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Setting Up Your Network

The first thing to do when setting up a network is plan it out ahead of time; then you can physically connect all the pieces and parts of the network. Here are some general guidelines on how best to proceed.

Sketch out a diagram of your network. Include everything that you want connected, including printers, scanners, phone lines, or DSL/cable modems.

Next, to each computer on your diagram, indicate what hardware is connected to that PC. For example, one PC might be connected to a printer, another to a scanner. If any of your computers already have network cards installed, note that.

If you intend to share an Internet connection, determine which PC will be the host for the connection. This will typically be the PC nearest the hub or router.

Determine which type of network adapters you're going to be using: Ethernet or Wi-Fi. Then make a list of all the hardware you'll need to purchase. Include network cards, a hub or router, wireless adapters, and Ethernet cables. And be sure to look for cables that are long enough to run where they need to run.


For more information on installing new hardware in your PC, see Chapter 6, “Adding New Hardware.”

Head out to your local computer store and buy all the hardware and cables you need. Be sure you check out the various networking kits available for purchase. You might be able to find a kit that includes some or all the equipment you need, often at a discounted price.

This step is the tough one—installing all the hardware, especially the necessary network cards and wireless adapters. For a wired network, you'll need to install a network card in each of your PCs; for a wireless network, you'll only need a network card for your main PC. (Then you'll need wireless adapters for the other PCs.) With Plug and Play, installing a network card is as easy as turning off your PC, installing the card, and then turning your PC back on again. Installing a wireless adapter is as easy as plugging it into an open USB port.

For a wired network, you now need to power down and turn off all your computers and printers. After the power is off, run all the cables you need to run, and connect them to each computer and hub in your network. After all the computers are connected, you can power them back on again.

For a wireless network, you need to connect an Ethernet cable between your main PC and the wireless hub/router. You'll also need to connect your broadband modem to the hub/router via Ethernet cable.

Make sure that your Internet connection is active, then run the Network Setup Wizard on your main PC.

After the main PC is configured, run the wizard on the other PCs, one at a time.



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