A home network can allow multiple computers to share files, a printer, as well as an internet connection. For the most part they are fairly simple to setup. This series of posts will help you setup your home network and understand what is happening within the network.
This post covers the basics of networking. If you know what IP addresses and DHCP are, you can skip to the next post.
Here are the simple facts:
- A network is two or more computers connected together.
- Each computer on the network is assigned a unique address.
- The internet is one huge network consisting of many smaller networks.
- Almost all modern networks, including the internet, use the TCP/IP protocol.
This guide’s networks will use the TCP/IP protocol.
Using TCP/IP, each computer’s unique address is an IP address. An IP address looks like
192.168.0.145. It’s just 4 sets of numbers separated by a period. These numbers range from 0 to 255. You can set the IP address for a computer manually. This is call a static IP.
A dynamic IP address is one that is assigned via a DHCP server. The DHCP server takes care to make each IP address unique. Most, if not all, routers, cable modems and DSL modems have a DHCP server built into them.
Wired vs. Wireless
On a wired network, every computer is connected via a cable to a cental point. On a wireless network, every computer is connected wirelessly to an access point. A hybrid network is when some computers are connected via a cable and others are connected wirelessly.
You are the architect
When designing a network, you are the architect. You have complete control over every bit of data that travels over your network.