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Beginners Guides: Home Networking and File Sharing

Beginners Guides: Home Networking and File Sharing - PCSTATS
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Abstract: Networking, or connecting computers together to share information, has long been one of the more difficult areas of basic computing, but no more.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Apr 22 2004   Mike Dowler  
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Beginners Guides: Basic Home Networking and File Sharing
PCstats guides you through the process of home networking - Version 1.1.0

Networking, or connecting computers together to share information, has long been one of the more difficult areas of basic computing to get a grasp on, mainly because it is one of those points at which the generally friendly user interface of your average Windows box starts showing cracks, or possibly gaping holes ready to swallow up the unsuspecting user.

Now granted, since windows 98 started the process, Microsoft's OSs have been getting progressively better at automating the process of connecting computers together, but there is still the external setup required, and if something goes wrong... well it's good to know where to look to fix it.

The purpose of this article is two-fold. First, to enable you to set up your own home network and share files between your computers, and second to make you comfortable with basic computer networking terminology and practice. Internet sharing deserves its own article, and so is not part of this one.

First, some important terms. Skip them if you know them.

Ethernet Network adaptor: An internal device that allows computers to communicate with each other via electrical signals passed through cable. Also known as a NIC (Network Interface Card).

Hub: An external device with multiple connections (ports). A computer attached to one port can communicate with computers attached to any of the other ports. They are available in many sizes, most commonly 5 ports.

Switch: Similar to a hub, but more efficient. While a hub will send data it receives from one port out all its other ports and let the computers attached to it figure out who the data is intended for, a switch stores information about the computers connected to it, then sends data only to the computer it is addressed to.

Firewall: A term for a software program or hardware device which can restrict specific kinds of data from passing into (or in some cases, out of) your network from the internet. Used for security purposes.

Cable/DSL router: Network devices which combine the functions of a switch and a firewall. They also provide the ability to easily share a DSL or cable Internet connection.

By default, all Windows operating systems use the TCP/IP protocol suite to communicate with each other through network devices. We'll look at this vital method of addressing computers on the next page.

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  — Beginners Guides: Home Networking and File Sharing
 Pg 2.  Basic Windows networking principals
 Pg 3.  IP Addresses and what they represent
 Pg 4.  Setting up your own home network
 Pg 5.  Installing Network cards and drivers
 Pg 6.  Setting up a Network - Win98/ME
 Pg 7.  Setting up a Network - WinXP
 Pg 8.  Setting up a Network - Win2000
 Pg 9.  Sharing files across the network
 Pg 10.  Sharing files with Win2000
 Pg 11.  Sharing files with WinXP
 Pg 12.  Troubleshooting Section
 Pg 13.  Fixing Destination host unreachable Error

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