Setting up a simple 2 computer Peer to Peer Network without using a Hub

by Edward Rosario

In my journey as a networking professional, I've come across a lot of entrepreneurs working from their homes. They want to share files and printers, but they can only get as far as adding an A/B switch, to toggle printing abilities, or passing floppy disks back and forth with the file to be edited.

My reason for writing this small article on Peer-to-Peer networking is to help these entrepreneurs network two pc's together thus allowing them to increase productivity and make their lives a little easier. I hope that my article does. So here goes.

First off, you have a few of decisions to make, what speed network you want 10Mbps or 100Mbps, which network interface cards to use PCI vs. ISA, and twisted pair or coax cables. Another one that I have to finish...! Beam me up Scotty

I'm shifting gears... Lets forget about all the different options right now and focus on the details of my own setup using 3Com 10/100TX Fast Ethernet network interface cards (NIC's).

For two computers you do not need a hub, all you need is an Ethernet crossover cable. Refer to the DIY Crossover how-to on how to make your own.

Start by going to Control panel, open the Network Icon and click on the Identification tab.

Make sure you give each computer a unique name. Chose a Workgroup name and use the same name on all computers. The computer description can be whatever you like.

Click on Access Control tab, enable Share-level access control

Next click the Configuration tab and you should see the following.

Client for Microsoft Networks, if Client for NetWare is there also you can highlight it and click the remove button, it is not needed.

The picture below shows a 3Com NIC you will see the name for whatever NIC you have. If there is no entry for you NIC then you have to trouble shoot the NIC installation.

I always install both NetBEUI and IPX/SPX on a fresh install, then once everything is working you can delete whichever protocol you don't use. However, if you are going to play IPX games then you may as well leave both because to share files you need NetBEUI and for games you will need IPX.

If anything is missing click the add button and add the appropriate protocol. When you add a protocol the network card will automatically create corresponding entries for itself.

Now highlight TCP/IP for your NIC like in the picture below - then click the properties button.

Select specify an IP address and enter the numbers exactly as they appear below.

On the second and third machines use the same numbers except increment the last digit for each machine. Example the second machine would be and a third machine would be

The subnet Mask stays the same for all machines and in this example we are using

Next click on DNS Configuration and Enable DNS

For Host enter the name you gave this machine in the first step under the Identification tab. On the other machines use the unique name given to each machine from step one

Enter into the field with the dots and click the add button. Use this same number for all machines in the network.

OK, you made it this far now open a DOS-Prompt window on the computer and type ping and you should see data returned showing the ping time between the two computers. If you receive an error you need to go back and check all of the settings.

Good Luck!

About the Author

Edward Rosario is founder and president of T_Quest Networks, LLC. T_Quest Networks is the leading provider of affordable computer network support for small to medium size businesses. Mr.Rosario has worked 10 years in the IT field.

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