I am proposing to purchase a modem/router and have two computers 50-60m appart (allowing for cable runs). What sort of wire do I need, and can I connect the sockets myself (a la BT) and if so what tools are needed?
That’s quite a long cable run, do you keep a laptop in the gazebo at the bottom of the garden?
If your problem isn’t already sorted out, then assuming you have an Ethernet connection on each computer, IMHO the cheapest way to do it would be to get a DabsValue Conexant Chipset PCI modem (Dabs stock code 430-010-0050) for a bit under 50 quid including delivery (assuming one of your computers takes PCI cards) and arranging for Internet Connection Sharing using the PC with the ADSL modem as the host. If you go for this then email me direct so I can tell you how to avoid a very confusing pitfall in the instructions regarding WAN installation on the supplied CD. If by now you’re all set up there’s no point in providing loads of info about how to wire it all up, but I can do so if you need it.
If you need 10/100 Ethernet cable, Maplin are doing a special offer of !00 m for 15 quid, which is seriously good value (stock number PB75), and you can get a pack of 10 plugs for around 2 quid.
If you can afford it, a nicer solution would be to get a USR ADSL Ethernet Modem (Dabs Quicklinx : 22Z1WS) which will set you back £116.32 plus 3.52 delivery charge) This box is a modem and two-port Ethernet router all in one, and even has an independent USB output that can work simultaneously with the Ethernet ports.The advantages of the second solution are:
* seriously powerful built-in firewall with NAT and stateful-packet-inspection, more secure than software solutions like the (excellent) Zone Alarm
* no need to have a host PCI computer switched on in order to go online with the other computer
* excellent management console