The connecting of resources to create a more significant overall resource.
I've been told the largest network is the telephone network, followed by the Internet, however I think the lines are so blurred, since the phone company provides most data transport services between remote networks and nodes, that the phone network and the internet can be seen as one resource (the net?)

I share an apartment with 4 other people. We have one phoneline. We have five computers. For an entire 8 months, we hated eachother for the simple reason that no one could *ever* use the phone, since someone was always a) calling us, b) calling out, c) using their modem, d) bitching about having been kicked off when trying to use their modem. Argh.

Now, having considered a networking project before, I had 500 ft. of cat5 cable sitting around, one crimper, 25 RJ-45 connectors, and one 10baseT 8-port hub. All cheap shit, but it cost me a total of $50. My roommate, finally fed up with the phone situation, subscribed to Bell's DSL service. Great.

I actually got motivated. I banged a hole through our wall with a wooden spoon I found in the kitchen. I ran a 10ft. cable I had left over from the dorms through the wall to his room, and plugged the puppy into the hub. I plugged my computer into the hub with another leftover 10ft. cable. I threw a new NIC into his computer, since the other one was for the DSL line. Tested it out, and viola: a network...

I cut and crimped three cords (100', 120', and 45'), something I had *no* idea how to do. I did *not* have a cable tester. One broken RJ-45 connector later, everything was up and working. I threw "Client for Microsoft Networking" onto everyone's computer, along with TCP/IP and IPX/SPX for games. I specified each one's IP, and set their Workgroup. I duct-taped the cable along the walls, since the place is such a dump already that no one will notice. Fearing the worst, I hooked my roomies iMac up as well, thinking there was *no* way it was going to work. I downloaded a cheapo freeware proxy server. Boom. Up and running. WWW worked... AOL IM worked... SMTP and POP3 worked.. NNTP worked.. FTP works (mostly)..

I messed around in the iMac settings until I found the PPP settings, and I specified the proxy server IP in Internet Explorer. Viola - iMac is online.

Don't ever let anyone tell you it's hard to put a network up. I'm a computer science major, but I don't know the first thing about LANs and the whatnot, unfortunately. Sure, I could have bunggled around with a Linux box, NAT, IP-masquarading, or other scariness. I love a challenge, too, you know. BUT.. I also love having high-speed 'net access NOW... and that's what I have, not a headache from setting up a linux box (let alone finding one to be dedicated..). Since I'm in and out of BeOS, win95, QNXrtp, Linux, and OS/2 everyday (OS's give me a hardon) I couldn't put the DSL line on my machine.. Thus: the evil demon that is Microsoft comes through again. I even found a proxy server that handles DNS, so everyone's computer has nifty names like 'mike.2009Bishop.mtl' (for Mike's computer, at 2009 Bishop St, Montreal).. This impresses the dumbies to no end.

Well.. that's it.

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