June 27, 2009

Networking Basics - Key Concepts in Computer Networking

What is (Computer) Networking?Networking is the practice of linking computing devices together with hardware and software that supports data communications across these devices.

Networking Basics Quiz / Q&AAnswer this series of common questions about basic computer networking concepts to quickly expand your knowledge of the topic.

Visual Networking BasicsThis guide presents the essential concepts of computer networks in a sequence of visual illustrations designed to teach networking basics by example.

Network File Sharing 101Computer networks allow you to share files with friends, family, coworkers and customers. Learn about the different methods for file sharing including Windows, FTP, P2P and Web based.

Connecting Two ComputersThe simplest kind of home network contains exactly two computers. You can use this kind of network to share files, a printer or another peripheral device, and even an Internet connection. To connect two computers for sharing network resources, consider these alternatives.

Introduction to Area Networks and Network TypesLAN and WAN are two common types of networks but many others exist.

Basic Network TopologiesOne way to classify computer networks is by their topology. Common network topologies include the bus, star, and ring.

Free Computer Networking BooksNumerous published books are available for free download on the Internet. However, not very many quality, free titles are available on basic computer networking topics.

Network RoutersA router is a small hardware device that joins multiple networks together. These networks can include wired or wireless home networks, and the Internet.

What Is a Network Protocol?Protocols serve as a language of communication among network devices. Network protocols like HTTP, TCP/IP, and SMTP provide a foundation that much of the Internet is built on. Find out more about these protocols and how they work.

What Is a Server?In computer networking, a server is a computer designed to process requests and deliver data to other computers over a local network or the Internet. Common types of network servers include Web, proxy and FTP servers.

TCP/IP - Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol TCP/IP provides connection-oriented communication between network devices. TCP/IP is very commonly used both on the Internet and in home computer networks.

FirewallsA network firewall guards a computer against unauthorized network access. Firewalls are one of the essential elements of a safe home or business network.

Networking Basics: EthernetEthernet is a physical and data link layer technology for local area networks (LANs). Ethernet is reliable and inexpensive, the leading standard worldwide for building wired LANs.

Networking Basics: SwitchA network switch is a small hardware device that joins multiple computers together at a low-level network protocol layer. Switches differ in important ways from both routers and hubs.

Network AddressesNetwork addresses give computers unique identities they can use to communicate with each other. Specifically, IP addresses and MAC addresses are used on most home and business networks.

Basic Computer ArchitectureUnderstanding these concepts in computer architecture is essential to learning computer networking. Discover the fundamental elements of computer system and network architecture here.

"Computer Networking First-Step"Many books exist dedicated to home networking, specific network technologies like wireless or TCP/IP, or various academic networking topics. This one covers the overall field of computer networking.

How to set up a Router for Home Computer Networks.

This guide explains how to set up a router for home computer networks. The exact names of configuration settings on a network router vary depending on the model and whether it is wired or wireless. However, this general procedure will guide you through the process for the common kinds of home network equipment.

Choose a convenient location to begin installing your router such as an open floor space or table.
This does not need to be the permanent location of the device. Particularly for wireless routers, you may find it necessary to re-position the unit after installing it as the cables / signals may not reach all areas needed. At the beginning, its better to choose a location where it's easiest to work with the router and worry about final placement later.
Plug in the router's electrical power source, then turn on the router by pushing the power button.

(Optional) Connect your Internet modem to the router. Most network modems connect via an Ethernet cable but USB connections are becoming increasingly common. The cable plugs into the router jack named "WAN" or "uplink" or "Internet." After connecting the cable, be sure to power cycle (turn off and turn back on) the modem to ensure the router recognizes it.
Connect one computer to the router. Even if the router is a wireless model, connect this first computer to the router via a network cable. Using a cable during router installation ensures the maximum reliability of the equipment. Once a wireless router installation is complete, the computer can be changed over to a wireless connection if desired.
Open the router's administration tool. From the computer connected to the router, first open your Web browser. Then enter the router's address for network administration in the Web address field and hit return to reach the router's home page.Many routers are reached by either the Web address "" or "" Consult your router's documentation to determine the exact address for your model. Note that you do not need a working Internet connection for this step.
Log in to the router. The router's home page will ask you for a username and password. Both are provided in the router's documentation. You should change the router's password for security reasons, but do this after the installation is complete to avoid unnecessary complications during the basic setup.
If you want your router to connect to the Internet, you must enter Internet connection information into that section of the router's configuration (exact location varies). If using DSL Internet, you may need to enter the PPPoE username and password. Likewise, if you have been issued a static IP address by your provider (you would need to have requested it), the static IP fields (including network mask and gateway) given to you by the provider must also must be set in the router.
If you were using a primary computer or an older network router to connect to the Internet, your provider may require you to update the MAC address of the router with the MAC address of the device you were using previously. Read How to Change a MAC Address for a detailed description of this process.
If this is a wireless router, change the network name (often called SSID). While the router comes to you with a network name set at the factory, you will never want to use this name on your network. Read How to Change the Router SSID for detailed instructions.
Verify the network connection is working between your one computer and the router. To do this, you must confirmed that the computer has received IP address information from the router. See How to Find IP Addresses for a description of this process.
(If applicable) Verify your one computer can connect to the Internet properly. Open your Web browser and visit a few Internet sites such as http://freecomputercourses.blogspot.com/
Connect additional computers to the router as needed. If connecting wirelessly, ensure the network name (SSID) of each is computer matches that of the router.
Finally, configure additional network security features as desired to guard your systems against Internet attackers. These WiFi Home Network Security Tips offer a good checklist to follow.
a)When connecting devices with network cables, be sure each end of the cable connects tightly. b)Loose cables are one of the most common sources of network setup problems.
What You Need:
1.A network router (wireless or wired)
2.Network adapters installed on all devices to be connected to the router
3.A working Internet modem (optional)
4.A Web browser installed at least one computer in the network
More Wireless / Networking How To's