I am a complete & total novice: so please bear with me as I muddle
through this.

I have 4 computers at home that I want to first, connect to the
internet and second, network. The computers that I have are:

.. a Dell laptop
.. a Compaq Presario
.. 2 SGIs

I shall be getting DSL service soon. The DSL provider will be
supplying the DSL modem. He also mentions that I need something
called a 10/100 ethernet/fast ethernet NIC (network interface card?)
for each of my computers.

Both my laptop and the Compaq have built-in modems for dial-up. I
take it these modems won't work for DSL. The 2 SGIs were part of a
network so I am assuming they already have the 10/100 NICs in them---I
am not sure of this however.

So, my questions are:

1. What hardware do I need to purchase? Will the NIC for the laptop
be different for the other desktops? And in recommending the hardware
what would be the pros & cons of going wireless? Although my
preference would be wireless, I'd settle for a wired setup if going
wireless will adversely impact speed/performance.

2. My rather vague impression of how all this will work is as
follows:

------------ ----------- -------- ----------------
|phone line| -> |DSL modem| -> |Router| -> | My Computers |
------------ ----------- -------- ----------------

Is this correct? And if so, do I have to tell the DSL provider that
the output from the DSL modem is going to a router rather than to a
computer?

3. Assuming that I've somehow got my computers 'internetted', what
else is involved in networking them?

4. Are there any good, basic books on networking?

As I mentioned before, I'm completely new at & to this so please bear
with & please be as explicit & as non-technical as you can in giving
me any advice/instructions.

If it not too much of a bother, please write to me directly at:

murali.ramanathan@att.net.


Thanks in advance.
Murali.