below is an example
and explanation of a home network. If
it seems to complicated don't worry. We have over 25 years of
network experience and can have you up and running in no time.
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Until recently, home networks were primarily the
realm of technophiles
- most families either didn't need or couldn't afford more than one
computer. But now, one computer is no longer enough to go around for
many families. In a household with multiple computers, a home network
often becomes a necessity rather than a technical toy.
If you're thinking of networking the computers in
you have several options to explore. In this article, you'll learn
about the different types of home computer networks, how they work and
what to keep in mind if you're planning to create one.
A home network is simply a method of allowing
communicate with one another. If you have two or more computers in your
home, a network can let them share:
and other devices
different network types use different hardware, but they all have
the same essential components:
than one computer
(such as a router)
and software (either built in to the operating system or as a separate
application) to coordinate the exchange of information
path for the information to follow from one
computer to another
most popular home network types are wireless
In both of these types, therouter
does most of the work by directing the traffic between the connected
devices. By connecting a router to your dial-up,
you can also allow multiple computers to share one connection to the
Internet. Many new routers combine wireless and Ethernet technology and
include a hardware firewall.
If you're going to connect your network to the
Internet, you'll need a firewall.
A firewall is simply a program or hardware device that protects your
network from malicious users and offensive Web sites. Many software
firewalls block all incoming information by default and prompt you for
permission to allow the information to pass. In this way, a software
firewall can learn which types of information you want to allow into
connects your computers to one another. If
you connect it to your modem, it will also connect your network to the
The easiest, least expensive way to connect the
computers in your home
is to use a wireless
network, which uses radio
waves instead of wires. The absence of physical wires makes this kind
of network very flexible. For example, you can move a laptop
from room to room without fiddling with network cables and without
losing your connection. The downside is that wireless connections are
generally slower than Ethernet connections.
Most home wireless
networks use 802.11g wireless
networking, which transmits data at 2.4 GHz with a speed of 54
megabits. A newer wireless standard is 802.11n, which is designed to be
faster and offer a longer range than 802.11g. However, the 802.11n
standard isn't yet final, and early 802.11n hardware has failed to meet
expectations in tests.
want to build a wireless network, you'll need a
wireless router. Signals from a wireless router extend about 100 feet
(30.5 meters) in all directions, but walls can interrupt the signal.
Depending on the size and shape of your home and the range of the
router, you may need to purchase a range extender or repeater to get
You'll also need a wireless adapter in each
computer you plan to
connect to the network. You can add printers and other devices to the
network as well. Some new models have built-in wireless communication
capabilities, and you can use a wireless Ethernet bridge to add
wireless capabilities to ones that don't.
If you decide to build a wireless network, you'll
need to take
steps to protect it - you don't want your neighbors hitchhiking on your
wireless signal. Wireless security options include:
Wired Equivalency Privacy (WEP)
WiFi Protected Access (WPA)
Media Access Control (MAC) address filtering
choose which method (or combination of methods) you want to use
when you set up your wireless router.
Even though they're easy and flexible, wireless
networks aren't for
everyone. Some people simply feel more secure when using a wired
network, and others want to move lots of data very quickly. In either
case, a wired Ethernet network is the better choice. Ethernet networks
are faster than wireless networks, and they can be very affordable.
However, the cost of Ethernet cable adds up - the more computers on
your network and the farther apart they are, the more expensive your
network will be. In addition, unless you're building a new house and
installing Ethernet cables in the walls, you'll be able to see the
cables running from place to place around your home.
If you plan to connect only two computers, all
you'll need is a network interface card (NIC) in
each computer and a cable to run between them. The most commonly used
cable is Category 5 Unshielded Twisted Pair
(UTP) cable. If you want to connect several computers or other devices,
you'll need an additional piece of equipment - an Ethernet router.
You'll also need a cable to connect each computer or device to the
router provides wireless and Ethernet connections, and it acts as a
Once you have all of your equipment, all you need
to do is
install it and configure your computers so they can talk to one
another. Exactly what you need to do depends on the type of network and
your existing hardware. For example, if you choose an Ethernet network
and your computers came with network cards already installed, all
you'll need to do is buy a router and cables and configure your
computers to use them. Regardless of which type you select, the
routers, adapters and other hardware you buy should come with complete