I have a 700 duron machine with 512Mb ram that i intend to use as a server for the other computers in my house. However i do not have a hub or a router anymore. I am wondering if i could have one network card in the machine taking an input from the cable modem. Another 2 network cards in sending and recieving data from a laptop and another pc. I know that i can do it with one machine using ICS but i am unaware if i could add a third Network card and send data to another computer.
Yes this can be done. Essentiallly it would become a router. How this configuration is done would depend on the OS. You would need to assign each NIC to a different subnet and tell the server how to route the packets. This would be no different then using a Linux box as a firewall/router. Just pretend that one machine is your DMZ and the other is your LAN then tell them how to talk to each other.
If you're going to buy the NIC's you can pickup up an inexpensive 10/100 switch for under $50 these days. In fact, you can buy a firewall/router unit with built-in switch ports for under $100 and you wont need to connect your server to the internet. If you do connect the server to the internet via cable/dsl modem I hope you know how to manage the firewalling on it.
yes it can be done, you have to bridge all the network cards (network setup wizard will do this for you in XP). In order to talk to the other computers on your network (that are connected to your main computer) you will need to use crossover cables instead of regular straight through ones.
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