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Home Network Systems

Expert: Lynda Morris

R.M. asked:

I need help on installing a home network system (well just two computers and the telephones and the fax machine). I have the two network cards installed and the wire run and the hub is in place. My problem is how do I plug in the wires to the hub? I have a 4/8-port 10/100MBPS switche by Addtron (they gave as much help as did their manual did that came with the hub) I really could use some advice on this.

Lynda Morris answered:

Each network consists of several parts. You need network cards in each computer. They are what physically send the data on it's way from one computer to the other. You need the cable for the data to travel over. You need a hub. The hub determines which computer the data should go to. And last but not least, you need your network software installed and running.

Physically, the network cards get one end of the cable, and the other end plugs into the back of the hub. All your cable should have connectors on both ends that look like the type of plugs that are on phones, however, if you examined them closely you would see that they are slightly larger. Phone cable cannot be used for networks as the wiring inside is completely different. The type of cabling for networks is called Cat5 cable. We usually recommend that you use ports 2 and 3 on the hub for a small network like this. Leave port 1 open in case you have, or might have in the future, high speed internet access that will filter through your network. On the back of the hub and the network cards, you will find jacks (these are the ports) that your cable plugs into. They should be numbered.

Depending on the operating system you are running, when you installed your network cards your computer (if plug and play) should have found the network cards and installed the drivers. This would give you the icon on your desktop called "Network Neighborhood". If you right click on this icon and go down to "properties" it will bring you to the properties window. Make sure that you have TCP/IP installed and you have assigned your computers individual IP addresses. Also make sure that both computers are running on the same workgroup.

About the author

Lynda Morris is a technology expert with NicLyn Computer Consultants .

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