Creating a local area network is becoming more common in homes and small businesses. The basic requirements for a LAN are inexpensive hardware components and some software configurations on the computers. A home network is used to combine one or several machines. The network may even extend to wireless, where laptops are used to connect. However, to start the LAN setup, there are only some basic requirements.
Router or Hub
The router or hub are two types of hardware components in which the traffic is merged and computers are connected. A hub is just a central device, and the data is not filtered. Data is broadcast with no controls. However, a router is a more intelligent machine that routes data packets and sends them to the right section of the network. Routers can also be used as firewall protection from the Internet. Because routers have become relatively inexpensive, they are preferred over hubs.
The two most popular connection methods are hard wiring using ethernet cables or using wireless technologies. Most desktop networks use ethernet cables. These are inexpensive products that directly connect the network card of the computer to the router. Wireless technologies are used most often for laptops. However, to use a wireless network, the administrator needs to set up a wireless router.
Network cards are hardware components added to machines that allow them to communicate. Network cards are used in any type of network. Wireless network cards are usually installed with any laptop purchase. However, hard wire network cards are also available for these machines. Network cards are inserted into a slot on a desktop that connects to the computer's motherboard. These are connected to the rest of the network using ethernet cables that attach to the back of the card.
Operating System Setup
The hardest part of a network design is setting up the software and operating system. The operating system needs to recognize the network card in the machine. It needs to have a protocol configured. The typical protocol on a network is TCP/IP. TCP/IP creates a unique address for the machine. The operating system retrieves an IP address from a server, or it can be defined in the network settings.
Security is a major concern for any network administrator. The administrator of a small home network does not need to implement much security on the network. Most home networks are peer-to-peer, allowing users to share files without permissions. Larger networks require security. This is done by creating a domain and forcing users to login to a server before accessing networking resources.