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Introduction to Home Networking

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As computers become more and more common in homes, it’s becoming more and more common to share an Internet connection, files and printers. Computers these days all have Ethernet built in so getting a new PC networked is easier than ever. A degree in computer science was once needed to understand how to connect computers together but not any more. Modern routers make it easy for even newbies to computer networking to get the multi PC household online in minutes. For those who are still considering getting the spare computer online this is how it is done.

Get a router

A router is a device that connects two or more computers to a modem (Cable, DSL, WiMax, etc.) Most high speed Internet services only provide one or two IP addresses. The router will take one IP address from the service provider and will provide new IP addresses to the computers on the network. More importantly, routers provide a hardware firewall so that those with malicious intentions cannot get access to your computers and use them for devious purposes.

Hooking it all up

Use an Ethernet cable to connect the modem to the router. Routers will have a dedicated port to connect the modem to. It will be labeled WAN, Uplink, or Internet. Computers that are to be hard wired to the router connect to the LAN ports. Most home networking routers have four ports for connecting computers with Ethernet cables.


Most routers can use just about any high speed Internet connection once it’s connected. Some DSL services still require logging on using PPPoE (Point to Point Protocol over Ethernet) If your DSL service requires using a program to prompt for a user name and password in order to get online. Routers can handle PPPoE logons allowing computers connected to get online directly and not have to use the PPPoE logon software provided by the DSL provider. Wireless or WiFi is an entirely kettle of fish because of security required when going wireless. WiFi will work great out of the box but without any kind of security you’re setting yourself up for anybody and everybody to use the Internet access that you pay for free.

Configuring a router is actually easier than it sounds, open up Internet Explorer, Firefox or any preferred web browser and type in the IP address given to you in the documentation of the router. There are options for setting up the router including PPPoE logon, IP addressing for those few Internet provider that still use static IP addresses, Port Forwarding for game consoles and for PC programs and games that need access to special IP ports.


While most Internet providers shouldn’t have any problem with your intention to set up networking there are still a few that may have issues surrounding the use of third party wireless routers. These providers may require renting a combination modem/router which are secured using WEP or WPA by default in order to prevent intentional or unintentional unauthorized use of Internet service. In order to understand where your Internet provider stands on the issue, read the terms of service agreement you signed when you had the High Speed service installed. If you don’t understand the legalese of the terms of service agreement or can’t find your copy of the terms of service agreement then call the support hotline at your Internet service provider.

While you set up a home network without getting caught when prohibited by your ISP it is better to adhere to the terms of service as set out by the ISP. Telephone and cable companies have to do repairs and upgrades from time to time which may require entry into homes of subscribers. If a technician finds unauthorized home networking equipment it could mean suspension of the service and financial penalties. That may be a rare case most ISP’s that prohibit user installed home networks just do it to protect revenue from WiFi+Modem rental fees but they also do it to prevent account sharing between residents of apartment buildings and condominium complexes.


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