Networking Your Home
Home Network Designs
Your PC’s and the Internet – The Web’s The Limit
With two or more computers in your home you too can have a local area network(LAN). A basic network consists of just two PC’s, and this is just the beginning. With a 5-port Ethernet switch, a few patch cables, and some network interface cards (NIC) your home network can be up and running.
The Bare Essentials – The Basic Home Network
Your two home PC’s – in place, no extra cost. Two NIC’s – price range from $15.00 to $75.0 each. Ethernet cables – $8.00 to $10.00 each. 5-Port Ethernet Switch – $120.00. Your Internet access and ISP, already setup, no extra fees because you still have only one direct connection to the Internet. Installation service charge for the Basic Home Network can range from $100.00 to $500.00 depending on the size of your home.
For more advanced home networking a wireless solution my be your optimal choice. No need for expensive cabling and they are quick to set up and connect in little time at all. With today’s encryption capabilities and standards and with a wireless router/firewall hardware implementation it is virtually impossible for intruders to enter your wireless network.
Benefits of wireless networks include:
- Computer mobility. Notebook computers and other portable devices are much affordable than they were a few years ago. With a mobile computer and wireless home network, you aren’t chained to a network cord and can work on the couch, on your porch, or wherever in the house is most convenient at the moment.
- No unsightly wires. Businesses can afford to lay cable under their floors or inside walls. But most of us don’t have the time or inclination to fuss with this in our home. Unless you own one of the few newer homes pre-wired with network cable, you’ll save substantial time and energy avoiding the cabling mess and going wireless.
- Wireless is the future. Wireless technology is clearly the future of networking. In building a wireless home network, you’ll learn about the technology and be able to teach your friends and relatives. You’ll also be better prepared for future advances in network technology coming in the future.
Internet Connection Sharing – ICS
Internet Connection Sharing or ICS is the service found on Windows 98, 98 SE, Me, 2000, XP, and .NET that allow a single Internet (or other network connection) to be shared with a small network. If you have branch offices with small office networks, ICS is an inexpensive way to take full advantage of cheap broadband access.
If you have DSL, ISDN, cable, or even satellite Internet access, your service is typically configured to allow only a single system to communicate over that link. With ICS, you can easily share that underused link with multiple computers.
The way ICS works is basically it transforms your primary system (i.e. the one with the Internet connection) into a TCP/IP router. In addition to this, it also adds DNS forwarding and basic DHCP services to the primary system. It is very important not to attempt to use ICS on a network where an existing DNS server or DHCP server is present. Also, do not install (in the case of Windows 98, SE, or Me) or enable (in the case of Windows 2000, XP, or .NET) ICS on more than one system on the same network. Doing so will cause problems.
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