Question How to set up a LAN party?

Apr 25, 2021
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We were talking about the idea of doing a LAN party this summer. We've always wanted to and we'd love to.

Though, we have never done this at all, so I don't know too much about how this works.

I would like it to have a pure, wired connection rather than wireless. So I understand for that,
we would just need a Switch. And of course, the cables.

At the beginning it will probably just be the 4 of us playing, but later we wanted to have LAN party with a maximum total of 8 people. I've been looking online a little and I've been thinking of this switch.
https://www.amazon.com/Ethernet-Splitter-Optimization-Unmanaged-TL-SG108/dp/B00A121WN6/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=8+port+switch&qid=1619578022&sr=8-4&th=1

After some research, I hear CAT6 cables are the one to get. How long should the cables be?
I know we'll likely be using a folded desk. And a couple square desk added in or something as It's all else we got.
At first I thought 5 feet cables would be enough, but I wasn't completely sure how that would turn out.
Should I get 10 feet? How long works for you?
Though, I have a heard a little about the shorter the cable the faster the connection.
I'm not sure how true that is, but if that's the case I would like to be as minimum as I can get a away with.
Besides that, is there anything else specific I look for in a cable?
So far I was thinking of these.
https://www.amazon.com/Cable-Matters-10-Pack-Snagless-Ethernet/dp/B00K2E4UDM/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=cat6+cable+5+feet+10+count&qid=1619583631&sr=8-3
or these
https://www.amazon.com/Ethernet-Cable-Network-Patch-Internet/dp/B08LTBZ9HP/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=cat6+cable+10+feet+10+count&qid=1619583741&sr=8-5

I don't mind if it's multicolored or one colored or anything like that. I just want the cheapest option that will work.

Finally, how do you actually set up. I understand some games have a LAN mode that does not need internet.
So lets assume were just doing that to begin with. So we just plug all the computers to the ports and that's it?
I've heard a little about entering IP's and stuff. I don't know anything at all about IP addresses and all that,
so if that's the case I need help knowing what to do with that while setting it up. What all do I have to do exactly
when I plug all the computers in (unless I have to do it before plugging it in)?
If it helps, most of these computers are desktops running Windows 10 Home.

The games we've been thinking of include:
Team Fortress 2
Doom (Chocolate Doom)
Doom Source Port (Zandronium)
Left 4 Dead 2
Sanctum
Carmageddon: Reincarnation
Unreal Tournament
Star Wars Battlefront 2 (OG)
Rocket League
Minecraft

So I heard that some games (like Sanctum) require online even for local LAN. For those cases, how to would we add internet to our LAN?
Just connect one of the Switch ports to the internet router through a CAT cable and that's it? Do we need to set it up, and how do you if so?
Also, little did I realize is that there is a WiFi extender plugged in to the wall, and it has an ethernet input in it.
If we plugged the switch into that instead, would we get internet just the same?

And finally, how does starting LAN game, in-game generally work? Is it the same as creating a match in any game?
Most of these games will be off of Steam. Again, whenever it's possible I want the LAN connection to be pure and offline.
Btw, in the past I've had a little experience having to port-forwarding for hosting games online (Chocolate Doom),
so I'm just wondering if Port-Forwarding will be necessary for any of these games even for a LAN network?

Thank you for your time. I'm excited to learn more about this, and to finally do it!!

Edit: Oh and one last thing, about power. Are there specific extension cords I should get, some of these computer's PSU's are 850 watts or around 700 watts. And then there's the monitors. I would like a 2 prong extension cable to connect both computer and monitor.

Just curious, for LAN parties, do you prefer everybody have speakers or headphones?

Btw I decided to research again. Actually, would it make more sense to get Cat5E cables since the speed of those apparently match the speed of the ports (Gigabit?). Would that basically mean getting Cat6 would be a waste of money since they're more than the Switch supports?
 
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Eximo

Titan
Ambassador
Okay, having done this through most of my teens, I can certainly help out.

A dumb switch like you have listed will work to connect computers together on a local network. If you connect that to your internet router, and the computers into the switch it will share the internet and smartly route traffic from computer to computer.

With a router, you should just be able to plug the computers in directly and not worry about anything, DHCP will take care of assigning IP addresses.

With a switch only, you will need to configure each system to an a fixed IP address. Pretty easy though. Typically just do 192.168.0.1, 255.255.255.0 and assign each computer an address 192.168.0.2, etc.

You should buy CAT6 cable. Even if you are building a 1Gbps network, the cost difference is minor and you then have CAT6 cable later for when you all end up with 2.5Gbps ethernet adapters (you could also consider preemptively getting a 2.5Gbps capable router/switch) Also has better shielding.

Cable length over the short distances in a room or house will not have an impact on performance. 100m is the rated max for Cat 5e, 6, etc. The higher rating just increases maximum speed.

As for what lengths to get, 10ft, 25ft, and a 50-100ft for plugging into the router (that way if it is tied to the cable or DSL outlet somewhere, you don't have to move it)

Power supply rating does not equal power consumption. If you have many high end gaming rigs with something like a 65W CPU and 200W GPU, you may want to cap yourself to 4 computers per circuit.

You should get one high end, thick gauge, extension cord so you can connect some of the computers to power from another room. (You can test this by using your circuit breakers to see which rooms are truly separate.

It is still recommend that each computer be run from a surge protected power strip. In turn you can plug all of those power strips into one power strip. (Yes, this is not entirely appropriate, but is about the only sensible way to do a LAN party) Unless you go out and buy rack mount PDUs.


Port forwarding may be needed if you want to have some online guests attend your LAN party remotely. Probably want to look up hosting requirements on a per game basis.

Not sure if I left anything out, feel free to come back with more questions.
 
Reactions: lvt
Some thoughts:
  • Get a router instead of a switch. A router handles all the network setup for you. If you get a switch, you're going to have to set up the network manually for every computer.
  • Cat5e is sufficient for your purposes if you want don't want to spend as much money
  • Get as much cable as you need. Cat5e and Cat6 are rated for 100 meters.
  • The only thing distance would add is latency, but at 100 meters, you're only getting like ~350 nanoseconds
  • If you want your local network to access the internet, you have to have a modem connected to it.
  • Internet access is required to access some of the games due to requiring logging into a storefront. Some of them have an offline mode that it can enter after logging in, but it may not be an indefinite thing.
  • Port forwarding is not needed for LANs, it's only needed for people trying to connect from outside the network (i.e., the internet)
  • Without knowing what the computers are, a rough estimate if they go full ham with monitors is 300W apiece. Conventional house circuits cap out at 1200W or 1500W. Would recommend at most 3 computers and monitors per surge protector.
  • Headphones are more proper etiquette for LAN parties.
  • You're going to need a copy of a game for each computer. Account sharing features won't let you play on two different accounts at once.
 
Apr 25, 2021
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Thank you so much for your responses, they were very helpful!

So that last thing to worry about now is power. Right now, I'm just concerned for just the four of us.
So I don't a thing about power and stuff either. They have a big, nice 3 story house.
Right now were thinking about doing the dining room, which is connected to the main floor living room,
and to the kitchen
with appliances like the built in microwave, the fancy digital fridge, stove, and dishwasher.
I thought that'd make a good spot because theres 4 outlets right there, we can plug one computer and one monitor into each.

As for our machines, one of them is a very powerful up to date one with:
GTX 3080, 850 watt power supply, lots of case lights, a few hard drives, lots of ram, and a widescreen 4k GSync monitor.
The others:
  1. Gtx 970, 550 watt psu, 1 HD, 1080p tv as monitor at 50 watts
  2. Gtx 1000 series 750 watt PSU, Ryzen cpu 1 hard drive, general 4k monitor
  3. GTX 980ti, 750 watt m.2 hard drive (or one of those kinds of hard drives), general 4k monitor
So if we plug all 4 of those to those outlets that are all next to each other out there in the dining room, would that work. and most importantly, would that be safe?
I just don't want to set their house on fire : P
We'll probably unplug everything out in the living room right there, and not use microwave and stove, if that helps.

I did a little research and after I looked at their panel and took pics if that helps
View: https://imgur.com/a/5jbwd0v

I noticed on the flickers there is 15, and on the side to the switches most of them say 120v,
but some say 120v/240v~
and they also say 10 kA
I'm sure what these mean, but I have heard that your supposed to multiply the volts by the amps to get the max number of watts.
Are amps what those 15's are referring to?
Also the switches have dented numbers to the side to match them to paper diagram.

Thank you again.

Just a curious question. For games like Sanctum, that require online to play multiplayer even on a LAN network, will the game still benefit from the direct connection between the playing computers on the network. Or can hosting a match with the internet put any kind lag, or latency or anything like that on our LAN connection with each other in the game?

Also, whenever we have to plug in the internet to the switch, to give all the connected computers internet, does the ethernet to the internet have to a connected to any specific port on the switch? For example, does it have to plugged in to port 1 on the switch? Or can you plug it to just any port on the switch?
 
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Ferimer

Distinguished
Wouldnt an application program like Hitachi work? Creates a Local network which they all can connect to and creates a Lan setup without having to mess with a ton of wires and IP addresses?
 

carocuore

Upstanding
Jan 24, 2021
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Wouldnt an application program like Hitachi work?
Isn't that a japanese corp? Hamachi is the one I know to make your own virtual LAN
if you want it to work without routers and a ton of wires it'd run over internet, meaning latencies would be skyhigh if compared against a real LAN.

A router is the easiest solution

Are amps what those 15's are referring to?
Yup, 15A each. 10kA is the interrupting rating for short circuits.
If the kitchen has a single 15A breaker then that current would be shared by all of the outlets which is kinda weird unless the microwave and other stuff are wired to another box, anyway those computers won't draw all 15A so it's fine.
 

Eximo

Titan
Ambassador
For safety, run one extension cable from one room, and plug directly into the room you are going to be in.

Kitchen outlets will likely be separate from the fridge, microwave, and especially an electric range. None of those are listed on this breaker panel, so there is another box somewhere. Looks like this is mostly taking care of the basement and some bedrooms and the family rooms. No bathrooms or kitchen or appliances.

House must have two panels, those are all quite small and I am not seeing any of the appliance breakers (which will be much larger, like 30, 40, and 50 AMP. Should be a label somewhere that tells you what each one is.

240V is what is delivered to the house. 120V circuits are effectively 'half' the incoming service voltage. Larger breakers span across the 240v to get you a lot more power, for things like air conditioners, heaters, water heaters, and ovens.
 
For a measure of safety and knowledge, I suggest testing which breaker affects which part of the house, unless it's clearly labeled (it should be, but I don't know).

I would also suggest using the circuit with the least amount of stuff connected to it and running an extension cable if you can. Also avoid rooms that already have a lot of stuff plugged in. Granted major appliances in the kitchen should be on their own circuits, but again, I don't know what your setup is and if someone wants to say make toast at some ungodly hour, then that risks tripping the circuit.
 

boju

Titan
Ambassador
If connecting switch to router, the computers connected to switch shouldn't need ip addresses entered. I've never had to do that in my lan party experiences.

If want outsider friends join your game imo easiest way instead of port forwarding (unless that stuff is easy for you) is all of you install and join vpn account created by you. Ie Radmin vpn if you need recommendations which assigns an ip address to the virtual nic, easy and reliable. Avoid Hamachi, it doesn't assign ip addresses in the virtual nic properties and some games (probably most) will find it difficult to scan and connect.
 
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