Chapter 24. Setting Up Windows XP on a Home Network
IN THIS CHAPTER
It used to be that setting up a network was a stupendous task, requiring all kinds of special wiring and special devices. A network still requires these basic features (some type of connection, some networking hardware, and a network card), but the processes of setting up and using a network are dramatically easier. This chapter touches on the basics of home networking.
Home Networking Basics
If your household contains multiple computers (one equipped with Windows XP and Internet access and at least one more equipped with Windows XP, Windows ME, Windows 98, or Windows 95), you can connect them to create a home network. Doing so enables you to share an Internet connection, hardware (such as a printer, scanner, and so on), and files and folders. Networking the computers in your home also enables
Setting up a home network involves three basic steps:
This section provides a brief overview of steps 1 and 2. You also learn about using the wizard (step 3). Keep in mind that an
Planning Your Network
When planning your network, you must decide what type of network you want to build. Your options are mostly determined by how the computers are connected. You may use telephone cabling, for example, or as is more common in recent
You also need to decide which machine will serve as your host or main computer. This main computer is usually called the
. The computer you
Installing and Configuring Network Hardware
In terms of installing and configuring the appropriate network hardware, you must have a computer with built-in network ports. If you have an older computer, you need to equip each computer on your network with a network interface card (often referred to as an NIC or a network adapter ).
Additionally, if you want to network more than two PCs, you will need a hub , which is a separate box into which cables from each network card connect. The hub acts as a go-between among all the computers and printers connected to the network. Many retail home networking kits contain the cards and the hub, as well as setup instructions. Note that a router doesn't function as well as a hub; it's best to route the Internet connection to the hub and let the hub take care of routing the Internet to all PCs on the network.
Again, the details for installing and configuring vary depending on the type of setup, the number of computers, and many other factors.
Running the Windows XP Network Setup Wizard
After you have installed the necessary networking hardware, you can configure each computer to use the network by working through the Network Setup Wizard. This wizard automates several procedures that were once done manually in earlier versions of Windows, including configuring your network adapters, configuring all your computers to share a single Internet connection, naming each computer, setting up file and printer sharing, installing a firewall, and more.
Follow these steps to run the Network Setup Wizard: