I wouldn't bother making one of the PC's the host. What most people do is connect a router to the cable modem, then the individual PC's get connected to the router via its built-in switch. No host, no hub, and definitely no USB. Put an Ethernet NIC into each PC that doesn't already have one.
Go out, and get a router. You can replace the hub with the router, or just connect the hub to the router.
Networking using USB connections is awkward at best. It should only be used if a bus designed for networking (most commonly Ethernet) is not available. And if your network uses a hub or a switch, and the PC is not functioning as a router, you would need to pay for multiple IP addresses to address everything on your network.
If you really want to emulate Rube Goldberg, have fun. But the easy way is to just get a router, and make it easy on yourself.
I also vote for the router. Netgear or Linksys are the approved choices. Netgear is like $10 less usually, but you can get a wireless B router for like $40-50 - maybe less with a rebate. Don't bother with any of the Super-B or whatever - wait for the N router when the standard is finalized if you need more bandwidth.
If you plan on ever using a laptop, get a wireless router with a 4-port switch and definitely use ethernet rather than USB - just unplug each PC from the hub and into the router's switch and connect the router to the modem and you're good to go.
Never heard of Super-B. G became the new standard a few years back. If you really still do find a new B router, you should be able to get it for under $10 ... and you'd still be over-paying for it.
At the stores around here, Netgear and Linksys prices are like Coke and Pepsi prices. Usually one or the other, or both, are on sale at any given time. Which one will be on sale when you walk in the door is a coin-flip, and could be different at another store down the street.
You can almost always find a standard G router from Netgear or Linksys for $39.99 or less. You can find other brands, like D-Link, Belkin, and a host of other odd-ball brands for as little as $10 after rebates on a regular basis. It's also not unusual to see these off-brands for free if you buy something else like a computer.
As for the soupped-up G models, (Linksys's Speedbooster and SRX models, or Netgear's RangeMax and Super-G models), unless your NIC uses the same extra technology, your connection will simply fall-back to standard G. So don't bother with these models unless you're also buying (or already have, or plan to buy) the corresponding NIC's as well.
As for pre-N routers, you're betting that they really will be upgradable to the true N standard once it becomes available later this year. If you lose your bet, you'll be stuck with a proprietary router that'll drop back to standard G. And, again, if you don't have the matching NIC's, you've wasted money on a feature you won't be using.
Non-wireless routers are made in smaller quantities, and are less likely to be marked-down to sale prices. At best, a non-wireless router will be just $10 less than it's wireless sibling, but often there won't even be a price difference. Don't even bother with the non-wireless models even if you don't now need wireless, and even if you have no plans to use the wireless capabilities in the future. (You can turn-off the wireless access for security reasons if you're not going to take advantage of it.) Wireless, essentially, comes down to a cost-free feature in the marketplace as it exists today.
If you have fewer than four things connected to your hub, you might as well just get rid of it, and replace it with the 4-port router. (Actually a router with a 4-port switch built in.) But if you're going to need more than 4 ports, connect what you can to the router, and run the rest through the hub (or switch) connected to the router.
Don't bother with the routers with more than 4 ports. Usually an 8 port version is available, but not commonly available, and you're not likely to see the same price breaks as with the 4 port versions that are ubiquitous in stores that sell anything related to computers. Save your money, and stick with those 4 port versions.
I am reading up on the linksys BEFSR41. It talks about a web based setup. If all I have right now is dial-up, can it still be setup? Or do you need to connect it the high-speed cable to set it up? In other words, what should I get installed first ... the router or the high-speed cable. Chicken or egg?
To answer my own question, the section entitled "Individual Internet connections" (see link below) seems to imply that I can get it to work with a network hub. But I have to think that there is something that I am missing here.
Just means that hte router configuration is via a web browser interface. There's a tiny little web server built into the router. Just point your browser at http://192.168.0.1/ by default to see the config page. No active internet is required for this to work. That's a LAN address.
OK. I cancelled the roadrunner installation for today and ordered a WRT54G. I don't have wireless right now but it has the 4 switched ports I can use. I should be able to uplink my old PC on the network hub to the router.
When the router comes and I get it installed and working, I will reorder roadrunner from timewarner. They say they will only support the broadband connection up to the router. But since they aren't charging me for installation and their is no minimum commitment, if I can't get things to work I can always cancel the service.
In article , Dennis K. wrote: : :To answer my own question, the section entitled "Individual Internet :connections" (see link below) seems to imply that I can get it to work :with a network hub. But I have to think that there is something that I :am missing here. : :
The configuration shown for "Individual Internet Connections" requires that you purchase a separate public IP address for each computer** in your network. You can probably get those from your ISP (I know you can from Comcast, don't know about T-W/RoadRunner), but there will be an additional monthly charge per IP address. Plus, you lose the automatic protection that a NAT router provides against the probing that is part and parcel of modern Internet life.
** OK OK, only those computers that need internet access, but I'm guessing that's more than just one machine.