|An easy to understand guide to networking your home or office.
There are 3 types of networking that we recommend for sharing your broadband service between computers.
1. Wireless (WiFi)
A wireless network is the best option you can share your broadband with computers that are anywhere in your house, without having to worry about trailing cables.
What you need: a wireless enabled broadband router, or a wireless access point attached to a broadband router. Each computer or laptop that you intend to connect to your broadband service will need a wireless adapter card.
2. Wired (Ethernet Router)
If the computers you want to connect are close to each other, then sharing your broadband through a router is a good option. This can be done more cheaply than wireless networking, but doesnt offer the ease of installation.
What you need: a broadband enabled Ethernet router with an Ethernet port for each computer you intend to connect to your broadband service. Each computer that you intend to connect requires a network adapter card. Note that many PCs now come with one built in.
3. Direct Connection (PC to PC)
Ideal if you have just two computers, that are used together and you dont want to have to buy lots of extra network hardware. It assumes that you use a USB modem to connect to the Internet.
What you need: A type of Ethernet cable called a "Cross-Over" cable, and each PC must have a network interface card installed. You will need to use a Windows feature called Internet Connection Sharing so that both PCs can browse the web.
Setting up your network
Setting up a small network involves the following steps. The guide assumes that you are using a PC running Windows XP, and that you are installing a wired (Ethernet) network. Note that much of it will also apply to setting up a wireless network.
1) Buying the Network Hardware
You need a network adapter for each of the computers you wish to connect together. Note that many new PCs and Laptops already come with network adapters built in. You should check the documentation that came with your PC to confirm if this is the case.
Most PCs accept network adapters in the form of an expansion card that slots into a PCI port in your computer. Fitting a network card requires that you open up your computer case.
2) Installing Network Card
Installing the hardware
a) Read all the instructions that came with your network card(s) and any documentation that came with your computer about upgrading.
b) Shut down your computer.
c) Unplug the power cable.
d) Open the computer case.
e) Locate a free PCI slot and remove the cover bracket. Keep the screw at hand, as you will need this to secure your network card.
f) Place the network card into the free PCI slot. Ensure that the back plate is aligned with the opening. Apply steady pressure so that the card clicks into place.
g) Use the screw from the cover bracket to secure the network card in place.
h) Check that nothing has been accidentally moved or unplugged, then put the computer case back on.
i) Plug in and switch your computer on.
Installing the driver software
a) Windows will detect that you have a new device installed. Your card may automatically work with Windows, or you will be prompted to install the driver files.
b) If your network card came with a driver disk, you will need to insert your disk and follow any on screen instructions.
c) You may need to restart your computer once the installation has finished.
3) Setting up Windows networking
a) Click Start, Control Panel, Network and Internet Connections, then click Network Connections. If your network card is installed correctly, Windows will have installed a LAN Local Area Connection here.
b) Right-click the network interface, click Properties. You will see the installed network components, including the following:
- Client for Microsoft Networks (windows components for running your PC on a network)
- File and Printer Sharing (allows other users to access your computer or printers)
- Quality of Service (QoS) Package Scheduler (Optional component for improving network performance)
- TCP/IP protocol (The rules that govern how data is sent and received over the Internet)
If any of these components are not present, you should reinstall them by clicking the Install button.
d) Click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and then click Properties.
Using DHCP (Dynamic Host Connection Protocol)
Read your router documentation to see if this service is provided. DHCP will detect when a computer is attempting to connect and will assign it an IP address automatically.
Not using DHCP
If you are not using DHCP, you must assign IP addresses to each computer on your network. Select "Use the following IP address:" and type 192.168.0.2 on the IP address line. Make the subnet mask 255.255.255.0
Give each computer on your network a unique IP address. Do this by changing the last number of the IP on each computer. The number can be anything from 1 to 254, just so long as it only appears once on your network.
The subnet mask always remains the same.
Computer 1 address: 192.168.0.2 subnet mask 255.255.255.0
Computer 2 address: 192.168.0.3 subnet mask 255.255.255.0
Note that the IP addresses presented above are only examples, you should refer to your router documentation about which IP range you should use. Manual setup of your network is an advanced option that we can't support by phone or Contact Us.
4. Setting the Computer Names and the Workgroups
a) Click Start, Control Panel, then Performance and Maintenance (if you are using the classic view, double click System instead).
b) Click on the Computer Name tab. You may type a description of your computer.
c) Click Change, the Computer Name Changes window will display.
d) Type a name for your computer.
e) Type a name for your Workgroup, this must be the same for all the computers on your network that you want to share information between. Click OK, then OK again.
f) You will be prompted to restart your computer in order for these changes to take effect.
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