Question from Carl B.: As the youth minister for my church, I’m in charge of our computer-based Bible training program. I need your help with a networking question.
We have a classroom that’s set up to allow 5 students at a time to use a popular Bible study software package and collaborate with the class in virtual discussions. The kids also take computer-based quizzes and tests.
We currently have 6 desktop computers connected to the network via two wired routers. All the computers can access the Internet, but we only connect the router to the DSL modem when we need to download Windows updates. The students are never allowed to use the Internet so that needn’t factor into your recommendation.
We want to add an additional 7 computers so that 12 students plus the teacher can be connected to the network at the same time. In order to do this, can we add extra routers to the network to connect the extra computers? Or perhaps you have a better setup that you can recommend?
Rick’s answer: Carl, the easiest and best way to connect 13 computers to a Local Area Network such as the one you described is to replace one of the routers with a 16 Port Ethernet Switch. (#ad)
It’s really easy to set this up. Here’s how:
Note: You will need a total of 15 Ethernet patch cables (#ad) on hand in order to create your new network. Be sure to purchase cables that are the proper lengths for connecting the various computers to the switch.
1 – Remove one of the routers from the network (you will only need one router when used with the 16 port switch).
2 – Connect the remaining router to the DSL modem for those limited times when you need to download updates from the web.
3 – Connect one of the router’s LAN ports to one of the 16 ports on the back of the switch.
4 – Connect each of the 13 computers to one of the remaining open ports on the switch.
5 – Power up the modem, router and switch (in that order), waiting for each of those devices to initialize before powering up the next one in the list.
6 – Download any available updates for each of the connected computers.
7 – Unplug the cable that connects the router to the switch until it comes time to download more updates.
That’s all there is to it Carl. Good luck!
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