Computers for Beginners/Networking

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Setting Up A Home Network[edit]

  1. First let's understand the basic pieces of a home network. We all know what a network is, right? A network is a set of hardware and software technologies that allow all the PCs in the home to connect to each other and to the Internet. One example of a network that most PCs connect to is the internet. The internet is generally easy to join, but slow, open, and unsecured.
  2. How is the home network built? A network is built by connecting one or more operating systems together allowing for communication between the two. Usually this is done using hardware devices which move the data from computer to computer, and software programs that convert the sent data and read the received data. A home network is easily built by using a broadband router which acts as a server to create the network for your home. In addition, routers connect to the larger internet and thus allow the home network computers to all connect to the internet simultaneously.
  3. To get onto the internet through a router, you need broadband internet. Broadband internet is commonly provided by cable and phone companies in the form of cable internet and DSL respectively. They require special modems to connect to their service, called broadband modems. A broadband modem is a device that allows you to quickly send and receive information from the Internet. DSL modems and cable modems are the two popular types of broadband modem. For the most part, cable modems are easier to configure and use, requiring only plugging in the cable line to the modem and the Ethernet cord to the router. The DSL modem requires users to log on to the ISP in order to get Internet access working.
  4. The broadband router is usually a small box - popular companies that make them are Linksys, Netgear, and DLink. One of the router's functions is to share a single Internet account with all the PCs and other devices in the home that want access to the Internet. Usually your Internet Service Provider (ISP) gives you one IP address. An IP address is a unique number for your computer's network card in a particular network (In the case of the ISP, it gives an IP address for the internet). The router works by splitting the single IP address given by your ISP into routable units that go to each computer within your home network, using special numbers that are read by the router. The router then sends the appropriate data to the appropriate IP address of the computer in the home network Network Address Translation (NAT).
  5. Let's look at the typical router. You will see a series of Ethernet ports (which look like enlarged telephone line plugs), with one usually not grouped with the others or labeled differently (oftentimes labeled WAN). This port is used to connect to the cable or DSL modem using a CAT5 cable. The other Ethernet (Local Area Network) ports, which are used to attach the home PCs' Ethernet cards. Some routers have the capability to provide wireless networking. A wireless router will also sport one or two antennae, for the purpose of providing a wireless connection to computers with wireless network cards.

Different Uses of Networks[edit]

Sharing Internet Connection[edit]

As the setting up section explains. One of the most basic features of home networking is sharing Internet access between two computers. This can be done with DSL, cable modem, or dial-up.

Files Sharing[edit]

Print Sharing[edit]

There are two major ways to share a printer across the network. The first requires a stand-alone printer, the other is using a printer that is connect to a computer.

A stand-alone printer is a printer that does not require being attached to a computer to use. Common examples are large office printers. They each have their own network card that allows them to connect directly into the network. These printers then can be assigned a network address, or a host name that allows other computers on the network to find them. In order to set these up please refer to your printer's administration manual.

Most modern printers also have a web-administration guide. A web administration guide shows options that can be set for the printer using a web-based interface. To get to it, you simply open your web browser and put the host name of the printer or the IP address. This will usually ask you for an administrator's account and password to change settings. This will be found in the administration manual, or you may have set it when setting up the printer's IP address.

Next, you will have to install the printer drivers and software on each computer that you want to have use of the printer.

In Windows XP:

  1. Click on the start menu
  2. Choose Run
  3. Type in: Control Panel and press enter
  4. Click Printers and Other Hardware
  5. Choose Printers and Faxes
  6. Under Printer Tasks, choose Add Printer
  7. Click Next, Choose Network Printer, Click Next
  8. Choose the bottom option to "Connect to this printer (or browse for a printer...)"
  9. In the text box, type in the host name or the IP address of the printer
  10. It will ask you if you would like to install the printer, connect yes
  11. It will then install the printer and tell that it has been installed!

The second option is to install a printer that is connected to another computer. First, you need to install the printer according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer on the computer. Next, you will need to get the computer's network name.

This is done in Windows XP by:

  1. Click on the start menu
  2. Choose run
  3. type cmd and press enter
  4. type in ipconfig /all and press enter
  5. write down the host name

Next, go to the computer that you want to connect to the printer.

In Windows XP:

  1. Click on the start menu
  2. Choose Run
  3. Type in: Control Panel and press enter
  4. Click Printers and Other Hardware
  5. Choose Printers and Faxes
  6. Under Printer Tasks, choose Add Printer
  7. Click Next, Choose Network Printer, Click Next
  8. Choose the bottom option to browse for printer
  9. Click Next, this should bring up a list of computers on the network
  10. Find the host name of the computer that the printer is attached to and double click it. (You may have to left-click on the network name before you see the computer).
  11. It will then show the computer and the attached printer. Choose the attached printer and click next.
  12. It will ask you if you would like to install the printer, connect yes
  13. It will then install the printer and tell that it has been installed!

To ensure complete installation, reboot the computer.

Source[edit]

How to Take the First Steps in Home Networking