Networking: A Beginner's Guide
lthough this book focuses on business networking, small office and home
office (SOHO) networking is growing in importance, and no introduction
to networking would be complete without at least of brief discussion of this
topic. This chapter provides an overview of how multiple computers in a home can be
Benefits from Home Networking
Many of the benefits that businesses receive from having a network also apply to
homes that have multiple computers, as follows:
Printers can be shared. For example, some homes may have
both color inkjet and black-and-white laser printers. By sharing these printers
through a home network, each person can use the most appropriate printer for
any particular print job.
A high-speed Internet connection can be shared. Most
localities now have various high-speed Internet connections available in them,
including DSL and cable networks. Both types can be configured to support
multiple computers in a home. However, in order to take advantage of such
connections, the computers must already be networked within the home.
Files can be shared, and available disk space on different
computers can be used more effectively. What if a particular computer starts to
run out of storage space? With a home network, all the computers in the home
can use the available space on all of the other computers. This way, you don't
need to spend money on a replacement computer or additional hard disk drive.
Files can easily be moved from one computer to another, and then simply
accessed over the network from any of the networked computers.
Backup devices can be shared. With a home network, critical
files from all of the computers can be backed up over the network to a common
tape drive, or a CD or DVD burner. Alternatively, critical files from each system
can be copied onto one of the other systems as a form of backup (provided the
computers have enough free space for the backup files).
Easier access to resources
If you install a wireless home network, you will
be able to more conveniently access the Internet and other home network
resources from a notebook computer in any room of the house, or even from
immediately outside the house.
I'm sure you can see how these benefits would be helpful for homes with more than
one computer. So, what is the best way to select and install a home network?