Three Computers, One Monitor

Question:I want to study for the MCSE and I heard that I need 3 computers network in order to study it by myself. (even not for the mcse I need such a network at home).

I don't have enough room for 3 computers. And I was told that I can control 3 computers via one screen, one keyboard and one mouse just I have to get 2 extra computer boxes. What I need from u please, is to explain for me how to get such a network ( what is the relation between a KVM switch and Ethernet and NIC and hub switch all these words I heard of while asking about my network). By the way do I have to get a hub and what is the advantage of getting one in such a case?

And please if u have another solution for my 3 computers network; keeping in mind I have no room for 3 screens and 3 keyboards.

Thanks a lot for offering help.
fawzi yassine

Answer:To set up a three computer network you need three NICs (network interface cards) one for each computer. These plug into the computer motherboard (usually into a PCI slot). The only instance where you wouldn't need a NIC to connect a computer to a network is if the motherboard has networking built in.

If you are using Ethernet networking protocol (the most common one used these days) then you also will need a hub or switch to connect all of the computers together. Your network will be hooked up by using a networking cable to connect from each NIC to the hub or switch. The difference between a hub, switch, and router is that a hub passes all network traffic through to all computers at the speed of the slowest NIC and lets the computers decide what traffic is intended for them. A switch looks similar to a hub but can handle multiple speed connections separately and has some processing built in so that traffic can be directed to just the intended destination and not all computers. With only three computers it shouldn't make much difference whether you cheoose a switch or a hub.

That handles the computer networking.

To do away with the need for multiple monitors, mice, and keyboards, you use a KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) switch. You connect the video, mouse, and keyboard outputs from each computer to one set of inputs on the KVM switch and then connect the single monitor, mouse, and keyboard to the output of the switch. You then use the switch to select which computer you are working with. The KVM switch will usually have either a dial or push buttons on the front to select between the computers. Make sure that you get a version that allows at least three computers to be connected if you intend to work all three computers from the one monitor etc. The computers need not be networked together in order to share the keyboard, mouse, and monitor using a KVM switch and you don't have to share all three through the switch if you decide that you have room for three mice and keyboards but only one monitor.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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