How to setup a network between two computers

This article explains two options by which you can setup a network between two computers. Two computers can either be connected directly or using a switch. The details of the same are explained below.

Option 1 – Connecting using cable

Step 1 – Ensure that the computers which needs to be connected have network cards on it. It is recommended to purchase a gigabit network card for optimal performance.

If there are no network cards, they can be purchased here – Check out network cards .

Step 2 – Connect the network cards of the computers using a network cable. There are two types of network cables which are straight through and cross over. Straight through cables are used for connecting different systems like computer and router, switch and router. Cross over cables are used for connecting same systems like two computers, two switches etc.

Nowadays, the network cards have auto sensing capability to understand the type of systems connected. Due to this, a straight though network cable would suffice. Cables can be purchased here – Check out network cables

Step 3 – Connect the cable to the network cards of both the computers.

Step 4 – Configure the IP address on the computers along with other parameters like subnet mask. The TCP/IP addressing configuration details are provided at the end of the article.

Network diagram for connecting two computers

Option 2 – Connecting using switch

Step 1 – Purchase a 5 port switch. The switch can be purchased here – Check out 5 port switch

Step 2 – Purchase straight through network cables. The cables can be purchased here – Check out network cables

Step 3 – Connect the computers to the switch using cables.

Step 4 – Configure the IP address on the computers along with other parameters. The TCP/IP addressing configuration is provided below.

TCP/IP addressing

1. Assign the IP address 192.168.1.1 and 192.168.1.2 respectively for the computers.

2. Assign the subnet mask value as 255.255.255.0 for the computers.

3. Configure the values on the TCP/IP adapter of the computers.

Once configured, ping one of the computers from another computer. A ping reply would ensure that the configuration is successful.

FAQ related to network setup

1. I am not receiving a ping reply. What could be the possible issue.

A firewall on one of the computers could be blocking the ping. If the network cards are not auto sensing, then a cross over cable would be required.

2. What would be the recommendation if I have to add more computers at a later stage.

If more computers need to be added at a later stage then it is recommended to buy a switch.

3. Is it necessary to use the IP address values provided above or can any other range be used.

Any IP address in the private network address space can be used for the purpose. This could be from 192.168.0.0/24, 172.16.0.0/16, 10.0.0.0/8.

4. Is a default gateway required in this configuration setup.

No. There is no default gateway. Both the computers belong to the same network. When computers are on the same network, a default gateway is not required. A default gateway is needed only when the computers are on different network and they need access to each other.

5. Can I use a network printer with this setup

Yes. You can use a network printer with option 2. Ensure that the printer is in the same IP address range as the computers. For example, if the computers are using the IP address 192.168.0.1 and 192.168.0.2 then the printer can use the IP address 192.168.0.3

6. I am planning to setup a wifi router with internet connection and connect it to the switch . What TCP/IP changes should be performed on the computers.

The computers should now have the default gateway and the DNS server for internet access. The default gateway and DNS server would be the IP address of the router. This can either be configured manually or using the DHCP service on the router.

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