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Chapter 30. Using Windows XP to Set Up a... > Stuff You Need: Understanding Networ... - Pg. 363

Using Windows XP to Set Up a Small Network 363 · If you want to share a cable modem or DSL Internet connection, then your computer requires two NICs: one to connect to the router that came with your Internet connection and the other to connect to your network. The Connection: The Network Cable Although wireless networks have been around for a while, they're still slow and very flaky. As a result, the majority of networks still use cables to connect the various machines. As I mentioned earlier, your NICs and cables have to match because the cable connects to a port in the back of the NIC, so the port and cable jack must be compatible. Fortunately, although there are lots of different cable types, you need to consider only two when setting up your small LAN: twisted-pair and coaxial. Twisted-pair cable is the most common type. (It's called twisted-pair because it consists of two copper wires twisted together.) It has on each end an RJ-45 jack, which is similar to (but a bit bigger than) the jacks used on telephone cables. Figure 30.1 points out the RJ-45 jack and shows a twisted- pair cable plugged into a NIC. Here are some other notes: · This type of cable is most commonly used in the "star" network structure. (See the "The Star Structure" section later in this chapter.) · Always ask for "category 5" twisted-pair cable. This is the highest quality and is suitable for all types of Ethernet networks. It costs a bit more, but it's definitely worth it. · Cables come in various lengths, so be sure you buy cables that are long enough to make the proper connections (but not so long that you waste your money on cable you don't use).