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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Network system for dorm room?

    Hi,

    I have two sons at University and each has essentially an identical setup in their dorm rooms:

    Wired Internet connection to a Netgear FVS-318G Firewall Router (8 ports)
    LAN PORTS:
    PC1 (hardwired when at desk)
    PC2 (hardwired when at desk)
    Printer (hardwired printer/scanner)
    NAS Unit (hardwired -- about 1.5 TB, they are older units recycled from my work)
    Wireless Access point (for moving the computers around the dorm suite)

    I am looking for an alternate strategy for graduate school as my older son may go outside of easy driving distance AND may be in a situation that does not have wired Internet.

    So, I'm looking to possibly limiting what he takes.

    The two PCs are needed (I can't stand the thought of a PC failing in the midst of a paper writing crunch).

    If we back up the two PCs to each other and a USB drive (2 TB are easily available in the 2.5-inch size now)

    How would you configure this?

    Would Internet Connection Sharing play a role?

    Would it be easy to do this all wireless today?

    Thanks!

    Cheers,

    Richard

  2. #2
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    I think 2 PCs is overkill, but it's your money.

    1. PC with wifi and ethernet.
    2. Wifi printer.
    3. USB hard disk.
    Backup the PC to the USB disk, including an image backup for disaster recovery.

    For a 2 PC setup you need a wireless router (you can turn wireless off) with a USB port, then the disk appears as a network disk for backup. No need to backup each PC to the other.

    cheers, Paul

  3. #3
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Will he have internet service where he is going? If he has wireless internet, you can get a wireless access point which will have some Ethernet ports.

    Here is something that Linksys sells, which not only extends the wireless range (which you don't need), but also provides two wired Ethernet ports:
    http://www.linksys.com/us/p/P-RE2000/

    This would give you ports for two wired devices. And you could probably plug in a basic switch (something like this) to get a few extra Ethernet ports.

    The only concern I would have about a device like this is, will you be able to connect it to the school's wireless network if you don't have access to the school's router? My guess is that you can, but I'm not certain of that.

    If there is no internet service where he is going, then you could get something like this.
    Last edited by mrjimphelps; 2015-09-29 at 08:42.

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    The boys have both become used to two PCs and they are different vintage laptops. Each of them currently has a W7 and a W8.1. They use the W7 for TV viewing and other stuff, but it's there in an emergency. If the school has WiFi it is probably the commercial version of security that I have had no luck getting stand-alone devices to log into. One university pulled out their wired Internet and replaced it with a wireless system...the next year the wired was reactivated. The first year, I bought a cable internet package to his dorm room.

    I appreciate the suggestions. I've had a bit more experience with Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) and it seems to obviate the need for a firewall router, as I assume that the host machine is using its Windows Firewall on the Internet for all traffic (its own or remote).

    There is lots of junk out there and I think one of the boys got hit again with a virus, but I've got them using the backup machines for high-risk activities and the main machines for schoolwork.

    Cheers?

    Richard

  5. #5
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlhess View Post
    There is lots of junk out there and I think one of the boys got hit again with a virus, but I've got them using the backup machines for high-risk activities and the main machines for schoolwork.
    Do you have any antivirus software on the computers? There are free versions, and there are paid versions. I use a paid version, my theory being that if I am paying someone, they will work harder to keep my computer clean and safe than if I am not paying them

    I use Trend Micro. I get three licenses for around US$50 per year. I count four computers in what you have described, plus each son probably has a smart phone, so that would be six licenses needed -- about US$100 per year.

    Trend Micro is good software, but there are others as well.

  6. #6
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    Using ICS requires one computer turned on all the time - and not infected with a virus. I'd spend the money on a router.

    cheers, Paul

  7. #7
    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    I would say NEVER do w/o a Hardware Firewall, especially considering how important the data may be and especially as they are young and already been 'hit' by something. 1 bill can buy an adequate one and a spare. And advise them not to share their connection. IMHO

    And of course change the default password and disable web side management.

    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

  8. #8
    New Lounger
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    Thanks, all. I am using Microsoft Security Essentials (oops, I mean Defender) on all the machines and it's been pretty good. We also periodically run the free version of Malwarebytes. I only found out about the problem on the backup machine a day or two ago. He will be bringing that computer home on the Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend in a week and a day.

    Each boy has a Netgear FVS318G, but I'm trying to simplify especially since next year #1 son is headed to grad school and it may be out of driving range. Buying a $90 printer locally and throwing it out (or storing it if he's going back or giving it to someone) is cheaper and easier than shipping one there and back. They use their smartphones for scanning (both have Samsung Galaxy 5 phones -- I only have a Galaxy 4 -- long story) as much as the scanner in the printer/scanner.

    What I was hoping for was the two PCs, printer, and portable USB HDD for further backup -- removed and hidden between uses. I've gotten some ideas, I have to work with the boys. The one who is headed to grad school will be the guinea pig for the new system. We can mock it up over the summer.

  9. #9
    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlhess View Post
    The one who is headed to grad school will be the guinea pig for the new system. We can mock it up over the summer.
    lucky him

    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

  10. The Following User Says Thank You to wavy For This Useful Post:

    rlhess (2015-10-01)

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