If you have not decided already, you will soon want to network your two or more computers in your home. You want to be armed to the teeth with knowledge of just what it takes to connect your computers to one another. You first should decide which network is best your you. If your computers are in the same room, the Wireless network should not be considered. The wired by cable network should work just fine.
Computer that may be close to each other but cannot be seen may and have phone jacks close by can easily be networked with the HomePNA Network. While PCs that are far from each other can be connected with the powerline network, assuming wall outlets are nearby.
And when there are computers in different rooms and you want the convenience of moving the systems from room to room, the more expensive Wireless Network is the way to go. After you decide on the type of network that is best for you, knowing what components you'll need to purchase will be a great help. Let's take a look at each network and the components needed to get it up and running.
The Wired Ethernet Network
If your computers are in the same room, the basic network kit can wire your systems together. Be sure to carefully open any kit or component you purchase and do not damage the box it came in. The purpose for this is to make it easy to return the component if needed.
Basic kits will have instructions and software for the network as seen as two NICs. Better known as Network Interface Cards, these NICs are installed in empty slots in the system unit. The PCI slot is where the card is installed and there are the USB adapters as well. The network will need cabling to connect the computers and the CAT 5 or Category 5 cable is the one to look for.
Ethernet networks come in two speeds, which are 10 and 100mbps or megabits per second. The wired network will also need a Hub or a Switch to direct traffic from each system. If you want fast traffic, and who don't, you will want to connect a Switch instead of a Hub. If you want all PCs to connect to the Internet, most kits come with Special Bridging Software which links the systems together.
The Wireless Home Network
Wireless networks rely on radio frequency to transmit and receive data. Wireless network equipment will offer you the choice of both wired and wireless connections.
If your computers are in direct line of each other, the IR or Infrared frequency can be used. But most wireless networks now use the Radio Transceiver technology with computers being located just about anywhere.
You will need a Wireless Router to connect each PC to the network. Wireless NIC Cards must be installed in each computer in the network. When you purchase your wireless kit, take note of the indoor range.
As you can see when looking at the wireless Router, you have the option to wire your computers together should something go wrong with any wireless component. Take note of the difference between the wired NIC and the wireless NIC cards.
The Powerline Network
The powerline network uses the electrical wiring in your home to transfer data to and from each computer. Present powerline networks run between 50kbps or Kilobits Per Second and 350kbps.
This network has a drawback in back it will have lots of electrical noise which will cause the network to lose speed. And other PC users can snoop in your computer if they know how.
This network will need a Router for data transfer and NIC cards for each system. A Bridge will be needed for access to the internet. These Bridges can be used with your Router.
The Phoneline Network
The components you will need in the Home Network are close to that of the Wireless network. In most cases, the 10mbps speed network is fast enough for home users.
The computers are connected with a Switch, a gateway, or Router to share Internet access and to send data to each computer through the phone line network. This network is considered the easiest to setup.
Phoneline Network adapters are installed in each PC. The USB or Universal Serial Bus port connection is the most commonly used adapter for Phoneline networks. To reduce line noise, a Phone Filter may be needed. If you plan to connect a phone and line in one phone jack. you will have to invest in a Line Splitter. Be sure each computer in the network are close to a phone jack.
The Phoneline Network is thought to be less expensive, more dependable and faster when compared with the Powerline network.
In a nutshell, all networks will need some type of adapter inserted in the computer. Each network will need a hub, switch, or router to transfer data. Windows 98,Me, and XP will have the needed software to make everything work together. Adapters and other hardware will come with device driver software which enables the hardware to talk to the computer.
We have taken a brief look at the hardware needed to network two or more computers. Connecting the hardware was rather simple when we networked our computers using the wireless technology. Learn all you can about PC networking and you will be grateful in having this knowledge should you experience computer problems.
Since we have seen basic network components, its time to see how each component is installed and connected. Then we're going to see how to move data from one machine to the other and share the internet using broadband with a DSL or a Cable modem. Remember to enjoy learning about your computer by performing as many tasks as you can without causing damage to your system.
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