Home Networking Guide : Introduction

home network
Picture: Home Network
Connected computers and printer in a home network.

Home networking is about connecting computers, peripherals, or other devices in the home. With home networking, you and your family members can (among other things):
- share files, folders, drives.
- share printer or other peripherals.
- share an Internet connection.
- play a multiplayer game.
- share and stream movie or music collections.
- monitor your front door with a camera to see who is coming.

Almost everyone is familiar with connecting a printer or other peripherals to a computer but this home networking guide starts with this type of "network" because it can lead to the understanding of how a home network works. Then if you have two computers, there are several choices for direct connection. If you have more than two computers at home, it's time to look for a real home networking solution using technologies such as Ethernet, wireless LAN (Wi-Fi), phoneline networking (HomePNA), and powerline networking (HomePlug). If you have different types of networks, there is a way to unite the networks so they can work like one network. If you want to connect your home network to the Internet, several configurations are available for sharing a single Internet subscription by multiple computers or devices.

Since networking products vendors want to make home networking easier for consumers, they bundle networking products in an all-in-one package or a kit. Even if you are a non-techie you can install your own network with a home networking kit. And networking technologies keep growing so in the near future they will be more likely integrated with consumer electronic devices to make it even easier for consumer use. Nevertheless, understanding basic networking principles will be better in the long run especially when you want to expand your network or when problems arise.

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