What Can You Do with Home Networking
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With a home network, sister can print a document from a PC in the upstairs bedroom to a printer in the downstairs den without leaving her chair Dad can check stock quotes on the Internet while brother searches the Net for homework projects Mom can take her notebook and work under a shade tree in the backyard and still be able to recall files from the desktop in the den and interface with her company s customer database There are many good reasons to create a network in multi-PC homes, but these are the ones most often cited:
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Share broadband Internet access Every PC on a home network can share
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a single always-on broadband link to the Internet Users in a home network
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CHAPTER 18 Building a Home Network
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setting seldom access the Internet at exactly the same time, so more often than not, users can enjoy the full capacity of the broadband line Share files among PCs on the network At our house, files are continually passing between PCs All of us use each other s PCs to back up our important files One PC has a second hard drive that serves as a music and image server, so we all have ready access to our family s growing music collection and the ever-changing family photo album Enhance PC and network security The communications hardware associated with a home network provides another layer of protection from hackers, viruses, and cyberthieves Share printer and fax One printer or any all-in-one multifunction device (printer and fax) should be able to handle the printing needs for most families My family has an all-in-one in the house, which is more than adequate for the printing needs of three heavy PC users I have a printer in my office, but only because my home office is in an outbuilding 300 feet from the house Play multiplayer games At any given time, thousands of games are being played on the Internet and you are invited to join Or, you can have a gaming party in your house Share other resources You can share other resources, too, but you might have to move files and yourself between PCs in your home network For example, you can scan images at one PC, and then transfer the resulting files to your PC Or, if your PC does not have a CD burner, you can transfer the files to one that does
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Home Networking Technologies
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Because home networking has a smorgasbord of options, home networks are like snowflakes no two are alike Your home, your personal computing hardware, and your personal preferences are unique, so it stands to reason that your home network will be one of a kind
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Connectivity: The Transmission Media
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Your primary home networking decision centers on whether you want a wired network, a wireless network, or a network with a combination of these connectivity alternatives Home network technologies, including connectivity options, are summarized in Table 18-1 and explained in the sections that follow
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WIRED NETWORKS Ethernet Maximum speed 10/100/1000 Mbps (decreases as transmission distance increases) Operational speed 4 Mbps 55 Mbps 500 600 Mbps Effective range 328 feet
Personal Computing Demystified
WIRELESS NETWORKS HomePlug Wireless-B and -G 11 Mbps for Wireless-B 54 Mbps for Wireless-G 4 6 Mbps 15 20 Mbps 100 300 feet (indoors) Up to 1300 feet (outdoors)
10 Mbps (HPNA 14 Mbps 20) 128 Mbps to 240 Mbps (HPNA 30) 5 Mbps 60 100 Mbps 1000 feet 6 Mbps
Includes a router for broadband Internet access and any or all of these features: cable/DSL modem, firewall, 2- to 6-port Ethernet switch, print server, and/or wireless access point (AP): $40 $250 HPNA 20: $20 $50 HPNA 30: $40 $60 About $60 $100 About $50 $70
Network A standard feature adapters: cost per on most modern PC (NICs for USB, PCs: $15 $35 PCI, and PC card) Other network hardware (if not built into home gateway) Ethernet hub (half duplex) or Ethernet switch (full duplex): $40 $100