A Simple Home Network
A home network has many uses. With a home network, each computer in the network may have access to every other computer in the network. This way, all of the music can be on one computer, your kids can play games against each other at the same time (or do homework), all of the computers can share one printer, and countless other reasons. As the high-speed Internet access trend continues, the need for a home network becomes almost necessary.
Here is how to set up a simple home network between two computers using a DSL modem:
The Hardware Setup
Before we configure Windows, we must first make sure everything is plugged in correctly. We must begin with the device that the phone company sent to you. This is called a modem or a router. We must make sure that the first computer can access the Internet before we move on to the second. Below are the steps to follow to set up the hardware in your home network:
1. Plug in the DSL modem that the telephone company gave to you next to a phone jack.
2. Plug in a telephone line from the phone jack to the DSL modem.
3. This is where the home network begins. If you just had one computer in your house, you would connect it directly to the DSL modem here. Instead, we are going to connect a switch to the DSL modem. Below is a LinkSys switch that you may purchase at your local computer store:
Plug the switch into the wall now.
4. The wire used to connect the switch to the DSL modem is called a straight through CAT5 cable. Connect one end to the DSL modem and the other end to the Uplink port on the Switch. When you are finished connecting the switch to the DSL modem, the switch should appear as follows:
5. Now we can connect any of the leftover LAN ports to the computers that are in the home. Simply connect another CAT5 straight through wire from the back of the PC to any of the leftover LAN ports on the switch:
6. Turn your computers on. If your computers were on, it is still OK. The green lights on the switch will indicate that your computers are talking to the switch.
This is all that is required of the hardware setup. This is called an Ethernet network. If you would like to setup a wireless (802.11b) network in your house, simply substitute a wireless switch (or hub) for the Ethernet switch shown above. Please note that your computers will then require wireless network cards.
The Software Setup
Yesterday, we learned how to install a home network via a DSL modem. We must now configure Windows to allow the computers to talk to one another. Below are the instructions required to setup a network in Windows: (see below for Windows XP instructions.)
1. Using the Windows start menu, proceed to Start, Settings, Control Panel .
2. This will bring up the Windows control panel. Once the control panel appears, double-click on System .
3. This will bring up the system properties configuration tool. When this comes up, click on the Network Identification tab.
4. Once this appears, click on the Network ID button. This will bring up the Network Identification Wizard. Click Next .
5. Once the next button is clicked, the wizard will ask if this computer is going to be part of a business network or for home use. At this point, we would like to choose the “This computer is part of a business network, and I use it to connect to other computers at work” option. Of course, a home network is not at your work or business, but we are going to select this in order to connect to other computers.
6. The next step in the wizard is the Domain step. A home network is not part of a domain. Therefore, we would like to select the “My company uses a network without a domain” option. Once this is selected, press the Next button.
7. The next step is the Workgroup step. Please insert a suitable name for your workgroup in the space provided. Once a name has been chosen, click Next . Note: All of the computers on your network must be a member of the same workgroup.
8. Finally, we are finished with the Network Identification wizard.
Simply click the Finish button and restart your machine. The computer you just configured is now a part of the workgroup that you created. To add more machines to your home network, go to step one and start over on the new machine.
Simply click on Start, Control Panel. Then select Network and Internet Connections, followed by Network Connections. In the next window, select “Set up a home or small office network” from the left side bar. This will bring up the Network Identification Wizard. Click Next after reading the Welcome and the Network Identification Wizard will begin to walk you through the set-up procedure much like stated above.
Once you are finished, all of the machines on your home network can now see each other. It is now possible to configure your computers to share hard drives, printers, and other devices that are connected to all of your computers. This way you won’t have to keep moving floppy disk around when you want to print something on another computer.
~ Jim Munafo, Loveland, Ohio, USA