Before we go into the details of networking we should first understand why it is important to have a network between the computers at home and what all devices and peripherals are required to set up the network. In simplest terms Network is connecting two or more computers together so that they can share data among each other and also access the shared resources on the network. Example of data can be the songs and movies stored on one computer which can be played on other computers over the network and by sharing common resources I mean devices like printer or scanner. If you have a printer then it can be easily shared on the network and after that all the computers would be able to print through it. Network really helps in many ways. Another reason for creating network is for sharing the internet connection. Every house has one single internet connection and it is by the networking that it can be used on all the computers connected to the network.
Now let us see what devices we would need in order to make a network
1. First device would be a Wireless Router. We need a wireless router as it serves to both Wired and Wireless connections.
2. Next we need all computers to have a network interface card. Laptops have inbuilt LAN card and Wireless Cards so don’t worry about them but do check the same on the desktop computers.
3. LAN Cable (Ethernet cable along with RJ45 connectors)
Steps to set up the network
1. We will use the Wireless router as the central hub which will manage the entire routing and internet sharing on the network.
2. Connect the Router’s LAN ports to one of the computers Ethernet Card (LAN Card).
3. Connect the broadband cable into the WAN port of the Router.
4. Open Start -> Run and type “CMD”
5. Run the IPCONFIG command and note down the Default Gateway address
6. Open Internet Explorer and type the Default Gateway address in the Address Bar of the browser to enter the console.
7. Once you reach the console, enable DHCP and Wireless modes in the router.
8. Now give your Wireless Network a name so that it can be identified by computers which would be connecting to it wirelessly.
9. After making these changes just logout from the console and connect other computers using LAN cable to the LAN ports of the router or connect the Laptops Wirelessly.
Once the connection gets established you will see that all computers would be using the Wireless Router as the central hub and they will get their IP address from the routers DHCP pool.
After making the above mentioned setup it is not necessary that you would be able to share data amongst each other for this make sure that you have taken care of the following key points:
1. All the computers should be in the same Workgroup.
2. All computers should be set to get IP from the DHCP server automatically
3. All computers should have File Sharing enabled
4. Proper exceptions must be raised in the Firewall (if any).