When expanding an existing computer network or building a new one, one of the many devices that can be used in the process is an Ethernet hub. A hub is a simple device that connects multiple computers together and to the rest of the network, allowing communication to occur between all connected devices. When there is no need for the enhanced functions available on a router or the higher communications speed of a switch, an Ethernet hub can be an efficient way to create or expand a network at a lower cost when compared to a router or switch.
Find the WAN or uplink port of the Ethernet hub. Typically, it is located on the rear of the unit, and it is often separate from the LAN ports.
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Connect an Ethernet cable from the WAN port of the hub to either the Ethernet port of the internet modem or, if expanding a network, to an empty LAN port on the existing network’s router, switch or hub.
Plug an Ethernet cable into one of the LAN ports on the Ethernet hub and connect the other end of cable to the computer or device that will be added to the network. Repeat for any other devices that will need to be on the network.
Power up the Ethernet hub and the computers or other devices attached to it. On the front of the hub will be a series of LEDs that correspond to each LAN and WAN port on the hub. Every port that has a cable plugged into it should have one or more of the LEDs lit that represent that port. If not, check the connections and swap out the Ethernet cable if necessary.
Configure the network settings on each connected computer. If you are expanding a network and the network uses DCHP, or dynamic IP addressing, no configuration will be necessary. On networks using static IP addressing or on a new network setup using the Ethernet hub, each computer or device must be assigned a unique IP address. Local IP addresses must use the allowed “private” address pools that will not interfere with internet addresses. Acceptable addresses include 192.168.x.x, 172.16.x.x to 172.31.x.x, or 10.x.x.x. The “x” represents a number that is chosen by the user, from 0 to 254. All computers on the network should share the first three numbers in the address, with the final number representing the individual computer. In a network with three computers, for example, the first could be 192.168.1.1, the second could be 192.168.1.2 and the third could be 192.168.1.3, though the final number does not need to be sequential.
Click the “Start” button in Windows, select “Control Panel" and double-click the icon labeled “Network Connections.”
Right-click the icon for the Ethernet adapter and select “Properties.” Click on the check box marked “Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)” and press the “Properties” button.
Select the radio button labeled “Use the following IP address.” Enter a unique IP address for the computer and the applicable subnet mask. If a router is used on the network, enter the router’s IP address as the default gateway. Press the “OK” button and reboot if necessary.
Enable file and printer sharing from the “Properties” dialog for the Ethernet card if files will be transferred between the networked computers.
Click the “Start” button, select “Control Panel” and double-click on the “System” icon. Select the “Computer Name” tab and click on the button labeled “Change” to set the computer’s network name. In the “Computer Name” box, enter a unique name for the computer. In the “Member of” section, choose the radio button marked “Workgroup” and enter the workgroup of the network. If setting up a new network, this name can be change but all computers on the network must share the same workgroup name.
Verify that all computers can access the network and the Internet if connected.