The Basics of Home Networking

The idea of building a home network for computers used to be a foreign idea for many people. In the past, many houses and families just had one computer. Now, having multiple computers and digital devices in a household making home networking a necessity. Luckily, the process of setting up a home network is relatively simple.

A home network is simply a method of multiple computers communicating with one another. When you have two or more computers, you can share many things through a computer network. It makes it much easier to share an internet connection, printers, scanners, stereos, game systems, files, CD burners, and documents. All network have the same essential components of more than one computer, a path for the information to move from one computer to another, and hardware or software.


There are two types of home networks: wireless and Ethernet. With both types, the router does the majority of the work by transferring traffic between connected devices. In order to connect a computer network to the internet, it is necessary to install a firewall. This protects the network from hackers who could have the ability to access and destroy data. For home networks, they are necessary because hackers could have access to social security numbers, phone numbers, addresses, and credit card numbers.

Whether you should use a wireless or Ethernet network depends on what you need. Wired networks provide users with additional security and the option to move tons of data quickly. One downside to an Ethernet network is the cost of the cable you would need. The more computers involved in a network plus the distance between the computers determines how much cable to need. In addition, connected cables limit mobility which can make it tricky if you have a laptop you need to move around. Many people do not like the addition of cables connecting the various devices. However, some homes can have Ethernet built in which makes having a wired network even easier.

Will-I-Need-to-have-a-Computer-NetworkConnecting computers wirelessly is perhaps the easiest and cheapest way to set up a home network. A wireless network uses radio waves to transfer data from one device to another. Since there are no cables connecting computers, the network is very flexible. One downside is that wireless networks are generally slower at moving data than Ethernet. Wireless networks are also less secure and steps are needed to protect the network. To build a wireless network, one required element is a wireless router. Previously, routers were limited to the area in which they could share data. However, newer and stronger routers generally cover a large house area so all computers can reach the network. Any computer in the wireless network also needs a wireless adapter so it can pick up the signal from the router.

Setting up a home network may not be easy, but it is worth it. Many people find it is very easy to share data between computers with a network. As technology improves, so will the ease of use in home and computer networking.

Walt Smith

Walt is a writer and editor for GigleNetworks, a blog that discusses everything to do with networking technologies. He resides in sunny Florida with his wife and beautiful 2 children.

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