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How to setup a wireless home network - section 1

Introduction to networking - I

Home network is used to share your internet connection or printer with few computers at your home or for transferring files among the different PCs - e.g. multimedia files (mp3, video, pictures), documents, etc. Of course there are many other uses for home networking.

In this step-by-step tutorial we'll see how to setup a home network - wired, wireless or mixed; how to share an internet connection with several home computers through the home network and how to share files, printers and more. Wireless networking (v.s. wired one) lets you do all of that from anywhere in or near your home.

I recommend you to print or save this manual before you go any further, for the durations when you are going to be offline and won't be able to access the internet (use File -> Save As..).

Let's start with some background. You may skip this introduction if you like.

When we talk about a home network (or local network) we usually refer to two or more computers (desktops, mobile laptops, etc) connected to each other using network cables or with wireless connection and are able to exchange data between them. Two computers can connect directly to each other, while for connecting 3 or more computers we will usually want to use a device that will centralize the connection. Such a device will also be very helpful when connecting only two computers in case we want to share an internet connection with these computers, but this is not a must, as you will see soon.

Two computers connected directly with a wire
Two computers connected directly with a wire

Few computers connected through a hub
Few computers connected through a hub

Each computer connected to our local network shall have some kind of identifier: a unique local IP address. There are two ways in which IP addresses are assigned to the computers on the local network:

  • Static - The IP addresses are allocated and assigned once manually by the user (you..).
  • Dynamic - The IP addresses are assigned automatically by an entity in the network that is called DHCP server, each time a computer is connected to the network.

One way or another, the outcome should be that each computer on the local network has a different IP address.






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