quiet address what I was trying to do because it
was written before RoadRunner realized they were leaking IP addresses and
corrected that situation. But it did give me fresh ideas for continuing
my information search. At this point I still didn't quite know what equipment
I needed to buy. I wrote to K. Joyce McDonald to see if she had any wisdom
to impart to me.
In the meantime, not being one to sit on my hands and wait for answers,
I continued my pilgrimage through the Internet. I followed a link from
RoadRunner's local San
Antonio web site to SpeedGuide.net
(a superb site, packed full of useful broadband information). There I spotted
a few product reviews for various routers. "Hmm, router, I think this might
be what I need." I read through all the reviews. When I got to the
one on the "Linksys EtherFast Cable/DSL Router with 4-Port 10/100 Switch"
(BEFSR41) by Brent
& Vorpal I knew my wanderings were over. I have found the product
I needed! Their review was highly informative as well as entertaining.
It even included a humorous pictorial "A Day in the Life of Linky" that
brought tears of laughter to my eyes. But more importantly, the article
contained links to the Linksys
homepage where I was able to access the actual User Guide in PDF format.
After reading through the User Guide, I was even more convinced that this
was what I needed to connect my two computers. The beautiful thing was
that, except for two RJ-45 male-to-male category 5 cables, this is all
I would need. I think I can... I think I can...
Armed with the knowledge of what was needed to get the job done, I started
my search of places that carried it. More importantly I was looking for
the best price and immediate availability. First, I lined up all of the
usual local suspect: Best Buy, CompUSA, Office Depot, Office Max. Those
that had the Linksys 4 port Router were offering it for between $159.00
and $149.00. I was really hoping to buy it locally because, now that I
knew what I needed, I wanted it now! But after looking around on
the Internet I realized I could get a much better deal by ordering online.
had it listed for $104.95 but didn't have the cables I needed to go with
it in stock. I hate backorders! I considered ordering the router from them
and ordering the cables elsewhere or even buying the cables locally. Poking
around a bit more, I found that Egghead.com also had the router for the $104.95 price and they had the cables I needed in stock as well. (Some of you may remember Egghead had a local store here a few years ago. Waxing nostalgic, I remembered buying my first CD ROM installation kit there.) In addition to the great product pricing, they were running a shipping special of unlimited items for $6.95. Adding it all up: everything I needed came to $122.05 including shipping. The price made it worth waiting a few days to get my router.
During my week in waiting I went back to the Linksys homepage to read more of the User Guide. The plan was to tear open the Linksys box as soon as it arrived so I wanted to be prepared. The Guide indicated there were a few questions that needed to be answered by the User's ISP:
To find out these answers I went to the RoadRunner
News Group. The answer to the first two questions was the same, "No,
these are not required." For the third I was told that my IP address
was dynamic. This information told me that I was going to have the easiest
possible installation! I also received lots of helpful tips and information
from RR members who have setup their own Linksys routers.
Does your ISP require that your broadband-configured PC have a Computer
Name and Workgroup Name?
Does your ISP require that you enter a Router Name & Domain Name during
the set up?
Is your IP Address: static or dynamic?
Feeling confident that I have made a good choice, I received an e-mail
from K. Joyce McDonald telling me that she had the Linksys single port
router connected to her already exciting hub. This gave me even more confidence
that I was on the right track. I think I can... I think I can...
When my Linksys EtherFast Cable/DSL Router with 4-Port 10/100 Switch
finally arrived I was on my way out the door to an engagement I could not
break. Sigh, the installation would have to wait until I returned home.
I did, however, allow myself a peek in the box to admire its beauty.
Later that same night I got down to business. With the 2 PCs, the cable
modem, and the new Linksys router all powered off, I connected all the
appropriate cables. The User Guide gives good detailed instruction on what
to plug in where. First I powered up the router then I powered up the cable
modem. After powering up both PCs I accessed the Setup
Utility . From there the setup was so incredibly easy I had to wonder
if I had missed something. For the most part I simply accepted all the
default settings, since they happened to be what was needed for RoadRunner.
The only exception to this was the number of PCs I needed to enter into
the DHCP (Dynamic
The Setup's default is 50 but I only needed 2. I reset my cable modem according
to the User Guide and I was good to go! That was it! Easiest thing I've
ever done. I thought I could... I thought I could...
I spent some time accessing Web sites, sending and receiving e-mail
to make sure all was working well on both PCs. No Problem with either one.
I even tested out Napster because the SpeedGuide.net article had mentioned
having a problem with it. Apparently, Linksys has addressed the problem
since that article was written because it worked like a charm. I may look
into some of the more advanced features of the Linksys EtherFast Cable/DSL
Router with 4-Port 10/100 Switch in the future, but for now I am satisfied
to have both computers connected to one RoadRunner IP address. Next time
the kids are home the new computer will be all mine!
I thought I could... I thought I could... I thought I could...
And you can too.