To help determine which network technology best suits your needs answer these questions:
- How many computers do you have?
- Where are they located—are they in the same room or different rooms?
- Are any of your computers laptops?
- Do any of your computers have network adapters installed? If so, what are their types (Ethernet, HPNA, or wireless)?
Computers are in the same room
You have a home office and all of your computers are in the same room. In this example setup, the most cost-effective network technology is Ethernet. If none of the computers has an Ethernet network adapter, purchase:
- One USB Ethernet network adapter for each computer.
- One Ethernet network hub with enough ports for connecting each computer.
- RJ-45 network cables for each computer
It is common in either setup to connect the ICS host computer to the Internet via an external DSL or cable modem attached to an Ethernet network adapter. Should you do this, you must purchase a second Ethernet or wireless network adapter for the host computer. The second adapter is necessary so the computer can communicate with the other computers on the network
Computers in different roomsIn this network example, you've recently purchased your new Windows XP computer and set it up in your home office. You have moved your older computer into your child's room. The new computer—which is the ICS host—has an Ethernet network adapter attached to an external DSL or cable modem.
If there are phone jacks located near each computer, purchase:
- One external USB HPNA network adapter for each computer.
Home phoneline network adapter (HPNA) kits are available that make it easy to network one or two computers together. You simply plug the network adapter into the USB port on the computer and into the phone jack. The computers are then networked together.
As in the previous setup example, another solution is to purchase wireless network adapters for both computers. Simply plug an adapter into the USB port on each, and the two computers can communicate using radio signals.
Computers in the same and different roomsIn this example, you have a couple of computers in the same room, computers in your children's rooms, a laptop, and perhaps one other computer in the kitchen. One of the two computers located in the same room is running Windows XP and has an external DSL or cable modem attached to an Ethernet network adapter.This computer is the ICS host. The other computer in this room also has an Ethernet network adapter. For these two computers, purchase:
- One Ethernet network adapter for the ICS host computer (in addition to the Ethernet adapter this computer already contains).
- One Ethernet network hub.
- RJ-45 network cables to connect each computer to the hub.
- External USB HPNA network adapters for each computer.
- One HPNA network adapter for the ICS host computer.
- Wireless network adapters for each computer, including the ICS host.
- One wireless network adapter for the ICS host computer, unless it already contains one.
Sketch your own setupThe locations of your own network components—computers, printer, etc.—and the distances between them probably will influence your choice of network type and wiring installation
To better visualize your needs, you might want to sketch the floor plan of your house showing the location of each device you intend to connect. Indicate the locations of electrical and telephone outlets, and obstacles to wiring such as walls and areas where exposed network cable might either be dangerous (bathrooms) or unsightly (living room). Then join the devices by sketching in the paths of the various cables required to connect them. If your Windows XP computer is going to share its Internet connection, note that in the sketch, too.