Crossover network cables

Something that is weird and doesn’t make sense is the idea of crossover cables. Ok, they do make sense but I’m not going to get into that here. Crossover cables are just like regular network cables except, and here is the surprisingly bit, the wires inside them are crossed over.

When to use them

Crossover cables are used when you are linking two computers directly. When using hubs, switches, routers, etc you want regular network cables but if you are linking two computers from one network port to the other you need a crossover cable.

Alternatives

Of course one problem is if you have just wired everything up and taken up half the carpets in your house. Putting a new cable in doesn’t sound like something you will be wanting to do any time soon.

There are two ways to work round this (you could also buy a network hub but that’s expensive and pointless so I won’t be covering that solution). The first is to get a connector and stick two crossover cables together, so the wires crossover twice and therefore cancel each other out.

The second solution is to get a connector that does this for you. You plug one end of the connector into your computer and the other end has a port to slot your regular network cable into. It’s just like a little box that does the crossover for you.

Two routers on one network

Two routers on one network, that is crazy talk. It is indeed but the problem is that with everyone trying to provide out of the box home network solutions at cheap prices, routers are bundled in with everything. It seems these days you can’t buy a networking hub without getting a router with it.

Picture the situation. A few years ago you bought a Linksys 4 port switch / cable router so you could connect several computers to your internet connection. Now you want to go wireless with your laptop and so you buy a wireless access point. However it comes bundled 4 integrated wired ports and a router too. It happens, it happened to me.

They can co-exist quite peacefully though. That said it isn’t plug and play. I never expected it to be though. I thought when I got the first router it wouldn’t be but that plugged in and worked fine pretty much straight away. And to be honest, this wasn’t much harder.

First thing you want to do is to plug your new router into a separate computer disconnected from the network and head to setup. Here you want to change its address on the network.

The main problem I had was that both routers were trying to use port 192.168.1.1, which was not a good situation. So I connected the second router to my laptop and changed its port to 192.168.1.5.

Then you connect everything together. In this case I connected a cable into the uplink port of my first router and plugged the other end into one of the standard network ports on the second router. I’m guessing you can also plug a cable into a standard network port on the first one too, though I didn’t try that.

As only one actually needs to route internet traffic and such I then went to my second router and disabled the local DHCP server. This one was basically just acting as more ports to my main router.

And that is all you need to do? Simple huh? Well actually save the relaxation for when you actually have it working as you know how reliable technology is ;). Once done, sit back, log onto IM and brag about your advanced network.