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Chapter 17. Windows Networking 101 > Planning Your Home Network

Planning Your Home Network

Planning a home network is easier in many ways than planning a corporate network. The list of resources you need to share is short, the number of computers you must connect together is small, and the computers are usually all running the same or similar versions of Windows. So, do you need to plan your home network? Absolutely. Here's why:

  • You need to have a plan for where to store family documents— If you store documents on whatever computer you're using, you'll have budgets, letters, email, and all the rest scattered across two or three computers, making backups a big problem.

  • You must decide what kind of network hardware to use— The popularity of Fast Ethernet hardware makes it the lowest-cost-per-user network around by a wide margin, but the problems of running new wiring might lead you to consider other forms of networking that don't involve rewiring.

  • You need to decide which computer will perform which task(s)— The typical model of putting a shared Internet connection, shared drive, and shared printer on a single computer can suck the performance of both the sharing computer and the rest of the network down and also make recovering from the inevitable system failure harder. Instead, consider placing a shared printer on one computer, a shared drive on another, and not sharing the drive on the computer with the shared Internet connection.


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