Thanks to today’s technological advances, it is a whole lot easier to set up an office network at home. Almost anyone can do this because self-configuring switches and operating systems are now available. Your environment and your budget are the only constraints placed upon your network’s size and scope. These are things that you will want to determine before you begin building your network at home.
Decide whether you want your network at home to be wired or wireless. This will mainly depend upon your budget and any security concerns that you may have. If you need to have a lot of security, then your best choice is to go with a wired network. However, if you do not have such a high need for security and your budget is big enough, then you will more than likely be much happier with a wireless network at home. Regardless of which type of network at home you decide to go with, you will need to purchase the equipment that you need in order to build such an infrastructure. If you are going to be building a wired network that is larger than 15 to 20 devices, you should probably hire a contractor to handle both the wiring and the installation for you. On the other hand, if you’re going to install a wireless network, you’re going to need to remember to include at least one wireless access point. Either way, you are going to need to have Internet connectivity, which is something that an Internet Service Provider (a.k.a. ISP) will be able to provide you with.
Determine your IP addressing scheme. Address IP addresses to any servers that you have on your network at home. It is important for these servers to have a static IP address so that you can easily locate them whenever you are using DNS services. Usually this will be in the 192.168.0.n range (n stands for each individual device’s host address). Make sure to assign a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0. With Windows 7 and Vista you will be given automatic IP addressing which will automatically assign each device an IP address based upon what the operating system determines via the network discovery processes.
Select the workgroup name and assign it to each of the network’s computers. To do this click start then right-click computer and click properties, then click change settings. On both Windows 7 and Vista you can leave the default workgroup name (MSHOME) but with XP or an older operating system you will need to change the default (WORKGROUP) to MSHOME.
Make sure that everything is connected by clicking start, computer, network. If you see all of the computers and printers, you’re done. Otherwise you will want to check the network at home interface configuration, make any changes and restart.Assign your wireless network at home router a network name that will show up whenever you’re looking for available networks. This should be an obscure name that can’t be easily traced to you. Instructions for this will be found in your wireless router’s installation manual. You’ll also want to assign is an encryption type – either WPA2-Enterprise or WPA2-Personal. Create an 8 alphanumeric character password to use for the encryption algorithm. You may need to restart your router now so that the configuration changes become effective.
Check the connectivity of your network at home by clicking start, computer, network. Whenever you see all of your computers and printers, you are done. Otherwise you will need to make any necessary corrections and restart the network again.
Make sure that prior to starting to set up your home computer network you know precisely what you expect the outcome to be since a lot of what you'll be doing will be dependent upon this.
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