If you are like many households these days, your home has several computers. Perhaps you have critical, reinforcing content dispersed across several machines. You’d like to leverage this information for home reports (tax time, anyone?), or perhaps you’d like a centralised backup methodology, collecting and protecting all data across your various computer repositories.
No problem: It’s simply time for a home computer network.
Home networks today are fast, efficient and wireless. Most transmit data at 2.4 GHz at a speed of 54 Mb/sec. New wireless standards (802.11n) are coming along with faster speeds and even longer ranges. Happily, wireless home networks are the least expensive and simplest way to connect computers. Gone are the days of sawing into walls, threading cables, second-guessing computer location(s) based on accessibility or hiding places for cables.
Gone too are cumbersome troubleshooting routines when a computer suddenly goes offline: Did a mouse chew through a cable? Where in the wall is the break – if that’s the suspected problem? Today’s wireless networks make networking totally flexible. The absence of wire and cables means that you can reconfigure locations to your heart’s content. You can likely even take your laptop outside, onto a deck, by the pool, have it out on the garage workbench, and stay connected – if just to monitor a critical e-mail’s arrival, for instance.
When building a wireless network, you’ll need to procure a wireless router. You’ll generally get about a hundred feet of signal in all directions, but recognise that walls and other large physical objects may pose an interruption to the signal. You can always buy a range extender, or a repeater, to expand coverage.
Also necessary is a wireless adapter installed to each of the computers you wish to hang on your network. Further, you can have printers and other core devices serving all computers by being a central resource serving everything and everyone.
Recognise that a wireless network can be less secure than a wired one. Take the appropriate security measures – secure your wireless router by setting/configuring its security features. Most wireless routers ship with a default password – it might even be “password”! Whatever it is, change it.
Recognise too that your typical router is going to be broadcasting an SSID (Service Set Identifier). This makes setting up client computers easy, as they will locate and configure to the SSID – but so will anyone else within proximity of your network! (Neighbours, folks in parked cars looking to hop on, etc.). Turn this off once your network is set.
These days, homes with multiple computers can really benefit from a home wireless network. You can leverage printers, scanners, fax capability, file sharing, backups, etc., all by virtue of this relatively simple setup.