Home Networking + 10 Top problems

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Computer networks

Have existed for more than thirty years, but only more recently have they become popular in homes. In 1999, only a few hundred thousand households in the United States possessed a home network, although many more "expressed interest" in having one.

Today, many millions of households in the U.S. and worldwide have adopted home networking. Millions more have yet to build their home network. Even those who've previously taken the plunge are now beginning to revamp their networks for wireless, a new wave of technology for home networking.

Deciding On a Home Network

Some of you likely share files between computers using floppy disks or USB keys. A home network allows you to share these files much faster and more conveniently simply by utilizing the available network connections between computers. Home networks allow sharing of other things, too, like a printer or an Internet connection. Finally, home networks create the possibility to use new applications like multiplayer online games.

Planning a New Home Network

Before purchasing and installing equipment, determine your needs. The location of your computer(s), printer(s) and other devices you want to connect can affect your network design. Some systems may already contain built-in networking capability while others may not.

Those devices that need network capability added, probably support only certain kinds of network gear. Take care to buy compatible gear.

If you desire shared Internet access, be sure to factor this into your design. Other important factors in network design include reach and speed.

Finally, consider both present and future needs in your plan. How many computers will your network have in the next year or two? A network with just two computers can involve a very different design than a network with five

Top 10 Home Networking Problems and Mistakes to Avoid

Computer networks bring many good things into the home: more convenient Internet access, sharing of files and printers, additional home entertainment options, and so on. Yet home network technology also poses challenges. Many folks don't know where to start. Things often don't work right the first time. Sometimes, people settle for an inferior setup and never realize the full potential of their home network. The advice below helps you steer clear of these common problems.

1) Cant decide which network gear u need

Networks can be built with different combinations of hardware and software. The sheer number of choices overwhelms most beginners, who too often jump at the first "solution" they find. However, setups that perfectly meet the needs of some families just won't cut it for others. Follow the link above to learn more about your options.

2) Network Wont Reach cetain area

In many homes, networks won't conveniently reach all of the areas a person needs. This fact surprises many folks. Stringing network cables to some rooms can prove impractical, of course. But even with wireless networks, "cold spots" where Wi-Fi radio signals won't reach corner bedrooms, a study, or a porch are also common. Be ready to make a few concessions in your network installation plan.

3) Computers cant see each other on the network

You've finished connecting all your network gear to the best of your ability, but nothing works. None of the devices can "see" each other or "talk" to the printer. No error messages are being displayed. You're developing a sneaking suspicion that your network is laughing at you. Relax. Take a step-by-step approach to this problem, and your network will be up and running soon.

4) Computers Can't Get on the Internet

Even when all of the devices in a home can communicate with each other, they may still fail to reach Web sites on the Internet. This, too, is a common problem when first installing a home network. After a simple check of the key network components, you'll be surfing again in no time.

5) Special Devices Won't Join the Network

Many home networks have a "problem child," one computer or device that simply will not cooperate with the others. The device could be a specialized piece of hardware like a game console. It could be a lone wireless computer trying to join a wired network. Or it could be a computer running an old version of Microsoft Windows or running Linux. Whatever the situation, extra care and feeding may be required to get your problem child to behave.

6) Certain Network Applications Won't Function

While other aspects of a home network may work reliably, this does not guarantee success with the next new feature that comes along. Instant messaging, P2P file sharing, and online games are typical problematic applications on home networks. These apps may fail to connect to a "server" or "peer," or they may sit there like zombies and not do anything. Given time and effort, any such problems can be solved. However, solutions often require specific knowledge of how these applications work.

7) Network is Too Slow

For several reasons, a home network might not run fast enough to keep up with a family's needs. They may experience very slow Web page downloads, sluggish or unplayable network games, interminable delays in online chatting/IM applications, and other symptoms of a bad network performance problem. Know what to watch for to avoid this frustrating situation.

8) Network connection drop unexpectedly

A home network may operate flawlessly for a day, a week or a month, but suddenly, at the most inopportune time, something breaks. You may have been happily listening to an Internet radio station, swapping files on a P2P network, or playing a networked game at home. Then… boom! What happened? There are several possibilities. Don't be surprised if this happens to you.

9) Office Computer Won't Join Home Network

Those who use laptop computers or PDAs at their workplace naturally might want to use those same devices at home. Technical limitations make this form of network mobility more difficult than it should be. Some folks see it as a big hassle, give up, and miss out on a major gain in their personal productivity. By carefully establishing home and work network settings (often called "profiles") on the devices, home/office network mobility can be a reality for you.

10) Netwrok is (too) insecure 

No, a home network won't become overly self-conscious and suffer from a lack of confidence. Many home networks are insecure, though, in the sense of data privacy. Too many homeowners fail to take a few essential steps to protect their network from attacks by outsiders. Network attacks and "hacks" are real threats; they happen every day and affect real families. Don't let them happen to yours!


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