Home networking: Everything you need to know

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Ensure the wireless network is enabled. This distance, however, changes based on the power of the devices involved, the environment and most importantly the Wi-Fi standard. This article is just aimed more at people wishing to create a wireless LAN, which is the most common preference these days. If you are in that situation, you need to assign a static IP address, an IP address that never goes in the DHCP pool and is assigned to the device permanently. Wait while your router restarts. Want to learn more about how to best optimize your Wi-Fi network? To continue the earlier analogy, this is like having multiple coffee attendants in the shop, each of whom gives out different cup sizes so that customers can get the exact size they need, and faster.

Selecting the Right Router


Most routers have a basic configuration preset at the factory, which simplifies things even more. And networking manufacturers are aiming to make things even simpler with mesh-based Wi-Fi systems like Eero and Google Wifi, which are geared toward extreme ease-of-use, offering fast, seamless app-based set up.

But just because you've plugged everything in and it seems to be working doesn't mean your network's performance and security are as good as they could be. Follow these basic steps to properly configure your wireless router and optimize your wireless network and connectivity.

The heart of your home network is your router. So it's worth investing time researching your options before deciding on one. A good place to start is our list of the best wireless routers.

Depending on your current router's age, you don't necessarily need to upgrade to new hardware. If your router is more than a few years old, however, it may only support WEP for security—if so, upgrade right away. WEP is no longer secure. Large ISPs such as Comcast and Verizon typically provide customers with routers as opposed to modems. The majority of these models are less feature-rich than the routers you could purchase on your own. Also, some ISPs make it difficult for customers to access the configuration interface.

Some ISPs even charge you extra if you want to use certain features. Alas, you should buy your own router. Now that you have a router, you need to get it connected and online.

If your service provider gave you a modem when they activated your internet service, this should be pretty simple. Just follow these steps:. So if everything worked right, you should now be online. If you are using an ISP-supplied router instead of a modem, things are a bit more complicated. First, you reconfigure the ISP's router to operate in bridge mode before you connect it to your new router. Bridge mode means the old router doesn't do anything to the network traffic and just passes it along to your new router for processing.

While you can do this on your own, some providers will do it for you remotely once you make the request. Once the ISP supplied router is in bridge mode, just follow the above steps to get your new router online. With the router and PC physically connected, you can now begin customizing the router's configuration. Most routers these days are managed via a web browser or a mobile app and are shipped using a default IP address, administrator account, and password.

This default IP address will vary from vendor to vendor, so check your documentation to find out yours. Once you have that information, accessing the management console is easy. The very first thing you should do is change the router's default password. This may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people don't do this. Keeping the default password compromises the security of your entire network and can leave your router exposed to anyone.

The next thing to do is to make sure your router is running the latest firmware released by the manufacturer. This is a good practice because you never know how long a product has sat on a shelf before it made it into your hands.

Also, firmware updates can address many potential issues before you ever encounter them. This process will vary by vendor; check your documentation for details. Next it's time to focus on your router's LAN configuration. As I previously mentioned, DHCP , which manages all the IP addresses on your network, is typically enabled by default on most consumer routers.

Your router uses the IP address , a numeric identifier, to locate your PC and route the correct network traffic. If the computer or mobile device does not already have an IP address, it will request one from the network's DHCP server, which is on the router.

When the device disconnects from the network, or a certain amount of time has passed referred to as a lease the IP address returns to the DHCP pool. Certain devices, such as servers and printers, need to always have the same IP address. They can't have their addresses change periodically.

If you are in that situation, you need to assign a static IP address, an IP address that never goes in the DHCP pool and is assigned to the device permanently. Now that you have some IP addresses available, you'll need to manually assign them to devices that need static addresses. What you need to do is to provide the network adapter of your device with a unique IP address, the network Subnet Mask, the Gateway address and a DNS server address.

Based on the above example, you could use any address between Just be sure to keep a list of the static IP addresses you've assigned already so that you don't reuse them again by mistake. Configure the LAN ports of your cable router.

This means that the router will give addresses to workstations automatically. Be certain that the address pool has enough addresses for all of the workstations. Make certain that there are enough addresses outside of the range for any hosts that need static addresses. For example, a network address with a mask of If the dynamic pool has addresses available, that means the remaining 54 addresses are available to give printers or servers static addresses.

Connect the wires for the network. Workstations and servers can be connected with standard Ethernet cables. Connect the switch to the cable router LAN ports by using the up-link or straight port on the switch.

If the switch does not have an up-link port, connect any standard port of the switch to a LAN port on the cable router with an Ethernet crossover cable. Ethernet rossover cables can be purchased at any electronics store. Test the services and Internet connectivity.

Test each of the workstations to ensure they can connect to the Internet and test any local servers and printers. Print test pages on the shared printers. Test read and write permissions on shared file servers by copying files to the servers and copying files from the server to a workstation. Share Share on Facebook. A local area network will connect computers in the same building. A network switch has multiple ports to allow connection of multiple computers.

The WAN port of an internet router is typically set apart from the other ports. Standard Ethernet cables connect computer interfaces to the switch.

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solved Is it possible to set up a wireless streaming 3D home theatre without using LAN, between an Epson projector (EH-TW) and solved managed switch for home server and LAN . How to Set Up and Optimize Your Wireless Router If you want the best possible Wi-Fi performance in your home, follow these simple steps for setting up your router and wireless network the right. Home networking is never as simple as merely connecting device A to device B. This guide will walk you through the jargon of setting up a home network. I'm focusing on PC networking here, but I.