More and more people today have multiple computers in their household. With more than one computer in sharing a printer or transferring needed data between computers is a total pain without the help of a home network. With home networking equipment getting cheaper and cheaper it’s really easy and affordable to setup a mini network in your home.
Prior to the boom of home wireless networking setting up a home network was a mess. Wires traversing your entire house, the equipment was expensive and home routers and switches were in their infancy and were much more difficult to setup for the novice. Today’s routers and switches are nearly foolproof; the GUIs (graphic user interfaces) almost do all the work for you. Almost.
The first thing you should do is get all of your computers prepared. Make sure they all have a NIC (network interface card) that will handle your type of network. By type I mean will you be running a wireless or wired network?
More and more modern house today are installing Ethernet cable (the cable that your computer connects to your internet providers router) in every room. In a perfect world all networks would be wired. As most routers and switches can handle cable speeds that far surpass any wireless network technology to date. But, most of us don’t have Ethernet cable ran into every room of our house so we must use a wireless network.
If you are going wireless you must decide on a wireless standard. A wireless standard defines many things but the thing you are most concerned with is the speed the data will travel. Today’s fastest home network is wireless N. Wireless N has a throughput rate of 144 MPS (megabits per second). This is more than double the speed of Wireless G. Also keep in mind that wireless N doesn’t only provide more speed, it also provides a much greater range. Wireless N has a range of about 300ft compared to 100ft for wireless G. If you have a small house or apartment wireless G is more than adequate. But if your house is medium to a bit on the larger side you must get wireless N. In my house wireless G barely reaches downstairs. When it does it is much slower. With wireless N however, I have no problem in any part of my house.
So choose your wireless standard and then head over to buy your router. Honestly, the majority of routers perform essentially the same. Even though I work for a competitor I always buy Netgear home equipment. But, do your research. Read reviews and find your own favorite home networking company.
Wireless routers nowadays will setup everything for you. Pop in a CD, go through the basic setup procedures and you will be networked in minutes. quite the breakthrough from the early days.
During the setup you should be asked if you want to setup wireless security on your router. This is a must for many reasons but the two important one are protecting your data and protecting your bandwidth. Obviously if your network is wide open so is your data. I am sure you don’t want some strangers going through any personal data you might have on your computer(s). And in an unprotected network anyone in your direct area can freely use your internet connection. What this means to you is, depending on how many people are on your network, is a big slow down in speed. So definitely setup a secure network and do not forget your password(s).
John is a self proclaimed “technerd” that mostly writes about networks and technology. But you can also check out his web site about turkey deep fryer and Delonghi deep fryer deals and reviews.