Don't Be Frightened By The Network

As notebook and desktop computers have gotten more affordable over the last few years, it has become increasingly more common for users to have multiple PCs in their homes. As convenient as having multiple systems in one home can be, sharing files or an Internet connection among them can seem like a daunting task for less tech-savvy users, as was the case with "mitesh", who recently asked for some help on the Laptop Experts website that I participate on. Thankfully, connecting more than two PCs together and creating a home network is actually quite easy.

To physically get the systems connection to each other, all you need to use is network hub or a switch, which are readily available at any computer or office supply store. I recommend going with a switch because it will offer better performance. Simply purchase a switch with enough ports to support all of the machines you’d like to connect. Then, simply plug the systems into the switch using Ethernet cables. If you have the machines configured with the same workgroup name within Windows (and if you haven't changed the default name, they probably will be), they should all see each other when they scan the network, and you can share files, printers, and other peripherals among them easily.

Sharing resources among wireless and wired PC simultaneously is also relatively simple. Many wireless broadband routers also have wired switches built in. Connect your wired systems to the router's integrated switch and connect your notebooks (or wireless desktop systems) to the router via 802.11 WiFi, and the wireless machines can access the wired machines just as if they were wired to the switch.