Home Networking with windows XP. Share a single Internet connection: Microsoft Windows XP has a feature called Internet Connection Sharing (ICS). Using ICS, one computer, called the ICS host, shares its Internet connection with the rest of the computers on the network. By sharing one Internet connection, you can simultaneously surf the Web on your computer while another family member checks e-mail on a different computer. Share a printer, scanner, and other hardware: You may have a printer that is connected to a computer in another room. With home networking, you can access this printer from your computer. You no longer have to copy a file onto a floppy disk and take it to the computer that has the printer. Share files and folders: Suppose your child asks you to look at a school report that is located on the computer in his or her bedroom. When computers are networked together you can, for instance, open the file from your computer, make changes, and then save the file on your child’s computer. Play multi-computer games: By networking and sharing an Internet connection, family members can play games on separate computers with each other or on the Internet. And while they're playing, you can be surfing the Web, too—for example, visiting your favorite financial or sports sites. And there’s more: Microsoft Windows XP makes home networking easier than ever. But first you must link your computers together, by installing appropriate hardware in each and by joining the computers with wires or by means of wireless technology. This series of articles explains the process from start to finish. You’ll learn how to choose the right network technology for your home, the right components to obtain, and how to install and connect them properly. There’s also a section on protecting your home network from outside hackers by creating a secure barrier called a firewall, the same as that used by businesses. Home Networking Understand Small Network Technologies You'll need to base your network on one or more of the network technologies, or types, described below. In every case, however, you'll need these basics: One computer equipped with Windows XP and Internet access. This computer will serve as the network's central unit, or Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) host. It should be your fastest, most capable machine. One or more additional computers running Windows XP, Windows Me, Windows 98 Second Edition, or Windows 98. These computers are called clients and will connect to the ICS host. An individual network adapter for each computer. You can include Windows 95, Windows 2000, Macintosh, or UNIX/Linux computers on your home network. However, these computers may require additional software to allow you to share folders or a printer. Consult the documentation that came with those computers. Network Types While there are several different network types, this article explains the three most popular types for home networks: Ethernet: The current standard technology and the one used by most businesses; links computers via special cable and a device called a hub. HPNA (home phoneline network adapter): Links computers via existing household telephone wiring. Wireless: Links computers without wiring, by using radio signals. The following table lists other properties, advantages and disadvantages of each network type: Ethernet HPNA Wireless Hardware Ethernet RJ-45 Telephone May need an access point, a needed in cables and a cables and piece of hardware that acts addition to network hub. phone jacks as a central transmitter of network adapter radio signals between computers. Using an access point allows networking between any two computers on the system and expands the area radio signals are sent. Advantages Currently the Easy Mobile; you can move your fastest, most installation; laptop or desktop computer reliable, least computers from room to room while costly network simply plug remaining connected to the technology. Most into ordinary network. DSL and cable phone jacks. modems use Ethernet connections. Disadvantages Requires cables Requires a All networked computers linking computers phone jack must be within a specified or Ethernet wiring near each distance to communicate (similar to phone computer. with each other. Currently, wiring) installed in wireless networks lack some walls. of the capability of networks using physical connections. The cost of an access point is an additional expense to setting up the system. Network Adapters All computers on a network require a hardware device called a network adapter. The easiest and fastest network adapters to install are external; that is, they connect to a computer via the USB port on the outside of the machine. Internal network adapters must be installed inside the computer, requiring you to open or remove the computer housing. It is recommended that a qualified technician install an internal network adapter. To help determine which network technology best suits your needs answer these questions: How many computers do you have? Where are they located—are they in the same room or different rooms? Are any of your computers laptops? Do any of your computers have network adapters installed? If so, what are their types (Ethernet, HPNA, or wireless)? Apply your answers to the following examples of home network layouts and configurations. These suggest how to use the different hardware choices available and can guide you in deciding which hardware you need to buy. Computers in the Same Room You have a home office and all of your computers are in the same room. In this example setup, the most cost-effective network technology is Ethernet. If none of the computers has an Ethernet network adapter, purchase: One USB Ethernet network adapter for each computer. One Ethernet network hub with enough ports for connecting each computer. RJ-45 network cables for each computer. Another solution is to buy wireless network adapters for each computer. An added advantage of using wireless adapters, besides eliminating the need for physical wires, is that you can easily add other wireless-equipped computers such as laptops later. It is common in either setup to connect the ICS host computer to the Internet via an external DSL or cable modem attached to an Ethernet network adapter. Should you do this, you must purchase a second Ethernet or wireless network adapter for the host computer. The second adapter is necessary so the computer can communicate with the other computers on the network. Computers in Different Rooms In this network example, you've recently purchased your new Windows XP computer and set it up in your home office. You have moved your older computer into your child's room. The new computer—which is the ICS host—has an Ethernet network adapter attached to an external DSL or cable modem. If there are phone jacks located near each computer, purchase: One external USB HPNA network adapter for each computer. Home phoneline network using an external DSL or cable modem HPNA kits are available that make it easy to network two computers together. You simply plug the network adapter into the USB port on the computer and into the phone jack. The computers are then networked together. As in the previous setup example, another solution is to purchase wireless network adapters for both computers. Simply plug an adapter into the USB port on each, and the two computers can communicate using radio signals. Computers in the Same and Different Rooms In this example, you have a couple of computers in the same room, computers in your children's rooms, a laptop, and perhaps one other computer in the kitchen. One of the two computers located in the same room is running Windows XP and has an external DSL or cable modem attached to an Ethernet network adapter. This computer is the ICS host. The other computer in this room also has an Ethernet network adapter. For these two computers, purchase: One Ethernet network adapter for the ICS host computer (in addition to the Ethernet adapter this computer already contains). One Ethernet network hub. RJ-45 network cables to connect each computer to the hub. Mixed network environment using an external DSL or cable modem For the computers in your children's rooms and the kitchen that do not have network adapters, purchase: External USB HPNA network adapters for each computer. One HPNA network adapter for the ICS host computer. Purchasing HPNA adapters assumes the computers are located near telephone jacks. If they are not, or as an alternative, purchase: Wireless network adapters for each computer, including the ICS host. Finally, for the laptop—let's assume it contains a wireless network adapter— purchase: One wireless network adapter for the ICS host computer, unless it already contains one. Notice that in this example the ICS host computer must contain three separate network adapters! A simpler solution for such a complex network setup would be to install wireless network adapters on all computers. Sketch Your Own Setup The locations of your own network components—computers, printer, etc.—and the distances between them probably will influence your choice of network type and wiring installation. To better visualize your needs, you might want to sketch the floor plan of your house showing the location of each device you intend to connect. Indicate the locations of electrical and telephone outlets, and obstacles to wiring such as walls and areas where exposed network cable might either be dangerous (bathrooms) or unsightly (living room). Then join the devices by sketching in the paths of the various cables required to connect them. If your Windows XP computer is going to share its Internet connection, note that in the sketch, too. Cable Modem A modem that connects a computer to a cable TV service that delivers Internet access. DSL Digital Subscriber Line, a technology that greatly increases the capacity of ordinary telephone wires to carry digital information. Ethernet A network type that is the current standard technology and the one used by most businesses; it links computers via special cable and a hub. HPNA Home Phoneline Network Adapter, a network type that links computers via existing household telephone wiring. Hub A hardware device that connects network components at a central location and transfers data between all of them. ICS Internet Connection Sharing, which allows one computer, called the ICS host, to share its Internet connection with the rest of the computers on a home network. Network Adapter A device that connects your computer to a network. This device is sometimes called an adapter card or network interface card. RJ-45 Cable Registered Jack-45, eight-wire telephone cable used for linking computers to a local area network (LAN). USB Port Computer connection port, or interface, for plugging in devices such as a keyboard, mouse, printer, scanner, and telephone equipment. USB ports allow devices to be plugged in and unplugged without restarting your computer. Wireless A network type that links computers without wiring, by using radio signals. Visit the Windows Catalog to find networking products designed especially for Windows XP. Home Networking Put It All Together When you’ve made up your mind about the type of network that’s best for you, make a list of all the components you will need. It may help to start by listing all the equipment you have already have; that way you can more easily spot what is missing. Here’s an example of how such a list might look: Type of network Type of Internet Other devices Computer adapter installed connection connected Study/Den (ICS Ethernet DSL Color Printer host) Son’s bedroom None Internal 56k modem Digital camera Daughter’s None None None bedroom Internal 28.8k Family room Ethernet Printer modem Afterward, compare your list to the items required for the network you’ve chosen: Network Network adapters Hub type Cables type needed One for each One that supports the RJ-45 network cables computer—all must Ethernet number of computers for each computer in operate at the same in your network your network speed Telephone cables to run from each HPNA One for each computer None computer to a phone jack Wireless One for each computer None None Now go shopping! Connect Components When you’ve obtained everything you’ll need to build your network, arrange the parts in their proper locations. Next, if you are using Ethernet or HPNA components, link the computers by running cable between them (Ethernet) or connecting each computer to the household telephone wiring via a phone jack (HPNA), or by simply installing the wireless network adapter. Run Windows XP Network Setup Wizard The final step is to run Windows XP Network Setup Wizard. You’ll need to do this first on the ICS host computer, then on each of the client computers. The wizard guides you through the following steps: Configuring your network adapters. Configuring all of your computers to share one Internet connection. Naming each computer. Automatically sharing the Shared Files folder with the computers on the network. Automatically sharing printers that are connected to computers on the network. Installing a firewall. Installing network bridging components. Installing Internet Connection Sharing Discovery and Control components. Run Network Setup Wizard on the Host You must run Network Setup Wizard on the Windows XP ICS host computer first. To run the Network Setup Wizard on a host computer 1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel. 2. Click Network and Internet Connections, and then click Set up or change your home or small office network. Follow the instructions that appear on the screen. Designate this computer (the host) as the one sharing its Internet connection. Run Network Setup Wizard on the Clients After running the wizard on your ICS host computer, run it on the client computers by performing the following steps: To run the Network Setup Wizard on client computers 1. Insert the Windows XP CD-ROM. 2. On the menu that appears, click Perform Additional Tasks. 3. On the next menu that appears, click Setup home or small office networking. Run Network Setup Wizard from a Floppy Disk If you do not own a Windows XP CD-ROM, you can copy Network Setup Wizard onto a floppy disk while running the wizard on the ICS host computer. Then use the floppy disk to run the wizard on the client computers. The floppy disk is created when you run Network Setup Wizard. If you ran Network Setup Wizard and did not create a floppy disk, you’ll need to run the wizard again to create the floppy disk. While running the wizard, make sure you use the same settings as when you ran the wizard the first time. To run the Network Setup Wizard from a floppy disk 1. Insert the network setup disk into the computer you want to network. 2. Double-click My Computer. 3. Double-click 3½ Floppy (A:). 4. Double-click netsetup.exe. The wizard tests to make sure everything on your network is functioning correctly. When it is done, you’re ready to enjoy your home network! Home Networking Protect Your Network When you create a home network connected to the Internet, you increase the vulnerability of your computers to unauthorized access, including hackers and viruses. To protect your network, you need to create a type of barrier called a firewall. Windows XP comes with a firewall that you create when setting up a home network. How Does a Firewall Work? Like an actual firewall built to prevent fire from spreading between adjoining buildings, computer firewalls prevent the spread of unauthorized communication between an individual computer or group of networked computers and the Internet. One of the most effective ways to protect a home network—and the least expensive—is to create a firewall on the ICS host computer, and to make sure that computer is the only one on the network with a direct connection to the Internet. Ethernet network with firewall Other Network Possibilities Another way to protect a home network is to use a hardware device called a residential gateway, or router. Residential gateway A residential gateway contains a firewall and replaces an ICS host computer as the central Internet connection. Should a hacker manage to bypass the firewall, the only access gained is to the device, which is in effect empty. A disadvantage of a residential gateway is the extra cost it adds to putting together a network. You can create a home network having neither an ICS host computer nor a residential gateway, but at a high cost to security—and convenience. With such a setup, Internet access can be obtained by linking each computer directly to the Internet service provider via the computer's own modem, or else all computers on the network can be linked to an Ethernet hub, which functions as a central Internet connection. Computer connected directly to Internet Neither of these methods provides firewall protection; and while Internet Connection Firewall can be enabled on networked computers running Windows XP, doing so prevents those computers from sharing files and devices such as printers.