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With two or more computers in a home or work environment, it is beneficial to set up a computer network for many reasons. Computers that are networked can share hardware, peripherals, files, programs and more, and can also allow better communication between users. Creating a network setup can be tricky and a bit time consuming if you run into a problem, but is worth it because it can make your life much simpler.
The first determination you must make with your network setup is whether your computer network will be wired, wireless, or a combination of the two. A wireless setup is a must for a network that contains one or more notebook computers or other wireless devices. With a wireless network, it is important to make sure all of the network technologies that are involved are compatible with one another.
A network setup that has a combination of wired and wireless devices and computers will generally not be much more complicated, since wireless equipment usually contains ports for wired equipment. You might also consider setting up a wireless network with only wired equipment so you have the option of adding wireless devices in the future without having to replace your network equipment. Regardless, the most important piece of equipment for a network setup is the router.
In simple terms, the router takes an Internet signal and delivers it to all computers and devices that are in a network. Again, it is probably a good idea to just go with a wireless router even if your network consists only of desktop computers in case you need to expand later on. You will also want to purchase a router that has the latest technology, especially if you are sharing a high speed Internet connection. For a network that is being used mainly for sharing equipment and files, the speed isn’t going to be quite as important.
Another thing that helps when you are creating a new network setup is that all computers that are involved are running on the same operation system. This not only helps the computers to communicate more effectively, but also makes it easier on you since you don’t need to use different processes for networking on each separate computer. This will make it especially easy when setting up to share printers, scanners and other hardware.
Finally it is important to ensure that a network is safe and secure. A wireless network should only be accessible to the computers in the network and password-protected against outside computers. All devices involve should also utilize firewalls and the latest encryption software since a network’s security is only as strong as its weakest link.