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Introduction: Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Home NetworkingAbsolute Beginner’s Guide to Home NetworkingIntroductionDo You Need This Book?
Home networking has become one of the hottest trends in personal computing. And why not? As broadband Internet access from cable, DSL, and other sources has become more common, the big push is on to share your connection with the rest of the family. But, home networking can do far more than share an Internet connection.
Home networking makes it easier than ever to take work home from the office; help the kids with their homework; enjoy digital music, photos, and video; print and scan from any PC in the home; and even connect console video games in the online world. If some of those uses are news to you, welcome.
Whether you already have a home network, are thinking about getting one, or are trying to get it working, this book has plenty for you:
If you already have a home network, this book will show you what you can do with itand how to do it.
If you're just in the "thinking about it" stages, this book will help you past your fears and show you how to plan your network, step by step.
If you're confused about wireless networking, this book takes the mystery out of wireless and shows you how wired and wireless networking can work together.
If you're fighting with problems getting your network to work, this book shows you how to troubleshoot the most common problems so you can enjoy, rather than endure, your network.
This book is organized into 11 chapters:
Chapter 1, "What Is a HomeNetwork?" explains what makes home networks similar to and different from business networks and how home networks help your family work and play at the same time.
Chapter 2, "Building Blocks of the Home Network," covers the hardware, software, and other components used by different networks, including ethernet, wireless ethernet, and others. If you don't understand the difference between a router and a network adapter, relax! This chapter brings you up to speed.
Chapter 3, "Planning Your Home Network," helps you determine what the best network is for your home based on how you plan to use it. It also helps you discover what you need to build the network you want and helps you calculate the real cost.
Chapter 4, "Choosing a Broadband Internet Access Technology," helps you choose from the most home network friendly options on the market.
Chapter 5, "Installing and Configuring a Wired Ethernet Network," helps you build a speedy, low-cost network and hide those pesky cables. Even if you love wireless, you'll want to read this chapter to find out how to put the best of wired and wireless together in a single network.
Chapter 6, "Installing and Configuring a Wi-Fi Network," helps you choose from the many flavors of wireless networking, get it working, and enjoy it.
Chapter 7, "Home Networks at Play," takes the "work" out of "network." Discover how to add home theater systems, video games, and digital video recorders to your home network. Liberate the digital goodness of family photos and videos and play them back on the big screen TV!
Chapter 8, "Home Networks at Work and School," makes working to pay for all that fun gear in Chapter 7 a lot easier to take. Discover easy ways to share information, share printers, and even share that dandy new all-in-one device. Instead of driving back to the office for the files you forgot, connect remotely and securely with VPN or GoToMyPC.
Chapter 9, "Home, Sweet, Controlled and Secure Home," shows you how to use popular lighting, HVAC, and home security devices based on X10 or other technologies along with your home network. See what's happening with the kids or turn on the coffeemaker from your office desktop!
Chapter 10, "Securing Your Home Network," helps you keep the bad guys away from your home network and your broadband Internet connection. From making your wireless network virtually invisible to war-drivers to figuring out how to spot a bogus email that spells trouble for your personal data, this chapter helps you keep your data, your life, and your family safer online.
Chapter 11, "Troubleshooting Your Home Network," shows you common problems and, even better, solutions! From a basic guide to those pesky IP addresses to common-sense solutions to broken network connections and loose cables, this chapter helps you keep your network from becoming a "notwork."
If you're completely new to home networking...that makes you an absolute beginner. I was thinking of you the whole time I wrote this book! Even if you're already into home networking, read the whole book cover to cover. The early chapters give you an introduction to terms and concepts that come up again and again in later parts of the book. I saved the most advanced material for last. By the time you get to Chapter 11, you'll be ready for it.
If you'd rather jump around in the book or just read the chapters that are new to you, that's OK too. Review the chapter descriptions in the previous section to zero in on what you don't know. I've added in lots of cross-references to other chapters in case you need more background on a particular topic.Conventions Used in This Book
Commands, directions, and explanations in this book are presented in the clearest format possible. The following items are some of the features that make this book easier for you to use:
Commands that you must enterCommands that you need to type are easily identified by special monospace format. For example, to view IP configuration information (IP address, subnet mask, and default gateway), I display the command like this: winipcfg. This tells you that you need to enter this command exactly as it is shown.
NotesInformation related to the task at hand, or "inside" information, is provided in this format to make it easy to find.
TipsPieces of information that are not necessarily essential to the current topic but that offer advice or help you save time are presented as Tips.
CautionsNotes explaining the need to be careful when performing a particular procedure or task are presented as Cautions.
WebsitesThese online resources are provided whenever they will help you understand a topic more easily or provide a source for hardware or software you must have to perform a task.
Now that you understand what this book can do for you and how it's designed to help you, it's time to get started. See you in Chapter 1!
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