Creating a Home Computer Network System

Most folks know by now that in order to share information between one computer and another, it is necessary to connect them together in some way. Those connections and the computers that are part of them form a network. Creating a home computer network in your own house is relatively simple provided you understand the basic concepts behind such a system.

A basic home network comprises of either cables or radio signals. Those two basic options make up the difference between what is called a cabled or wired network versus a wireless network. As recently as five years ago, a lifetime in the computer world, the wireless option was complicated and expensive. Nowadays, wireless home networks are often less expensive and easier to create.

At different points along the path there are junctions called nodes, which can take the form of computers, switches or routers.

Switches provide a place to plug the cables in that allow a physical connection between communicating computers. Routers perform a similar purpose but with more functions, such as the ability to connect multiple networks together and, as the name suggests, route traffic intelligently between them.

In many cases, computers themselves can perform those functions since many systems come with software and network cards already built in. A simple switch between them will then allow the computers to communicate with each other. Although routers have become commonplace, that is still possible and if your needs are simple, it can be the cheapest, easiest way to create a home network.

However, computers, switches and routers are not the only possible components of a home network. Familiar devices that go under the general name of peripherals are often part of the home web.

One of the reasons for undertaking the expense and effort of creating a network is often to share a printer, fax or scanner among multiple computers. For example, if you splashed out for a color laser printer or a fax machine at home, you probably do not want to spend that much money for each computer. A home network allows sharing of those devices.

As part of the basic home network system, you will often want to include software and/or hardware known as a firewall. A firewall allows for passing some information sent by trusted sources, but blocks other types of data, or that sent from any other source. With wireless networks or any home network connected to the Internet, they are a necessity. Fortunately, routers typically contain some inbuilt firewall functions and even operating system software can perform firewall functions as well.

Putting all these different pieces together in a coherent way that allows you to send and receive files, share printers and more is the process of creating a home network. Of course, doing it in a way that does not get you tangled up in a sticky web requires a bit of homework.