Want To Build a Network?
If you have ever wanted to share programs, share files, share printers, or even share electronic mail between PCs in your home or office, networking is for you! Here you should be able to find everything you need to build your network, starting with an understanding of what networking involves on through to the purchase of the components you need and how to implement them. We'll show you how building that network can be made easy!
Step number one: Before you go too much further, you should try and have an understanding of the basics of networking. These "basics" will provide you with some of the rules of networking, where to start and a step by step approach to diagram what you will need to do and how to accomplish it. Start by reviewing our Networking Basics. You may also want to review the Networking Overview that we have provided to give you a better understanding of network issues.
Step number two: You should decide exactly what type of network you want, whether it is a simple peer-to-peer network or one that involves PC's and a server of some type. Peer-to-peer networks are merely two or more PC's connected together by network cables, which a server environment involves at least one PC and one server. To learn more about the differences between the two, read our review of Peer-to-Peer versus PC-Server.
Step number three: Once you have some idea of the type of network you want and the PC's (and servers) that will be connected together, you should try and understand issues relating to the type of cabling to use, whether or not a "hub" will be involved or even necessary, and most importantly, whether there are any physical constraints based upon where your PC's and other equipment are located. For a review of the different types of network cards, cabling and hubs, please see our review entitled What You Should Know About Cabling.
Step number four: Okay, now that you have some idea of the basics of networking, and you may have even formulated an idea of what your ideal network will be, as well as the components you need (if you haven't already purchased them), now you are thinking about how you are going to go about assembling everything. The following review about How To Wire A Network should help you through this portion of your networking project.
Step number five: If you haven't yet decided what type of network you want, or the type of equipment that you need, spend a few minutes and review the checklist in our Network Overview.
Before you purchase any components, you may want to read our some of the experiences that we have had with some of the networking components that are currently available today. Don't expect us to bash any manufacturers, as quite frankly the all have their problems, however there are issues that you should be familiar with and take into consideration when purchasing any network hardware components. Take a moment and read our Hardware Review.
Now that you have the basics, would you like more information about such subjects as Fast Ethernet? This form of networking is ideal for video, multimedia, and other speed-intensive applications. 100Base-TX networking allows high bandwidth performance to be integrated seamlessly with existing 10BaseT hardware and software where additional speed is necessary. Our review will help you explore the 100Base-TX Fast Ethernet standard and how it can be implemented as a stand-alone network, or alongside existing 10BaseT components. You might want to read the Introduction to Fast Ethernet.
After you have reviewed the Introduction to Fast Ethernet, you may want to read more about Building a Fast Ethernet Network. It's not that difficult if you plan your steps! If you already have Fast Ethernet components and your network is up and running already, you may want to find out how to speed things up a bit for streaming media or fast paced game play. If you do, then take some time and review How To Speed Up a Fast Ethernet Network.
Is fiber cable in your future? Fiber cabling and components are far more expensive then using one of the options discussed above, however it does have its advantages. You may want to review the Introduction to Fiber Networking.
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