How Home Networking Works Essay

4366 words - 17 pages

If you own multiple PCs, you have probably thought about how great it would be if your computers could talk to each other. With your computers connected, you could:Share a single printer between computersShare a single Internet connection among all the computers in your homeAccess shared files such as photographs, MP3s, spreadsheets and documents on any computer in the housePlay games that allow multiple users at different computersSend the output of a device like a DVD player or Webcam to your other computer(s)In this article, we'll look at all of the different methods you can use to create a home network. Be sure to read the companion articles about power-line networking, wireless networking and phone-line networking. This specialized information, including our own experiences with different networking solutions, can help you decide which method is right for your home.At the moment, wireless networking appears to be the easiest and one of the least expensive options. You can buy an 802.11b or 802.11g access point, connect it to your cable modem or DSL modem in a few minutes, and have all your computers talking on a network very quickly. See How wireless networking works for details.Ways to ConnectYou can connect your home computers in a variety of ways:"Officially" wire your house with data cables by hiding all the network cable in the walls (especially easy if you are building a new home)Run cables across the floor between computers in the same roomInstall some form of wireless networking (see How Wireless Networking Works for details)Link your computers through your power lines (see How Power-line Networking Works for details)Link your computers through your phone lines (see How Phone-line Networking Works for details)Walk diskettes and CD-Rs back and forth (which is inexpensive but gets to be a drag)Each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages, and in this article we'll discuss them in detail. But all of these methods (except physically carrying diskettes) require you to configure your computers to share printers, files and an Internet connection and to set up some level of security. This configuration process is common to any form of networking, so that's where we'll start. We'll discuss how to set up sharing with Windows 98 and Windows XP, since they are the most common versions of the Windows operating system used at home. The procedure is different if you're using another version of Windows, but the basic information is still useful. For those of you using Linux, UNIX or other operating systems, you may prefer to skip the networking basics and go straight to Building a Network.Once we establish a basic understanding of the configuration process, we'll discuss phone-line networking, power-line networking, Ethernet networking and wireless networking in detail. By the time you finish this series, you'll be able to choose the network technology that suits your needs and configure the whole thing!Networking BasicsTo install a...

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