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Chapter 16. Creating a Windows XP Pro Ne... > Choosing a Network and Cabling Syste... - Pg. 481

Creating a Windows XP Pro Network 481 Choosing a Network and Cabling System For a simple home or small office network, there are three main choices for the type of network connection you'll use: · 10/100BASE-T (Fast Ethernet) over high-quality CAT-5 UTP wiring · Phoneline or Powerline networking · 802.11g Wireless networking I described how these systems work in Chapter 15, "Overview of Windows XP Networking." The 100Mbps wired option is the fastest option, but for the average small office or home network, all three options will provide perfectly adequate performance. In the next sections, I'll go over the pros and cons of each type. TIP If your network is small and/or temporary, you can run network cables along walls and desks. Otherwise, you probably should keep them out of the way and protect them from accidental damage by installing them in the walls of your home or office. As you survey your site and plan your network, consider how the network cabling is to be routed. Note If you can't or aren't allowed to drill through your location's walls, see "Can't Drill Through Walls or Ceilings" in the "Troubleshooting" section at the end of this chapter. 10/100BASE-T Ethernet 10/100BASE-T Ethernet networks use unshielded twisted-pair cabling , commonly called UTP, twis- ted-pair, or phone wire. This last name is a little dangerous because I'm not talking about the thin, flat, ribbon-like cable used to connect a phone to a wall jack, nor is it likely that phone wires installed in the 1930s will work either. The "10/100" part of the name means that the equipment can run at 100Mbps, but can automatically slow down to 10Mbps if it's connected to older 10BASE-T equip- ment. These networks require that you use cable and connectors designated "CAT-5" or better. You can buy premade network cables in lengths from 3 to 50 feet, or you can buy bulk cable and attach the connectors yourself. I'll discuss this more in the "Installing Network Wiring" section later in this chapter. Note To learn more about UTP wiring, see "Unshielded Twisted-Pair (UTP)," p. 519. A cable is run from each computer to a hub , which is a small connecting box that routes the signals between each computer. You'll need to get a hub that has at least as many ports (sockets) as you have computers, plus a spare or two. 10/100BASE-T hubs cost roughly $5 to 10 per port. A typical setup is shown in Figure 16.1.