Building a Simple Computer Network

Computer Network

The term “computer network” can be intimidating depending on how it’s presented — the reality is that it takes relatively little computer knowledge to assemble one. For the do-it-yourself person looking for a hobby or some way to advance their small business, all the material that is needed is at least 2-3 working computers and a hub or switch although in some cases a hub or switch is not necessary.

If using relatively modern computers and the goal is to network only 2 computers together, it can be accomplished by using only an ethernet cable. Most modern computers have NICs (network interface cards) installed — their purpose is to allow for computers to communicate with each other over a network. A special and inexpensive type of cable (ethernet cable) can be used to connect two computers together via the NICs. Depending on the manufacturing date of the NICs, different variations of ethernet cables might need to be used. Cross-over ethernet cables are used for relatively old NICs, but NICs with upgraded capabilities can take advantage of commonly used straight ethernet cables. Granted, an understanding of the basic capabilities of a computer’s NIC should be understood if one’s desire is to connect two computers directly to one another — start by typing the make and model of a computer into a search engine in an attempt to find out the various specifications of its hardware, including the NIC. If the make and model of the computer are unknown, do not be alarmed — the goal is to understand the capabilities of the NIC — free software can actually be installed to query and display the make/model and capabilities of the hardware residing in a computer.  Generally, there’s no exact science in obtaining technical information about a computer’s hardware. 

After the basic capabilities of the NIC are known, a basic understanding of the computer’s operating system network-functions should be known — that is all. In summary, computer operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, and Linux utilize the computer network hardware more or less the same, although the configuration functions will look different on screen. Operating systems can be configured easily to detect other computers on the network as long as the network hardware is properly set up. Once computers can detect each other on a network, various functions can be configured within the operating system to fine-tune the set-up of the network.

There are many tutorials existing on the internet that aid in the design of simple networks. Whole I.T. Solutions can make the process more easy-going. Please contact us for assistance.

Leave a Reply