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    6. Building your Network - Wired vs Wireless

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    • Getting Started with Your Wired Network 
      Now that you've learned all about home networking and have your router, you're ready to install your wired network! Theoretically, setting up your wired LAN (Local Area Network) is as simple as buying the components and linking them together with Ethernet cable. However, a few factors can throw a wrench into the works, like if your components and devices are not in the same room as your router. If that's the case, you can:
      1. Set up a wired network in a single room in your home using short, prepackaged Ethernet cables.
      2. Purchase bulk cable and connectors and run Ethernet cables from room to room (this is only recommended for experienced users).
      3. Hire a professional to wire your home with in-wall Ethernet cable.
      Once you have your wired network in place, it’s easy to add a wireless access point to allow wireless networking as well. Your network is never set in stone — you can always add components and technology to make it fit your lifestyle.

      Your wired network really starts with the installation of your broadband internet service. If you have your eye on a wired network, make extra sure that your internet installer places the modem in a location that'll be most accessible to your devices. 

      If you skipped right to this page, it's definitely a good idea to check out some of the lessons leading up to it, including:
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      A Typical Wired Network

      Step-by-Step Setup
         1.Determine where the router will be located. Ideally, it will be close to your computer, to your broadband connection and to the peripheral devices you wish to connect to the network. A room like a study or home office is perfect.
         2.Measure how much cable you’ll need. Even if your home is pre-wired for Ethernet access, you still need to figure out how much cable you'll need to connect your devices to the wall ports. Ethernet cables must be run from the router to each computer or device that you would like to connect to the wired network. For connecting devices within the same room, pre-made cables are the way to go. For room-to-room connections, you have to make some decisions. It can be time-consuming and difficult to run cables under the floor or through walls, not to mention messy. You should consider hiring a professional if you want to install Ethernet cables throughout your home, or consider the option of using wireless to get to other rooms. 

      Each end of each Ethernet cable terminates in a standard connector. These look like telephone jacks, but bigger. The most difficult part of an Ethernet cable installation in your home is getting the right color wire on the right terminal, or pin, of the jack. This is why many people use a professional (or at least someone who has done it before) to install Ethernet cabling in their home.
         3.Install network adapters. You’ll need to add these to any computers or peripherals that don’t already have them built in. The good news is that almost every desktop and laptop computer comes equipped with Ethernet ports. If a device like a printer is attached via a USB cable, you won't need to install a network card. Just attach the peripheral to a computer and network and share the computer instead.
         4.Connect your devices using the Ethernet cables. Plug the connectors into the ports on the back of your router (or into the wall if your home is wired for Ethernet).
         5.Set up the networking functions on your computers. Once your network is hooked up and your individual computers are connected to the router, it's time to network your computers together. You can use your computers' networking functions to share folders, files and printer connections. Setting up the networking function is a little different depending on which hardware and operating system you have, so again, read the instructions. There might be a wizard that walks you through the process, or you might need to change settings in your computers’ control panels. There are also many tutorials online that you can find for your specific computer and operating system.
         6.Connect your printers and other peripheral devices. Simply connect a printer to a computer on the network and allow the computer to do the sharing for you.

      Click Tip
      New in Windows 7® : HomeGroup 
      HomeGroup is a new feature in Windows 7 that makes it easy to automatically start sharing your music, picture, video, and document libraries with other PCs running Windows 7 in your home. HomeGroup is password-protected, and you decide what libraries, files and printers are shared—and what stays private.

      Getting started: 
      All computers must be running Windows 7 to be part of a homegroup. Follow these steps to create your homegroup:
      1. Verify your current network location is set to “Home network” by going to the Network and Sharing Center in your Control Panel.
      2. To create your homegroup, open HomeGroup in your Control Panel, then click "Create a homegroup".
      3. Any other PC running Windows 7 on your home network can easily join the homegroup by opening HomeGroup in the Control Panel and clicking "Join now".
      4. To access different PCs, printers or libraries in the homegroup, go to the Libraries folder, which you can access through the Start button.
      Learn more about HomeGroup

      Now that you've installed and configured your wired network, you can start enjoying the networked life!

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