Networking of Computers

Networking of computers have today become a very essential element of working styles and sharing files.Home and small office networks can be set up in a variety of configurations. The factors that can affect the ultimate network configuration vary with the needs and circumstances.In many cases, the financial support to connect a set of machines together in a network to share files, printers, and the Internet is limited. Consider the costs of acquiring and installing network adapters, hubs, other network devices such as residential gateways, and cabling. The network configuration can also be limited by the available options for connecting to the Internet. While standard modems and dial up access is available to nearly everyone and requires little additional investment, higher bandwidth needs might require a broadband link such as Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) or cable.

Depending on the broadband provider, you might be required to use additional equipment such as a cable or DSL modem or a residential gateway. Most home or small networks are not managed by an information technology (IT) department. The configuration that is eventually chosen must match the resources available to install and maintain it. With the right configuration, anyone can do this. Whether the network is being set up in a business or home, environmental factors can affect the choices available. For example, some buildings might have restrictions on installing cabling or requirements to use existing cabling. Other locations might restrict the use of wireless network devices due to electrical shielding or interference. The Internet connection, the physical method of connecting one or more of the computers on your internal network, must be protected from Internet attacks. This can be done using a combination of translation and firewall technologies. The network configuration is invariably influenced by the knowledge, experience, and personal preferences of the person installing the network components. To provide connectivity between all the computers in your home or small office, the computers of the internal network must be either directly or indirectly connected to each other. To connect home or small office computers together, each computer must have a network adapter or device that connects the computer to the network.Network adapter choices include the following: Internal network adapters using a Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) slot of your computer.

 PCMCIA or PC Card network adapters installed in PC Card slots commonly found on laptop or notebook computers USB network adapters connected to either a USB port typically found on the back of a computer or a USB port on a USB hub.An important consideration here is the physical installation of the adapter. With PCI adapters, for example, you must open the computer and insert the adapter in an empty PCI slot. USB attached network adapters may be a better solution when simplicity is a requirement. Laptop computers will likely use PCMCIA or PC Card adapters. One must also choose a type of networking technology, sometimes referred to as the LAN media, which enables your computers to send information to each other. The most common networking technologies used for home networking include Ethernet, Phone line or Wireless. Used in organization networks, Ethernet is widely known, supported, and understood. Ethernet equipment consists of an Ethernet adapter and either coaxial cable (for 10Base2) to serially connect each computer together, or twisted pair cable (for 10BaseT or 100BaseT) to connect each computer to a hub.

A hub is required when you are using twisted pair cabling and connecting more than two 10BaseT or 100BaseT computers together. While Ethernet adapters are generally low cost, the cabling and hub needs add to the complexity and cost. Ethernet can operate at speeds of 10 megabits per second (Mbps) or 100 Mbps. To get 100 Mbps, you must use 100 Mbps Ethernet adapters, Category 5 twisted pair cabling, and connect to 100 Mbps port on an Ethernet hub. Used mostly in home and small office networks, phoneline uses telephone wiring as its medium for communication and operates at speeds up to 10 Mbps. Phoneline equipment consists of a phoneline adapter installed in each computer and standard telephone cables connected to standard phone jacks.

The advantage of phoneline networks is phone jacks are usually found throughout the house and close to areas where computers are used. Used in both organization and home networks, wireless technology uses radio signals to communicate so there is no cabling required. Wireless solutions are gaining popularity and becoming more affordable. There are many wireless products, however, wireless networks based on the IEEE 802.11 standard are becoming the preferred solution.

Organization or large business wireless networks are more likely to be using IEEE 802.11. If your home or small network is also based on IEEE 802.11, you can use the same network adapter to access both work and home or small office networks. IEEE 802.11b can operate at a speed of 11 Mbps. Wireless equipment consists of a wireless adapter installed in each computer. In contrast to the many ways that organizations and large businesses connect to the Internet, the small or home office typically connects to the Internet using individual internet connections for each computer, using residential gateways or using a host computer.