This is a guide to setting up a network using ETHERNET- Basically saying that we are going to connect all your computers to one another using CAT5 cabling.
So each pc will have a Network Interface Card (NIC)installed, if it doesn’t already, to plug the cable into the back of the computer. And then there will be a device in the middle where all the cables from the pc’s will all connect to in one central location. The benefits to doing a network using ethernet are going to be the speed of the data rate – how fast the data travels between the computers, although this is something that is dependant upon many other factors – like your computer itself and the applications running on it and the type of NIC you have installed.
Don’t worry though your network is not going to slow down your internet connection, and the goal here is to have a home network, speed is an all together different monster.
Also Ethernet is the most stable and reliable of your choices. The other big reason to do a Ethernet network using cabling is because this is the easiest and cheapest way for a beginner to create a computer network.
What You’ll need –CAT 5 Ethernet cabling- enough to reach to each of your computers
Network Interface Cards- One for each computer on your network
Router/Switch- one to be the central connector of all the cabling
- It’s best to have atleast Windows 98 or new version of windows on your computer *
- No need to worry about requirements for CPU speed or RAM or Harddrive space.
The easiest way to create a computer network is to connect all your pc’s to a central Switch or Router, which they will all use to communicate to one another. Look at the diagram below to see an example of what the finished network will look like.
Diagram of finished Ethernet network using Router/Switch
So lets get started-First thing is to decide if your are going to use a Router or a Switch. You could use a Hub in this same type of set up, but with todays prices you’re much better sticking with either a switch or a Router.
But which one, both a switch and router are going to be the “decsion maker” on the network, which means it will decide what data goes to what pc. Having said that a router is much smarter and does a much better job of this and make the number of decisions you have to make much simpler.
If you use a switch there will be some addition settings you will have to configure on your computer so they all have addresses on the network. Also if you are planning on sharing one internet connection then you are going to need to use a router so that it can dish out IP Addresses to each of the computers. SO it is probably best to just go with the router right off the bat, because if will be more useful down the road as your network expands and becomes more complex. USE A ROUTER – YOU’LL BE HAPPIER in the end.
Now lets take a look at your computers-Each computer needs to have a NIC installed, and if your computer is fairly new theres a good chance it already has a network card installed. You can be sure by either simply looking at the back of your pc for a port that looks like a over sized phone jack. Test this by trying to insert your CAT5 ethernet cable into it. A network cable will only fit into this type of connection – if it’s too small then that port is for a telephone cable and is your dial-up modem. The other way to tell if you have a functioning NIC is to check in your Device Manager – For Directions on this click here
Alright so now we’re ready to plug some things in-Check the diagram below for a visual on how to connect the ethernet cabling. Connect one end of your CAT5 network cable to each of your computers and then the other end of each cable to the router/switch.
And then verify that each of your computers is able to ” Pull an IP Address” from the router and that they all start with the same numbers. The router should give each pc it’s own unique address and they will all start with the same numbers.
All IP addresses will be in the form of 4 octets – format – xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx
Some examples of an IP address are: 192.168.x.x or 172.16.x.x or 10.x.x.x The X’s are numbers that came change from one network to another so not to worry as long as the beginings are the same. There will also be a Subnet Mask- don’t worry about this number to much either your router will do this stuff for you.