A home computer network is a way to allow these various devices to share information between themselves. It will allow the upstairs computer to read the hard drive of the downstairs computer, it will let your web-connected stereo play your stored music and your Blu-Ray player can pull your home videos from a network drive. Computer networking not only allows drive sharing, but it also allows Internet and hardware sharing and lets multiple computers use the same printer.
A home network for your computers and Internet devices is not hard to set up.
There are several ways to set up a computer network in your home. The easiest and most secure method is to run wires between your router and every item you want on the network. This is easy, but it is not always possible. Within one or two rooms you can easily hide the cables. However, any further than that and it gets awkward and cumbersome. You can also opt for a wireless network setup, which gives you the freedom of movement.
After all, who wouldn’t like to sit on the computer while enjoying your morning coffee on the patio? You can also set up your network as a combination of both.
Router for Your Home Network
The router is the most important part of any network since it is what the computers and electronic devices communicate through. Before you buy one, you will need to take a close look at the network you want to set up. Make a note of what you want in your network.
If you want hard-wired items, then you need to count how many of them there are, so you can make sure that your new router has enough plug-in ports. If you need wireless, make sure that you pick out a wireless router. Most routers these days are capable of both, but you still need to make sure that you have enough ports for your hard-wired items.
If you are setting up a hard-wired system, then double-check that you have enough cable to cover the required distances. Keep in mind that the signal does deteriorate slightly over longer distances, so running a cable from the basement out to the shed isn’t your best option. You might want to look at a wireless connection out there.
Check your Capabilities
Look at anything you want to set up as wireless and make sure that it has wireless capability. Many items convert over to wireless by purchasing a card, fob or USB dongle from your local electronics store. Look at your manuals or do some online research to see what would be required to make the unit wireless capable.
Once you set up the equipment, you are ready to connect your home computer network. So follow the directions in the manual provided with your router. Normally, the manual will instruct you to boot up only one computer and type an IP address into your web browser. This address will give you direct access to the router. This is where you will configure it per your network requirements.
Follow the prompts and it should tell you how to set your network security and password. Once you configure the router, it will likely ask you to connect the other items you want networked.
Each piece of equipment and computer system connects differently. Some systems will automatically detect the network and ask to configure it, while others will need prompting.
Most computers have easy-to-follow, built-in configurations programs. Look in your systems control panel for ‘Network’ or ‘Internet Access’ and follow the instructions they offer.
Peripherals such as Blu-Ray players, DVRs and stereos should have something in their instruction manuals. But if they don’t, look them up online or call the manufacturer. Gaming systems such as Wii, X-box and Playstation have networking and Internet configuration located within their main menu and they should do most of the work for you. You will be asked to give your network password, if you have secured it.
Setting up a home network is not difficult, but it can be time consuming, so make sure that you will not be rushed as you work through the processes. More detailed instructions on setting up units can be found in several locations throughout the Internet. The store where you purchased your router is also a good source of information.
Remember if you are uncertain about something, just ask! There will always be someone who can help you.