Wireless Networking GraphicWithin the past five years, computer prices have fallen and the thought of having more than one computer in the home has become a reality. Today, there are multiple computers in the home and the need for home networks has grown tremendously. If you’ve thought about installing a home network, maybe now is the time to do so. Prices for networking hardware are relatively inexpensive and it is not very difficult to set it up.

What you must first do is decide what type of home network you would like to install. There are several different choices for a home network. They include: power line, phone line, Ethernet and wireless networks. However the most popular types of networks are Ethernet and Wireless. Before we talk about the network, lets look at what device allows you to have a home network.

Within every home network, there is a device that connects everything together. This device is called a Router. The Router’s job is to direct all data from your computers, printers, scanners, Internet connection and other devices to and from each device.

When installing your Ethernet home network, you must install Category 5 (Cat 5) cable throughout your home from each computer and from your Internet connection to your Router. This can be somewhat of an unsightly picture cables all around your home unless you are knowledgeable in how to pull cabling through your homes walls. The advantage of this type of network is that data is transmitted at a much higher rate. Next, you must ensure that each computer has an Ethernet port / adapter or you must install an Ethernet card or adapter. The card/adapter will usually come with software drivers for installation on that particular computer. Once you have installed your Ethernet cards/adapters, depending on what version of Windows you have on your computer, you can follow the networking instructions wizard to configure your home network. You will also have to install the software for your Router and you should follow the instructions for complete set-up.

Wireless home networks have become the most popular home networks to have. One reason for their popularity is that they are wireless and set-up is relatively simple. First, you must install a wireless network card in each PC and connect your Internet connection to the wireless router. The next step is to install all software as per the instructions of your router. Once you have installed the software and followed the instructions as per your wireless network cards and router, you should have a fully functional wireless home networks. One important reminder, before you purchase your wireless network you must ensure that your network comes with wireless encryption capability. We wouldn’t want anyone surfing on your Internet connection or snooping around on your network.

The same process is followed with power line and phone line home networks with the exception that there is no need to install any wiring because your home is already has phones lines and electrical outlets throughout your home. There is one negative aspect to using either of these types of networks; there can be a large amount of interference that could affect your data transfer rates.

Key Components You Must Not Forget
There are several components that you can’t forget for your network.
1. Anti-virus Software: It is essential that you have anti-virus software installed on each PC. If one computer becomes infected with a virus, each computer on your network can be infected when files are transferred. Also, be sure to update your anti-virus software at least once a week.
2. Firewall: Many Router come preinstalled with either a software or hardware firewall. Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Vista also comes configured with a firewall. If you are using an older versions of Microsoft Windows such as Windows 2000 or Windows 98, you may need to purchase a fireall if it doesn’t come with your Router.
3. Power Protection: As with your PCs, make sure you connect your Router to a surge protector. This will help protect all of your network components

Once you have your hardware installed, configured and protected, you can begin using your new home network.