Wireless Network Help
Computer networks have existed for more than thirty years,
but only in the last several years have they become popular
in homes. As recently as 1999, only a few hundred thousands
in the United States possessed a home network, although many
more households "expressed interest" in having one.
Today, many millions of households in the U.S. and worldwide
have adopted home networking. Millions more have yet to
build their home network. Even those who've previously taken
the plunge are now beginning to revamp their networks for
wireless, a new wave of technology for home networking.
Home Networking Help - Step by Step
This page serves as your starting point for learning about
the world of home networking. We assume no prior knowledge
of network technology here, and we will teach all of the
basics of home network planning, installation, and
1. Benefits of Home Networking
Some of you likely share files between computers using
floppy disks or the newer USB keys. A home network allows
you to share files much faster and more conveniently simply
by utilizing the available network connections between
computers. Home networks allow sharing of other things, too,
like a printer or an Internet connection. Finally, home
networks create the possibility to use new applications like
2. Wired vs Wireless Networking
The home networker can choose from either wireless or wired
designs. Wireless networks provide more mobility to a person
in and around their home, and they make especially good
sense for laptop networking. Networks with wires or cables,
on the other hand, usually cost less than wireless, may
perform faster and more reliably, and make good sense for
desktop networking. Choosing between wired and wireless
options can be difficult, but making an informed decision
here can save money and increase one's overall satisfaction
with their home network.
3. Home Network Design
Choosing a proper design for the home network up front can
save big money later. How many computers will your network
have in the next year or two? A network with just two
computers can involve a very different design than a network
with five, for example. Other important factors in network
design include reach and speed.
4. Common Home Networking Problems to Avoid
Computer networks bring many good things into the home: more
convenient Internet access, sharing of files and printers,
additional home entertainment options, and so on. Yet home
network technology also poses challenges. Many folks don't
know where to start. Things often don't work right the first
time. Sometimes, people settle for an inferior setup and
never realize the full potential of their home network. The
advice below helps you steer clear of these common problems.
5. Operating Systems and Home Networking
The network operating system (NOS) plays a key role on the
home network. The operating system is the glue between your
network gear and your applications.
6. Home Internet Service
Although you do not need Internet (Net) access to benefit
from a home network, a majority of home networkers want to
share an Internet connection. Depending on where you live,
several different form of Internet service might be
The choice of Internet service has ramifications for your
home network planning.
traditional modem dial-up
DSL or cable modem broadband, and
satellite Internet service
7. Home Network Security
Hooking a home network to the Internet can be dangerous! If
you can access information on the public Net, its very
possible that people on the Net can access your information
too. Fortunately, several different technologies are
available to help you keep your home network relatively safe
from attackers (often called "hackers"). Bottom line:
security features should be installed and tested on
everyone's home network.
8. Troubleshooting a Home Network
Installing a home network for the first time can be
frustrating, but the frustration passes quickly once the
basics have been understood and your system is running. A
few months may pass without problems, but inevitably, nasty
trouble with the network will appear at some point. Maybe
the kids can't get to the Internet or their network game
keeps crashing. Maybe file sharing suddenly stops working.
Maybe everything stops working. A small amount of
knowledge can go a long way in finding and fixing these
problems quickly while keeping the family peace.
9. Advanced Home Networking
Have you always wanted to learn how to program computers, or
build Web pages and a Web site? With a home network, these
and other more advanced skills might be within your reach.
There was a time in computer networking where much of the
important technical information was kept in the heads of
engineers and passed along through a kind of "oral
tradition." Thankfully, we've matured in this field and now
nearly anything about networking is accessible to people
with patience and a willingness to learn. Your home network
can function as a development environment for you to
experiment and practice with technology.
10. The Future of Home Networking
The home networks we use today will look nothing like the
networks of twenty years from now. From the computers we use
to the applications we run, the future of home networking
should be very exciting. Some people believe, thanks to an
area of computer networking called home automation, our
refrigerators and toasters will even become intelligent!
Most importantly, perhaps someday every family that wants to
own a home network will be able to do so. No doubt we will
be proud to tell our grandchildren of our experiences in
these "pioneer days" of home networking, and they will laugh
at us accordingly.