1. Make sure you use a model/router with a Built in DHCP server. I use Netgear (DG834Gv5).
2. Setup and connect one the net using the new Modem/Router by using the installation kit that comes with the package.
3. once a connection is established to the net look at the LAN Settings of your modem/router and make sure you have DHCP enabled.
4. now connect your Switch to one of the free ports available in the a back of your Modem/Router and connect that to Port one of your Switch and power up your switch.
you will see that the light on the first port will be on as well as the the light on your router/modem.
now you have just allowed your system to take up 9 more PC to be connected to the internet.
if you require more connections then get a switch with more ports i.e a 24 port switch. remember a switch is just alike a multi port adapter that allows more machines to be connect through it.
Now run cables to all your XP or Vista machines, Windows should connect aut9matically and get an IP address from the DHCP in the Router.
This should do the very BASIC network connections. if you need more complex configuration such as setting up a Network Printer/s, NAS servers and Database Servers then that's a while new game... Not hard though quite simple if you are interested in playing with computers.