Networking for Dummies: An Idiot's Guide to Connecting Computers

Okay, we’re going to be honest here; if you’re looking at networking for dummies, there’s probably something wrong with you. The fact that you’re looking to learn about computer networking means that you most likely don’t have the technical prowess or knowledge required to set up your own network without serious problems occurring down the road. So before we get into the nitty gritty details of setting up your network, let’s talk about why you really shouldn’t be considering doing this on your own in the first place!


You're looking to set up a new computer, but you don't know the first thing about networking. Fear not! This guide will teach you the basics and get you on your way. Follow these steps and in no time, you'll be up and running with your new computer! 

1) Pick an appropriate type of network cable for your needs. Coaxial cable is common when using traditional cable providers like Comcast or Time Warner. If you're using DSL or fiber optic service, it may be better to use Ethernet wire (available at most hardware stores). 

2) Plug one end of the network cable into one of the ports in the back of your router, usually labeled Internet or WAN. Plug the other end into any available port on your computer; there should be three open ports labeled 1, 2, and 3. 

3) Turn both devices off by unplugging them from their power sources. 

4) Wait ten seconds before turning them back on again so that they can reset themselves. 

5) Once everything has booted up properly, enter your password if prompted. 

6) Go to Control Panel → Network and Sharing Center → Local Area Connection to check that the connection was successful. Congratulations! Now you're all set to start browsing through all of the wonders of the internet! When you're done, be sure to turn off your computer and router. 

The last step is plugging everything back into the power source to turn them back on. And don't forget - call us today for any help with setting up your new network. We've got your back! Whether you need a new computer or just want some help installing some software, we've got what you need. 

Call us today to schedule an appointment! With our knowledgeable staff ready to answer your questions, you're guaranteed to find what you're looking for. With so many options available, how could you say no? Schedule an appointment today and see how much easier life can be. 

All those worries about connecting your computer are gone. Just give us a call and let us take care of it for you. What have you got to lose? First, you have to decide whether you want a wired or wireless connection. Wired connections require physical wires between computers while wireless ones do not, relying instead on wireless signals emitted by routers. 

Wired connections are more reliable than wireless ones as well as faster-provided the signal strength is good enough. Wireless connections are convenient because they allow you to work from anywhere within range of the device providing the signal you may find yourself having access only to one type or another. It's best to invest in a strong, fast router with adequate range to avoid connectivity issues in your home. 

These days, many people choose to use laptops rather than desktops because they provide mobility without sacrificing too much speed or functionality. 

They also tend to cost less upfront though their maintenance costs over time might offset this savings and desktop PCs typically outperform laptops because of the stronger processors and larger hard drives. 

Choosing between the two really depends on what you want out of your device-some people prefer laptops for portability while others go with desktops for stability and performance. 

What kind of cable you use is important too. If you're using a coaxial cable, be sure to attach it to the one of the ports in the back of your router and then insert it into an open port on your computer. For DSL or fiber optic connections, use an Ethernet wire, which you can purchase at most hardware stores. 

Plug the network cable into one of the ports on the back of your router and then connect it to one of your computer's open ports. Once they are plugged in, wait 10 seconds for them to reboot and reconnect with each other. Then go to Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center > Local Area Connection to verify a successful connection. 

If everything goes according to plan, congratulations!

What is a network?

A network is a set of two or more devices that are connected together. These devices can be anything from computers, to phones, microwaves, and even refrigerators. They are connected through wires or wireless connections. 

The connection allows them to communicate with each other and share information such as files, data, and the internet connection. The main purpose of computer networking is to allow different types of hardware (computers) to connect with one another, so that they may all use the same resources. 

A typical home computer network will have a broadband cable modem for internet access, along with one or more Wi-Fi routers. Cable modems allow you to access the high-speed internet connection provided by your cable company. 

Wi-Fi routers broadcast an encrypted signal which any device within range can tap into; this signal typically has a radius of 150 feet or so but it varies based on the strength and type of router used. Routers come in many shapes and sizes. 

Some are smaller than a matchbox and cost about $10, while others are upwards of $500+. The size, cost, and features available depend largely on what you need to do with your network. For example if you're just using it for streaming Netflix then there's no need to spend big bucks on a complicated router that does much more than the cheaper ones could do; 

Computer networks also require someone to manage them - usually called a Network Administrator (NA). NA's must design, maintain and troubleshoot computer networks in order to keep everything running smoothly;  As mentioned earlier there are two ways to connect computers together - wired or wireless. 

Wired connections are generally considered faster but less convenient because cables need to be run between devices; whereas wireless is slower but easier because it doesn't require cables. If you're connecting multiple devices like televisions and gaming consoles, it might make sense to go with a wired solution because the TVs would most likely be placed near the modem and router anyways.

 Wireless technology is perfect for those who plan on moving their TV around frequently because cables aren't required! When installing a network at home, always make sure that every room in your house has both power outlets and either Wi-Fi or Ethernet ports! This way everyone can plug in and use their laptop, smartphone, iPad etc. It also helps to know a little bit about electrical wiring before getting started. I recommend checking out this article on how to install Cat6 Ethernet cabling if you want more info on that! 

The number of ports needed depends on how many people will be plugged into the network. Power outlets should not be used as Ethernet ports since they provide only 110 volts instead of the standard 120 volts needed for Ethernet cables. In conclusion, a network is a group of devices that are connected to one another for the purpose of sharing information. 

There are two different ways to connect devices together; wired or wireless. Make sure that the rooms in your home have either Ethernet or Wi-Fi ports, and not just power outlets. You should never plug an Ethernet port into a power outlet because it won't work properly.

Setting up a network

If you have multiple computers in your home, it is often a good idea to set up a network. A network allows you to share files and printers between the different computers. Setting up a network is not complicated, but there are several things you will need before starting.

The first thing you'll need is the physical cables that will connect each of the computers together. If you're using an ethernet cable, make sure they are long enough so they can reach from one computer to another without too much slack. 

Once all the computers are connected by cables, you'll need to decide what type of connection protocol (IP address) each computer will use on its network interface card (NIC). You can select either DHCP or Static IP address assignment. If you choose DHCP then the NIC automatically assigns itself an IP address when connecting to a network with DHCP support; otherwise, if Static IP address assignment is chosen, then you must enter a valid IP address manually. T

he next step is to decide which computer will be the server and which ones will be clients. Usually, the server acts as a central hub where all shared resources are stored. When finished setting up your network, test each machine to ensure everything works properly. It may take some time to go through all the steps and configure settings correctly, but once done, you'll have a functioning network at your fingertips. 

Now that we've discussed networking basics, let's delve into more detail about how networks function and the components involved in a typical setup. 

In this lesson we'll learn about LANs and WANs, two types of networks which employ their own separate protocols for communication. For example, Ethernet employs its own CSMA/CD protocol whereas serial networks typically rely on RS-232 signaling. We also briefly touched upon LANs vs WANs earlier this lesson; now let's learn more about them. 

A Local Area Network is simply a small network confined within close proximity to one another while Wide Area Networks span distances over great geographical distances requiring higher bandwidth speeds than those found on LANs. 

At this point, most people know that the TCP/IP suite is used to communicate over both LANs and WANs. However, it doesn't just provide data transport services - it provides various other services as well such as end-to-end error recovery mechanisms and flow control facilities. There are five layers in the TCP/IP model: Application Layer, Transport Layer, Internet Layer, Network Interface Layer and Link Layer. Each layer provides specific services to help facilitate data transmission. 

To understand how these layers work together, imagine sending an email via your email client (an application) to a friend sitting in another state (). The Internet Layer () will route the message to the friend's IP address, the Transport Layer () will break it down into packets, the Link Layer () will send those packets to your friend's local network (), and finally, the Network Interface Layer () will transmit the message. 

At each layer, it is necessary to convert data in a manner appropriate for that layer. This means that you might not be able to send a high quality video over a LAN due to lack of sufficient bandwidth. Conversely, even if you could transfer that same video from a LAN onto a WAN, its quality would still suffer because of latency issues created by increased distance and corresponding lower available bandwidth.

Configuring network settings

Setting up a computer network is not complicated and if you follow these steps, it will be much easier. First, identify the type of network you want to set up. You have three choices: Local Area Network (LAN), Intranet and Wide Area Network (WAN). Next, decide on what type of cables you need for your network. If you're setting up a wireless LAN, then all you need are wireless devices that can communicate with each other. 

If you choose a wired LAN or an intranet, then make sure you have Ethernet cables and RJ-45 connectors that can attach the cables from one device to another. Finally, decide on what kind of access point(s) you want to set up in your home or office. 

For example, if you are setting up a simple LAN, then only one device should act as the host and provide connection points for everyone else to connect. For some advanced networks, you may want more than one access point. The final step is connecting everything together! If your computers aren't already attached by cable, plug them in now. 

Configure their settings so they know how to talk to each other using Windows Control Panel or Mac System Preferences. 

 For most people, this process takes about 30 minutes total but this time varies depending on how large your network needs to be set up as well as how many people are helping out with the process! Don’t worry though, networking is one skill that anyone can learn because once you set up your first computer network, it becomes second nature! It really doesn't take very long to do at all - less than 30 minutes total! And once you've done it once, it'll get easier every time. Plus, there are plenty of free resources available online to help you figure out the confusing stuff like security protocols, encryption types and address allocation strategies. 

All you have to do is search computer networking on Google or YouTube and bam! There it is! So don't panic--just find a good place for your router/access point near a power outlet where you think everyone will have an easy connection. 

With so many tutorials online, there's no way not to succeed at becoming a computer networking master! Here are some videos we found helpful when setting up our network:  . They show step-by-step instructions on how to configure a new network for beginners, who might be looking for guidance. Also, in the bottom left corner of the video player window, it displays a list of different parts to the video tutorial which makes navigation through the whole video series even easier! After doing some research and reading this blog post I am ready to start my own personal computer networking project.

 Armed with my newfound knowledge I'm going to go ahead and set up my new LAN today!! After reading this blog post and doing research, it's been decided that the best thing for me to start off with is a wired LAN. I'm going to buy two cheap laptops on Amazon and set up one as the server and one as the client. To do this, the server laptop will be connected to the internet and acting as a gateway. I will then create two user accounts on the server and set up the necessary firewall rules. 

Once that's done, it's just a matter of configuring IP addresses for both laptops. Now it's time to set up the client laptop with its own internet connection and making sure that it can see and use shared folders on the server. Now, let's go back to Amazon to buy those cheap laptops! On the server, open Windows Explorer (Start > File Explorer) and navigate to Network > My Network Places. Double click on Server under Entire Network. Make sure that File Sharing is checked and hit OK. On the client, open Windows Explorer (Start > File Explorer) and navigate to Network > My Network Places. Double click on Workgroup under Entire Network. 

Check File Sharing here too and hit OK. Navigate over to Shared Folders from within Windows Explorer (Start > File Explorer). You should now be able to access files stored on your server by right clicking anywhere in the Shared Folders window.

Troubleshooting network problems

1. Make sure the computers are plugged in and that they're turned on. 

2.Make sure that the cables connecting the computers are firmly seated in both ends of the cable, especially if it is a wireless connection. 

3. If you have a router, make sure that it has a good internet connection (i.e., not powered off) and is connected to your modem or cable/DSL box via an Ethernet cable 

4. If you have a switch, make sure it is also connected to your router via an Ethernet cable 

5. Check your network settings on each device 

6. If one computer is wired and another wireless, try using an Ethernet bridge 

7. On Windows 10 and 8, open the Control Panel, click Network and Sharing Center then click Change adapter settings 

8. On Windows XP, right-click My Computer then select Properties 

9. On macOS 10.4+, open System Preferences then click Network 

10. Select an active connection from the list then look at Configure, Properties or Connection to see what might be wrong 11a-11b  

If one computer is wired and another wireless, try using an Ethernet bridge 

On Windows 10 and 8, open the Control Panel  

On macOS 10.4+, open System Preferences then click Network. Select an active connection from the list then look at Configure, Properties or Connection to see what might be wrong. 

The first option can help fix problems with the protocol between your computer and router; this is typically where you would adjust port numbers, WEP keys and other similar options. 

The second option can help you troubleshoot problems with devices that are preventing others from being able to connect to the shared resources on your computer; these could include firewalls and other security software running on your machine, as well as antivirus programs like AVG AntiVirus which may have some sort of built-in networking firewall. 

Try disabling these, restarting your computer, then re-enabling them. In addition, there are various ways to configure a virtual LAN (Local Area Network). 

Virtualization setups allow you to share data over the Internet with users who don't actually have access to your physical hardware by running a program called VMware Workstation Player. 

These virtualized connections may come in handy when you need temporary access to remote servers or when working with sensitive data over public networks. When testing server connections in VMware Workstation Player, always start by selecting View > Virtual Switch Manager > Add... and selecting Virtual Machine Network. 

Next set up the default switch either by selecting Default Switch under Active Switches on the lower left side of the window or by typing default under Active Switches. Then set up the network name by clicking Edit and typing something easy to remember such as Home_LAN, while checking Allow DHCP Clients so any new devices automatically join your home network. 

Next create the IP Address Range and Subnet Mask, then click OK. Click Advanced Settings to fill in any additional information about MTU size or TCP Window Scaling before clicking Apply on the lower right side of the window. 

Your newly created virtual LAN should now be listed under Active Switches. To activate the connection, just click the name of your newly created virtual network and then click Activate. It is important to test that it works before deleting the connection because if you delete it and forget about it, you will no longer be able to use that specific connection again in the future. If you have a router with more than one network card, or multiple routers on your network, you may want to disable all but one of them. Disabling a router removes its MAC address from your local ARP cache and will usually stop routing traffic on that card until it is manually reactivated by rebooting the router or opening its interface configuration pages in a browser window.